Today’s route continues west from Annascaul to Dingle and seems to be unhurried as it flits from the coast to the mountains and back again, weaving along meandering roads through farmland, across fields and down old Irish boreens.
A quiet country lane traverses the lower slopes of Cnoc na nAcrai mountain and then drops down onto the Bay of Stones, a poetic name befitting this captivating location. This small beach resembles an oversized children’s ball-pit filled with a jumble of rocks as smooth as marbles. Minard Castle stands atop a nearby hill, commanding a prominent view across the Dingle Bay and documenting six centuries of history.
From here, the route weaves inland on minor roads, old Irish boreens and across fields and farmland. It offers an intimate glimpse of life in rural Ireland. You’ll walk in the undulating foothills, caught between views to the Iveragh Peninsula on your left, and the smouldering mountains on your right. There are lots of fields and small trails to navigate but the route is well-signposted and, used in conjunction with these route notes, shouldn’t cause any issues.
With tired legs at the end of the day, the long, straight descent to Dingle may test your mental resolve, but be assured, a great welcome awaits with good eating and drinking guaranteed, for Dingle is one of the liveliest towns on the peninsula.
Tip van de auteur
Your night in Dingle is a chance to shake your weary legs away with a drink and a dance in one of the many pubs offering live music each night. Just don't try and keep up with David Geaney, who holds the world record for 'fastest feet' and often performs in The Dingle Pub.
A large portion of the Dingle Way is on minor, low-traffic roads. Where there is no pavement, you should walk on the right side facing the oncoming traffic, except where the road bends right when you should cross over to the other side. Stay alert to vehicles around you and be prepared to step into the verge if necessary.
The trail is often rocky and uneven and can be slippery when wet. Wear appropriate footwear and take care with your foot placements, particularly at the end of the day when you may be tired. Walking poles can be useful on some of the steep ascents and descents.
The weather can change quickly. Be sure to pack appropriate clothing in your day-bag.
Tips en hints
Points of Interest
Minard Castle was built in the 16th century by the Fitzgerald family. It managed to withstand the attack by Thomas Cromwell’s army in 1650, but barely; its occupants were killed and the building became uninhabitable when gunpowder was exploded under all four corners. It has stood as a ruin atop its prominent hilltop location ever since, commanding a stunning view across the nearby Beal na gCloc (Bay of Stones) and across to the Iveragh Peninsula.
The Tralee & Dingle Railway opened in 1891 and connected the 32 miles between the two towns until its closure in 1953. The seven-span Lispole viaduct, half-stone, half-iron is one of its most impressive engineering legacies. To see it, glance right after 11.4 kilometres as you’re nearing the N86 T-junction.
Food and Drink
There are limited food options along today’s walk so be sure to leave Annascaul with enough food and drink (at least two litres) for the day. Your accommodation may organise a packed lunch but otherwise, enquire at one of the cafes or pubs.
If you really run out of food, there may be a café after 9.4-kilometres. Ignore the left turn and instead follow the road down to the junction with the N86. Two kilometres further, there may be a petrol station in Lispole where you can buy some basic snacks.
Dingle, where you finish, is a delightful town to arrive in, and promises great food, drink and of course, live music! There’s a wide range of restaurants, cafes, takeaways, and supposedly one pub for every 40 residents!
Bring appropriate footwear, preferably walking boots with good grip and ankle support.
Bring a waterproof jacket and trousers, even where the weather forecast makes this appear unnecessary.
Walking poles may be useful on some of the steep ascents and descents.
Food for the duration of the hike two litres of water is recommended.
A powerbank and phone cable may be useful if you are navigating using your phone. Phone batteries are less effective in cold weather.