Which one to Choose? (If you can’t choose both!!)
Kerry Way v Dingle Way – “Which should I visit?” “Which do you prefer?”
This is quite a common question we get from people when choosing their Ireland hiking tour.
And we always say, this is like choosing your favourite child!!
We have listed some of the main comparisons below.
If there is any topic we may have missed be sure to ask us here.
Access for both of these tours is quite straightforward. Arriving in to any airport (Kerry, Shannon, Cork or Dublin) you have lots of public transport options.
For the Kerry Way you can catch a bus or train direct to Killarney.
For the Dingle Way you can take the bus or train direct to Tralee – from here you can travel on to Dingle for the 5-Day by bus
Kerry Way v Dingle Way – Towns
Both tours offer a mixture of town sizes, from larger towns to small villages.
On the Kerry Way you will start in the wonderful tourist town of Killarney before moving on to smaller, more traditional towns.
Highlights along the Kerry Way are:
Kenmare – located on the picturesque Kenmare Bay
Sneem – and its treasure trove of sculptures from all over the world. Coming from China, Israel, Egypt and more!!
Cahersiveen – home of Daniel O’Connell & gateway to Valentia Island
Glenbeigh – located close to the wonderful Rossbeigh Beach
Highlights along the Dingle Way are:
Tralee – the capital town of Kerry and home of the Rose of Tralee Festival
Dingle – renowned harbour town. Also, home to Fungie the Dolphin, Dingle Distillery and Murphy’s Ice Cream!!
Cloghane – a small traditional village at the foot of Mount Brandon. Also offering wonderful views of the Owenmore Estuary.
Annascaul – home of the explorer Tom Crean. Therefore, a visit to the pub in his honor while here is a must
Daily distances on both trails vary.
The total distance of the Kerry Way is just over 200kms (125 miles). However, this is broken in to 11 days for the full trail. Routes are between 18 and 25kms daily – which can be shortened if required.
On the Dingle Way you would travel 176kms (109 miles) to complete the trail. Meaning you would need to tackle our Dingle 10 Day Tour to see it all. Daily Distances are between 13 and 22km.
Kerry Way v Dingle Way – Terrain
Both trails generally follow well marked routes on each day. There is some days that take you off the beaten track…….and these detours are well worth it.
The terrain on these routes vary from (quite, country) tarmacadam roads to rocky tracks.
Along the Kerry Way you will generally travel along mountain tracks, rocky paths, bogland and grass tracks. However, you will also have some stone roads, tarmac roads and forest paths. Daily elevation gains can be up to 950m and full elevations graphs can be seen in our itinerary here.
In contrast, on the Dingle Way, you will venture on grassy paths, sandy beach walks, muddy tracks and rocky sections. Daily elevation gains can be up to 775m and full elevations graphs can be seen in our itinerary here.
Scenery & Vistas
Both routes travel along the Wild Atlantic Way but give you very differing experiences.
The Dingle Way is predominantly a coastal route, with the Atlantic Coastline being the backdrop for almost all days. The tour takes you along the southern face of the Dingle peninsula for the first 4 hikes before rounding the headland at Dunqinn. Following on you will travel back west along the northern face making your way to Mt. Brandon. There is multiple options to experience Mt. Brandon, varying in difficulty from walking around the base to climbing to the peak! Following along, you then have a wonderful beach walk to finish the route in the seaside town of Castlegregory. Alternatively, you can take the lesser known trail, and hike Macha na Bo valley to Annascaul Lake and back to Annascaul.
The Kerry Way gives a nice contrast between coastal and inland. You get to experience the wonderful Killarney National Park on the first day (and last on the full tour). Following on to a wonderful hike overlooking Kenmare Bay before you start the Atlantic coastal section of the peninsula. You will spend the next few days looking out on the ocean. Amazing at the beautiful headland. And of course, Skellig Michael!! After all that sea air you then turn inland and take on some spectacular valley walks – travelling to Glencar via a number of glacial lakes and on in to the Black Valley. The final leg will take you back to Killarney, through the National Park along the banks of the Lakes of Killarney.
Kerry Way v Dingle Way – Famous locations & Historical sites
Both of these destinations are full of historical and well known locations.
Both have been filming locations for famous movies in the past – not least of all Star Wars!!
We have another blog dedicated to famous filming locations in Ireland here, if you want to check it out.
Other attractions you may want to visit along the Kerry Way such as Muckross House & Gardens, Derrynane House & Daniel O’Connell Church.
Muckross House is a 19th century Victorian Mansion, once the home of Henry Herbert. Queen Victoria stayed here during her 1861 visit to Ireland.
Derrynane House is located in Caherdaniel and is the ancestral home of Daniel O’Connell.
Daniel O’Connell Church is named in honour of “Ireland’s Liberator and was built between 1888 & 1902.
The attractions on the Dingle Way include Blasket Islands, Gallarus Oratory and Beehive Huts
Blasket Islands, Dunquinn are now uninhabited but were once the home of author Peig Sayers.
Gallarus Oratory is an early Christian stone chapel, wonderfully preserved.
Beehive Huts are in abundance on the Dingle Way. These ancient stone structures, know as clochans, are thought to have been built prior to the 12th century and still stand today! In recent history, they were used as one of the filming location for Star Wars!
Dining is one of the less known highlights of any trip to Ireland. Gone are the days of boiled bacon or Irish Stew as the options for an evening meal. Ireland’s culinary prowess is up there with the best in the world. Choose from renowned Restaurants, such as Treyvauds in Killarney or the Chart House in Dingle, to delicious “pub grub” in pubs like the Brogue, Tralee or O’Donnabhain’s in Kenmare. All of our information documents will give you our top picks in each location. So you will not be short on options. One or 2 of the overnight locations are small villages, with little to no dining out choices. However, your hosts on these nights will provide you with a hearty, home-cooked meal!
Kerry Way v Dingle Way – Pubs & Bars
Lets be honest, this is one of the main reasons people come to Ireland. You have all heard about the traditional Irish Pub experience. And the pubs along these routes will not disappoint!! You are guaranteed a proper Irish pub at most of stops on the Kerry Way & Dingle Way. There is no Kerry Way v Dingle Way here as they both offer a genuine, traditional Irish pub experience. From live music and “craic” (fun) in the Grand, Killarney or Dick Macs, Dingle to a hearty open fire and wicker seats in Ashe’s, Camp or O’Dwyers, Waterville.
In short, you will certainly go home with a sceail (story) or 2 from your nighttime experiences, as much as your daytime activities!!
You’d never know, a sing-song or ceili dance might break out!! Also, you have the chance to visit a Distillery (Dingle) or a Brewery (Killarney) to see how these refreshing beverages are made.
Departing the Kerry Way Self-Guided Tours means returning to Killarney. From here you can get a train or bus to any of the major airports or ports. The 11 Day Hike and 8 Day Cycle Tours both finish in Killarney, so this makes for a direct departure, but the 5 Day, 8 Day and Comfort Hikes all finish in Glenbeigh. From here there is 2 buses daily to Killarney – early morning or late afternoon. If these times do not suit we can easily arrange a private transfer for you.
Departing the Dingle Way Self-Guided Tours requires you returning to Tralee. The Dingle Cycle finishes in Tralee. However, the hikes do not – the 5-Day Hike, 8-Day & 10 Day Hike all finish in Annascaul, approx 45 minutes from Tralee by bus. There is a service running every hour or so from Annascaul to Tralee. The Comfort Trip finishes in Castlegregory – with no public transport. But do not worry……we have included a private transfer back to Tralee for you in the package!!
We have touched on the tour options in the text about but, just in case you would like to see a full list, we offer the following:
Of course, our Self-Drive Tours also cover these regions
And for those who really can’t decide, and HAVE to have the best of both, our Guided Kingdom of Kerry Tour is the one for you. Why? Because it is split between both regions, meaning you get 3 days hiking on the Kerry Way, and 3 days on the Dingle Way.
Please click on the tour name for details on each one.
I hope this has helped make your decision a little easier, if you are trying to choose between these 2 wonderful destinations.
But, if there is anything we have missed in this comparison, please let us know, and we will gladly add it!!