Welcome to your essential guide to the charming town of Dingle, nestled on the western coast of Ireland. Dingle is a treasure trove of stunning landscapes, delightful locals, and vibrant culture. As you journey through this guide, we'll offer you a glimpse of Dingle's beauty, from its craggy cliffs to its cozy pubs, all enshrined in Irish traditions and folklore. Let's embark on this enchanting Irish escapade together, and discover why Dingle is a must-visit destination on the Emerald Isle.
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The story of how we ended up in Dingle, Ireland
How we ended up visiting Dingle, Ireland and learning so much about this area is sort of a funny story....
Years ago we decided we wanted to say yes more often. Yes for making that workout happen each morning. Yes to trying that extra spicy taco in Mexico. Yes to taking up strangers on their offer to stay in their home in Ireland.
One night we were working in a coffee shop in Florida when we got an email from a member in our Youtube community. Like with most emails from strangers, we assumed it was spam at first until we gave it another read and decided to reply back just in case it wasn't spam. Turns out it wasn't.
An incredibly gracious Irishman had been watching our videos and offered to let us stay at his place in the off season whenever we were ready to hop the pond to Ireland. Well, we assumed since he had take the time to email us that he was serious. After a bit more investigating and talking to him, we took him up on his offer and purchased tickets to Ireland.
The gentleman was originally from Ireland but had settled just down the street from us in Georgia with his incredibly kind family. Before we took off for Ireland, we actually passed through their town and went to dinner with them to say thank you and to take in all of their best recommendations. They remain some of the kindest people we've ever met through Youtube and we so enjoyed their company and the wealth of local insight we received. He was born and raised in Dingle and we even had a chance to meet some of his family while in Ireland.
Moral of the story: yes, always be careful with strangers, but do say yes when opportunities present themself. Thanks to a kind family in Georgia, we had the opportunity to stay in the most adorable Irish Airbnb located in the quaintest small town on the island. It was perfect.
If you've never heard of Dingle before, you need to keep reading. Dingle is the quintessential Irish town: mountains, rolling green hills, sheep a plenty, fishing boats with fresh catches, Irish music and lots of pubs.
We spent a 10 days in Ireland focusing entirely on the southwestern region of the country. Dingle was our home base as we toured the peninsula and nearby Killarney and the Ring of Kerry. This little corner of the world is overflowing with beauty and culture and it’s easy to see why so many people return to Ireland year after year.
If you're planning a trip to Dingle, Ireland, keep reading to learn everything you need to know before your own trip to Dingle.
There’s truly so much to see in this area of the country! Perhaps another trip to Ireland is in our future? While our trip was relatively brief, we were able to experience a lot and we’re sharing our top things to see, do, and eat on the Dingle Peninsula with you today.
Rather than giving you itinerary suggestions, we’re going to list a lot of options and you can mix and match whatever activities most strike your fancy.
If you have any questions about planning your trip, don’t hesitate to reach out in the comments.
Alright, let’s get going!
Where is Dingle, Ireland?
Located on the southwestern coast of Ireland, Dingle is a small port town nestled in the heart of County Kerry. Known for its rugged beauty and charming character, Dingle is situated on a quaint peninsula that extends into the Atlantic Ocean, creating a natural beauty that is breathtakingly unique. It's remarkably easy to reach, with well-connected roadways to other popular Irish destinations, making it a convenient pit-stop for travelers exploring the Emerald Isle.
How far is Dingle from Dublin?
Dingle is approximately 350 kilometers, or around 220 miles, away from Dublin, making it roughly a 4 - 5 hour drive via the M7. The drive is also incredibly scenic, offering views of Ireland's lush countryside and rugged coastline along the way. Despite the distance, the journey from Dublin to Dingle is well worth the effort, as it promises an immersive experience of Irish culture and natural beauty.
Dublin, Ireland to Dingle, Ireland: 350 km | 4 hr 48 min | Google Maps
Weather in Dingle, Ireland
The weather in Dingle, Ireland is nothing short of unpredictable, adding a charm to the town's rugged landscapes. Ensuring you have a memorable trip starts with understanding the area's climatic nuances.
First off, let's talk about the wind in Ireland. Dingle is located on the coast of the Atlantic Ocean and the weather is generally very windy. Keep in mind that while the temperatures aren't necessarily that low, it'll feel colder due to all the moisture in the air and the windy conditions.
Spring (March - May) in Dingle is a season of rebirth. The landscape transforms into a vibrant canvas of spring blooms, and the average temperature hovers between 50-60 degrees Fahrenheit. It's the perfect time for those who enjoy mild weather and want to avoid the summer crowds.
Summer (June - August) is the warmest time of the year, with temperatures averaging around 65 degrees Fahrenheit each day. It's also the peak tourist season, so expect bustling streets and lively festivals. The long daylight hours provide ample time for exploring the natural beauty of Dingle.
Autumn (September - November) brings a touch of magic to Dingle. The town is cloaked in warmer hues, and the temperatures cool down to a pleasant range of 55-65 degrees Fahrenheit. While the weather can be a bit unpredictable, there's a certain charm in the crisp air and colorful foliage.
The Winter (December - February) in Dingle is colder but due to Dingle's overall moderate climate next to the Atlantic Ocean it doesn't snow very often. With fewer tourists around, it's an ideal time for those seeking tranquility and quietude. Just be prepared for more rain!
In conclusion, each season in Dingle offers its own unique experience, but remember, Irish weather is renowned for its unpredictability! So, regardless of the season, don't forget your raincoat and a sense of adventure!
Best time of year to visit Ireland
There are three seasons we always break down weather in: peak season, off season, and shoulder season. Each comes with its advantages and disadvantages, it really depends on your schedule, budget, and what you're hoping to see and do on your Ireland vacation. Typically we prefer traveling during the shoulder seasons because it offers a few of the perks of both peak and off-seasons. We'll break down the perks of each below.
Peak season (May, June, July, and August)
While every month in Dingle, Ireland regularly receives lots of rain, the summer months as a whole have less days of precipitation. With summer comes much longer days giving you more hours to explore after the rain has passed. Weather aside, peak season is the busiest and most expensive time of year to travel, except for St. Patricks's Day.
One of the biggest perks of visiting Dingle during peak season is that the Emerald Isle is at its full, green emerald color in summer. There's always a bit of green in the grass, but during summer it turns bright and full of life again.
Off season (November, December, January, and February)
The winter months are certainly the off season for Ireland. The days are short, the temperatures are colder, and there's certainly more rain. The off season in Dingle has far fewer crowds and the rates of hotels are much more affordable. If you're on a tight budget and are willing to brave the elements, this is a great time of year to visit.
Shoulder season (March & April and September & October)
Shoulder season is typically our favorite season to travel. Crowds are moderate, prices are still relatively low, and the weather can be absolutely beautiful (and sometimes horrible). For many places, shoulder season is a gamble because you could get any sort of weather. Thankfully, Dingle, Ireland is more predictable in shoulder season than many places, so there's less risk involved.
We visited the last week of February and first few days of March and overall had nice weather. With the exception of a couple of days of downpour in Galway, our time in western Ireland was really nice. The days almost always featured a quick rain shower that within a few minutes would give way to sunny skies again. When I look back at our time in Dingle, I remember it being mostly sunny!
The biggest thing to note about shoulder season in Dingle is that St. Patrick's Day (March 17) is by far the busiest time of the year for Ireland tourism. The few days before and after the holiday are crowded, expensive, and a bit noisy.
Bonus tip: Lamb season (when all their sheep have their babies) begins around early March. If you want to see little sheep jumping and lounging in all the green pastures, consider visiting in March. There were already lots of lambs when we visited the last week of February, and seeing their little soft, fuzzy selves lying in the pastures was such a highlight.
Money and Currency in Ireland
Ireland, including Dingle, uses the Euro (€) as its official currency. Credit and debit cards are widely accepted throughout the town, with Visa and MasterCard being the most commonly accepted. However, it's always a good idea to carry some cash for smaller establishments or in case card machines are temporarily down. ATMs are readily available if you need to withdraw cash. While traveller's checks can be exchanged in banks, they're less commonly used today. Contactless payments, including Apple Pay and Google Pay, are becoming more prevalent, too. Remember to notify your bank about your travel plans to ensure your transactions are seamless and to avoid any potential fraud alerts or blocks on your card.
The primary language spoken in Dingle, like the rest of Ireland, is English. However, Dingle is unique as it sits in the heart of one of the country's Gaeltacht regions, where Irish Gaelic is still spoken as a first language by some residents. Road signs and public notices are often bilingual, and you may hear locals using Irish amongst themselves. Don't worry though, everyone speaks fluent English and visitors who speak English will not face any language barriers during their visit. It's also a great opportunity to pick up a few phrases in Irish!
Best way to get around Ireland
Unless you’re in Dublin, you’re going to want to rent a car in Ireland. It’s not a secret that driving in Ireland can be a bit intimidating due to their very narrow roads that twist and turn over mountains and hills, but that doesn’t mean you can't or shouldn't! You’re very capable of handling the roads. Give yourself some time to get the hang of it and go slow. I can’t emphasize the slow part enough.
Before prepping for Ireland I did a lot of research on car rentals in Ireland. Ireland was the first place we had ever rented a car where they drive on the opposite side of the road than we do in America. We had been to other places that drive on the left side of the road, but doing it ourselves was a bit nerve-racking the first half hour or so. Then you get the hang of it!
A few things I’ll briefly include here about renting a car though:
Ireland drives on the left side of the road.
Purchase all of the possible insurance. While we didn’t have any damages on our car, about 90% of the rental cars returned in Ireland do so statistically you’re going to want that insurance just in case (unless your travel credit card covers rental car rentals in Ireland).
Drive slow until you get the hang of it. The Ireland locals are pretty patient and won’t honk the horn at you but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be considerate and move over for drivers who want to go faster than you. Ireland has lots of pull offs so utilize those as often as possible to help the locals get where they need to go.
Most of the cars in Ireland are manual transmissions (stick shifts). If you’ve never driven a stick shift and/or have never driven on the left side of the road, splurge the extra and get the automatic transmission.
Check your credit card to see if you're covered for car rental companies. Most travel cards will cover you except in Ireland. If your credit card does cover you, you'll need a letter to take to show the rental car agent at the time of pickup. Make sure you know the difference between primary and secondary car insurance and know for certain which one your card covers. You'll definitely want at least the primary insurance.
Rent the smallest car possible. I know larger cars are more comfortable, but the smaller the car you can get away with, the better. Trust me, you'll want to be driving a little hatchback vs. an SUV when you're passing another car on a road that in the USA would be a one lane road.
What to pack for Ireland
When packing for your trip to Ireland, it's important to consider the country's often unpredictable weather patterns. Layering is key as you could experience all four seasons in one day, varying from sudden rain showers to sunny skies. So, ensure your suitcase includes a mix of light and warm clothing, a waterproof jacket, sturdy walking shoes for those picturesque countryside walks, and don't forget an umbrella. Let us delve deeper into the specifics of what your Ireland packing list should look like.
Clothes and shoes
Jackets and coats take up a lot of room in the suitcase, but trust me, you'll be glad you brought a variety. We always start with a jacket that insulates and keeps us warm enough on those windy days in Dingle, Ireland. For those rainy days you'll want to be sure to bring a good raincoat that has enough room to fit your other layers underneath.
Essential Clothing and Shoes to Pack for Ireland
Warm Jacket - A good quality, warm jacket is essential. Consider something that is insulated for those cooler and windy days. We love the Patagonia Nano Puff jacket.
Raincoat - Given the changeable weather, a waterproof raincoat is a must. Make sure it's roomy enough to fit over your layers.
Light Sweaters - Pack a few light sweaters for layering. Opt for quick-drying fabrics which are easy to wash and wear.
Comfortable Walking Shoes - A sturdy pair of walking shoes or hiking boots are a must for those countryside walks and exploring the rugged terrain.
Waterproof Shoes - Consider packing a pair of waterproof shoes for those rainy days. We love traveling with Blundstones since they're so versatile and waterproof.
Jeans or Trousers - A couple of pairs of comfortable jeans or trousers are always a good idea.
T-Shirts and Long-Sleeve Tops - Include a mix of short and long-sleeve tops for layering. Again, consider easy-care and quick-drying fabrics.
Scarf, Hat, and Gloves - Accessories such as a warm scarf, hat, and gloves can be a lifesaver on those particularly chilly days.
Umbrella - While this isn't clothing, it's small enough to throw in your bag and will definitely come in handy!
Credit cards and cash (Euro)
Before leaving home for your trip to Dingle, Ireland, make sure that you have plenty of cash and/or cards that will work internationally. Our bank (Bank of America) converts US currency at a 3% rate for bank members. This is much cheaper than the airport or ATMs internationally. Not to mention when you land in Ireland you don't have to worry about standing in line to convert. About 10 days before a trip we order money online and they deliver the cash to our bank for us. Typically we don't carry a lot of cash anymore, but it's always good to have some on hand just in case.
As far as credit cards go, we've had good luck with Capital One Venture card being accepted internationally seeing as it's a Visa card. American Express Platinum is our favorite credit card, but it does come with a hefty annual fee and fewer businesses accept Amex. No matter what card you have (if any), make sure you notify your card company of your travels before you leave! This way they won't freeze your card thinking it's fraud.
Tech and gadgets
Electrical converter/adapter - Remember, Ireland uses different electrical outlets from those used in the US. Therefore, it's essential to bring a universal travel adapter that adapts to Irish outlets.
Portable battery bank - Since you'll probably be out exploring most of the day, a portable battery bank can be a lifesaver. This will ensure your phone stays charged while you're navigating, taking photos, or staying in touch with friends and family.
Phone charger - Always bring along your standard phone charger. It's a good idea to have a backup just in case.
Camera and charger - Whether you are an amateur or a professional, a camera is a must-have in picturesque Dingle. Don't forget the charger (or extra batteries, if applicable)!
Tablet or e-reader - If you enjoy reading in your downtime or on long journeys, an e-reader or tablet can be a handy device to have. Remember the charging cable as well.
Laptop and charger - If you're planning on doing any work or watching movies during your downtime, then bring along your laptop and its charger.
Headphones or earbuds - Whether you're listening to music during a bus ride or watching a movie on your device, headphones or earbuds are essential.
Power Strip - With so many electronics, a travel-sized power strip can be incredibly useful, especially if your accommodation has limited outlets.
Waterproof phone case - Given Ireland's unpredictable weather, a waterproof case will protect your phone from any unexpected rain showers.
Where to stay in Dingle, Ireland
We stayed at the cutest Airbnb right in the town of Dingle that we’d highly recommend to anyone visiting the area. I'm usually more of a hotel person, but homes like this always make me rethink my stance of hotel > Airbnb.
The apartment was an easy 2-10 minute walk from anywhere in Dingle, and our favorite spots were only a 4 minute walk down the street. Not only was the location perfect, but our Airbnb (which is called Harriet’s Cottage) was hands down the best vacation rental experience we’ve ever had. The hosts provided so much helpful information about what to see, eat, and do in the Dingle, Ireland area, as well as clearly labeling everything around the cottage to ensure an easy, comfortable stay.
The apartment was well furnished and decorated so cute with all the amenities that make a place feel like home including a washer and dryer, dishwasher, and iron, Apple TV, and more. Oh, and did I mention they’re dog friendly?
Reservations can be made via Airbnb, VRBO, or by contacting the owner directly and paying via Paypal. For more information, be sure to visit their website, Harrietscottage.com
Foods that visitors should try while in Ireland
Ireland, known for its hearty and warm, offers a plethora of dishes that visitors must indulge in during their stay. From savory to sweet, here is a list of traditional Irish foods that will provide an unforgettable gastronomic journey through the charming town of Dingle.
Fish and chips - A staple in many Irish pubs, this dish consists of battered and deep-fried fish served with fries.
Irish stew - Made with lamb or mutton, potatoes, onions, carrots, and herbs, this hearty dish is the perfect comfort food on a chilly day.
Shepard's Pie and/or Cottage Pie - Both pies are made with a meat filling (shepherd's pie with lamb, cottage pie with beef) and topped with mashed potatoes.
Boxty - A type of potato pancake that can be served as a side dish or stuffed with savory fillings.
Soda bread - This iconic Irish bread is made from flour, baking soda, salt, and buttermilk
Breakfast sausage rolls - A breakfast favorite in Ireland, consisting of sausage wrapped in puff pastry.
Irish coffee - No trip to Ireland is complete without trying this classic cocktail made with hot coffee, whiskey, sugar, and topped with cream.
Any sort of local dairy (dairy is huge in Ireland!)
Guinness (of course)
Dingle Gin and Tonic
Where to eat and drink in Dingle, Ireland
The food scene in Dingle, Ireland, is nothing short of inspiring. Seafood enthusiasts will revel in the fresh catches of the day served at local restaurants, from succulent scallops to the tastiest mussels. Traditional Irish fare is abundant, with hearty stews, fish and chips, and fresh soda bread gracing many a menu. For a sweet treat, you can't miss trying Murphy's Ice Cream, a local favorite known for its unique flavors like Dingle sea salt and Irish coffee. And, of course, no culinary tour of Dingle would be complete without a trip to a pub (or two or three) for a traditional pint of Guinness.
Bean in Dingle
Bean in Dingle is a charming artisan coffee shop tucked away in the heart of Dingle town. Known for its fantastic coffee, friendly baristas, and cozy atmosphere, it's the perfect place to start your day or recharge in between your Dingle adventures. The café offers a range of espresso-based beverages and pastries. Their dedication to quality is apparent in every cup, making it a must-visit spot for coffee lovers.
Address: Green St, Dingle, Co. Kerry, Ireland | Google Maps
My Boy Blue
My Boy Blueis a delightful café and health food store located in Dingle, known for its vibrant, eclectic décor and a menu full of wholesome, delicious options. Whether you're in the mood for a hearty breakfast, a light lunch, or just a great cup of coffee, My Boy Blue has something to tickle your taste buds. Their fresh, locally sourced ingredients contribute to the overall exceptional quality of the dishes. It's a perfect spot for anyone seeking healthy, flavorful food in a relaxed, welcoming setting.
Address: Holyground, Dingle, Co. Kerry, Ireland | Google Maps
The Fish Box
The Fish Box is a highly-rated seafood restaurant located in Dingle, serving up a variety of fresh, locally-sourced seafood dishes. Known for its friendly staff, comfortable ambiance, and spectacular dishes like the creamy mushroom soup or the ever-popular fish and chips, The Fish Box is a must-visit for every seafood lover. The restaurant proudly supports sustainable fishing practices, with each dish showcasing the very best of what Dingle's surrounding waters have to offer.
Address: Green St, Dingle, Co. Kerry, Ireland | Google Maps
Murphy’s Ice Cream
Murphy's Ice Creamis not just an ice cream shop - it's an experience. Situated in the heart of Dingle, this delightful ice cream parlor is renowned for its creative flavours, made from the freshest local ingredients. What sets Murphy's apart is their commitment to making every element of their ice cream from scratch. The popularity and appeal of Murphy's reached international audiences when it was featured in the Netflix series, "Somebody Feed Phil". In the episode, Phil Rosenthal, the show's host, couldn't help but exclaim over the rich, creamy taste and innovative flavors that Murphy's Ice Cream offers. A visit to Dingle wouldn't be complete without a stop at Murphy's.
Address: Strand Street, Dingle, Co. Kerry, Ireland | Google Maps
Out of the Blue
Out of the Blue is a hidden gem nestled in the heart of Dingle, renowned for its commitment to serving only the freshest local seafood. It operates on a 'no chips' and 'nothing deep fried' policy, highlighting their focus on quality, taste, and the natural flavors of their dishes. The menu changes daily depending on the catch of the day, ensuring a unique and exciting experience with every visit. A must-try is their seafood platter, a stunning array of Dingle's finest seafood offerings.
Address: Waterside, Dingle, Co. Kerry, Ireland | Google Maps
The Blue Zone
The Blue Zone is a lively restaurant and jazz venue located in the heart of Dingle. Known for its relaxed atmosphere and delicious pizza, it's the perfect place to unwind after a day of exploring. Their wood-fired oven pizzas, made with fresh, local ingredients, are a crowd favorite. The restaurant's unique charm is amplified by the live jazz music performances that fill the air with soulful tunes. A visit to The Blue Zone offers not just a meal, but a truly memorable experience.
Address: Green Street, Dingle, Co. Kerry, Ireland | Google Maps
Bácús Bakery Shop
Bácús Bakery is a must-visit in Dingle for any bread, pastry, or dessert lover. This delightful bakery is known for its exceptional baked goods, which are all handmade using traditional methods and locally sourced ingredients. The aroma of freshly baked bread and the welcoming staff make for an inviting atmosphere that is hard to resist. We stopped in here for breakfast most mornings during our time in Dingle and were never disappointed by whatever pastry we picked that day.
Address: Green St, Dingle, Co. Kerry, Ireland | Google Maps
The Little Cheese Shop
The Little Cheese Shop is a charming boutique store located in Dingle, dedicated to showcasing the very best of Irish cheeses. Offering a diverse range of cheese varieties sourced from all across the country, as well as artisanal crackers, chutneys, and even cheese-themed souvenirs, this shop is a paradise for cheese enthusiasts. It's run by a friendly and knowledgeable staff, eager to share their passion for cheese and guide you towards your perfect cheese selection. We stopped in for a picnic lunch to take with us for our road trip to the Cliffs of Moher which we highly recommend doing!
Kennedy's Bar was our favorite pub in Dingle! Cozy, candlelit, complete with a fireplace and wood stove. It's exactly the kind of pub you'd imagine when you think of Ireland. It can get lively, but generally this one was more for those wanted to enjoy a conversation and relax. Grab a pint or cocktail and enjoy it by the window with a good book or a conversation with friends.
Address: Upper Main Street, Dingle, Co. Kerry, Ireland | Google Maps
Foxy John's is more than just a traditional Irish pub, it's a unique blend of a hardware store and a watering hole, serving up conviviality and charm in equal measure. Grabbing a pint at Foxy John's is an essential Dingle experience, offering visitors a glimpse into the quirky character and rich history that defines this coastal Irish town. It's located at the heart of Dingle, making it a perfect spot to relax and immerse yourself in local culture after a day of sightseeing.
Address: Main St, Dingle, Co. Kerry, V92 PD6F, Ireland | Google Maps
15 Things to do in Dingle, Ireland
Dingle, Ireland is a treasure trove of unique experiences and stunning natural beauty. This charismatic town is known for its friendly locals, vibrant music scene, and mouthwatering local cuisine. But the appeal of Dingle extends beyond the town itself. Venture a little further and you'll find a bevy of outdoor adventures waiting to be explored. And let's not forget, Dingle is also home to some of Ireland's best craft breweries and distilleries. Whether you're a nature lover, history enthusiast, foodie, or simply looking for a good time, Dingle has something for everyone.
For those who love to hike, the Dingle Peninsula offers a variety of trails that cater to all skill levels. From gentle coastal walks to challenging mountain treks, the landscape is as varied as it is awe-inspiring.
Beginners or those looking for a leisurely walk should consider the Dingle Way, a popular trail that follows the coastline around the entire peninsula. It offers stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean, ancient archaeological sites, and the iconic Dingle lighthouse. You can choose to do sections of the Dingle Way, or for the more ambitious, tackle the entire 113 mile route over several days.
Intermediate hikers might want to consider the Mount Brandon hike, one of the most rewarding walks in Ireland. While the loop hike is 19 miles (quite long for a day hike!), visitors can still enjoy much of the scenery by turning the loop into a shortened out and back route. For those looking to go all the way up, the trail takes you to the summit of Mount Brandon, the second highest mountain in Ireland, with amazing panoramic views over the peninsula and the Atlantic.
For experienced hikers looking for a challenge, the Connor Pass is a must. This mountain pass, the highest in Ireland, offers a tough but rewarding climb with breathtaking views from the summit. It's a strenuous hike not for the faint-hearted, but those who reach the top are rewarded with an unparalleled panoramic view of the peninsula and beyond.
No matter which trail you choose, hiking in Dingle is a truly immersive way to experience the area's raw natural beauty.
Glanteenassig Wood is a hidden gem nestled amidst the rugged landscapes of the Dingle Peninsula. This serene woodland offers tranquil walking trails carved through dense forests, leading to enchanting waterfalls and reflective mountain lakes. The natural beauty of the area provides a perfect backdrop for a meditative stroll, a family picnic, or a nature photography expedition. Its seclusion and untouched wilderness make it an ideal destination for those seeking a peaceful retreat from town. It's not unusual to encounter local wildlife during your visit, adding an extra thrill to this outdoor experience.
Address: Glanteenassig Woods, Co. Kerry, Ireland | Google Maps
Slea Head Drive
Taking the journey around the Slea Head Drive is an absolute must when in Dingle. This scenic route, part of the Wild Atlantic Way, offers you the opportunity to experience breathtaking coastal views, ancient archaeological sites, and charming local villages. It's a circular route, beginning and ending in Dingle, that takes you right to the westernmost tip of the Dingle Peninsula. The drive is spectacular, with the Atlantic Ocean on one side and a landscape dotted with wildflowers and traditional Irish cottages on the other. For those looking for a bit more adventure, you can rent electric bikes in Dingle to explore Slea Head Drive on two wheels!
Typically we do a bit of research and do self-guided tours when we travel. However, Ireland is full of history and there were so many things we wanted to see and learn while visiting so we decided to have a local show us around.
Seamus the Irish Tour Guide came highly recommended by a friend so we decided to book a 3 hour tour around Slea Head Drive with him it was awesome! We saw Beehive Huts, baby lambs, massive cliffs, historic churches and cemeteries, and learned so much about the history and culture of not just the Dingle Peninsula but all of Ireland. While Seamus was born and raised on the Dingle Peninsula, he does tour all over Ireland so consider him if you’re planning a trip anywhere in the country. We would definitely use him again for a tour!
No matter if you choose to do a self-guided trip around Slea Head Drive or hike Seamus to show you the best spots, remember to stop often, not only for the amazing photo opportunities but also to breathe in the fresh salty air, and to savor the unique beauty of Dingle's rugged coastline.
One of the hidden gems you'll encounter on your visit to Dingle is the historical Minard Castle. Located along the scenic Slea Head Drive, this 16th-century fortress stands on a hill overlooking a picturesque beach, offering stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean. Despite the castle's ruinous state, it's easy to imagine its past grandeur. It's an ideal spot for a relaxing picnic, a leisurely walk on the beach, or just a quiet moment to reflect on the rich history of the Dingle Peninsula.
These Beehive Hut homes in Dingle, Ireland are estimated to be around 1,400 years old. While little no documentation remains to indicate what life would have been like for these inhabitants, their homes are very well intact. At the same location as the Beehive Huts you have the opportunity to meet and hold a baby lamb if that's your thing. These baby sheep aren't just any old baby sheep though. They're the lambs who's mothers have died or who's mothers have had too many lambs that they can't properly care for them all. The farmer who owns both sheep herd takes the rejected lambs inside and cares for them rather than leaving them to the elements.
Address: Slea Head Dr, Cantra, Co. Kerry, Ireland | Google Maps
Visit the Dingle Distillery
If you're a fan of fine spirits, don't miss out on a visit to the Dingle Distillery. Established in 2012, this craft distillery has quickly gained a reputation for producing some of Ireland's finest artisanal gin, vodka, and whiskey. Their spirits are made with local ingredients, reflecting the unique flavor and character of the Dingle Peninsula. You can take a tour of the distillery, learn about their distillation process, and of course, sample their award-winning spirits. Make sure you book in advance, as spots fill up quickly!
If you rented a car to explore Ireland, you can't leave the Dingle Peninsula without driving Conor Pass. This pass stretches from Dingle north towards Brandon Point (which is also on this list). Do note that the drive leaving Dingle is a narrow drive, but it gets far more technical when you cross the summit and head over the north side of the pass towards Brandon. Just take your time driving, allow the locals to pass, and be sure to utilize the pull offs for others as often as possible.
Nestled in the heart of the Dingle Peninsula, Annascaul Lake is a serene escape from the bustle. A hidden gem off the beaten path, the lake is surrounded by rolling hills and a myriad of local flora. The tranquil atmosphere, coupled with the stunning vista, makes it the perfect spot for a refreshing picnic or a leisurely walk. The lake is also a popular spot for fishing, with anglers often seen casting their lines in the hope of a catch. Don't forget to explore the nearby Annascaul village, home to a number of quaint pubs and cafes.
Address: Unnamed Rd, Co., Co. Kerry, Ireland | Google Maps
Dingle Oceanworld Aquarium
A visit to the Dingle Oceanworld Aquarium is a delightful experience for all ages. This family-friendly attraction boasts a vast variety of sea life including penguins, otters, and exotic fish from all over the world. The Shark Tank is a must-see, housing the only collection of sand tiger sharks in Ireland. The touch tank offers a hands-on learning experience for curious children and adults alike. Situated on the waterfront, the Dingle Aquarium is a fascinating way to spend an afternoon, immersing yourself in the underwater beauty and diversity of the Atlantic.
Address: The Wood, The-Wood, Dingle, Co. Kerry, Ireland | Google Maps
The Gallarus Oratory is a remarkable early Christian church, one of the best-preserved in Ireland. This thousand-year-old stone edifice, shaped like an upturned boat, is a testament to the skill and ingenuity of its builders. Its precise dry-stone construction has withstood the test of time and the harsh Atlantic elements. A visit to this iconic and mystical site in Dingle provides a glimpse into Ireland's ancient past.
Address: Gallarus, Co. Kerry, V92 Y028, Ireland | Google Maps
Brandon Point is easy to get to from Dingle and offers amazing views of cliffs that look westward over the Atlantic Ocean. If you're up for a bit more adventuring, hop on the Bookeen Trail that connects on the left (western) side of the Brandon Point parking lot. This 2.2 mile loop trail offers even better views of the cliffs and of the surrounding farms the higher you climb. If you time it right you'll be walking in the pasture with the sheep!
Note: Do not disturb the sheep or disrespect the area. This is a functioning farm and their property should be respected as such.
Address: Murirrigane, Brandon, Co. Kerry, Ireland | Google Maps
Horseback riding in Dingle, Ireland is an activity we didn’t get to do because it was a bit too cold for me while we were there, but it came highly recommended by lots of people. Ireland is rugged and wild and exploring by horseback would be an amazing way to see those hidden gems that aren’t accessible by road. While we can’t vouch for these companies personally, we heard great things about Dingle Horse Riding and Long’s Riding Stables, both of which are less than 10 minutes from downtown Dingle.
Dun Chaoin Pier
Dun Chaoin Pier is a must-visit spot in Dingle, Ireland. Known for its iconic serpentine pathway that descends steeply into the Atlantic, it offers breathtaking views of the Blasket Islands. This mesmerizing locale has also served as a filming location for several movies, and its sheer beauty and tranquility make it a favorite amongst both locals and tourists.
Address: Ballyickeen Commons, Co. Kerry, Ireland | Google Maps
Located ~20 minutes from downtown Dingle is Inch Beach. This long and wide sandy beach is the perfect place to take a stroll and enjoy the powerful and impressive waves that hit the shore here. Inch Beach is a popular surfing destination in Ireland so on a fair day you may get to watch locals and tourists alike ride the waves. While the beach is primarily sand, it is also crunchy in sections from all the seashells that have washed up onto shore making it a fun place to sweep the beach for unique finds.
Note: It's polite to leave whatever gems you find on the beach for the the next visitors to enjoy the same delights you stumbled across on your own walk. Remember to always Leave No Trace.
Coumeenoole Beach, located on the Slea Head Drive, is another gem in the crown of Dingle's captivating coastal scenery. Its fine sandy beach, flanked by dramatic cliffs and vast ocean views, is a sight to behold. The beach's natural beauty and tranquil atmosphere make it a perfect spot for quiet contemplation or a relaxing picnic whilst soaking in the stunning vistas. Visitors may recognize Coumeenoole Beach from its appearance in the famous movie "Ryan's Daughter".
Address: Coumeenoole North, Co. Kerry, Ireland | Google Maps
Dingle, with its rich history, stunning natural beauty, and friendly locals, offers an unrivaled travel experience. Whether you're exploring ancient beehive huts, holding adorable lambs, driving along the breathtaking Conor Pass, enjoying the marine life at the Dingle Oceanworld Aquarium, hiking to the majestic Brandon Point or galloping on horseback, Dingle is bound to leave an indelible impression on your heart. As you say goodbye to this enchanting Irish town, remember to carry its memories and leave behind footprints of respect and love. Safe travels!
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We're Chris and Sara
A creative husband and wife duo from a small-town in Tennessee with passion for all things travel. Checkout the links below to join us on our past, present, and future adventures!