The Kerry Camino:
Started my third Camino to Santiago in 4 years from Ireland. This one beginning on the Dingle Way from Tralee, surprised me with its connection to The Camino in Spain.
Long ago pilgrims from Ireland would walk to Dingle and set sail for Coruña and walk the English Way (Or why not call it the “Irish” Way.) There is even a church of St. James in Dingle Town with a Camino Shell on the front gate.
In 1992, a pewter scallop shell with a bronze-gilded statue of St James attached and mounted on a brooch was found in Ardfert Cathedral – only a few kilometres from Tralee. This was most likely a pilgrim’s badge brought back from the Camino de Santiago and, when found in a grave, suggests that the person had been a pilgrim to the apostle’s burial place in Santiago.
After inadvertently happening upon the Kerry Camino I finished it in Dingle where medieval Irish Pilgrims would walk to and catch a boat for La Coruña and walk the remaining 74K to Santiago.
Today if someone plans to walk the Camino Ingles and want a certificate they need to start from Ferrol which is 118K. Now I have proof of walking the Kerry Camino 57K from Tralee to Dingle enabling me to start from La Coruña in the Fall and get a Certificate by showing a 131K total walk. The 3 day walk which is also the first 3 days of The Dingle Way is a beautiful walk taking in the Kerry coast and Dingle fields and hills.
The end was a bit anticlimatic when arriving at St. James Church found it empty and set up more as a music venue. No final stamp available here. But they did have a Camino Shell on the front gate and St. Brigid’s Cross with a Shell as well.
And later I found out there were 3 places to get your final stamp; Benner’s Hotel across from the small church, The Dingle Tourist Office, and Kool Scoops Ice Cream Shop. I chose to get my final stamp at Kool’s along with a well deserved soft ice cream.
There is no boat anymore from Dingle to La Coruña so I guess I’ll just keep walking The Dingle Way before flying to Lourdes and starting a Camino de Santiago from there. Camino Aragones From Lourdes