The Dingle Waymarked Walking route skirts the mountains of the Slieve Mish range, which form the spine of this 65 km long peninsula, jutting into the arms of the Atlantic. The mountains are rounded; not as high as their nearest neighbours on the Iveragh peninsula, and formed from beautiful old red sandstone visible in the area. Glaciations in the last Ice Age 13000 years ago, left coums and valleys; the natural harbours of Dingle and Ventry and a gentleness that will not fail to impress a visitor. The western end is nothing short of breath taking - the Blasket Islands rear from the Atlantic calling to the sheltered haven of Dunquin (Dún Chaoin), before the mountains rise to the impressive bulk of Brandon, St. Brendan's Mountain and downwards through Caherconree, Baurtregaum to the Maine Valley. The peninsula is littered with remains from the early Christian period, oratories, beehive huts, megalithic tombstones, monastic enclosures, high crosses, to name a few. Beautiful white sandy beaches, a temperate Gulf Stream climate and the profusion of strong colours in the flora – montbretia, fuchsia, purple loosestrife to name a few – make the Dingle peninsula a wonderful location.
Day 1: Arrival to Dingle town
A chance to explore the local shops, do a little shopping, take a ferry to the Great Blasket Island, read a book or simply sit back and relax by the harbour and watch the world go by.
Optional local circular walk on Ballysitteragh Hill. 11 km / 4 hours +630m or Dingle harbour walk 6 km / 2 hours
Day 2: Dingle town - Ventry Harbour
Meander the lanes from Dingle harbour, over the hill to Ventry village for morning coffee by the pier. Watch the lobster boats in the bay before setting off across the beach for the fuchsia lined trail through Cahertrant townland to Cill Mhic a Domhnaigh. Overnight in Ventry village..
Walking: 9 km / 2.5 hours, +210 m
Optional extra loop walk, Siuloid Cholmain, Ventry village & 15th century Rahinanne Castle: 5 km / 1.5 hours
Day 3: Ventry Harbour - Dunquin
The most spectacular scenery you could hope to find. The Way climbs an old track on the foothill of Mount Eagle past the early Christian beehive huts at Fahan. Behind are views of Ventry Harbour and south to the Ring of Kerry and Valentia Island. Ahead the Way opens up to Slea Head and the Blasket Islands. Beyond this is America! A visit to the Blasket Island Interpretative Centre in Dunquin is recommended, to grasp the harshness of life on the islands, until the last inhabitants resettled on the mainland in 1953. Overnight accommodation at Dunquin townland. Your host will transfer you to Ballyferriter for your evening meal.
Walking: 18 km / 5 hours, +360m
Optional extra loop walk at Clogher Beach & Cliffs (recommended in the late evening): 4 km / 1 hour
Day 4: Dunquin - Ballydavid village
The route follows the Norse named Smerwick Harbour and a detour takes you to Dun an Oir, the Fort of Gold where Italian and Spaniard soldiers were besieged by troops of Elizabeth 1 in 1580. The views are simply splendid; Sybil Head, the Three Sisters, and Ballydavid Head, frame the north, against a backdrop of hills to the south. Ballydavid is a thriving fishing harbour and a Gaelic speaking community.
Walking: 16 km / 5 hours, +240m
Day 5: Ballydavid - Cuas/Ballycurrane
You are in the cradle of early Christian civilization here, with as many as sixty notable sites of cultural and religious development from the 5th to 9th centuries. Take your time, explore them, see the sea. St. Brendan left for America in 6th century from here and brooding Brandon mountain is on the doorstep.
Walking: 9 km / 2 hours, +120m
Optional extra loop walk on Ballydavid Head: 6 km /3 hours,+ 250m
Day 6: Cuas - Cloghane
Today's hike takes you up; up to the saddle of Más an Tiompáin, (the Pass of the Drum) below Brandon, Ireland's second highest mountain at 950m. The scenery is superb, Tralee Bay, the Magharees against the hues of the Slieve Mish mountains. The descent to Cloghane is nothing short of thrilling on a clear day, and well-earned respite is available in the village!
Walking: 17 km / 5 hours, +430 m
Day 7: Cloghane - Connor Hill - Dingle
Your transfer can leave you at the top of the famous Connor Pass for an amble down to return to Dingle town for a final day of relaxation and catch up with civilisation. Maybe today is the day for Ballysitteragh Hill! Add 5 km and a 220 m ascent to do this climb. But what a view!
Walking: 7 km / 2 hours, +0m
Day 8: Departure
Your tour ends after breakfast. You can take the bus from Dingle to Tralee.
Practical information: ►The Dingle Way follows minor roads, traditional access routes to turf cutting, forest and mountain paths. Much of the route west of Dingle follows minor roads and beaches through spectacular scenery. Approximately 25% of the route in on tarred roads. ►You will be staying in comfortable guesthouses and farmhouses, with en suite facilities. You can enjoy evening meals (18-25 EUR) in the guesthouses in some locations, but the hostess needs to be notified beforehand. Picnic lunches can be bought on spot (6-8 EUR per person) ►The most convenient airports for this tour are Shannon and Cork. From Shannon Airport you travel to Limerick bus station where you catch a bus to Tralee and then to Dingle. From Cork you travel to the city centre bus station or train station (separate) and on to Tralee and then by bus to Dingle. You can also fly to Dublin, but then you will have a 4-hour train journey to Tralee. You can check all the train journeys: www.irishrail.ie Bus schedules can be seen here.
Recommended travel period of the year: May - September
Nessesary equipment: waterproof hiking boots and walking socks (with a change of socks in rucksack), small rucksack/day pack, 1 x water bottle with 1 litre capacity, insect repellent, sun glasses, sun hat, sun block/cream, compass, torch, first-aid kit, waterproof jacket and trousers