Anascaul to Dingle

Distance: 22km | Ascent: 340m | Time: 3 - 4.5 hrs

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Again, the route is mainly on minor roads and tracks, making for easy walking. 


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Start from South Pole Inn in Anascaul. No matter how severe the weather or the drenchings you might get would have been laughed to scorn – if he had even registered them – by the man whose name was lettered along the front of the South Pole Inn.

Thomas Crean was a hard, hard man. As a teenager in the 1890s he ran away from Anascaul to join the Navy. He accompanied Captain Scott on two of his famous Antarctic expeditions, including the doomed journey of 1910-12.

He voyaged 800 miles with Ernest Shackleton in an open boat through the Southern Ocean in a bid to fetch help for colleagues trapped by pack ice. Then he came home to Anascaul and ran the pub, spinning tales across the counter until his death in 1938, having reached the age of 61 against all the odds.

A mighty man, he was , but not quite as mighty as the famous Irish giant Fionn MacCumhaill. Where you can see up to a corrie in the mountain walls darkened by rain shadow.That’s where Fionn’s girlfriend drowned herself in the lake when she thought he’d been killed in a battle with another giant. But he hadn’t, of course. You couldn’t kill a hero like Fionn!’

Any way lets fet going,departing Annascaul, you briefly join the busy Tralee-Dingle road before finding a quieter road that twists and turns for a little over 4km before finally descending to sea level beside the magnificent ruin of the 16th century grim tower of Minard Castle.

Down on the southern shore you pass the– a Fitzgerald stronghold blown to ruins in the 1650s by Oliver Cromwell’s men. You see gannets planing over Dingle Bay on black-tipped wings, toppling over to plunge into the rain-pocked sea after fish.

On the far shore of the bay rise the mountain ridges of the Iveragh peninsula, far higher and more sharply cut than Dingle’s smoothly undulating backbone.

Beyond the castle, hidden in a leafy dingle, you will find a beautiful horseshoe of grass enclosing Tobar Eoin, St John’s Well. Offerings of coins and bright white quartz chips lie at the bottom of the little pool. Above the well a seamed old tree had been festooned with strips of rag, each tied there for a wish or a prayer.

This lonely beach makes a great break for enjoying the views across Dingle Bay towards the Iveragh Peninsula.

Leaving the strand, the Dingle Way rises steeply up a narrow path and goes on to follow some classic Irish boreens and minor roads that weave around the surrounding farmland for the next 6km.

Make sure you are particularly careful in following the directions from the Ordnance Survey Map along this section as there have been reports of people getting confused with signposts for the Tom Crean Trail.

Narrow country lanes lead you on westward, climbing into the foothills of the mountains past abandoned farms where trees flourished in the derelict rooms. For a short time you follow the line of the old Tralee & Dingle Light Railway.

This rickety-rackety branch line, closed with much mourning in 1953, was a wonder and a wild amusement to legions of enthusiasts. The fireman’s duties including pelting coal lumps at sheep straying on the line. You could run from Tralee to Dingle more swiftly than the trains would trundle.

Now the Dingle Way leaves the lanes and climbs up to cross the slopes of Cruach Sceirde, the Scattered Mountain. The stones of ancient huts and field walls patterned the brown turf.

You climb above small mountain farms to a high pass in the teeth of wind and rain. Below in a hollow of the coast the circle of Dingle Harbour can be seen.

Then you reach Lispole. Before reaching Lispole an awe-inspiring vista of the mountain range to the north comes into view with Croaghskearda (608m)and An Cnapán Mór (649m) being the more dominant peaks. Having crossed the main N86 road the trail heads north in the direction of Croaghskearda Mountain.

After following a minor road for around 2km the path cuts across farmland and rises onto the lower mountain slopes. This part of the Dingle Way lasts for around 5km and can get quite mucky. You are well-advised to wear a pair of gaiters. Also, expect to be passing farm animals such as sheep and cows.

A bridge crossing the Garfinny River sees the walk realigning itself in a south-westerly direction and heading straight for the town of Dingle.

The trail traverses the popular motorist drive through Conor's Pass heading to the North. This final 4km downhill road section will seem to draw out for an eternity for those with tired legs as the town is visible from such a distance.

The wait however is well worth it as you will be entering one of the great towns in the whole of Ireland famous for its dolphin , pubs and restaurants. This will prove a fitting end to what will have been a unique and enjoyable three day experience.

In brief:

From South Pole Inn, Anascaul (593019), cross river. 200 yd up Dingle road, left (Dingle Way waymark – DW) along Castlemaine road.

Left along R561 (589013); in 150 yd fork right up narrow lane. Follow it for 3 miles to Minard Castle (555992).

Ahead up lane; in 50 yd fork right (DW) up grassy track (Tobar Eoin/St John’s Well is in front of you here).

Continue on road through Minard East (549997); in 1/4 mile, left by bungalow with garden wall (545999 – DW) for ½ mile to T-junction.

Right here uphill (539995 – DW) for 3/4 mile, passing Tobar Beannaithe graveyard (537003) to turn right at top of hill (536006 – DW). At T-junction (DW), left downhill into Bheag village.

On right bend, left (538012 – DW) along lane for 1 1/3 miles to join N86 Dingle road by post office in Lispole (519010).

Forward across bridge; immediately right on lane rising towards mountains. At fork (517018 – DW), left on lane to bear right into fields after 1 mile (502024 – DW) –

NB!! Not where OS map shows it at 510022!!

Up three fields; then bear left (503028 – DW) to road. Forward through Lisdargan to junction by Durane’s B&B notice (501031 – DW).

Right; in 50 yd left (DW) along green lane. In 300 yards, left off lane (DW), over bog and fields by stiles (DW) to road through farming hamlet (488032).

In 200 yd right (DW) across fields to road (482032). Continue to pass a house; in 50 yards, right (479031 – yellow arrow) up stony track, following DW up mountainside for 2/3 mile to cross Garfinny River and reach road (474038).

Left for 2/3 mile to cross Connor Pass road (466031 – DW). Continue down long lane for 1 3/4 miles into Dingle.

CONDITIONS: Can be very wet and muddy; wear wet weather gear and walking boots.

REFRESHMENTS: South Pole Inn, Anascaul. (NB None en route – take picnic).

Have a great day in Dingle, you will love it, don`t have too much guinness, have a good nights rest and get up early for stage 4 Dingle to Dunquin

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