The Ring of Kerry & Dingle Peninsula 8 Day Hike/With Guide/Group of 10 or more
The Ring of Kerry & Dingle Peninsula 8 Day Hike/With Guide/Group of 10 or more
This Vacation combines the best of the Ring of Kerry and the Dingle Peninsula – the two most popular regions we offer and now in one amazing holiday.
So many of you know or have heard of “Kerry Gold” & this holiday will introduce you to this land that is truly golden – spreading out in front of you in all directions with it’s amazing beauty, panorama’s, culture & friendly people – it is truly a place apart.
County Kerry consists of a series of spectacular mountainous peninsula’s which are divided by deep-sea inlets. Weaving around the coast of these peninsulas are a network of ancient trading routes that are nearly as old as the land itself, many of which form part of the walks that you will be doing during your holiday.
The name ‘Kerry’ comes from the Old Irish word Ciarraige meaning the people of Ciar, an early Celtic tribe that settled in the area around 300 BC. In fact, Kerry has an outstanding collection of historical and archaeological sites that date back over 7,000 years, with several ancient forts and numerous early Christian churches.
Impossibly green pastures stretch as far as the eye can see, completely empty except for small herds of sheep or goats, and at almost every turn there are spectacular views of mist-covered mountains and wild stretches of uninhabitable coastline where deep fissures have been carved, over the eons, by the pounding waves of the Atlantic Ocean.
The northernmost Peninsula is that of Dingle – steeped in history, mythology and traditional Irish Culture. There is no other landscape in Western Europe with the same density and variety of archaeological monuments.
This mountainous finger of land, jutting into the Atlantic Ocean, has supported various tribes and populations for at least 6,000 years. Because of its remote location and lack of specialised agriculture, there is a remarkable preservation of over 2,000 monuments.
It is impossible to visit the Dingle Peninsula and not be impressed by its archaeological heritage, which ranges from Prehistoric times through the Early Christian period to the Middle Ages. It is an official “Gaeltacht” region meaning that it is one of our bastions of Irish language and culture. It also boasts Ireland’s most westerly point of land – “the next Parish is America”…!
South from there is the famous Ring of Kerry Peninsula one of Ireland’s most beautiful coastal regions, situated in the south west and surrounded by the magnificent and at times wild Atlantic coastline. It is ringed by some glorious sandy beaches and craggy cliffs, while inland, the rolling hills and mountains are just waiting to be discovered.
Here and there along the coast, pretty fishing villages, such as Caherdaniel and Portmagee, have successfully withstood the elements and offer a picturesque contrast to the verdant hills that surround them.
The Skellig Islands lie 8 miles off the tip of the peninsula, two rocky peaks rising sheer out of the Atlantic Ocean. Skellig Michael is a UNESCO world heritage site with its 6th century monastic settlement still in excellent repair giving you the opportunity to see wonderful examples of beehive huts, oratories and inscribed crosses. Little Skellig is home to over 40,000 gannets, the second largest colony in the world.
This holiday gives you the best these two delightful peninsula’s can offer in one week of terrific hiking, fantastic scenery & plenty of fun & enjoyment along the way !
You arrive to Killarney for your first 2 overnights & settle into your accommodation just outside the town. Your Guide will meet you at 17.00 hours, introduce you to your group & brief you on the coming days of your holiday. You will then walk to a nearby restaurant for your first dinner together & return later to your accommodation for your overnight.
After a scrumptious breakfast and armed with your picnic lunch, you will depart from your accommodation to reach Ross Castle – an ancient Gaelic Chieftains home dating back to the 15th century. From there, a glorious boat journey through the Three Lakes of Killarney brings you to an old “Hunting Lodge” known as Lord Brandon’s Cottage. From there, you have a choice of 2 walks:
Following along the lake shore, you take a forestry trail along an ancient Mass Path to reach an old Church known as Derrycunnihy Church at Galway’s Bridge. From Galway’s Bridge, you then continue by minivan to reach Muckross House, where you will have time to explore the wonderful gardens & avail of an optional tour of the house.
Walk Details – Distance: Up to 8kms. Highest point: 150mts. Forestry tracks with rocky & uneven sections, can be wet & boggy underfoot. Stepping stones over streams & paved footpaths.
Starting your walk as above, you reach the picturesque Galway’s Bridge. From here, you continue through Killarney National Park following an old Butter Road through “Esknamucky Glen” to reach Muckross House & Gardens.
After your walk, you will take a short transfer by minivan to return to Killarney for your dinner & overnight.
Walk Details – Distance: Up to 16kms. Highest point: 300mts. Forestry tracks with rocky & uneven sections, stepping stones, board walks & boggy underfoot conditions. Paved footpaths towards Muckross House.
Leaving the town of Killarney this morning, you travel west by minivan to reach one of the most glorious views of this region – overlooking the western tip of the Ring of Kerry Peninsula. Passing through the lovely colourful village of Sneem, your choice of walks are as follows:
Arriving to the beautiful Derrynane House, your walk takes you around the coast to enjoy a pristine beach walk before reaching Abbey Island. Along the way, you will hear stories about our renowned “Liberator” Daniel O’Connell. Enjoying a lovely coastal walk with views across the western tip of the peninsula, you return to Derrynane House where light refreshments can be enjoyed for those who wish.
Walk Details – Distance: Up to 10kms. Highest point: 180mts. Beach, sand-dunes, paved roads, narrow forestry tracks with rocky & uneven sections, can be wet & boggy underfoot. Steps up & down & open hillside with NO tracks. Opportunity to swim today……..!
Following the Kerry Way walking route to begin, you continue on a wonderful track into the hills above Kenmare Bay. With stunning views all around the western tip of the peninsula, south over the Beara Peninsula and north across Lough Currane, and Waterville, you will have time to enjoy this idyllic wilderness of stunning beauty. Returning to your minivan, you then continue on to Derrynane House where you can enjoy some light refreshments.
Walk Details – Distance: Up to 20kms. Highest point: 550mts. Mountain tracks with rocky & uneven sections, off trail walking in open hillside with high growth & bogland – uneven & wet at times underfoot. Some paved roads.
Today, those who wish to learn more about seaweed & the incredible health benefits it brings, can enjoy a talk by a local expert. At the end of your hike, you will continue around the western tip of the Peninsula, to reach your accommodation in Caherciveen for your dinner & overnight.
Your base in Caherciveen offers you several choices for today – the most impressive for those who wish to avail of the opportunity – being a trip to the amazing UNESCO World Heritage Site on the Skellig Islands. This is an impressive 6th Century Monastic Settlement in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean which still looks almost the same as when the monks left it approx 1,200 years ago. This trip is very weather dependent and must be booked in advance. For those of you who prefer to stay on dry land the following walks are your option for today:-
Valentia Island is a fascinating place, rich in history & once home to the Knight of Kerry. It was also the place where the first Transatlantic Cable was laid, linking communications between America & Western Europe. Enjoy learning more about this historical place, while enjoying a short and very spectacular coastal walk at its western tip.
Walk Details – Distance: Up to 9kms. Highest point: 240mts. Paved roads, gravel trail, open hillside with rocky sections, narrow & overgrown trail which can be wet underfoot. Steps up & down.
North of Caherciveen lies the beautiful Dingle Bay & some of the coastal walking overlooking this Bay and the Dingle Peninsula is most impressive. Taking to the hills around Caherciveen, you will be enthralled by the beauty, history & amazing solitude that can be reached so easily on foot leaving the more popular places behind. Weather permitting, your walk will take you to the top of one of our well known Pilgrim Mountains – Knocknadobar. If cloud cover is low on the day, a spectacular coastal walk on the lower surrounding hills is a stunning alternative option.
Walk Details – Distance: Up to 12kms. Highest point: 690mts. Mountain tracks with rocky & uneven sections, off trail walking in open hillside with high growth & bogland – uneven & wet at times underfoot. Some paved roads.
Return to your accommodation in Caherciveen for your overnight & a free evening at your leisure.
Leaving the Ring of Kerry today, you travel by minivan to the Dingle Peninsula – north of the “Ring”. Following inland to the centre of the peninsula, you reach one of our historical inland promontory forts and have a choice of the following walks:
Following across country, a gradual ascent takes you to the lower hills of the Slieve Mish Mountains to enjoy glorious views south over the Ring of Kerry & north across the Dingle Peninsula to North Kerry & the Shannon Estuary. With a wealth of fascinating history, this region is a delight to walk.
Walk Details – Distance: Up to 12kms. Highest point: 540mts. Paved roads, open hillside with rocky sections which are overgrown & can be wet underfoot. Some steep climbs up & down.
Ascending across open mountain, you reach the impressive Caherconree and an ancient Promontory Fort dating back to the Iron Ages. From here, there are magnificent views across the whole of the Dingle Peninsula and it is easy to see why our early settlers came here. Descending via the same route, you then rejoin your minivan to continue to Dingle Town.
Walk Details – Distance: Up to 12kms. Highest point: 590mts. Paved roads, open hillside with rocky sections which are overgrown & can be wet underfoot. Some steep climbs up & down.
Driving further west, with a short stop at the beautiful Inch Beach, you reach the town of Dingle. This is your overnight location for your next 3 nights & you can enjoy this bustling town at your own leisure this evening.
Today – a treat is in store as you walk around the western tip of the Dingle Peninsula on possible the most impressive walk of your holiday. Your choice of walks is as follows:
Just outside Dingle town, you reach the beautiful Ventry Beach. From here, you follow along the coast to reach the tip of Slea Head. This is a very ancient route, once used by Pilgrims who came here in their hundreds, and the early beehive huts show the dominance of such people. Reaching the very tip of the peninsula, you then continue to the Blasket Interpretative Centre by minivan & have time for some light refreshment.
Walk Details – Distance: Up to 11kms. Highest point: 250mts. Paved roads, beach walking, overgrown & rocky trails which can be wet underfoot. Some steep climbs up & down.
From the southern slopes of Slea Head, you start to climb the beautiful Mount Eagle with panoramic views across the Blasket Islands, the Wild Atlantic and 360 degree views over north and south Kerry. This is a stunning walk that is a personal favourite for me and many of our Guides.
Walk Details – Distance: Up to 12kms. Highest point: 520mts. Rocky trails, open hillside with rocky sections which are overgrown & can be wet underfoot. Some steep climbs up & down.
At the end of your walk, if time allows, the opportunity to enjoy visits to some of the ancient monastic sites that abound on this peninsula – with Gallarus and Reask as two of the most impressive. Returning to Dingle for your overnight you have the opportunity to enjoy the many wonderful restaurants – or perhaps a traditional fish & chips “on the hoof”.
Driving to the northern side of the Dingle Peninsula, todays routes take you to those parts that only walkers discover and you are well rewarded with beautiful and peaceful views all around you. Your choice of walks is as follows:
At the northwestern tip of the peninsula, a wonderful walk takes you across open hillside & bogland to enjoy a walk that typifies this region – where it seems that the hills just fall into the sea. With breath-taking coastal scenery & wonderful inland walking, you will be spoilt by the variety of this walk as you follow an old bog track to return to your minivan.
Walk Details – Distance: Up to 12kms. Highest point: 400mts. Grassy trails, which have rocky & uneven sections, open hillside – sometimes boggy & wet underfoot. Uneven ground, gravel trails & some paved roads. Some gradual climbs up & down.
Those that still have energy, will enjoy a magnificent walk up one of Ireland’s famous Pilgrim Mountains – Mount Brandon. This is where St. Brendan received his inspiration, followed his dream & reached America back in the 6th Century. From the top of this impressive mountain it is clear to see how so many have been inspired to achieve great things.
Walk Details – Distance: Up to 10kms. Highest point: 960mts. Paved roads, open hillside with rocky sections which are overgrown & can be wet underfoot. Narrow rocky trails & sections with no trails. Some steep climbs up & down.
At the end of your walk, you return to the delightful village of Cloghane to enjoy some light refreshment before continuing back to Dingle. Your final farewell dinner together is a great way to compare stories, reminisce and enjoy some great music before your onward journeys tomorrow.
After your final and substantial Irish Breakfast, you will be taken by minivan to reach the bus & train station in Tralee. For those that need earlier transfers – a public bus service is also available back to Tralee. From here, you can then avail of the excellent bus/train service to all major airports, cities & ferry ports in Ireland. Your estimated arrival time to Tralee is approx. 10am.
Please note : – It is extremely important that you read & understand theWALK DETAILS for each day & that you are able to achieve this. If you would like to discuss your Walking Ability with one of our experts – please arrange a telephone conversation & we will be delighted to assist you with your holiday choice.
Should you require extra night’s accommodation before or after your holiday, please advise us at the time of booking.
Comfortable:Terrain varied & occasionally wet underfoot. Best suited to people capable of walking up to 12kms (7.5 miles) daily. You encounter uphill & downhill sections with a max. height of 600 metres (1,950 feet) approx. Ideal first walking holiday or less experienced walkers.
Moderate:Takes you across open-mountain & bogland (wet conditions). Terrain is varied each day with uphill & downhill hiking, some of which may be steep. Max. height is 950 metres (3,100 feet) approx. Suitable for people with good level of fitness & capable of walking up to 20kms (12.5 miles) a day.
7 nights bed in room with private shower/ bathroom. Full Irish breakfast each morning.
Picnic lunch (on hike days 2, 3, 5, 6 & 7 only)
4 wonderful evening dinners Days 1, 2, 3 & 7
6 days hiking with expert Irish guide who accompanies the group for the duration of the holiday.
Boat trip across Lakes of Killarney
Courtesy transfers to/from each day’s walking locations and luggage transfers when required.
Not Included: Personal drinks, entrance fees to theatres, parks or museums etc., medical expenses or gratuities.
Please note that Ireland can be a bit ‘damp’ both underfoot and overhead, with some liquid sunshine! Irish weather is unpredictable and the nature of hikes can change quickly and dramatically because of the weather. This is one of the many pleasant aspects of hiking in Ireland. Benny’s Ireland Vacations, Inc. reserves the right to alter this itinerary due to weather conditions or the walking ability of each group.