South West of Ireland
Guided Tour Killarney and Dingle Peninsula
A stunningly beautiful tour of the South West of Ireland with all the highlights of Killarney and The Dingle Peninsula.
- Dramatic viiews of the Blasket Islands from Slea Head walking route.
- Minard Castle and natural storm boulder beach
- The serenity and beauty of the lakes of Killarney
- The ruins of Innisfallen Abbey
- Picnic lunches along the way and in the evening, fine dining in a selection of carefully chosen restaurants
Day 1 South West
Meet in Shannon Airport or in a nearby hotel depending on your flight arrival times. We board our motor coach and travel south west through the rolling hills and pastures of West Limerick and North Kerry, our destination today is the pretty fishing port of Dingle town, in County Kerry. On arrival in Dingle we shall check into the Castlewood House where we will be staying for the next three nights and lunch together in Dingle town. After our hearty warming lunch we shall drive in our motor coach to a location just on the outskirts of the town overlooking Dingle harbour and the Slieve Mish Mountains. Here we start our warm up walk and where along the way we shall visit Ballintaggart stone circle, Ogham stones and examine the ancient Ogham inscriptions. We shall then continue along the coastal path and along the cliff edge heading back to our hotel for the evening. We shall dine together at a local family restaurant and perhaps pay a visit to some of the charming and colourful pubs, meet some of the locals and sing along with the many musicians. Overnight Castlewood House L/D
Day 2 Slea Head. 7 miles. Easy / Moderate.
After a hearty breakfast at our hotel we travel on the motor coach to the little village of Ventry (Ceann Tra) or the “head of the beach”from this point we will set off on our days walk along the beautiful horse shoe shaped beach and along quiet back roads and tracks. Along the way we will view iron age earthen ring forts and visit the promontory fort of Dunbeg, parts of which dates from circa 580 BC suggesting a much earlier period of activity at this site in the late bronze age. We now start a gentle climb along An Bothar Dorcha (the Dark Road), an ancient green road which winds its way along the shoulder of Mount Eagle, taking in the breath taking views over the sea cliffs of the Blasket Islands. We pass many sites of archaeological importance such as Bee Hive huts and Cloghans dating from c. 2000 BC. After a homemade lunch of perhaps, soup, fresh bread and smoked salmon in a local country café our afternoon will be spent exploring the many early Christian sites, including Gallarus Oratory, Reask and Kilmalkeader Church which has connections to the Camino de Campostela pilgrims route in Spain. Tonight we meet and dine at a local restaurant. Overnight Castlewood House B/L/D
Day 3 Beach and Coastal Walk 6 Miles. Easy / Moderate
Today we start our walk along country lanes and back roads across the shoreline and sandy beach of Smerwick Harbour. This inspiring walk offers up breathtaking panoramic views of “Ceann Sibeal” and the majestic three peaks of the “Three Sisters” and a patchwork of small farms and fields. The walk will take us past Dun An Oir (Fort of Gold) where here in October 1580 four thousand Spanish and Italian forces landed and were defeated by English forces. We conclude our walk for today at the little seaside village of Murreagh and then on to Dingle where you are free to lunch on your own. The afternoon can be spent shopping and browsing in this small market town which is full of arts crafts and galleries. The other option would be to accompany your guides on a short walk of local the areas of interest. This evening we will meet up at yet another fine local restaurant for our final evening in Dingle. Overnight Castlewood House. B/L/D
Day 4. 4 Miles. Easy/Moderate
Following breakfast we say farewell to Dingle town and are again travelling through the countryside until we reach a quiet cross roads just outside of Town, from here we will start our morning walk along quiet country roads and lanes passing by many small farms along the way. As we approach the sea shore, the ruins of the 16th Century Minard Castle will come into view. The castle was a strong hold for the Knights of Kerry and was attacked by Cromwellian forces in 1650. We will explore the Storm Beach where the Pulvinar Stones of Ballintaggart stone circle were acquired many centuries ago. The cliffs of Minard are also of great geological interest as they consist of 380 million year old fossilised desert sand dunes that make up the yellow coloured stone of the Cill Mhuire sandstone. We again continue on our morning adventure taking in the views and colours of this magnificent part of Co. Kerry. Shortly we will meet our motor coach and we will make the short drive to our lunch stop in “The South Pole In in the pretty village of Annascaul”. Following lunch we board our motor coach to travel to Killarney motoring along the Southern coastline of the Dingle Peninsula with views across Dingle Bay and the Iveragh Peninsula in the distance. On arrival in Killarney National Park we will begin our afternoon walk. The park was designated as a biosphere reserve in 1981 by UNESCO. Our walk will take us by Muckross House, a 19th Century Victorian mansion. The house stands close to the shores of Muckross Lake, one of the three lakes of Killarney, acclaimed worldwide for their awe inspiring gentle beauty and splendour . This gentle, easy walk is awe inspiringly beautiful and takes about 1.5 hours to complete. As the name suggests, it meanders through trees gently dripping with luxuriant moss, similar to a rainforest trail. The walk begins along the edge of Muckross Lake and provides beautiful views of tranquil waters, peaceful islands, backed by the majestic McGillicuddy Reeks. Later the path crosses springy peat that gives an unusual bouncing effect, the area abound with birdlife and you will have a favourable chance of sighting native Irish red deer. This evening we will meet for dinner in the dining room of our hotel for dinner possibly followed by a pint of stout or a dram of single Irish malt whiskey in the adjoining Buckley’s Bar, home to regular live traditional Irish music sessions. Overnight. Killarney Park Hotel. B/L/D
Day 5. Old Kenmare Road. 5 miles – 600’ elevation – easy to moderate
This morning we drive to Derrycunnihy Church on The Molls Gap road, from where we will begin our walk through Derrycunnihy wood and follow the Old Kenmare Road, which affords magnificent views of the Lakes of Killarney and the heather covered mountains. The motor coach will be waiting to meet us and take us the short distance into the town of Kenmare, where we will have a local pub lunch. Easy This afternoon on our return to Killarney we will begin our walk at the 15th Century Ross Castle which was the last castle in Ireland to surrender to Cromwellian troops in June 1652. The walk takes us through deciduous woodland and ever-changing lake and mountain views. We visit the ancient site of the oldest copper mines in North Western Europe where copper was mined since 2400 BC and remained in use until 1900 BC. This evening you are on your own for dinner, with a choice of numerous fine restaurants and tasty pub grub selections. Overnight. Killarney Park Hotel. B/L
Day 6. 3.5 Miles – Easy - Moderate
This morning after a relaxing breakfast we depart at 10 am with individual lunches packed by the hotel. Our motor coach will bring the group to Ross Castle where we shall embark on a two hour boat trip of Killarney and Inishfallen Island, exploring the island and the three Lakes of Killarney acclaimed worldwide for their beauty. The 6th to 7th Century ruins of Innisfallen Abbey overlook Lough Leane and during the middle ages many people came here to study, that is why Lough Leane means the Lake of Learning. The monks left Innisfallen Island in 1652 after Cromwell’s troops demolished the Abbey. Between the 11th – 13th Centuries, monk scribes at the Abbey wrote a Latin/Gaelic record of Irish history called the “Annals of Inisfallen”. They are now retained by The British Bodleian Library in Oxford. Along the way we may catch sight of our beautiful recently reintroduced White tailed eagles. Following the boat journey we will disembark at Lord Brandon’s Cottage where you can enjoy your picnic lunches, relax and chat about the mornings adventures. After our lunch we will set off on our afternoon walk from Lord Brandon’s through the Blanket bog habitat and woodlands and onwards past the Derrycunnihy Cascade to Derrycunnihy Church on the Kenmare road. When we reach Derrycunnihy Church our motor coach will meet us and bring us back to our hotel where we can freshen up, relax or maybe explore the many shops that Killarney has to offer. This evening we will meet for a farewell dinner at a carefully selected local restaurant. Overnight. Killarney Park Hotel. B/L/D
Day 7. Farewell.
Today our breakfast will be served early, and following breakfast we shall board our motor coach and travel to Shannon Airport. Farewell to new found friends and guides
What to bring on a Scotia Ireland Guided Walking Tour.
Summer Walking May – Oct.
- Strong waterproof walking boots; leather boots with a Vibram Sole and a Goretex lining are well proven in the field and are excellent for walking throughout Ireland and the British Isles. If you are buying new boots for this trip, make sure you give yourself adequate time to wear them in.
- Comfortable hiking socks - woollen.
- Good quality waterproof rain clothing, e.g. over trousers/jacket, (gaiters are recommended).
- Because of the unpredictability of the Irish climate we would recommend bring sensible clothing and packing a warm hat and gloves.
- Warm Fleece Jacket.
- Shorts (We do get sunshine, believe it or not!)
- Water Bottle.
- Sun-block, factor 30 or higher, Lip salve, midge/insect repellent.
- Walking poles (Optional).
- Good quality sunglasses.
- Rucksack/day pack, waterproof rucksack liner.
- Personal First Aid Kit (Blister Pack) and Whistle.
- Don’t forget your camera!
Relaxed walking on gentle linear terrain- good paths and well marked trails –a few short gentle descents / ascents. A good option for those with little or no previous experience of walking vacations.
Distance per Day: Less 10 km (Less than 6 Miles)
Time: Less than 5 hours per day.
Walking on well established paths- sometimes loose underfoot/open areas-some hills but not too difficult –ascents / descents of up to an hour. Ideally suited to those with a relatively good level of fitness.
Distance per Day: 10 – 18 km. (6 – 11 Miles per day.)
Time: Can be up to 7 hours per day
Scotia Ireland walking itineraries are graded as Easy / Moderate.
These areas will be more challenging-the terrain involved will be varied rugged trails – higher ascent and steeper descent involved (approximately 1- 2 hours depending on route and weather conditions). Ascent can be up to 1000 m. A good level of fitness will be required. Ideal for experienced hill walkers, seeking a little more of a challenge and adventure.
Distance per Day: Up to 25 km (16 Miles)
Scotia Ireland Walking tours are geared toward a variety of fitness levels, but are not suitable for everyone. If it is not possible for you to walk at a relaxed pace on level ground for at least an hour or two at a time, you may not be physically able for a walking tour.
However, on a Scotia Ireland Guided Walking tour the emphasis is on regular stops for sightseeing at interesting archaeological sites or geological features of the Irish landscape. Indeed we often stop maybe just for a chat or an inspiring poem along the way, these tours are definitely not endurance walks, we take our time, this is Ireland after all.
What is a single supplement?
A single supplement is an additional charge for guests booking single accommodation (a room for one person). This supplement covers the extra costs associated with accommodating a single person in their own room.
What is the difference between a twin room and a double room?
A ‘twin’ room is a room for two people with two separate beds. A ‘double’ room has just one large bed (for two people).
Please make contact with us directly with any special requests in regard to specific accommodation requests or requirements.
Do I need to buy Travel Insurance?
Scotia Ireland strongly encourages you to take out adequate insurance cover prior to travel, we recommend consulting the following companies to discuss your options.
Scotia Ireland walking vacations provide land only transport and do not cover flights to or from Ireland.
All transport during the course of the walking tour, baggage transfers to hotels etc is included.
On the return journey on the Sunday after your tour has concluded, you will be returned to Shannon airport or to one of the hotels listed here.
Scotia Ireland will only be too happy to help you plan your vacation and assist with any further arrangements if you decide to tour Ireland independently prior to or following your Scotia Ireland Walking tour, we shall only be too happy to advise you and will prepare a customised itinerary to your requirements.
Dingle Bay and Killarney Guided Walking Tour meets on Monday morning 9.00 am at one of the local hotels listed here.
https://www.oakwoodarms.com/ (5 minutes taxi from Shannon Airport)
https://www.bunrattycastlehotel.com/ (12 minutes taxi from Shannon Airport)
Or indeed a local Limerick City Boutique hotel
https://oneperysquare.com/ (30 minutes taxi from Shannon Airport)
Antrim Coast and the Giants Causeway Guided Walking Tour meets on Monday morning 9.00 am at one of the local hotels listed here.
https://www.fitzwilliamhotelbelfast.com/ (30 minutes taxi from Belfast International Airport)
https://www.tensquare.co.uk/ (30 minutes taxi from Belfast International Airport)
Arrive into Dublin airport or if you have arrived a day or two earlier, be picked up from our city centre hotel by luxury motor coach and begin a panoramic tour of Dublin city. The city tour will be followed by lunch in the charming Nancy Hands Dublin pub.
After lunch, we shall make a visit to Fabrics Ireland in Mountjoy square, Dublin city centre. Fabrics Ireland is one of the leading suppliers of fabrics and equipment to the fabric, arts and crafts and quilting community in Ireland, and is highly recommended. This evening we shall enjoy a welcome dinner and drink in our hotel.
Overnight Dublin city centre hotel. BB/L/D