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Dingle Way Short Break, ireland walking holidays, walking holidays ireland

Dingle Way Walking Break

Overview

The Dingle Way is situated in the south-west of Ireland, completing a circuit of the Dingle Peninsula. The entire trail is 179 km long. On our Dingle Way Short Break itinerary, you will take in the very best sections of the Way from Dingle in five days. If you have more time, we recommend our Dingle Way complete itinerary or the Dingle Way Highlights.

The diversity of landscapes is the reason why the Dingle Way is one of Ireland’s most popular trails. It never takes long before a turn in the path reveals a dramatic change of scenery: from walking in the foothills of Slieve Mish to crossing the shoulder of Mount Brandon; from the crashing waves of the Atlantic at Slea Head to the tranquil setting of pastoral farmland and on to lonesome strands of golden beaches on the Maharess. Some of the richest archaeological sites in Ireland can also be encountered on the Dingle Way. And with friendly hosts at comfortable accommodations and the ease of luggage transfers included each day, the Dingle Way will offer you an unforgettable experience.

  • Explore a corner of Ireland once called the ‘most beautiful place on Earth’ by National Geographic
  • Enjoy the spectacular landscape, with views of dramatic mountains, rugged cliffs and sandy bays
  • Experience Irish hospitality at its best 
  • Meet the locals, listen to live traditional Irish music and fancy a pint of Guinness in Dingle

Click to view map

Itinerary

Day 1: Arrival Dingle

Travel to Dingle via Tralee on scheduled bus service or by taxi (not included). There is also a seasonal service (June, July) from  Killarney.

Limber up with a local circuit walk on Ballysitteragh Hill. This is a strenuous but very rewarding walk, with fabulous views of Dingle town and harbour; you can see most of the peninsula on a good day. It is not compulsory to complete the full round trip, you can walk as far as you feel comfortable with and return the same way. You can alternatively do a Dingle harbour walk, a low-level easy walk by the shoreline on the harbour’s eastern side.

  • Walking for the day: 19 km, 6-7 hours, ↑630 m (Optional shorter harbour walk: 6 km, 2 hours)
  • Accommodation: Lantern Townhouse or similar

Day 2: Dingle to Dunquin | 25 km

Minor roads take you from Dingle to Ventry; beyond is some of the most spectacular scenery you could hope ever to find. Cross the magnificent Ventry harbour, weave through fuchsia hedges and climb an old track on Mount Eagle’s foothill past the early Christian beehive huts at Fahan. Behind are views south to the Ring of Kerry and Valentia Island. Ahead the route opens up to Slea Head and the mystical Blasket Islands. This is the most westerly point of Europe! Overnight Dunquin.

  • Walking for the day: 25 km, 7 hours, ↑650 m (Optional shorter but steeper and exposed route over Mount Eagle, 7 km, ↑365 m and 3 hours – only advisable in good weather conditions!)
  • Accommodation: An Portán or similar

Day 3: Dunquin to Ballydavid | 15 km

We recommend a visit to the Blasket Island Interpretative Centre before departing Dunquin. You will pass by Ferriter’s Cove and the iconic Three Sisters, before the trail swings east to take you along the sandy beaches of Smerwick Harbour and a detour takes you to Dun an Oir, the Fort of Gold, where troops of Elizabeth 1 besieged Italian and Spaniard soldiers in 1580. Ballydavid is a thriving fishing harbour and a Gaelic speaking community. Overnight in Boherboy near Ballydavid village or Feonanagh (+3 km / +5 km from Ballydavid).

  • Walking for the day: 16 km, 5 hours, ↑180 m (Optional route over Cruach Mharthain + 1 hour)
  • Accommodation: Hurley’s Farmhouse (Ballydavid) or similar

Day 4: Free Day in Ballydavid | 14 km

You are in the cradle of early Christian civilization today, with as many as sixty notable cultural and religious development sites from the 5th to 9th centuries. An optional hike takes you up; up to the saddle of Mas an Tiompain (the Pass of the Drum) below Mount Brandon, Ireland’s second highest mountain at 950m. The scenery is superb – Tralee Bay, the Magharees against the hues of the Slieve Mish mountains. There are several local hikes including Ballydavid Head taking in the spectacular 9th century stone fort of  Cathair Fionnurach.

  • Walking for the day: 14 km, 5 hours, ↑750 m
  • Accommodation: Hurley’s Farmhouse (Ballydavid) or similar

Day 5: Departure

Transfer from your guesthouse in Ballydavid back to Dingle town (10 minutes, included). Year round bus services are available from Dingle to Tralee or a seasonal service (June, July) to Killarney.

What to Expect

Accommodation

Accommodations on this tour include a mix of welcoming B&Bs and guesthouses. They have been carefully selected for their location, atmosphere, cuisine and/or unique services. All rooms are en-suite. Note that it is sometimes necessary to accommodate you a short walk away from the trail itself, as there is not always suitable accommodation close to the trail. Details will again be given in your pre-departure info pack.

Click to view default hotels

*Hotels are subject to availability. In case a particular hotel is fully booked for your desired dates, we will replace it with a hotel of equal or higher value and quality level. We will provide exact accommodation details to you upon booking confirmation.

Meals

Breakfast is included on all days. When no restaurant location is available on the route, lunches and snacks should either be bought from local shops, or packed lunch can be pre-ordered from your hotel the night before. You can have dinner at the guesthouse your are staying at or at the village inns and restaurants.

Difficulty & terrain

This itinerary is suitable for regular walkers. Most days offer between 6-8 hours of walking on forest trails, boardwalks and minor roads. The highest point is at 650 m above sea level, and typically the route never rises above 350 m; however, most sections are undulating. About half of the route is on tarmac roads because rights of way are almost non-existent in Ireland, and this is common for most Irish trails. The road walking is mostly along quiet and scenic lanes, and there are only a few busier stretches where you will need to be cautious with traffic (read more about difficulty grades). The routes are waymarked, and the itinerary is easy to follow. We strongly advise you to follow only marked trails and never try to shorten the path through the unknown and unmarked terrain. We will provide you with detailed road notes and maps, and you can call our 24/7 local assistance phone number anytime. More detailed info on route navigation will be included in your holiday information pack.

When to go

This trip is available from early April till the end of October. The flexibility of self guided holidays means that there are no fixed dates, and you can start your trip on any date during the season.

Getting there

FCO up-to-date travel advice

Click to view travel options

By plane

Our recommended airports for this tour are Dublin (DUB), Kerry (KIR), Cork (ORK) or Shannon (SNN).

By train or bus
  • Dublin Airport is easily accessible from the UK with several low-cost airlines covering the route as well as scheduled international carriers. Irish Ferries also operate from Holyhead to Dublin. From Dublin Airport there is a good bus service to Dingle.
  • Kerry Airport: There is a bus (30 mins – 1h 30 mins) from Kerry Airport to Dingle via Tralee.
  • Cork Airport: Flights are available to Cork Airport from Bristol, London Heathrow, London Gatwick, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Manchester and Birmingham. It is a short bus ride (20 mins) to Cork Kent train station, then a 2h train ride to Tralee and bus to Dingle.
  • Shannon Airport: Flights are available to Shannon Airport from Dublin, Bristol, Manchester, London Heathrow and Birmingham, and Boston and New York JFK. From Shannon Airport, take a bus (approx. 2 – 3 hours, via Cork) to Dingle via Tralee.
  • See Bus Éireann and Irish Rail for details or use the Omio planner above.

Inclusions

Included

  • 4 nights in private en-suite rooms (B&Bs and guesthouses)
  • 4 breakfasts
  • Luggage transfers from hotel to hotel on all walking days (up to 18 kg per person)
  • Detailed journey documentation and practical information (road notes, 1:50000 maps)
  • 24/7 phone assistance by our local office/representative

Excluded

  • Airfare and connecting land transfers
  • Lunches, dinners, drinks and snacks
  • Travel insurance (required – get a quote online)
  • Personal expenses
  • Local tourist taxes and entry fees (payable on-site)
  • Any items not explicitly listed as included

Options, extras & supplements

  • A supplement applies to members of a group who require a single room
  • This holiday is available for solo travellers; a supplement will be charged as accommodation and luggage transfer costs are not shared (we never mix and match – solo travellers will be accommodated in single rooms)
  • Extra nights along the trail are bookable upon request

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