Statistics: mileage 13 miles ascent 1522′ descent 1318′ 7 hours
The Dingle Way begins at the town park in Tralee. As we made our way from the park to the outskirts of town we were fortunate to begin our hike under blue skies and lovely views along the Prince’s Quay.
Once out of the town, we soon noticed the Blennerville Windmill which is the largest working windmill in Ireland. It was built in the year 1800 and was the point of embarkation for many emigrant ships that left Ireland for North America during and after the Potato Famine of the mid-19th century. It eventually fell into disrepair and in the 1980s the local community banded together to restore the structure.
After several miles, our path turned parallel to the Slieve Mountains directly above us.
As we gained elevation we had a clear view of the Port of Tralee.
The easy-going trail quickly became a boggy mire. We crossed many streams as they tumbled down the mountainside. The going was very slow as we struggled to keep from sinking up to our ankles in the muck.
A few minutes later we encountered the 9 or 10th-century ruins of Killelton Church. Not much of it remains, but it was fascinating.
Just beyond the church we came upon the ruins of a post-medieval village.
This trail became an enchanted, wooded path for some distance. At one point, when I was forced to jump from stone to stone to stay out of the mud, I mistook a cow pie for a stone. Now with a green, gooey boot, I was glad to see we were approaching the Finglas River where I could do a little cleanup. Before I could rinse my boots, however, as I attempted to cross this river I nearly ended up in the water when that boot slid across one of the stepping stones.
Finally reaching Camp Upper, we were warmly greeted by our host, Kathleen Daly, at her very pleasant Finglas House B&B and were ushered into her lounge for tea and cake. The B&B was not far from the ocean and the view, with the sun still shining, was spectacular.
Kathleen recommended the pub across the street, the James Ashe Pub, for dinner. The food was excellent and the atmosphere cozy.