Kerry: Taking the sea air on wonderful walk

WE SET off down the laneway opposite Moran’s Garage. It is lined with small houses built in the 19th century by Lord Ventry to house fishermen he had evicted from An Rinn Bheag, a village across the harbour. He had decided to make the whole peninsula a private hunting estate.

At the end of the lane, we reach the sea and go left, on the made path along the shore.

At low tide, when there is a narrow beach, one can walk along the sand. In summer, the Fungie-viewing boats pass close by and we can hear the whoops and gasps of the besotted dolphin watchers. Indeed, we can see the obliging Fungie delight them with his repertoire of tricks.

Rounding the corner, we can see Hussey’s Tower, aka, Hussey’s Folly, ahead. We reach a slim-persons’ stile; after-dinner walkers of corpulent configuration may have to briefly take to the shoreline.

We cross a stream and reach Hussey’s stone-built structure. The sobriquet ‘folly’ seems unkind: it was built not as a rich man’s whim but as a charitable man’s attempt to help the less fortunate, the victims of the Potato Famine of 1847.

Hussey was a tenant of Lord Ventry, and saw the building of the tower as a way to provide the starving peasantry with employment.

Two small strands with rock pools adjoin the tower, lovely places for children to explore. A cutting through the low ‘cliff’ behind them ascends to a path passing along the field edges above us. Alternatively, we may return to the tower and climb to the field above it, where a stile beside a gate takes us to the cliff top path, between low hedges.

Dingle lighthouse is clearly visible, shining white on the promontory ahead. The cliff side path affords us wide views of the open ocean.

Walking on the slippery grass below the path should be avoided, threatening a fatal slide into the sea. A mile farther on, we come down onto the pretty strand of Bhinn Bhán.

Here, we reach a second carpark and now, head inland, making for the old road back to Dingle. Ignoring right turns, we continue due north. At the national road N86, we turn left and 150 yards along take the small road signposted Pax Guesthouse.

The byroad is gravelly, about wide enough for one car. A road joins from the right but we continue left. At the junction, the field on the right holds an impressive double-ring fort, almost 30 metres in diameter.

Soon, we start to descend towards the town with its streets of tightly packed, coloured houses; the Kerry people, like those of west Cork, are fearless with paint.

A gate in the ditch affords us a panoramic view from the harbour mouth all the way back to Mount Brandon.

We come out on Sráid Eoin, John’s Street, with multicoloured houses on both sides. Reaching An Droichead Beag, we turn left onto The Mall, passing the Christian Brothers School with a beautiful garden ascending to a gable wall with a fine arched window. Passing a large tableau of the crucifixion, we reach the roundabout and go left to return to the trailhead.

Many fine Dingle hostelries offer relaxing après walk fare.

Start point: Entering Dingle, park near Moran’s Esso garage on the right, our trailhead. Coming from Tralee (50km) take the N86 west. Park near Moran’s garage, as above, and walk down the lane opposite.

Distance (and time): 7km (2.5 hours).

Difficulty:

Pedestrian path, then field and cliff paths, and side roads on the return.

Map: OS Sheet 70

* For maps and information on Ordnance Survey products visit: www.osi.ie


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