In sharp contrast, the weather-sculpted lands beyond Dingle on the famous Slea Head seem to have regressed in time, isolated by mountain and ocean. This is particularly true of the ancient pilgrim route that winds through stone-clad fields and fuchsia-rich lanes from Ventry Beach to the majestic summit of the holy mountain – Mount Brandon.
There is no other landscape in Western Europe with the same density and variety of archaeological monuments.
This mountainous finger of land, jutting into the Atlantic Ocean, has supported various tribes and populations for at least 6,000 years. Because of its remote location and lack of specialised agriculture, there is a remarkable preservation of over 2,000 monuments. It is impossible to visit the Dingle Peninsula and not be impressed by its archaeological heritage, which ranges from Prehistoric times through the Early Christian period to the Middle Ages.
Throughout the region there are magnificent views in all directions. Incredibly green pastures stretch as far as the eye can see, completely empty save for small herds of sheep or goats. At almost every turn there are spectacular views of mist-covered mountains and wild stretches of uninhabitable coastline where deep fissures have been carved, over the centuries, by the pounding waves of the Atlantic Ocean. The tip of the peninsula, west of Dingle town, is a stronghold of the Irish language and many traditions and customs have been preserved here along with the language. This is a delightful one-week hike and along the way you’ll enjoy plenty of good Irish cheer!
Day 1: Arrive at your first guesthouse near Tralee where you stay for the first two nights of your holiday. Evening meal together and a general chat about the coming week’s walks.
Day 2: Enjoy your wonderful first day’s hike among the Slieve Mish mountains with views over Tralee Bay, the broad Atlantic and the wild countryside of this region. After the hike, we transfer you to your accommodation. Evening meal in local restaurant.
Walk Details – Distance: 16 km. Duration: 5 hours. Max. Height: 250 m. Rocky and sometimes muddy mountain track. Boots essential.
Day 3: Today,you cross the peninsula from north to south, following a spectacular old farmer’s track called ‘the way of the cow’ across the plateau and visiting a genuine old famine village on the way. You finish in the lovely little village of Annascaul from where we transfer you to Dingle, where you stay for your next 3 nights. This evening, enjoy dinner together in one of the many excellent local restaurants in the town.
Walk Details – Distance: 16 km. Duration: 5 hours. Max. Height: 40m. Grass tracks, open bogland. Can be wet underfoot – boots essential. Some road walking.
Day 4: This is your ‘free day’ to allow you to partake in other activities if you wish – such as cycling, horseriding, canoeing or just laze about with a book! Weather and boats permitting, we may arrange a visit to the Great Blasket Island, renowned for its great storytellers and the literature they produced. Evening meal and overnight in Dingle.
Day 5: Enjoy a wonderful hike around the spectacular Slea Head – one of the richest areas of archaeology in this region, with its numerous beehive huts and promontory forts. There are breathtaking views from Mount Eagle on the way. Return to Dingle for dinner and overnight.
Walk Details - Distance: 14 km. Duration: 5 hours. Max. Height: 200 m. Beach walking, some road walking, grass and rocky tracks. Boots recommended.
Day 6: Today, you follow the Dingle Way across the shoulder of Mount Brandon, with magnificent views of Brandon Bay. At the end of the hike you descend to the lovely, picturesque village of Cloghane where you spend your last two nights of the tour and enjoy your evening meal.
Walk Details – Distance: 18 km. Duration: 5 hours. Max. Height: 650 m. Grass and rocky tracks, open bogland and some road walking. Boots essential.
Day 7: Your last day’s hike is spectacular, taking you into the heart of the Brandon Range of mountains to the famous ‘paternoster lakes’ with views over Brandon Bay and Fermoyle Strand. NB - Weather permitting, and with guide’s advice, there may be an option for some of the group, should they wish, to continue to the top of this ‘sacred’ Brandon Mountain Peak. Return to Cloghane for farewell dinner and overnight.
Walk Details - Distance: 12 km. Duration: 5 – 7 hours. Max. Height: 600 – 950 m. Rough mountain tracks and rocky terrain. Boots essential.
Day 8: Departures. A courtesy transfer will be offered to you from Cloghane to Tralee Bus/Rail Station arriving there at approx. 09.30 hrs. From Tralee there is an excellent bus and train service to all major towns, cities and villages in Ireland. Tralee to Cork Airport is approx 3 hrs by bus. Tralee to Shannon Airport is just over 3 hrs by bus.
Single Room Supplement: 8-day €245
Also see tour packages in:
Europe Ireland Outdoor: Land Rambler Walking Tours