“May the road rise up to meet you…” The Dingle Way, Co. Kerry, Ireland

Walking signpost against a path through the moors of Ireland.

Follow the “Walking Man”…

An Old Irish Blessing
May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind always be at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
and rains fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of His hand.

If you walk Ireland’s Dingle Way, many a road will rise up to meet you. If you walk it during the wettest June in recorded history, much rain will fall soft upon your face and much rain will pound upon your head. Some winds will, indeed, be at your back – but many more will whip the plastic raincoat around your ears and impede your progress. And, you may despair of the sun shining ever again!

Or so it was for us, as we walked the 167 or 179 kilometres (depending on whom you believe) from Tralee to Camp and back again, around the Dingle Way. It was ten days of rain, wind and occasional sun – and it was marvellous. It must be VERY special in good weather!

Day 1:   Travel to Tralee

Tralee is Ireland’s newest visitor destination; better known as the capital of Kerry and the Gateway to the Dingle Peninsula.

We had booked our walk well ahead of time with “Footfalls”, who manage Irish walking tours: both guided and self-guided, which is what we were doing. They sent us travel notes and maps, booked our hotels, suggested places to eat, and got our bags from A to B. Once we got ourselves to Tralee, making use of the rather excellent Irish buses (Bus Éireann), we just had to walk the planned route, along mostly well-marked (albeit muddy, rocky and narrow) trails, to get ourselves to our nightly destinations.

Yellow walking man on a black signpost.

“Follow the canal…”

Day 2: Tralee to Camp

An excellent start to your holiday, the way offers some superb views of Tralee and coastline. Traverses along the flanks of the Slieve Mish Mountains. Takes you through an old deserted village and ruined church.
Distance: 17.5 km/11 miles, Ascent: 200 m/600 ft

Our first day of walking – “Day 2” – lured us into a false sense of security. The sun was shining and the birds were singing as we set off along the canal and across the River Lee to find the path around Slieve Mish Mountains, overlooking Tralee Bay.

White town-houses lining a modern canal, Tralee, Ireland.

The trail following the canal leading out of Tralee is well used by walkers and runners, and lined with modern buildings.

White swan with three fluffy chicks on the water.

Life on the canal: a family of swans

Thatched roof on a large round building: part of a hotel complex.

Foothills of the Slieve Mish Mountains provide a backdrop to a modern thatched resort-complex.

Large ship with a rusty anchor tied up on the River Lee

A boat tied up on the River Lee – we think it might have been there a while!

Small white windmill on a shallow river.

Mudflats and clouds on the River Lee, at the mouth of Tralee Bay.

Pampas grass against a peeling white wall.

Once we cross the River Lee, we are into quiet country roads ~

Black and white cows on a green paddock.

~ and before long, we are passing bucolic fields.

Wild fuchsia blooms against green grass

Fuchsia grows wild all along the country lanes.

Brown horse seen through a hole in a bramble hedge.

For a short while, we are amongst fields and farms ~

White wild Rose

~ following roads bordered by hedges of honeysuckle, brambles, fuchsia and wild roses.

After what seemed like a long climb up a dwindling road, we carefully crossed a gateway onto the rocky paths and boggy grasslands of the Slieve Mish Mountain foothills.

Large signboard along a rocky path through moors.

The Tonavane Walk into the Slieve Mish Mountains.

Fluffy white heads of "bog cotton" against green grass.

Bog Cotton

Rocky creek through grassy green bog lands.

The creeks are just marginally wetter than the bog-lands surrounding them.

Black shire horse and brown pony on wet bog lands.

Shire horses and sturdy ponies use the foundations of a ruined house to keep their feet dry on the bog.

Creamy white and pink lily amongst green leaves.

The patch of lilies growing within the frame of the ruined house was a surprise!

White and brown pony on the bogs: water in the background.

One of the ponies was curious about what I was up to. Tralee Bay and the North Atlantic can be seen behind.

Shaggy Irish sheep

We saw more than a few sheep as we picked our way over the rocks and through the boggy patches; most, however, turned tail and scrambled away as soon as we were near. I was happy to catch this lamb with its mother.

Wet black bog with green grasses.

The wet, black bog reminded me of The Beverly Hillbillies and their “black gold”.

Rocky creek through bog and ferns.

We crossed numerous creeks…

Wooden style on a green field.

… and countless styles.

Pile of rocks on an Irish bog.

Rocky piles formed partial fences.

View of trees, water and distant mountains.

All around the foothills, we had views of the North Atlantic, and parts of the Dingle Peninsula ahead.

Ferns and moss growing out of a ruined stone wall.

Eventually, we worked our way out of the open bog and into forested paths, to find ancient ruins: this one of an old house.

Signboard in front of the 10th or 11th century Killelton Church

Killelton Church, built in the 10th or 11th century with thick walls…

Rocks piled to form a thick wall.

… made of piled rocks.

Fuchsia over a grassy trail.

Outside the ancient church grounds, we find more fuchsia ~

Wild strawberry flowers

~ and wild strawberries.

Afternoon sun on green hills and large estates.

Finally! We come around a bend over Camp, our stop for the night.

text: slainte - good health

We had no rain this day (the first and last day without rain for the whole of our walk – indeed for the whole of our stay in Ireland), but our boots were muddy and our pants were wet to the knees from the bogs we had sloshed across.

“I’ve seen worse!” our hostess laughed as we hobbled into our night’s accommodation.

So, we knew we were in good hands – and ready for the challenge of the next day’s adventure.

Sláinte – Good health!

Photos: 18June2012

  • Catherine Wisner - August 2, 2012 - 8:59 am

    Ursula, great post.. May I ask what photographic gear did you bring on this trip..did you carry both cameras? Lenses? How did you protect them from the rain/weather?

    It looks like a walk I would love to do. I may just have to follow you around on your adventures..


    • Ursula - August 3, 2012 - 3:46 am

      Catherine, thanks for your visit. 😀
      You know me! I carried the lot: the 5D I got in exchange for my 7D, which I mostly use with the 16-24, but occasionally with the 70-300; my old 400D which generally sports the 24-70; my iPhone and my IXUS – all of which I used. 🙂 I was also carrying a little macro which I don’t think I used at all. We even carried the tripod one day, but with the rain, my enthusiasm for standing in one place was a little low, and so it never left its case. As for rain protection: two sleeves I bought from a nice lady in Cambodia, plastic ponchos from Australia and a couple of umbrellas from England; sometimes all of the above!ReplyCancel

  • Lisa Brockman - August 2, 2012 - 9:56 pm

    Looks like fun! Looking forward to the following days . . .ReplyCancel

  • Signe Westerberg - August 3, 2012 - 2:45 am

    Hi Ursula, I’m sure those rocky roads played havoc with your hip.. however what a magnificent countryside. Looking forward to the next instalmentReplyCancel

    • Ursula - August 3, 2012 - 3:54 am

      Hey, Lisa and Signe!
      Glad to have you both back. The walk was indeed “challenging”, but ultimately worth it. I hope to get back to the photos from the other days soon. 😀ReplyCancel

  • dietmut - August 4, 2012 - 9:13 am

    Urusla, ik heb een prachtige wandeling met je samen gemaakt. Prachtige landschap. Ik wens je een fijn weekend, DietmutReplyCancel

  • Anna :o] - August 4, 2012 - 11:46 pm

    Beautiful photography – thanks for taking me on your journey.

    Anna :o]ReplyCancel

    • Ursula - August 5, 2012 - 4:25 am

      Anna :o] and Dietmut,
      Thanks so much for joining us on our long road. It is always a pleasure to have your company! 😀ReplyCancel

  • Elsie Ritchie - March 29, 2013 - 8:37 pm

    Dear Ursula I would like to use in a privately printed family history two of your pictures from your walk called the Dingle way to illustrate the countryside The farmland i am looking for was half way between Camp and Annascaul and I would appreciate a boggy way and a view across farmland in that area. the farm itself was called Lougherbegg and was near a village called Lougher Hoping to hear Elsie RitchieReplyCancel

    • Ursula - March 29, 2013 - 9:18 pm

      Thanks for your interest, Elsie. I’ll email you.ReplyCancel

  • Elsie Ritchie - March 29, 2013 - 8:41 pm

    Dear Ursula I live in Sydney and would welcome a visit from you if you should be in the area if you felt it necessary to see what i do regards ElsieReplyCancel

  • […] hue. And, as the skies opened and the rains fell on our heads on the second day of walking along The Dingle Way in County Kerry, we could easily understand why it was all so lush and […]ReplyCancel

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