Walking The Dingle Way Ireland
– Kerry Camino
"An Incredible self-guided walk in the south west of Ireland"
The Dingle way Ireland is a self-guided long trail walk on the Dingle Peninsula in County Kerry in the South West of Ireland. The trail is 183Km (114 miles) in length and is normally walked in a clockwise direction starting from the town of Tralee. The Dingle Way Ireland trail passes through many small beautiful towns and villages along the way as well as some of Ireland’s most stunning beaches and countryside.
The Kerry Camino takes in the first 3 days walking on the Dingle Way from Tralee to Dingle town. You can get yourself a Kerry Camino passport and collect stamps as you make your way along.
Myself and my wife Angela traveled from Dublin to the town of Tralee in mid Sept 2021. I would be doing the walking The Dingle Way Ireland, while she did some work and would bring along the luggage and meet at the next location. When we arrived into Tralee and booked into our accommodation with Mary at the Derreen Tighue B&B, which is very nice and quite central. We had some time to look about the town before going for a bite to eat at the Ole Brogue Inn,
Then it was back to the B&B to organise ourselves for the morning. After breakfast and a nice chat with Mary who let Angela stay to do her work, I left to go to the National Kerry Museum (Thomas Ashe Hall) where The Dingle Way Ireland trail starts from. I had a look about the museum before I started the walk and it is well worth a visit with some great displays and rooms about Kerry and its part in Irish history. The Roger Casement section is fantastic as is the Tom Crean section about his Antarctic explorations with Scott and Shackelton.
Stamping station on the Kerry Camino
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Walking Tralee to Camp: Approx. 19Km, ascent 370m – Right so, back to the Dingle Way Ireland and the Kerry Camino. The starting point is right next to the museum with a billboard of the route. I walked through the park with a section in it to Neil Armstrong. Then on-wards towards Blennerville and it’s wonderful windmill which is approx. 2Km outside Tralee. I had a quick stop here to check out the windmill and the model railway with some interesting facts about the old railway that once ran between here and Dingle.
The Dingle Way Ireland trail is mainly on small minor roads between here and the foot of the hills. It is very well marked and leaves the main road just shortly after the windmill onto a minor road. This is a much quieter road with very little traffic. It then almost reaches the main road again briefly before taking a sharp left and brings you up hill gently towards a car park at the foot of Tonavane. The Dingle Way Ireland trail from here travels in a westerly direction along the foot of the Mish Mountains for approx. 9km. There are great little stamp stations along the way to stamp your Kerry Camino passport. The views across Tralee Bay are stunning.
A great place to stop and have a snack is at the Kerry Camino Iron Celtic cross which also has a bench to sit on and take in the views. The trail continues on crossing some bridges and can be wet in parts with some inclines and declines along the way. Eventually it starts to decline towards the road but turns left before it and onto another grassy trail and small lane-way towards the ruins of Kilelton village and old church. From here you continue straight until you come to a junction with options to go to Camp Upper or Lower. I was staying at Teach Tae BB so mine was the lower road, towards the N86 and taking a left. Angela was already at the accommodation but feeling very hungry, so I had time for a quick wash and back out the door to the Junction Bar for some lovely food and a well-earned pint of Guinness or maybe two. It was raining heavy so the barman gave a lift back to our accommodation.
The Kerry Camino Iron Cross
Camp to Annascaul: Approx. 18Km, Ascent 376m- The following morning, we were up early for breakfast and a chat with our host Kathleen. Angela stayed here to work while I headed of on my 2nd stage of the Dingle Way Ireland towards Annascaul. So, it was back up the hill I came down yesterday to re-join the trail. The trail continued on a small road and out towards the River Finglas, which I was just about able to cross with the help of a rope someone had placed here.
There is a warning here that says if the river is too high then you can go back around by Camp village. The trail today is mainly on small minor roads, old turf roads and lane-ways. This part of the Dingle Way Ireland brings you from the northern part of the Peninsula to the southern part. The lane-way just past the Finglas river was full of Blackberries due to the time of year and I helped myself to a few.
There were some small showers of rain but not enough to put on leggings and then it cleared later in the day. Once I left this lane-way it was onto a minor road that continued upwards for quite a bit, so I took a few breaks to enjoy the scenery. Then just after the brow of the hill the Dingle Way Ireland trail turned of the road left and into an open area at the foot of Knockmore hill. This is a very nice quite section of the trail when all you can hear is the distant traffic from the road to your right. There were quite a few sheep on this section also who all seemed to enjoy sitting on the centre of the track.
From here there is a nice forested area you pass through with a tap at one of markers to refill your water bottle. You eventually come out onto to the road for a short while and back onto another small lane-way which travels around the side of a hill towards Inch beach. This was great news for me as I had arranged to meet Angela here for a bite to eat and a swim. The views coming towards inch and across the Atlantic where incredible.
Angela was just a few minutes away when I arrived and we went to Sammy’s on the beach front for a bite to eat. Delicious Peri Peri chicken and scampi Goujans with chips. Then it was time for a dip, which was quite cold but lovely for my feet after a lot of walking. The sea was a bit choppy so I didn’t stay in too long.
Angela then drove on towards our accommodation The Old Anchor Inn in Annascaul, while I made my way back onto the trail and onto Annascaul. I had walked most of the way before my swim and it only took 1.5hrs to get into Annascaul. From Inch to Annascaul the Dingle Way Ireland trail was mostly old quite roads and some boreens. When you reach Maum you can see Annascaul straight in front of you down a very straight long road. Angela had called into the wrong accommodation and scared the life out of the poor woman who thought she had over booked. It was all cleared up though when Brian from our accommodation explained things.
When I arrived, I had another quick wash and then it was down to the South Pole Inn for some fish n chips and Angela had the fresh hake. The South Pole inn is the pub of Tom Crean and really worth popping into to see some of the artifacts from his incredible voyages.
Annascaul to Dingle:Approx. 23Km, Ascent 465m – The following morning after some breakfast, I arranged my luggage and travel pack for the day. Brian had talked about great beaches for swimming on the Peninsula and so I packed my togs again for a swim at Minard Castle. The Dingle Way Ireland trail starts on the busy road towards Dingle but turns left very shortly after the bridge at Annascaul onto a quitter road. This road then starts to rise gently and after approx. 4Km of walking along wonderful hedgerow you reach Minard Castle.
Hedgerows – Annascual Devil's Bite – Wild Flower in Ireland
September and the starlings start to gather on the cables for their annual chatter and organise their long journey ahead. What they say or how they say it is a wonder, how they organise this epic voyage is another.
Fuschia is wild in red and wine with the rowan tree berries alive and bright. The songbirds are chirpy because the berries are plenty. The hum of the bees as they gather the fruits from the flowers.
Old twisted hawthorn, battered by the winds from the Atlantic with old man beards along their branches as they twist to shelter themselves.
Purples and yellows of the gorse and heathers, orange and purple of the Montbretia and Devil’s bite among the greens of the ferns. The odd holly tree and the bark of a farmyard dog in the distance protecting its quarters from some unknown stranger.
The blackberries are rip and delicious sit among the ruins of a family home from a time long ago, hidden by the undergrowth. The stone wall travels uphill with sheep on the hillside – Hedgerows are wonderful.
Finally, I reach the shore where a castle once stood and its ruins now remain, rocky stones and a sandy beach, the tide is out. With not much to do today but walk hedgerows and scribble, into the ocean now I went for a dip.
So, it was onto the sea for a dip and the water was not too cold – (Irish cold). Sat for a while had a cup of tea and started on with the walking. From the beach I was making my way towards Lios Pol to meet Angela for lunch again. The trail is a mix of small roads and old farm lane-ways, some of them were quite mucky. I had reached Lios Pol and left the trail for a bit to go to Kate’s Cross Shop, a great place to grab a coffee or snack along the way. It started to rain just before Angela arrived so we sat in the car and had some lunch. Then Angela headed for Dingle and the rain didn’t stop for the rest of the day. I had all my rain gear on but it was warm although raining so I was getting wet either way.
The Dingle Way Ireland trail continues along the back roads of Lios Pol before crossing the road and then up another minor road, this road then turns left for a bit. The trail then goes into a field and out onto some old boreens that are used for getting cattle to and from fields safely but they do a lot dunging.