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 walk and along the way you’ll enjoy plenty of good Irish cheer.
Your journey begins in the Slieve Mish mountains once home to a mythological Celtic princess enjoying panoramic views of Tralee Bay before you arrive to the bustling cosmopolitan town of Dingle. Gaily painted houses lead to a busy harbour where artisan cafes and craft shops vie with traditional pubs humming to the sound of Irish music and song.
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.
Day 1: Arrive in Tralee – the administrative capital of County Kerry. On arrival to your first guesthouse, your hostess will give you your full detailed information pack. She will also be able to suggest some of the many local restaurants or pubs for food and possibly music.
Access for this holiday can be from Kerry, Dublin, Cork or Shannon Airports with bus and/or train connections available to Tralee all year round.
Day 2: Leave your guesthouse, and walk from there along back country roads to join the Dingle Way. You follow this route under the Slieve Mish Mountains before joining what was once an old road to Dingle. Passing a fascinating 12th century oratory, you then continue to the village of Camp.
Walk Details: Distance: 18 km. Duration: 5 hours. Max. Height: 250 m. Rocky and muddy mountain and grass tracks. Can be wet underfoot – boots essential.
Day 3: Walk from Camp to the lively little village of Annascaul. This walk takes you through a fascinating area of bog where many people still come to cut their winter fuel. Crossing to the south side of the peninsula, you arrive at the magnificent Inch Beach, before continuing inland to Annascaul village for your overnight stop.
Walk Details: Distance: 17kms. Duration: 5 hours. Max. Height: 200 m. Road walking on quiet back country roads, then onto grassy tracks and finishing on road. Boots recommended.
Day 4: Leaving the village of Annascaul, you head for the town of Dingle. The route passes through Minard, with its 16th century castle, and the village of Lispole. It then takes old, narrow country lanes through Lisdargan and Ballingarraun before joining the old military road below the Connor Pass, and on into Dingle. Overnight in Dingle.
Walk Details: Distance: 20 km. Duration: 6 hours. Max. Height: 300 m. Country lanes, grass tracks and some road walking. Boots essential.
Day 5: Your walk today starts just outside Dingle, passing the Early Christian site of Kilcolman and continuing to the glorious sweep of Ventry beach. From here it takes you on a beautiful and very historic walk around Slea Head, finishing Dunquin. This walk offers an opportunity to see ‘beehive huts’ at close quarters, and also a full view of the Blasket Islands. Overnight in Dunquin.
Walk Details: Distance: 18 km. Duration: 5.5 hours. Max. Height: 350 m. Rocky and grass tracks, beach walking and some road walking. Boots essential.
Day 6: Walk from Dunquin, following the coast to Clogher and on to the fort of Dún an Óir, scene of a notorious massacre, situated on Smerwick Harbour. This sheltered bay is dominated by the jagged peaks of Sybil Head, the Three Sisters and Ballydavid Head. You finish your walk in the Irish-speaking village of Ballyferriter.
Walk Details: Distance: 15 km. Duration: 4 hours. Max. Height: 150 m. Quiet back roads, grass and muddy tracks – boots recommended.
Day 7: Walk from Ballyferriter and continue along the coast to Ballydavid with glorious coastal scenery all the way. If desired, you can walk along the cliffs of Ballydavid Head. Descend to the hidden cove of Brandon Creek, where St. Brendan is said to have begun his epic boat journey, and finish at the Bóthar Pub.
Walk Details: Distance: 16 km (Option is 22 km). Duration: 4.5 hours (Option is 6 hours). Max. Height: 10 m (Option is 250 m). Quiet country roads, beach walking and grass tracks, the option taking in rocky mountain. Boots essential.
Day 8: Transfer to the tiny hamlet of Tiduff. Walk from here along an old military road to the eastern side of the Brandon massif, finishing in the village of Cloghane. This is a remote but spectacular walk – full of history and through country only accessible on foot. Overnight in Cloghane.
Walk Details: Distance: 22 km. Duration: 6.5 hours. Max. Height: 650 m. Grass mountain tracks with some rocky sections. Gravel tracks and some road walking. Boots essential.
Day 9: A wonderful walk along the Dingle Peninsula from North to South, following a spectacular old farmer’s track. You walk over the plateau, passing a deserted famine village and Annascaul Lake on the way. You descend into the village of Annascaul. Overnight in Annascaul.
Walk Details: Distance: 14 km. Duration: 5 hours. Max. Height: 375 m. Grass mountain tracks with some rocky sections; can be damp. Boots recommended.
Day 10: Departure from Annascaul to Tralee town by public or private transport. From Tralee, connections by bus and train are frequent to Cork, Limerick, Shannon or Dublin.
Room Supplement: 10-day €275.
Also see tour packages in:
Europe Ireland Outdoor: Land Rambler Walking Tours