Dingle Peninsula, Kerry, Self Guided Walking Holidays in Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way
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. Come on & enjoy this superb self guided walking holiday!.
The Dingle Peninsula in the South-West of Ireland
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 2000 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, 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.
Dingle Walking Tour Day by Day:
This trip begins at Tralee, an excellent starting point for our exploration of the Dingle Peninsula. Walking west along the foot of the Slieve Mish Mountains, your next night is spent in the village of Camp. You then head south-west, crossing the peninsula to arrive at the village of Annascaul on Dingle Bay. Your third day’s walking brings you to the pretty fishing port of Dingle, where you stay for two nights. From here you explore the spectacular promontory at Slea Head, with views towards the Blasket Islands at the western extremity of Europe.
From Dingle you then cut back to the secluded village of Cloghane at the foot of Mount Brandon on the northern side of the peninsula. The final walk brings you across the central mountain range back to the village of Annascaul. The daily stages take you cross-country, through landscapes that are hilly – and boggy at times. During the week you’ll experience wild mountain scenery along with picturesque coastal villages.
Day 1 – Arrive in Tralee
The administrative capital of County Kerry. On arrival at 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 – From Tralee to Camp
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: 16kms. Duration: 5 hours. Max. Height: 250m. 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: 200m. 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: 21kms. Duration: 6 hours. Max. Height: 300m. Country lanes, grass tracks and some road walking. Boots essential.
Day 5 – Dingle to Dunquin
Your route 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 Dingle.
Walk Details: Distance: 19kms. Duration: 5.5 hours. Max. Height: 350m. Rocky and grass tracks, beach walking and some road walking. Boots essential.
Day 6 – Tiduff to Cloghane
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: 22kms. Duration: 6.5 hours. Max. Height: 650m. Grass mountain tracks with some rocky sections. Gravel tracks and some road walking. Boots essential.
Day 7 – Cloghane to Annascaul
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: 14kms. Duration: 5 hours. Max. Height: 375m. Grass mountain tracks with some rocky sections; can be damp. Boots recommended.
Day 8 – Departure from Annascaul
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.
Day 1: Remain in Tralee for an extra night and enjoy some of the many interesting and historic sights in this area – and take this opportunity to enjoy a visit to our National Folk Theatre, Siamsa Tíre.
Day 3: Remain in Annascaul and do some of the glorious mountain walks in this area – over to Maghanaboe, or across Acres Hill. Spend a relaxing day in the birthplace of Tom Crean, the Antarctic Explorer.
Day 5: Remain in Dingle, and do part of the Dingle Way around the beautiful bay of Smerwick Harbour below Sybil Head, the Three Sisters and on to Ballydavid. Alternatively, you can use an extra day to make a trip to the Great Blasket Island.
Day 6: Stay on in Cloghane for 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.
Make enquiries when booking and we can organise the extra reservations and transport necessary to do these options.
Everything was very well organised on our walking holiday and we loved our experience!
We’ll be back for sure!
I was there with my eldest son. We loved the beautiful hills and coast, the Irish people (very kind and helpful) en de B&B’s we visited were nice and clean. Our hostesses prepared us a delicious breakfast every morning: that gave us the energy for our daily hikes.
After our first night in Dundalk and a full Irish Breakfast, we did a lovely hike from Ravensdale forest to the Lumpers. After the 2nd night and another filling breakfast, we walked across the beautiful Cooley peninsula to the picturesque village of Carlingford on the coast where our bags were waiting in another superb B&B.
And a perfect place for a hike around. Also for fun and good food is taken care of. So we’ve taken one more day. In summary, a beautiful country, incredibly friendly and polite people and an excellent organisation.
As a couple we enjoyed a beautiful walking holiday this summer organised by Cliff Wayenberg of Walking Holiday Ireland. The six days of walking in Dundalk area, Carlingford and the Mourne Mountains were a good combination of different types of scenery, from easy walking to steep climbings. Walking distances each day a bit longer and a bit more difficult, giving it a nice challenge every day. B&B’s located in towns with lots to see and to do in the evening, and all with very enthousiastic hosts, willing to fulfill all wishes. We stayed two nights in each B&B, which gives good opportunity to learn more about a city and the B&B
In summary: Very well organized, well balanced and beautiful holiday!
For our walking holiday in Dingle and the south-west of Ireland we advise the following airport(s):
Alternatives: Dublin Airport