The Dingle Peninsula is one of the most spectacular regions on Ireland's West Coast. Moreover it is steeped in history, mythology and traditional Irish Culture. 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. 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. There are plenty of small hamlets to enjoy good Irish cheer along the way and in the evenings you will stay at a selection of B&B's, chosen for their good character, location and excellent Irish breakfasts.
MODERATE - GRADE 3
This is a self-guided walk with average daily stages of 5.5 hours. The distances in kms are listed for each stage. The paths although well defined and clearly marked, have some steep sections on sometimes loose and rocky ground and through muddy areas. There are lots of ups and downs. A reasonable level of fitness is required and you should be able to read a map. As with all of our trips it is important that you are well prepared. We suggest that you undertake regular exercise – swimming, cycling, jogging, two to three times a week for three months prior to your departure.
On arrival in Tralee, please make your way to your accommodation. On check in you will receive your full detailed information pack to commence walking the next day. Your host will also be able to suggest some of the many local restaurants or pubs for food and possibly music. Take the time to enjoy some of the many interesting and historic sights in the area, such as the National Folk Theatre or a tour of the medieval castle.
After breakfast, start your walk along country backroads to join the Dingle Way. You follow this route under the Slieve Mish Mountains before joining what was once an old road to Dingle. Rising above 762m in parts, the mountain range was the scene of prehistoric battles, recorded in legend as having been part of the "Milesian invasion". The Milesians, meaning "soldiers of Spain", are said in the legends to have been Gaels who came originally from Egypt, settled in Spain, and invaded Ireland in 1700 BC. As you enter the peninsula from Tralee towards Camp, the bright expanse of Tralee Bay comes into full view. The walk today will be quite rocky along muddy mountain and grass tracks with a maximum height of 250m/820ft. Boots essential.
The walk today takes you through a fascinating area of bog where many locals 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, where you stay overnight. At the southern foothills of the Slieve Mish Mountains, the combination of mountains and beaches makes for spectacular scenery. Today's walk is on quiet country back roads and grassy tracks, before finishing on road. Maximum height of 200m/656ft.
Note: it is possible to arrange an additional night in Annascaul (or elsewhere during the walk) which is highly recommended if you would like to do some of the mountain walks in the area. Ask your consultant for cost details. This must be booked when you make your original reservation as you cannot change arrangements once booked.
Heading to 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 to Dingle. With a population of approximately 1200, Dingle is a lively market town and fishing port. There are many restaurants, craft shops, art galleries and pubs to enjoy. Most of the pubs in summer will have live music.
Today's walking is on country lanes, grass tracks and some roads, with a maximum height of 300m/984ft. Boots essential.
Note: You may wish to spend an extra night in Dingle, to walk part of the Dingle Way around the beautiful bay of Smerwick Harbour or take a day trip to the Great Blasket Island. This must be requested at the time of booking.
Today you will start just outside Dingle, passing the Early Christian site of Kilcolman and continuing to the glorious sweep of Ventry Beach. Ventry is a small village four miles west of Dingle. The whole Ventry area is linked by the arc of Ventry Harbour, with one of the most attractive beaches on the west coast of Ireland. From here the track takes you on a beautiful and historic walk around Slea Head. This walk offers an opportunity to see the “beehive huts”. At one stage there were over 400 of these drystone huts, which are generally believed to have been homes. It is believed that the huts at Slea Head date to the 12th century when the incoming Normans forced the Irish off the land and out to the periphery of the peninsula. There is also a full view of the Blasket Islands. Return to Dingle via Dunquin.
The walking is on rocky and grass tracks, beach walking and some road walking with a maximum height of 350m/1148ft. Boots essential.
After breakfast, you transfer to the tiny hamlet of Tiduff. From here, the walk takes you 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 by foot. You will be walking along grass mountain tracks with some rocky sections as well as gravel tracks and some road walking with a maximum height of 650m/2132ft. Boots essential.
Note: Stay one or two extra nights and make the most of the waymarked walks in this area. Follow in the footsteps of pilgrims to climb the holy Mt Brandon, or explore the wealth of archaeological sites in the valley of Lough Adoon. Additional nights must be requested at the time of booking.
Enjoy 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 en route to the village of Annascaul.
The walking is on grass mountain tracks with some rocky sections; can be damp, with a maximum height of 375m/1230mi. Boots recommended.
After breakfast, make your own way to Tralee by either public or private transport. From Tralee, connections by bus and train are frequent to Cork, Limerick, Shannon or Dublin.
The Dingle Way was pure magic! The friendly people, the fresh seafood, the breathtaking scenery, the live music... perfect trip!
C. Coleman,, Louisiana, USA.
Per Person, Twin Share