Hiking The Dingle Versus Kerry Way Ireland Walking Tours

Hiking The Dingle Versus Kerry Way Ireland Walking Tours

Ireland is a paradise for hikers, offering trails that showcase its stunning landscapes, rich history, and vibrant culture. Among the most popular hiking routes are the Dingle Way and the Kerry Way, each offering unique experiences.

If you’re planning a hiking adventure, comparing these two trails can help you choose the one that best suits your preferences and fitness level.

2 people hiking on Geokaun Mountain Valentia Island The Kerry Way Ireland
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Key Takeaways

  • The Dingle Way is known for its coastal scenery, charming villages, and shorter distance, making it accessible for hikers of various skill levels.
  • The Kerry Way Ireland is longer and more challenging, providing a diverse range of landscapes, from rugged mountains to serene valleys.
  • Both trails offer unique cultural and historical insights, but the Kerry Way tends to be more remote and less frequented.

Ireland offers a wide variety of hiking trails, both long and short, catering to all levels of hikers. Long-distance hiking trails, like the Dingle Way and the Kerry Way, cannot be completed within a day. These trails, spanning between 100 and 200 kilometres, are typically split into daily stages, with accommodations such as hostels, B&Bs, and farmhouses conveniently located at the end of each stage. Whether you prefer a self-guided walking tour, which allows you to set your own pace or a group walking tour, these trails provide an immersive experience of Ireland’s natural beauty.

Comparison Table: Dingle Way vs. Kerry Way Ireland

FeatureDingle WayKerry Way
Distance179 km214 km
Duration8-10 days9-12 days
DifficultyModerateModerate to Challenging
Starting PointTraleeKillarney
HighlightsCoastal scenery, archaeological sitesMountains, valleys, lakes, forests
AccommodationB&Bs, hostels, guesthousesB&Bs, hostels, guesthouses
Best Time to VisitMay to SeptemberMay to September
Comparison Table: Dingle Way vs. Kerry Way

The Kerry Way

With a distance of 214 kilometres and a total ascent of more than 4000 meters, the Kerry Way Ireland is undoubtedly a long-distance hiking trail. The trail is typically divided into nine stages, averaging about 24 kilometres a day. This may sound tough, but walking all day with regular breaks to rest and enjoy the scenery makes it an enjoyable experience.

The Kerry Way on the Wild Atlantic Way winds through the Iveragh Peninsula, starting and ending in Killarney. The trail traverses vast fields, dense forests, and old roads, some of which are grass-covered and hard to see. Walking Holiday Ireland provides detailed route notes, hiking maps, and downloadable GPX files for easy navigation.

Accommodation along the trail is plentiful, with many farmhouses and B&Bs offering comfortable stays and hearty, traditional meals made from local produce. Walking Holiday Ireland offers luggage transfer services between their carefully selected accommodation, making your hike more manageable.

The trails are generally easy to hike but can become muddy and rough during and after heavy rain. Always mind your step, as it can be slippery. When the sun is out, the scenery and fresh air are breathtaking.

Highlights of the Kerry Way

The Kerry Way is renowned for its diverse and stunning landscapes, offering hikers a unique and memorable experience. Below are the key highlights that make the Kerry Way a must-hike trail in Ireland:

Diverse Landscapes

The trail showcases a wide variety of landscapes, from the serene beauty of Killarney National Park with its lush woodlands and tranquil lakes to the remote and rugged Black Valley, known for its untouched wilderness and dramatic scenery.

Mountain Passes

Hikers will traverse several mountain passes along the Kerry Way, providing breathtaking panoramic views of the surrounding countryside. These high traverses offer spectacular vistas, including views over the Dingle Peninsula and the Beara Peninsula.

Wild Atlantic Way

Part of the Kerry Way in Ireland runs along the Wild Atlantic Way, Ireland’s famous coastal route. This section offers dramatic seascapes, rugged coastlines, and the chance to explore some of Ireland’s less-visited areas, enhancing the overall hiking experience.

Charming Towns and Friendly Hosts

The Kerry Way in Ireland passes through several picturesque towns, such as Kenmare, Sneem, and Cahirciveen. These towns are known for their charming atmospheres, vibrant cultures, and warm Irish hospitality. Friendly B&B hosts in these areas provide comfortable accommodations and hearty, traditional meals, often sourced from local produce.

Additional Highlights

  • Killarney Park and Muckross House: A beautiful starting and ending point of the trail featuring well-maintained gardens, historic buildings, and scenic trails.
  • Black Valley and Glencar Mountains: Offering a more rugged and remote hiking experience, these areas are less frequented but equally rewarding.
  • High Traverses: Providing stunning views of the surrounding landscapes, including the Dingle Peninsula.
  • Beara Peninsula Views: The trail offers some of the best views over the Beara Peninsula, which is known for its scenic beauty and tranquility.

The Kerry Way Ireland is a diverse and rewarding hiking trail that offers something for every nature enthusiast. Whether you’re drawn to its varied landscapes, panoramic mountain views, coastal routes, charming towns, or the warm hospitality of its hosts, the Kerry Way promises an unforgettable hiking experience in the heart of Ireland.

The Dingle Way

The Dingle Way is a circular trail of 179 kilometres, starting and ending in Tralee. It involves 2300 meters of ascent through grassy fields, along mountain faces, and beaches of the Atlantic Ocean. Most of the trail runs along small roads known as boreens, allowing a faster walking pace. The trail includes a traverse of Masatiompan, reaching 660 meters above sea level. The route typically takes 8-9 days to complete, with many stretches along beaches inviting tired hikers for a refreshing swim. The Dingle Way also passes numerous archaeological sites, adding historical interest to your hike.

Accommodation on the Dingle Way ranges from cheap hostels to luxurious hotels, with Walking Holiday Ireland providing transfer services from the trail to the accommodation where necessary.

Hiker on Slea Head, The Dingle Peninsula, Kerry, Ireland
Walker on the Dingle Way above Slea Head, Dingle Peninsula, County Kerry, Ireland.

Highlights of the Dingle Way

The Dingle Way offers a rich hiking experience with a blend of coastal beauty, historical intrigue, and charming villages. Here are the main and secondary highlights that make the Dingle Way a standout trail in Ireland:

Coastal Scenery 

The Dingle Way is renowned for its breathtaking coastal views. Hikers are treated to sweeping vistas of the Atlantic Ocean, rugged cliffs, and sandy beaches, providing an immersive experience of Ireland’s maritime beauty.

Historical Sites 

The trail passes numerous archaeological sites, including standing stones, ogham stones, and ancient beehive huts. These sites offer a fascinating glimpse into Ireland’s rich past and add a historical dimension to the hike.

Picturesque Towns

 The Dingle Way features several picturesque towns, such as Anascaul and Dingle, where hikers can experience traditional Irish culture, music, and hospitality. These towns are perfect for rest stops and cultural immersion.

Dingle Town, Co. Kerry, Ireland
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Varied Terrain 

The trail traverses various terrains, including grassy fields, mountain faces, and beaches. Notable is the traverse of Masatiompan, where the trail climbs to 660 meters above sea level, offering stunning views.

Additional Highlights Of The Dingle Peninsula

  1. Beaches Significant portions of the Dingle Way lead along beaches, providing a unique hiking experience. These beaches invite hikers to take off their heavy backpacks and dirty shoes for a refreshing swim in the ocean.
  2. Low Slopes of the Slieve Mish Mountains Overlooking Tralee Bay, these slopes offer scenic views and a gentle start to the hike, setting the tone for the adventure ahead.
  3. World-Class Views around Slea Head Offering breathtaking sights of the Blasket Islands, this section of the trail is renowned for its dramatic and picturesque coastal landscapes. Make Sure to visit The Blasket Centre as well.
  4. Hiking over Brandon Mountain With views that are spectacular on a clear day, this segment offers a rewarding challenge and some of the most impressive vistas on the Dingle Way.

The Dingle Way combines coastal beauty, historical intrigue, and cultural experiences, making it a highly recommended trail for hikers looking to explore the scenic and historical aspects of Ireland.

Conclusion

Both the Dingle Way and the Kerry Way Ireland offer incredible hiking experiences, each with its unique charm and challenges. The Dingle Way is known for its coastal beauty and historical sites, while The Kerry Way offers diverse landscapes and a more challenging hike.

Whether you prefer the moderate trails and coastal views of the Dingle Way or the varied and rugged terrain of the Kerry Way, both trails promise an unforgettable adventure in one of Ireland’s most beautiful regions. For those undecided, why not hike both and discover your personal favourite?

For more details and to book your hiking tour, visit Walking Holiday Ireland.

2 thoughts on “Hiking The Dingle Versus Kerry Way Ireland Walking Tours

  1. Gregory Williams says:

    Walking the Dingle, Kerry or Wicklow Way should be on everyone’s bucket list!

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