Dingle Way Ireland Walk

Interested In Something Else?

My Boots Are Made for Walkin’

The First 3000 Miles

by

Chris Ambrose

Welcome back to my blog where I share my adventures of walking trails and discoveries for ways to enjoy oneself every way possible! Part 2, of the Dingle Walking Trail, and its side trips for your walking pleasures, are my topics for you at this juncture but I invite you to make suggestions of any areas you would like to explore. The greatest joy in my life has not much to do with any hobbies unless you consider walking or chess a hobby, for which case, I believe I have found the best of two worlds.

My walking pleasures are ones that are enjoyed right after a full Irish or English breakfast, when walking several hours or until just before dusk. However, I have begun thinking that perhaps a friendly chess match after my dinner would be very relaxing before turning in for the night. Walking the Dingle trail offers a couple of suggestions where chess is an activity available for your entertainment. 

Dingle, located in County Kerry, offers us choices of locations where both chess and walking are available, one of which you could even use for your lodging and base camp. The Carrig County House was built originally in the 1850s and used as a hunting lodge and a part of the Blennerhassett Estate. The guests that usually stayed at this lovely country Inn were British Aristocrats, but now those interested in either fishing and hunting can find comfort during the different seasons while enjoying their time there — this Inn is located near the Ring of Kerry where you will find different walking trails. To share a small bit of information about this country Inn, it has 16 rooms which are all appointed in period style antique furniture and with every room enjoying extraordinary views of the Caragh Lake and the surrounding mountains. It makes for sheer relaxation following several hours walking the trails with dinner following up with a challenging game of chess.  However, no worries, board games are provided for you at the Inn where you will undoubtedly find chess.

I have to admit, that my favorite location is the exquisite Loch Lein Country House,  also located in a peaceful and beautiful lake setting. Paul and Annette greet you as though you are family providing you with elegant surroundings and a dining experience that Paul, a world-class chef prepares and one you will not soon forget. My friends speak about this location with excitement in their eyes as they described the room where they said comfort surrounds you. They shared a story about a red fox that roamed at night just outside their window and the peaceful window they sat by each night looking out at the stars. I can certainly tell you after a long days walk, nothing could be any more relaxing than to return to these great premises. Say hello to Paul and Annette for me! This location is also conveniently located for walking trails and the Ring of Kerry. Enjoy a game of chess while there as well.

I have researched hiking trails in this area and found a few outstanding trails which I would like to share with you and range from a little more than 4 miles to over 100 miles. The Conor Pass is Ireland’s highest open mountain pass. This is one area you will want to see on foot and not from your automobile so you can experience every inch of the terrain and its beauty. It will take you less than 4 hours to hike it even if you stop to look at everything! This hike surrounds the summit of Croaghskearda Mountain at 608m with stunning views of the Corrie lakes.

This next trail is known as Meelin Hill-The 3 Peaks of Annascaul. Now, here is an enjoyable walk and one I feel water lovers will marvel at as you hike along the sea and yet discover the breathtaking views from the Slieve Mish mountains, Dingle Bay and the stunning Inch beach. The distance for this walk is slightly more than 4.6 miles (7.5 km) with it usually taking approximately 2-1/2 hours to complete. However, expect the trail to be a workout as it does encircle the three peaks of the Brackloon.

A shorter walk of 5.3 miles  (8.5km) is a route from Mount Brandon Walking Route from Faha, Kerry. Ireland’s highest peak outside of the icon MacGillycuddy’s Reeks, Mount Brandon is 3,034 feet high (925m). If you enjoy a keen interest in photography, this walk is the best choice for you. History, geology, and nature will fulfill your every expectation on this remarkable walk. Whether your interest is in following along the Duck or Harp Lakes or you are a history buff who would enjoy viewing the wreckage of a German fighter plane from the 1940s, you will remain captivated at the sites along the way.

The Dingle Way…Dingle to Dunquin is a longer trail than the two previous ones I have shared. The Dingle Way is 12-1/2 miles (20km), around the Dingle Peninsula. The views of Mount Eagle, the Blasket and Slea Head, are ones you do not want to miss but this is a longer hike, so if you are not in top shape, you may want or need to split this walk out in sections as it will take you a good 7 hours to complete. Be sure to take along a compass, water, and snacks!

FYI: As a parting share from myself, who loves the game of chess, I wanted to tell you about two other locations of interest.

Vandeleur Walled Garden & Centre,

These grounds of over 2 acres are walled off amongst 420 acres of native woodland, enclosed by beautiful old stonewalls. Inside of the walls, you will find a horizontal maze, great water-features and a free-standing Victorian-style working glasshouse which is accessible to visitors. There is also a garden which specializes in unusual plants that thrive in the area’s uniquely western latitude micro climate. 

This garden park is in Kilrush, County Clare, and it is also home to a giant outdoor chess game. Now, here is where the fun for you and I begin! Here is an example of one such chess set. They vary in size and are found in many locations around the world. The largest I have heard of have the pieces at 6 feet tall.

Chess enthusiasts here is your chance where you can test your skills by playing the giant outdoor Chess game. 

This location is only 1 hour 43 minutes from Tralee, where the walking trails end to this giant outdoor chess game in the Walled Garden.

FYI: Another such location which is much further away is one located in Waterford Ireland. It was constructed for a celebration to mark the 800th anniversary of Waterford city begin. Celebrations to kick off the 800th anniversary of Waterford city being granted its first charter by King John got underway on Thursday when the Minister for Arts and Culture unveiled a giant chess set.. 

Anyone setting out to walk a long distance trail such as The Dingle Way is embarking on a serious test of physical endurance. Please practice safety above everything else you do. There are safety tips posted about the weather, equipment, clothes recommended, and general advice at www.DingleWay.com. Do take time to review it for your own sake. Travel in numbers of at least three is also recommended and always let someone know where you plan to be. www.dingle-peninsula.ie

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