Duration: 9 Days / 8 Nights From £805
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Trip created by Dawn Rainbolt
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Ireland is a small island full of rolling emerald hills dotted with sheep, cottages and ancient ruins. Along the west coast is the stunning 2,500 kilometre route, the Wild Atlantic Way. One of the most beloved parts of Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way is the walking route, the Dingle Way.
The Dingle Peninsula is sometimes called “Ireland in miniature.” Combine breathtaking coastal scenery, fascinating archeological sites, and cosy pubs filled with traditional Irish music and colourful Irish characters. The internationally-renowned Dingle Way walking trail circumnavigates this unique peninsula, taking in quiet country lanes, mountain tracks and miles of sandy beach as it winds around Slea Head, Ireland’s most westerly point.
Stay in a perfect combination of small B&Bs in rural villages and countryside alike. Relax and enjoy your walking, with transport from Tralee taken care of, luggage transfers and private transfers to and from the start of the trail prearranged where required. By choosing a self guided trip, enjoy the flexibility of walking at your own pace.
This trip takes place in Ireland. Interested in other adventures on the Emerald Isle? Check out these trips from Wilderness Ireland.
Arriving by bus or train to the vibrant town of Tralee, we have arranged a transfer out of town and to the rolling hills of the Slieve Mish Mountains. You will walk this section of the trail on your return to town at the end of the week but for you watch the scenery unfold as you travel. Spend a relaxing evening just off the trail, ready for your first day on the Dingle Way in the morning.
Our first day on the Dingle Way takes us right up and over the spine of the Dingle Peninsula to the shores on its southern side. With most of today’s walking on country roads and quiet tracks, we’ll pass Caherconree Mountain while looking out for the impressive megalithic fort perched close to its top. Take in views of the white sands of Inch Beach stretched out below us as we walk towards the teacup-sized Annascaul village. This evening, be sure to stop into the family pub of Antarctic explorer Tom Crean, who made attempts at the South Pole with both Scott and Shackleton. (B)
Hike details: 15 km / 10 miles | 270m ascent
This morning, the trail continues along side-roads to the ruins of an impressive 16th century castle overlooking a picturesque little rocky cove. Continuing along small laneways, take in views across Dingle Bay and the mountains of the Iveragh Peninsula to the south, and spectacular mountain panoramas to the north. Our final destination today is the colourful coastal town of Dingle, renowned the world over for its pubs, traditional Irish music, resident dolphin and more recently, its fabulous cuisine. Aim to join the locals in one of Dingle town’s many cheerful pubs to experience some real ‘craic agus ceoil’ (‘fun and music’). (B)
Hike details: 22.5 km / 14 miles | 350m ascent
The Dingle Peninsula hosts some of the richest collections of ancient archaeological sites in the whole of Europe. Every day you will stumble across standing stones, ancient tombs and other remains of prehistoric monuments. On your hike today, trade the liveliness of Dingle town for quieter parts of the peninsula. You’ll get the chance to view some truly amazing clochains or beehive huts, dry-stone huts with corbeled roofs that at least 12th century but may be as much as 2,000 years old as we follow alongside the spectacular outcrop of Slea Head overlooking the eerie Blasket Islands. Our hike today will also include a long, beautiful stretch along the white sands of Ventry Bay as you head out towards Ireland’s most westerly point and the tip of the Dingle Peninsula. (B)
Hike details: 22 km/ 14 miles | 370 m ascent
Over the years, numerous artists have been lured to the beauty of the Dingle Peninsula and many have made their home on this remote finger of land, with the wild crashing Atlantic and rolling mountains their inspiration. Most of today is spent following the white sand shores of Swerick Harbour and Wine Strand, the iconic Three Sisters hills and the turquoise waters as our backdrop. (B)
Hike details: 23 km/ 14.5 miles | 100 m ascent
Today is one of the most challenging days on the trail, climbing over the foothills of the holy pilgrimage site of Mount Brandon, passing drops of almost 450 meters down to the sea below. According to legend, St Brendan (Breanainn) the Navigator had a vision of a “promised land” while seated at the mountain’s summit. He and his monks consequently set sail for that land and disembarked in 535 AD (over 900 years before Columbus) on American soil! Passing pre-historic Ogham stones and panoramic ocean views, the trail climbs to a saddle between Masatiompan and Piaras Mór before dramatic and panoramic descent on mountain trails to the edge of Brandon Bay and the quaint Brandon Village. (B)
Hike details: 26 km/ 16 miles | 780 m ascent
After yesterday’s climb, today’s beach walk comes as a relief as you hike along the length of Ireland’s longest white sand beach. The beach stretches out along a spit of undulating sand dunes known as the Maharees (Na Machairí). The waves here are popular with surfers, windsurfers and kite surfers so there is nearly always entertainment no matter what the weather. The sand dunes create a unique ecosystem, home to the rare Natterjack toad, Whooper swan and the Bewick’s mute swan.
Hike details: 26.5 km/ 16 miles | 50 m ascent
You will enjoy a last blast of sea air as you walk along the northern shores of the peninsula this morning. The Aughcasla standing stone is worth looking out for as you start to head around Tralee Bay. If the tide is high, you will need to head inland a bit rather than walking along the soft sands of the beach. If you have time, we recommend a short detour to visit the restored early 19th century Blennerville Windmill on the outskirts of Tralee before following the road back into town where we’ve arranged your final night’s accommodation. (B)
Hike details: 29 km/ 18 miles | 300 m ascent
This morning, leave Tralee by train or bus at your own leisure. (B)
This self guided hiking trip features accommodations chosen for their excellent location, service and comfort along or near the Dingle Way. Most days you will walk directly to your accommodation (this may add additional distance to the hike lengths above).
On some you will be met at the trailhead and transferred to your accommodation. You will spend the night in classic-grade comfortable and characterful lodging in B&Bs, family-run hotels or guesthouses, in villages and towns as well as in rural communities. Accommodation is a choice of double or twin rooms, which are en-suite with a shower. Single rooms may be available at additional cost.
Each morning, enjoy a homemade breakfast of your choice at your accommodation. You will be able to order a packed lunch to each on the trail at your accommodation each evening or pick your lunch up first thing at a local cafe. On some days you will be able to time your start so you can stop at a cafu00e9 or restaurant for lunch along the trail.
Accommodation will be reserved on a Bed & Breakfast basis – lunches and evening meals are not included. Local shops sell sandwiches and snacks for the day ahead. Many guesthouses will also be able to provide a packed lunch for you if you ask them the night before. In the evenings, meals can be taken in local restaurants, hotels, bars or in your accommodation.
You will be met at Tralee train station on the afternoon of your first day, and transferred to your first night’s accommodation.
After your final night in Castlegregory, you will be collected the following morning and transferred back to Tralee.
Blue Graded Self Guided Holidays 4-6
Self guided Blue graded walking holidays are suitable for fit and experienced hikers. Walking at a good pace you can expect to be out for 6-8 hours a day. You will be following a trail but should understand how to follow a hiking map with at least basic navigation skills. Daily distances will vary – typically up to 20km but may be longer occasionally, or often on the more challenging trips in the grade. Daily hike details are available in the itinerary.
Trail conditions will vary from well laid and maintained sections of gravel track to rough and rocky sections including muddy and wet areas. Short sections may be on tarmac.