Dingle, what’s not to love!
This corner of Ireland on Ireland’s wild atlantic way is a real feast for the senses – a place where tradition, folklore, and natural beauty intertwine in a beautiful, unforgettable dance.
So let’s dive in and see what magic Dingle has to offer.
- Natural Wonders Galore: From the stunning Slea Head Drive to the tranquil Brandon Bay, Dingle is a paradise brimming with natural beauty, perfect for hikers, beach lovers, and outdoor enthusiasts of all kinds.
- Historical and Cultural Riches: Immerse yourself in Ireland’s ancient past at Gallarus Oratory, Fahan Beehive Huts, or the poignant Irish Famine Cottages. Then soak up the lively music and vibrant spirit of Dingle’s traditional pubs.
- Unique Culinary Delights: Enjoy the local flavours of Dingle, from artisanal spirits at Dingle Distillery to locally-brewed Crean’s Beer and scrumptious Murphy’s Ice Cream. With a burgeoning food scene, Dingle is a must-visit for foodies.
- Star-Studded Scenery: Step onto real-life movie sets as you explore the locations where “Ryan’s Daughter,” “Far and Away,” and even “Star Wars” were filmed. Dingle is not just a town, but a cinematic spectacle waiting to be discovered.
Top 10 Must-Visit Spots on the Dingle Peninsula
Ready to embark on the Dingle Peninsula adventure? Here are our top 10 must-visit spots, packed with hidden gems and local favorites:
- Dingle Town: Start your journey in the vibrant heart of the Peninsula. Visit the charming shops, traditional pubs, all centred around Dingle bay.
- Slea Head Drive: This coastal route offers stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean, Blasket Islands, and dramatic cliffs. A road trip you’ll remember for a lifetime.
- Gallarus Oratory: This ancient and well-preserved stone Early Christian Church is a testimony to Ireland’s early religious heritage. Its boat-like structure against the scenic backdrop is a photographer’s dream!
- Blasket Islands: Hop on a ferry to these uninhabited islands. The Great Blasket offers an abandoned village and enchanting wildlife, making it a haven for nature lovers.
- Dunquin Pier: The picturesque winding road leading to the pier is one of the most photographed places in Ireland. Catch a ferry here to the Blasket Islands.
- Coumeenoole Beach: Nestled between the cliffs along the Slea Head Drive, this beautiful sandy cove is perfect for a peaceful walk.
- Fahan Beehive Huts: These ancient stone huts, built in the form of beehives, offer a fascinating peek into the living conditions of early monastic settlements.
- Murphy’s Ice Cream Shop: For a sweet treat, stop by Murphy’s. Their ice cream is made with milk from Kerry cows, and the sea salt flavor, made with Dingle sea water, is a unique must-try!
- Dick Mack’s Pub: No trip to Dingle would be complete without a visit to this renowned pub, filled with character and a wide selection of whiskeys.
- Eask Tower: A bit of a climb but worth every step. This stone tower offers breathtaking panoramic views of Dingle town and harbor, and the Atlantic Ocean.
Dingle Town: A Bustling Hub of Activity
Situated on the wild and rugged Dingle Peninsula, Dingle Town is a bustling hub of activity, full of lively pubs, traditional music, and plenty of shopping and dining options. Visiting this charming Irish town is an experience like no other, offering visitors a glimpse into Irish culture while allowing them to escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life.
Slea Head Drive: A Journey Through Time
Experience a journey through time as you drive along Slea Head, a road that will take your soul on a captivating adventure. Exploring history and enjoying nature, Slea Head Drive offers breathtaking views of the Dingle Peninsula, a tranquil place of beauty. A drive along this road will take you to the many attractions on the peninsula, such as the Celtic Ogham Stones, the Prehistoric Beehive Huts, and the iconic Blasket Islands.
From the historic sites to the stunning beaches, the Dingle Peninsula offers an abundance of natural beauty to explore. As you drive, you will be surrounded by the vivid green hills, rugged cliffs, and the smell of the salty Atlantic Ocean. Along the way, you will have plenty of opportunities to take in the spectacular views, from the cliffs at Slea Head to the sandy beaches along the coast.
Gallarus Oratory: An Ancient Irish Church
Behold the Gallarus Oratory, an ancient Irish church said to have been built in the 8th or 9th century. Located along the Dingle Peninsula, this historic site is a reminder of the Celtic traditions of the area and the skillful Gallarus architecture.
Its walls, constructed of dry stone and curved inwards at the top, provide a striking contrast against the lush green landscape of the peninsula. The simplicity of the building, combined with its beauty and serenity, create a peaceful atmosphere which invites visitors to take a moment to appreciate the past.
The Gallarus Oratory is one of the best-preserved churches in Ireland. Its walls, which are composed of sandstone slabs, are known for their remarkable accuracy in construction. It is believed that the church was built by monks, who made use of a technique of interlocking stones that allowed them to create walls without the need for mortar.
The Blasket Islands: A World of Their Own
Discover a world of its own on the Blasket Islands, where you can find the highest concentration of Irish speakers in the world, with over 2,000 people speaking the native language.
To explore the islands, you can take a boat excursion and traverse the picturesque views of the Atlantic Ocean. As you journey across the waters, discover the rich folklore and culture that has been preserved on the islands for generations. Stories of mermaids, selkies, and other myths still linger in the air, providing a unique insight into the life and culture of the islands.
On the Blasket Islands, you can also find a plethora of activities to fill your days. Take a walk along the sandy beaches, explore the rugged cliffs, or take a fishing trip and catch the days dinner. Whether you’re looking for a tranquil escape or an adventure, the Blasket Islands offer it all.
Dingle Harbour: A Haven of Serenity and Charm
Nestled at the edge of Dingle Town, the bustling harbour is a vibrant hub of activity which use to be a base for Spanish fishing fleets and centuries ago Dingle was one of Ireland’s main trading ports!. From the lively chatter of fishermen hauling in their fresh catch to the hum of boats setting off to the Atlantic, it’s a place teeming with authentic Irish life. Fungie the town’s dolphin has passed on now, but there is still plenty to see in this gorgeous harbour.
For those of you with an interest in maritime history, Dingle Harbour’s boatyard showcases traditional boat-building techniques. Wander around and marvel at the craftsmanship that goes into each vessel and you can take many boat tours from the harbour.
As the day ends, there’s nothing quite like a leisurely stroll along the harbour, enjoying the golden hues of the setting sun reflecting off the gently lapping water. With the lullaby of seagulls and the salty scent of the sea, it’s a perfect tranquil moment to end your day in Dingle.
Conor Pass: Ireland’s Highest Mountain Pass
Soak in the remarkable views as you take the winding journey through Conor Pass, Ireland’s highest mountain pass. Located in County Kerry, this mountain pass is a popular destination for tourists and locals alike, due to its stunning panoramic views of the surrounding countryside.
Whether it’s exploring the numerous climbing routes or taking a leisurely stroll down one of the hillwalking paths, Conor Pass is the perfect place to experience the tranquility of the Dingle Peninsula. The hillwalking paths of Conor Pass offer breathtaking views of the landscape, from the rolling hills of the Dingle Peninsula to the majestic slopes of the McGillycuddy Reeks mountain range.
Mount Brandon: Ireland’s Second Highest Peak
Standing at a towering 952m, Mount Brandon is Ireland’s second highest peak and offers breathtaking views of the surrounding countryside. It’s a popular destination for climbers, both experienced and novice, who come to test themselves on the many climbing routes up the mountain.
For those looking for something a bit more adventurous, there are caves to explore, with some hidden away deep within the mountain. For those looking to take in the incredible views, a climb to the top is a must.
Foxy John’s: A Pint, A Chat, and A Hardware Store?
Prepare yourself for a unique Irish experience at Foxy John’s, a place where the local charm and character of Dingle come alive!
Foxy John’s is no ordinary pub – it’s a pub and a hardware store rolled into one. Yes, you heard that right! This quirky dual-purpose establishment is a real throwback to a bygone era. Walk in looking for a screwdriver or a paintbrush, and you’ll find yourself sipping on a perfectly poured pint of Guinness while you browse. There’s a similar set up in most towns and villages in Ireland, many also have a funeral parlour included at the back as well!
Hugging the northern edge of the Dingle Peninsula, Brandon Bay is a sweeping arc of golden sand set against the stunning backdrop of the Slieve Mish Mountains. Renowned as one of the top windsurfing and kitesurfing destinations in Ireland, the bay is a paradise for water sports enthusiasts. When the Atlantic swells roll in, the surf here can be spectacular, attracting adrenaline junkies from near and far.
But don’t worry if riding waves isn’t your cup of tea. Brandon Bay is equally appealing for those who prefer a more laid-back experience. Its wide, sandy beach is perfect for leisurely strolls, with the rhythm of the crashing waves providing a soothing soundtrack. Keep an eye out for dolphins and seals, as they’re often spotted frolicking in the waves.
What is Dingle known for?
- Dingle Distillery: Let’s kick things off with a wee dram! Nestled in the heart of Dingle, this artisanal distillery is famous for its handcrafted spirits, including a delectably smooth whiskey, a unique gin, and a robust vodka. Take a guided tour, soak in the rich aromas, and learn about the traditional distilling methods that make their spirits so special.
- Gallarus Oratory: Stepping into the Gallarus Oratory is like stepping back in time. This ancient stone church, shaped like an upturned boat, is an architectural marvel from Ireland’s early Christian period. Its weather-beaten stones tell a thousand stories about the people who sought sanctuary here centuries ago.
- Fahan Beehive Huts: Continuing with the historical journey, the Fahan Beehive Huts offer a glimpse into the early monastic life in Ireland. Their unique construction, resembling beehives, is a testament to the innovative spirit of our ancestors.
- Eask Tower: This stone tower standing proud on Carhoo Hill is a beacon guiding ships into Dingle Harbour. The trek up might be a bit of a workout, but the panoramic views of Dingle Town, the harbour, and the Atlantic Ocean are well worth the effort.
- Irish Famine Cottages: Visit these hauntingly beautiful stone cottages for a poignant reminder of the Great Irish Famine. Situated in Slea Head, the cottages have been preserved as a memorial to the millions who suffered during this tragic time in our history.
How to Get to Dingle?
By Air: The closest airport to Dingle is Kerry Airport, just a 40-minute drive away. This small airport offers both domestic and international flights, making it an accessible option for many travelers. Car rental services are available at the airport, providing an easy way to reach Dingle and explore the beautiful Dingle Peninsula at your own pace.
Alternatively, you could fly into Cork Airport or Shannon Airport. Both are larger and offer more flight options. Cork Airport is about a 2.5-hour drive from Dingle, and Shannon Airport is approximately a 3-hour drive. Car rentals are also available from these airports.
By Train: If you prefer to travel by train, the nearest station to Dingle is Tralee, located around 33 miles away. Tralee is well-connected with major Irish cities like Dublin and Cork. From Tralee, you can take a taxi or a local bus to Dingle.
By Bus: Bus Éireann, Ireland’s national bus service, operates regular services from Tralee to Dingle. This is a convenient and economical option, especially if you are traveling from within Ireland.
By Car: If you’re already in Ireland, driving to Dingle offers a fantastic opportunity to enjoy the scenic Irish countryside. Just remember, we Irish drive on the left side of the road!
Frequently Asked Questions About Dingle Ireland
How long is the Slea Head Drive?
The Slea Head drive takes you on a stunning route along the coast, offering spectacular views. It’s an unforgettable journey that will delight your senses and stir a desire for freedom. So, how long is it? About 40km!
How far is Inisheer from the mainland?
Inisheer is just a short ferry-ride away from the mainland. With its stunning wildlife and peaceful island hopping, it’s an ideal spot to escape the hustle and bustle of daily life. A perfect place to explore and reconnect with nature.
What is the best time of year to go to the Dingle Peninsula?
Discover the best time of year to go wildlife spotting and night camping by investigating the truth of the theory that summertime offers the most ideal conditions. Enjoy the freedom to explore nature’s wonders, and be rewarded with tranquility and beauty.
What are the most popular outdoor activities on the Dingle Peninsula?
Explore the great outdoors on the Dingle Peninsula! Go walking tours, bird watching, sea kayaking, and hiking. Discover stunning views, fresh air, and an abundance of nature. Enjoy activities that let you connect with the environment and find freedom.
Is there public transportation available on the Dingle Peninsula?
You’re yearning for freedom? Explore the Dingle Peninsula with bus routes, car hire, and sightseeing tours! Discover the beauty and tranquility of the peninsula and let your spirit soar!
What films have been filmed in Dingle peninsula?
- “Ryan’s Daughter” (1970): This classic David Lean film put Dingle on the global map. Shot entirely on location, the film showcases Dingle’s raw beauty. The schoolhouse built for the film near Dunquin still stands and is a popular spot for film enthusiasts.
- “Far and Away” (1992): This romantic drama starring Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman features stunning shots of the Dingle Peninsula, showcasing our landscape in all its rugged glory.
- “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” (2017): Our very own Skellig Michael, off the coast of the Peninsula, was transformed into the planet Ahch-To in this blockbuster. The film’s crew was so smitten with the area’s beauty that they came back for more footage around Ceann Sibéal for “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker”.
- “Leap Year” (2010): Parts of this romantic comedy were shot in and around Dingle. The film captures the area’s charm and showcases some of our lovely traditional pubs.
- “The Field” (1990): While not filmed on the Dingle Peninsula itself, this film was shot in nearby Leenane in County Galway. We include it because the story captures the spirit and struggle of rural Ireland, themes close to our hearts.