DINGLE WAY – an Irish walk with character

Any dry stone wall looks good to me.

The ‘Dingle Way‘. It sounds like a gentle amble. It’s not a macho name like ‘Inca Trail’ or ‘Kokoda Track’.

And indeed, although along its 179km length there’s some slogging through mud, some scrambling over rocks and some modest climbs, it’s a walk that any active person can manage comfortably. But there’s more to it than just the walking. This is Ireland, and it’s a place with character.

The landscape is gently beautiful, the appeal lying in the colours of the foliage and flowers at our feet rather than in any rugged peaks above us.

This is not wilderness; it’s country which has been developed over centuries, the traces of its past testifying to people’s struggle and survival in a harsh climate.

There's nothing like a stone wall and a man with a beard to add character to a coastline.

They had roofs on them 2000 years ago, but these beehive houses for travellers must have been less comfortable than our B&Bs.

The heather- and gorse-covered slopes are broken by fragments of ancient stone walls and dotted with the ruins of former churches and forts.

The circular ones are Celtic, according to our guide John Ahearn from South West Walks, and they may be 2000-3000 years old. Evidence of habitation on the Dingle Peninsula dates back 5000 years.

Irish weather can be challenging, but at least it's rain with character.

We appreciate the sun when it makes a brief appearance.

We’re not walking the whole circuit from Tralee, in County Kerry. John and his ‘leprechauns’ transfer our luggage from one B&B to the next, and drive us out to the start of each day’s walk.

And is it pure coincidence that each day's walking ends at a cafe...

...with character? And characters too.

A hot toddy (whiskey and spices) is almost enough to turn me into a character myself.

If the picture looks a little fuzzy (thanks, Mary Johnston for taking it), the fiddling probably sounded a little fuzzy too. But it did have character, so nobody seemed to mind.

Thanks for the guiding John, and thanks Mary, Murray, Ingrid, Erika, Liz, David, Isabelle, Corinne, Terry and Agnes for the company.

That thing in the middle is an ogham stone - thousands of years old, carved with Greek symbols. We're not feeling all that young ourselves.

The writer was the guest of South West Walks and Utracks.


Filed under Hiking, Ireland

4 responses to “DINGLE WAY – an Irish walk with character

  1. It looks cold and damp – but full of character.

  2. Thanks Richard, you did the trip proud and got the “mood” right. Really enjoyed being the guide for the week and what a good group, one and all.
    Hope to see most this way again before too long .. well life is too short anyway .. and we must make the most of it … weather is just a distraction.!!!
    Travel well and safe. John.

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