Dingle Way 4. Dingle to Dunquin


A B&B from yesteryear, sand, clochans, a sleeping giant and dinner under grape vines.

My B&B in Dingle is dowdy and cold and breakfast (egg and bacon, no choice) is only served at 9 (no choice again), so I leave before 8, have a quick breakfast in a café and am on the road out of Dingle early. Silvery light shines over the bay on a bright, fresh morning.

The roads get smaller before the route turns off up another muddy boreen that brings me onto the road down into Ceann Trá (Ventry. I am deep into the Gealtacht (Irish-speaking) region now and in the Oifig an Phoist, (Post Office) I hear Irish being spoken by everyone for the first time. I get a tea, a cinnamon bun and a nectarine and say ‘thank you’ in Irish but the reply immediately passes my ability level. “I just asked if you wanted a bag!” she says, amused.

I have a good chat with three women from Vancouver who are also hiking; we enjoy sitting in the warm sun people-watching.

Along the firm, pale sands of Ventry strand, gently curving round the bay it’s a joy to be walking.

Enjoying myself too much I miss a small boreen and go into a wide field full of cattle.  I navigate my way around them before scrambling  over a steep, brambly ditch intto the boreen where I should have been.

After a short section on the busy, narrow main road, the path begins to climb around the lower contours of Sliabh an Iolair (Mount Eagle), a few hundred metres above the road, following ancient dry stone walls on green, sheep-cropped grass.


I look down on the clochans1 that are scattered along this coast. Most have lost their corbelled roofs but I get a good vew of them from above, probably better than the tourists below, paying to see them.

Blaskets - Sleeping Giant
Blaskets – Sleeping Giant

Out to sea lie the Blasket Islands. The profile of Inis Tuaisceart (‘Northern Island’) is like a giant sleeping in the sea2 but he disappears as rain approaches preceded by a gusty wind.

I follow the now slippery path as it zig-zags up and down, clinhing to the stone walls separating the fields from the moorland above. The mountain is covered in yellow gorse and purple heather; even in the rain it is beautiful.

I filter water from a tumbling stream before continuing around the mountain towards Dunquin, tiredness slowing my progress.


A quick diversion down to the picturesque Dunquin pier before finding my way along a small boreen to Gleann Dearg (‘Red Glenn’) B&B which is delightful. I have booked dinner here and the food is excellent, served in a conservatory under wonderful grape vines. It more than makes up for yesterday’s dreary accommodation.


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About the route

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25.5km (15.8 miles) in about 7 hours

Total ascent: 731m. Max elevation: 176m

  1. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cloch%C3%A1n
  2. The Irish name for the giant is An Fear Marbh ‘The Dead Man’


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