Key information: Dingle Way
- This beautiful long-distance track winds around the northernmost of Ireland’s great south-western peninsulas.
- Follow old lanes and tracks through varied scenery: beaches to clifftops to sheep-studded fields to mountains and moorland. Stay in traditional villages, enjoy the local ways and friendliness.
- Walkopedia rating89
- Natural interest19
- Human interest8
- Negative points2
- Total rating89
- Length: 168km/
- 8 days
- Maximum Altitude: 660m
- Level of Difficulty: Variable
Meander around the northernmost of Ireland’s great south-western peninsulas, on one of the country’s finest long-distance trails.
Follow old lanes and tracks through varied scenery: beaches to clifftops to sheep-studded fields to mountains and moorland. Stay in traditional villages, enjoy the local ways and friendliness.
See our Dingle Peninsula page for much more information on the area.
The full route takes some 8 to 10 days. The stages described below are quite long, and can often be shortened if you want a gentler time, which would increase the number of days taken.
The trail starts and ends in Tralee, although, if you need to shorten your walk, the obvious days to drop are the first/last from/to Tralee. Many walkers will start/end at Camp, to shorten the walk and avoid duplicated days.
Accommodation along the way is in a host of inns, hostels and BnBs. See some details on www.dingleway.com .
Much of the way is on old country lanes. Elsewhere, this might detract the delight, but not here; many of Dingle’s lanes are approaching art forms in their own right, so pretty and interesting and empty are they.
Day 1 runs from Tralee to Camp (17km, 4-6hrs). After a bit of a dull start on the edge of Tralee, it contours along the northern base of the Slieve Mish Mountains, with fine views over Tralee Bay but some boggy conditions.
Day 2 – Camp to Anascaul (23km, 5-7hrs).This is a splendid if long day, crossing the spine of the peninsula over lovely hillsides, enjoying superb views of the sea on both sides of the peninsula, as well as the slopes and valleys of the central hills. You reach Dingle Bay at the base of the remarkable Inch Strand sand bar – consider a diversion down this huge beach. The final stretch to pretty Anascaul crosses low hills on old tracks and lanes, really delightful walking.
Day 3 – Anascaul to Dingle (23km, 5-7hrs). After a stretch on the main road, follow a lovely lane for 4km or so to dramatic, ruined Minard Castle tower house near the sea. Thence you wind on old lanes through charming farmland, inland to cross the main road, then climb onto the hillsides on old lanes and tracks, swinging up toward Connor Pass then turning back towards Dingle town. All with fine views and a deep induction into rural Western Ireland.
Day 4 – Dingle to Dunquin (20km, 5-7hrs). The first few km are on a busy road, then the track climbs to a pretty saddle, then drops into Ventry. After a beach and some pretty countryside, there is an unpleasant stretch along the busy and narrow Slea Head road, although the views compensate to a degree. Once that is left, the trail winds spectacularly (if often a bit near the road) along the lower flanks of Mount Eagle, the bastion of Slea Head, with huge views toward Iveragh and the Blatsket Islands, enjoying some fine archeological sites en route. Then it is 3km on the busy road, not a joyous experience.
Day 5 – Dunquin to Feohanach (20km, 5-7hrs). Some more low hill-walking, with huge views over the Tree Sisters formation and Smerwick Harbour bay, with magnificent Mount Brandon as the backdrop. Then it is a main-road stretch. The Way then winds through fields behind the Tree Sisters and around Smerwick Harbour to An Mhuirioch at the northern end of Wine Beach. A cliff-walk gets you to Feohanach. NB – no shops en route, so get provisions in Ventry.
Day 6 – Feohanach to Cloghane (24km, 6-7hrs). This is the finest section of the Way, but also quite tough walking in bad weather. After a gentle time on pretty fields, the Way swings across the northern slopes of Mount Brandon; initially with huge views back to the Three Sisters and out to sea, then coming inland to cross a col at 660m between Masatiompan (763m) and the high Brandon ridge which is marked by an ancient Ogham stone. Thence a delightful descent and traverse to pretty Brandon town on the Bay of…er…Brandon. A gentle 6km gets you to charming Cloghane.
Day 7 – Cloghane to Castlegregory (29km, 7-9hrs). After skirting the inner bay for some 6km, mainly on a minor-ish road, the Way hits magnificent Fermsoyle Strand (claimed to be one of the finest stretches of sand in the Northern Hemisphere – no hyperbole here!), which curves north-east to the low, rocky points, littered with ancient remains, at the end of the sandy and rather peculiar Maghavees Peninsula. It is then a long trudge down the beaches on the eastern side of the peninsula – you would have to be a saint not to get a bit bored – to charming Castlegregory. Need to cut some time? Here is a day with fat on it.
Day 8 – Castlegregory to Tralee (27km, 6.5-8.5hrs). A long slog, mostly on paths you have done already (see Day 1). You won’t miss much if you ditch this day.
There is a section of the Dingle Way near you wherever you are on the Dingle Peninsula, so you always have a fine day walking option at hand., so you can simply head for your nearest stretch. But, if you want to walk a few best days, perhaps the finest sections are:
- Day 2
- Day 4 if you don’t mind stretches on busy roads
- Day 6, the finest of all.
- Day 3 and 5 are also superb walking.
There is little ability to create your own circuits, so day walks on the Way tend to need to be there-and-backs, unless you can fix a pickup or drop-off.
Best book: The Dingle Way (Rucksack Readers) – Sandra Bardwell. Find relevant books on Amazon.
See Hillwalk Tours’ website for more information on this walk. Their suggested approach to walking and of the Way looks excellent
See www.dingleway.com for more information, including accommodation ideas.
The South-west gets a lot of rain and wind, plus cloud/fog and occasional winter snow on high ground. There is little shelter on the mountains, either from sun or rain. Be prepared, both mentally and with the right kit.
See our Dingle Peninsula page for more general and practical information and photos.
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