The Dingle Way is a circular route of 179km (112mi) circumnavigating the Dingle Peninsula west of Tralee in County Kerry. It follows minor roads, traditional access routes to turf cutting areas and forest paths. The only high ascent is 600m, crossing the shoulder of Brandon Mountain between Ballydavid and Cloghane. This route is well marked and achievable by all walkers.
The Dingle Way walking route skirts the mountains of the Slieve Mish range, which form the spine of this long peninsula, jutting into the Atlantic Ocean. The mountains are rounded, not as high as their nearest neighbours on the Iveragh Peninsula, and formed from a beautiful old red sandstone that is always visible. Glaciation in the last Ice Age left coums and valleys, the natural harbours of Dingle and Ventry and a gentleness that never fails to impress. The western end is breathtaking – the Blasket Islands rear from the Atlantic calling to the sheltered haven of Dunquin (Dun Chaoin) before the mountains rise to the impressive bulk of Brandon, St. Brendan’s Mountain.
The peninsula is littered with remains from the early Christian period, oratories, beehive huts, megalithic tombstones, monastic enclosures, high crosses, to name a few. It is a spiritual awakening. Beautiful white sandy beaches, a temperate Gulf Stream climate and the profusion of strong colours in the flora – montbretia, fuchsia, purple loosestrife to name a few – make the Dingle Peninsula a wonderful location.
The town of Dingle retains its essential character attributed to a working fishing harbour. The steep streets have been reinvented with colourful tourist shops, craft outlets and a host of restaurants and pubs. There are still many local niches to enjoy the town behind the scenes. It is also the centre of one of Ireland’s most popular Gaeltacht regions, where 43% of households are predominantly Gaelic speakers, which adds a wonderful flavour to the local supermarkets!
Overnight stops (apart from Dingle) are in villages, allowing an opportunity to experience life with the locals and a chance to try Guinness and Gaelic.
To squeeze the best into our itineraries, we don’t include the Tralee to Camp section. We can include the first section for anyone who wishes to walk the full route.
The 8 day tour consists of 6 full days walking, starting and finishing in Camp village. Contrary to occasional opinion, Camp (the starting point for our tours), is not a collection of canvas shelters! The English name translates from the Gaelic “An Com”, the hollow, and refers to its topographical position. The tour crosses the Slieve Mish mountains to Annascaul and Dingle. West of Dingle there are 2 days of spectacular scenery at the western end of the peninsula before returning eastwards via Mount Brandon and the northern shores of the peninsula to Camp.
The 8 day Short Stop is designed for those who wish to take their time, or walk with older or younger family members. Each walking day is shorter mileage allowing plenty of time for photos and coffee!
This tour is rated STRENUOUS for one day and RELAXED for all other days.
See how we determine levels of difficulty for each of our hiking tours by visiting our FAQ page.
Travel to Camp via Tralee on scheduled bus service or by taxi. Camp is situated overlooking Tralee Bay to the north with the majestic Gearhane and Caherconree peaks to the east. It has been an historic crossing point of the Slieve Mish Mountains since the first settlers were here in 1700BC . Camp is a small settlement, with plenty of local colour and a short circular walk to limber up for the kilometers ahead!
Overnight accommodation in Camp village.
Hike to the south on turf cutting roads, through the glorious bogland of Slieve Mish – this wilderness of the blanket bog is punctuated with conifer forest and stacks of drying turf. Skirt Ardroe Hill, overlooking magnificent sand dunes at Inch Beach, with views south to the Ring of Kerry and Ireland’s highest mountain range, before following the “Maum” (pass) down to Annascaul village.
Distance 18.5km (11mi). Ascents 460m. Approximate walking time 6 hours.
Optional hike over Brackaloon Hill, add 5km (3mi) and 2 hours.
Overnight accommodation in Annascaul.
Follow Acres Hill to the staunch remains of 12th century Minard Castle, mostly destroyed by Cromwell’s army in 1650. Turn inland again on minor roads to the railway village of Lispole. All the way you are within scent of the seas of Dingle Bay and encircled by the Kerry Mountains. From Lispole, the Way follows mostly sheep farming country before climbing An Cnoc Maol Mor and descending the old green droving road into Dingle town.
Distance 23km (14mi). Ascents 460m. Approximate walking time 6-7 hours.
Overnight accommodation in Dingle town.
It is mostly minor roads and beaches today, but beyond the village of Ventry is some of the most spectacular scenery you could hope to find. The Way weaves through fuchsia hedges and climbs an old track on the foothill of Mount Eagle past the early Christian beehive huts at Fahan. Behind are views of Ventry Harbour and south to the Ring of Kerry and Valentia Island. Ahead the Way opens up to Slea Head and the Blasket Islands. Beyond this is America!
We included an alternative route over Mount Eagle, which is a gorgeous walk but is demanding and requires navigation skills. It is not advisable in poor weather conditions.
Distance 25km (16mi). Ascents 650m. Approximate walking time 7 hours.
Optional extra hike over Mount Eagle: 5km (3mi) and 2 hours.
Today’s route follows the Norse named Smerwick Harbour and a detour takes you to Dun an Oir, the Fort of Gold where Italian and Spaniard soldiers were besieged by troops of Elizabeth 1 in 1580. Ballydavid is a thriving fishing harbour and a Gaelic speaking community.
Distance 16km (10mi). Ascents 180m. Approximate walking time 6 hours.
Optional route over Cruach Mharthain add 1 hour.
Overnight accommodation in Ballydavid.
You are in the cradle of early Christian civilization here, with as many as sixty notable sites of cultural and religious development from the 5th to 9th centuries. Walk to Cloghane, climbing up to the saddle of Mas an Tiompain (the Pass of the Drum) below Mount Brandon. Take in the superb scenery of Tralee Bay and the Magharees against the hues of the Slieve Mish Mountains.
Distance 22km (14mi). Ascents 30m. Approximate walking time 7 hours.
Overnight accommodation in Cloghane.
Today’s walk follows the coast all the way around the Castlegregory promontory or across the neck of it via Lough Gill, home to Bewick swans and Natterjack toads. From Castlegregory, mudflats, turf cuttings and quiet coastal paths give way to farmland and a climb back to Camp. We have 2 options for this route:
Distance 22km (14m) or 32km (20mi). Ascents 30m. Approximate walking time 6 or 8 hours.
Overnight accommodation in Camp village.
Depart from Camp to Tralee via bus for onward connections.
June 2021 Kitty & Agnes – Boxmeer, Netherlands
It was really wonderful. We enjoyed the walking tour very much. The B&B’s were first class and the hostesses are very kind.
Very well organized. We recommend Tailor Made Tours to several friends.
We were very lucky with the weather it only rained the first morning. We both are that enthusiastic that we are planning to come back to Ireland next year!
August 2021 – Guido & Alicia, Switzerland
We just went back from Ireland yesterday and let me tell: We really enjoyed our hiking tour around the dingle peninsula! Everything was perfect and well organized. Thank you so much.
July 2021 – Marie & Hans, Holland
Thank you for making our stay in Ireland so well. The last day we had to take the bad weather tour from Bally David. Everything we was wearing was wet. We got a lift to the pub with the owner and the dinner was super. We took a sticky tofee pudding , we were really worth it. The B&Bs were all very good. The food at Donquin was excellent.
June 2019 – Joan & Angelika, NY
Thanks for your note and even more so for arranging the trip. We had an absolutely amazing time. As you know the weather was perfect, as we we heard from everyone we met along the way very unusual and special for Ireland. This made for easy walking and brilliant scenery. It was not hard to imagine really needing “gaitors” along the way from Tralee to Camp! I think the only day that we had even the slightest bit of overcast was as we climbed Mt Brandon. This in fact, was much appreciated as the trails in the US generally have switchbacks, so the breeze and overcast skies made walking straight up just a little easier. (BTW we had full sun by the time we reached the top!) It did not keep us from dawdling a bit along the way, and we had time enough to take over 250 pics along the way to prove it! I can’t imagine deleting anything that we saw!
June 2019 – Anna & Dirk, Belgium
Just wanted to let you know that we had wonderful holidays in Ireland.
Walking “the Dingle Way” was an amazing experience- we truly enjoyed it.
This is really a gorgeous part of Ireland and the weather couldn’t be better.
May 2019 – Debbie & Peter, Auckland NZ
We did have a great trip!!!
We enjoyed hearing spoken Irish which is one of the things we felt made The Dingle peninsula particularly special. The weather was fantastic and we very much enjoyed all our hosts.
June 2019 – Ron & 5 friends, Utah USA
I highly recommend the Dingle Way. Just when you start wondering if a 15-mile day is a little much, you become immersed in the landscape, the history, people, beaches – it goes on and on. I think it’s important to realize how your mind can be engaged in what you’re seeing for the first time, and that more than makes up for any physical issues. This is not to mention getting a hot shower and a cold Guiness at the end of the day! We loved your food! Lots of smoked salmon for breakfast and seafood chowder and fish & chips for dinner.
Thank you again for arranging perfect weather, probably once in a lifetime – seemed to be the talk of the country.
May 2019 – Helen & Tony, Barcelona, Spain
I’ve been meaning to write since we got back to say how much we enjoyed our trip. We were amazingly lucky with the weather, just the one drizzly morning, and for the last three days we had glorious sunshine and even came home with a tan! All the B&Bs were great, though I would like to specially mention Ceann Sibéal at Clogher. Nothing was too much trouble, Aine came to pick us up in Dunquin as we were running late, ran us back there next morning so we could visit the Blasket centre, and left us keys to the house so we could pop in for a loo stop and a cup of tea when we walked past there again later. And, although the competition was stiff, her’s was definitely the prizewinning breakfast – including porridge with baileys!
Thanks once again for organising a very enjoyable week – and we would definitely be happy to recommend the holiday!
May 2019 – Lindy & 2 daughters, Buffalo NY, USA
Dear Deidre, The Dingle Way trip you planned with Emily was the Best Birthday gift ever…..We walked about 65 miles, enjoyed all the bed and breakfast hosts and their homes, And the weather was grand. Thanks for everything.