Daingean Uí Chúis - Dún Chaoin( Dingle to Dunquin )
Distance: 20 km | Ascent: 370 m | Time: 5—7 hrs | Grade: Moderate
Travelling west along the harbour, the Dingle Way crosses the bridge over the Milltown River. On the right is Dingle Distillery, Ireland’s first purpose built distillery in over 100 years. Across the harbour you can see Esk Hill on which a tower was built in 1847 and among the trees, Burnham House, the former residence of Lord Ventry which now operates as a boarding school. A collection of Ogham Stones are on display on the roadway leading into the school.
The trail accompanies the main road for a further kilometre before taking a side road to the right which leads towards Ventry. After about 2km you will take a right and about 300m further on you will take a left uphill. The ground can be quite wet underfoot here so care must be taken. After passing over a saddle at Mám an Óraigh, the trail descends to meet a minor road which approaches Ceann Trá from the north. Ceann Trá is a picturesque village with a school, Post Office, shop, pub, pottery and restaurant. This is the last chance for walkers to stock up on provisions as there is no shop in Dún Chaoin. The Dingle Way takes a pleasant change of scenery as it crosses a beach for the first time. The trail draws a long arc across the sands of Ventry Harbour which is reputed to be the scene of an historic battle when the King of Ireland took on the combined forces of the Kings of France, Spain and the World in an epic battle that lasted a year and a day.
After following some intertwining minor roads and tracks for 2km the Dingle Way then meets the main Slea Head Road. 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
The next 7km of the Dingle Way pass spectacular scenery on all sides as the trail skirts the base of Mount Eagle. Below you will see Dún Beag Promontiry fort, a relic of the Iron Age built for defensive reasons. A short climb brings you through Fán, one of the most concentrated archaeological sites in Ireland and which includes the remains of many forts, clocháns and cahers. At 160m above sea-level, the view over the Atlantic gradually starts to include the Blasket Islands as the trail rounds Slea Head.
The last part of this stage of the Dingle Way finds the trail back on the main Slea Head road in Dún Chaoin for 3km passing the graveyard where Peig Sayers of Blasket Island fame rests before descending towards a picturesque pier which offers visitors trips to the Blasket Island. A stone plaque at the top of the cliff commemorates the sinking of the Santa Maria de la Rosa of the Spanish Armada in 1588. The continuation of the trail ahead leads to Ionad an Blascaoid, a heritage centre, where the full poignant story of the Blasket Islands can be heard.