Dingle to Dunquin

14.5 miles, 2,000 feet

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Emlagh House B & B is a perfect overnight spot. Apart from the great views of the harbour, the immaculate rooms were tastefully decorated and the breakfast is a delight.


After a good Irish breakfast, put on your walking shoes and get ready for an amazing day. It is mostly minor roads and beaches today and some of the finest scenery of the week. 

Travelling west from Dingle along the harbour, the Dingle Way crosses the bridge over the Milltown River. The trail accompanies the main road for a further kilometre before taking a side road which leads through an area of low-lying farmland.

After around 3km on this road, there is a change to the trail that differs from the Ordnance Survey maps. The map shows a direct approach to Ventry, whereas the signage for the Dingle Way points to the north, joining the "Pilgrims' Route" for around 300m before turning off the road for 1.5km across country in a north-westerly direction. After passing over a saddle at Mám an Óraigh, the trail descends to meet a minor road which approaches Ventry from the north.

So head off towards Ventry beach where you can make the most of barefoot walking and then through fuchsia hedges to climb an old track on the foothills of Mt. Eagle, passing the early Christian beehiive huts at Fahan. 

After following some intertwining minor roads and tracks for 2km the Dingle Way then meets the main Slea Head Road. 

Again, the markings that are on the Ordnance Survey maps here are to be ignored as there are currently access problems to Cill Mhic an Domhnaigh. Walkers must take the detour along the road for a little over a kilometre.

Extreme caution must be taken when walking along this section of the road as it is quite a popular scenic drive and there are no banks on either side to climb and allow room for passing traffic. It is vitally important to walk in single-file to allow the most amount of space for oncoming cars.

Always walk on the outer side of a bend in the road to allow drivers greater time to see you. After this long bend in the road, a lane to the right will lead back up to the Dingle Way as it is shown on the map.

There are some wonderful views as the way opens up to Slea Head and the Blasket Islands, the most westerly point of Europe. Behind are views of Ventry Harbour and south to the Ring of Kerry and Valentia Island. Ahead the route opens up to Slea Head and the Blasket Islands. This is the most westerly point in Europe, with nothing in-between you and North America.

Most of the route to Slea Head is on footpaths through fields and along the lower slopes of Mount Eagle to Slea Head.

Take time out to explore Coumeenoole Beach, one of the locations used in Ryan's Daughter, you can also see the Blasket Islands. Then it is back onto the road for the last stretch into Dunquin.

You will see impressive 'beehive' huts perched on the hillside. At Dunquin there are wonderful views of the Blasket Islands and the surrounding, rugged cliffs. Dunquin or, in Irish, Dún Chaoin (meaning Caon’s Fort or Stronghold) is a traditionally Gaeltacht village, where the Irish language has survived and it is a wonderful place to learn about Irish culture.

This village has one pub- Krugers, the most south westerly pub in Europe which is packed full of character and local characters! It has a beautiful small church, a primary school, a pottery/café (the chocolate cake is divine!) and an interpretive centre for the Blasket Island.

It’s clear to see as you travel along the Slea Head Drive and into Dún Chaoin what drew Hollywood directors David Lean (Ryan’s Daughter 1970) and Ron Howard (Far and Away 1992) to the area.

Scenes from the 1970 film Ryan's Daughter were shot at Coumeenole Beach (Trá Com Dhíneol) and on the Ceathrú (Ferritersquarter) in Dunquin. The areas then struggling economy was largely revived by the production of the film.

The fictional village of Kirrary was constructed especially for the film and was constructed in stone to withstand the weather round these parts. After filming concluded the entire village was offered but never proceeded due to the land/grazing rights upon which the village was constructed being held by a number of different parties, disputes arose and the entire village was ultimately levelled.

Still visible is the cobbled road upon which the village sat, and of course the stunning views which featured so evidently in the film.

All that remains of the physical set of the legendary film is the original Schoolhouse Building, located nearby to the Blasket Island Interpretive Centre. Siúlóid na Cille, a walk which incorporates a visit to the interesting schoolhouse

Siúlóid na Cille (illustrated by Dómhnall Bric) is a local community group. Copies of this walk are generally available in the Blasket Island Centre. This provides information and maps on the various walks one can partake of in Dún Chaoin and in the surrounding area.

The parish of Dunquin is nestled between the majestic Blasket Islands and the magnificent Mount Eagle. Clogher Head lies to the north and Dunmore Head to the south. Dunmore Head is the most westerly point on the mainland.

Mount Eagle (Sliabh an Iolair) meaning mountain of the Eagles is the final up-thrust of the Dingle Peninsula, its seaward flanks descending steeply to Slea Head and Dunmore Head (the most westerly point of the Irish mainland), but the islands of the Great Blasket, Inishnabro and Inishvickillane are the partly submerged continuation of the same mountain range. Mount Eagle Lough nestles high in a hollow on the eastern flank.

There is much to see and do in this beautiful place, a must see is one of the most well known postcard scenes in the world – the harbour which is etched into the side of the cliff from which ferrys still operate and from which farmers bring their sheep to and from the islands to graze.

The Blasket Islands (Na Blascaodaí) are a spectactular group of islands off the mainland. These islands, in particular the Great Blasket, are renowned for their wild ruggedness and beauty.

The Great Blasket was inhabited by the islanders until 1953, by which time necessity required them to leave due to the decline in their once vibrant population. The people of the island did however leave behind an impressive legacy- critically and historically acclaimed literature.

Encouraged by visiting scholars, some of the islanders dictated or wrote their stories down, and from these came three great works: the autobiography of the story-teller Peig Sayers, which became a set text in Irish schools; The Islandman by Tomás Ó Criomhthain, whose elegant, dry memoir was a lament for a passing way of life; and Twenty Years A-Growing by Muiris Ó Súilleabháín , of the next generation, who wrote about what it was like to leave the island forever.

No one lives there now. Much of the village remains however, including Peigs house, and the ruins of the “kings House”, Tomás Ó Criomhthain’s house and Muiris Ó Súilleabháin’s house are visible. 

A few hardy souls stay on the island during the summer months, weaving or offering refreshment to visitors who do get across for a couple of hours visit on a boat that runs from Dunquin harbour in fine weather.

The Blasket Island Centre (Ionad an Blascaoid), celebrates the stories of the Blasket islanders, the unique literary achievements of the island writers and their native language, culture and tradition.

The Blasket Centre facilities include a video presentation, exhibition, research room, car/coach parking, restaurant, conference facilities, and bookshop.

In 1588, when the Spanish Armada returned via Ireland many ships sought shelter in the Blasket Sound - the area between Dunquin and the Islands - and some were wrecked there. A memorial stands on the cliffs overlooking the site.

During the summer a daily bus service is available between the village of Dunquin and Dingle town. During the winter however, the service is only available a couple of times a week. There are numerous taxi operators working in the area however, so it’s not necessary to depend entirely on public transport.

Do you know who you are? Does your great, great grandfather come from the Dingle Peninsula or nearby?


Kruger’s is the most westerly bar in Europe and named after Muiris Kruger Kavanagh. Cast and crewmembers often visited the bar during filming of "Ryan's Daughter" and also "Far and Away". Local Dingle and Dunquin people were cast as extras in both films.

Muiris ‘Kruger’ Kavanagh was born in Dunquin, Co Kerry, in 1894. He showed off his spirited individuality at primary school and got his nickname for his support for Paulus Kruger and the Boers in the Boer war.

He emigrated to America when he was 19 and after getting a basic education he worked at various jobs from bodyguard and nurse, to PR man for a New York City theatre. He became familiar with many top actors and producers. But at the age of 26 he left it all behind to return to Dunquin.

He opened a guesthouse and pub which was to become one of the most famous in Ireland. Set on the remote Atlantic coast of the south west of Ireland, it became the haunt of many celebrities, attracted by Kruger’s own relaxed and colourful personality.

Robert Mitchum and Sarah Miles were regulars there while filming Ryan´s Daughter. Writer Brendan Behan was also a friend. Kruger’s pub is still in business and a popular traditional music venue. Kruger Kavanagh died in 1971. A remarkable collection of stills including some famous faces are available for perusal on the walls of the pub.

After you have walked around Slea Head why not stop and take a moment in the Dunquin Pottery/Café?! They sell their own, hand thrown stoneware pottery glazed with Irish limestone, and have an extensive range of Irish language and Irish interest books.

Dunquin is without doubt, a wonderful place to visit. 

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 5 Dunquin to Ballydavid

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