Travel Guide to Dingle Ireland: What to see, what to eat, where to stay and more
Planning a trip to Dingle, Ireland? We've got the complete guide for what to do, where to eat, and where to stay in Dingle, Ireland. If you're trying to plan your own trip to this quaint Irish village, keep reading and are looking for the best travel guide to Dingle, Ireland, this is it....
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.
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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 and we’ll get back to you ASAP.
Alright, let’s get going!
WHAT TO KNOW BEFORE YOU GO
Before you hop on a plane to Ireland, let’s go over a few basics to make sure you know a bit about what to expect when you land over in the Emerald Isle for your vacation.
Ireland as a whole receives lots of wet weather (it’s what makes the Emerald Isle emerald). Don’t let the wet weather slow you down though-- grab a good raincoat and a pair of hiking boots and set out on your adventure!
Best Time to Visit
Peak tourism season kicks off around St. Patrick’s Day (March 17) every year. However, the closer you get to summer the more likely you are to have consistently better weather.
While Ireland is green all year round due to its relatively moderate (but rainy) climate, in order to see the beautiful emerald green that it’s so famous for, you should aim to visit in June, July, or August. Do keep in mind that everyone else will be trying to visit those months as well so consider traveling earlier in the spring instead (March, April, and May). This will likely save money on both airline tickets and hotels!
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. :)
If rain doesn’t bother you, there’s really not a bad time to visit Ireland. It’s gorgeous year round!
The Republic of Ireland (or Southern Ireland) left the United Kingdom in 1922 and now uses the Euro, unlike Northern Ireland which is still a part of the United Kingdom and uses the Pound.
English is spoken by 99% of Irish. However, if you’re traveling to Dingle and surrounding areas you’re definitely going to see signs written in Irish and you’re likely to hear locals speaking it as well. This part of the country is proud and keeps the traditional Irish language alive by passing it on to future generations. That being said, if you speak English you won’t have any problem getting 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 do it! 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 enough.
Before prepping for Ireland I did a lot of research on car rentals in Ireland and found the post Sher She Goes wrote entirely about renting a car in Ireland extremely helpful so be sure to check it out HERE.
A few things I’ll briefly include here about renting a car though:
Ireland drives on the left side of the road.
Purchase all 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.
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 to utilize those as much as possible to help the locals get to 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. We have a USAA credit card and it happened to be one of the few cards that does cover Ireland car rentals. Be sure to call your credit card company directly and check!
Europe’s outlets are 110V vs. 220V like in the USA. Because of this you’ll need to travel with a voltage converter. We chose this one which is reasonably priced and has 4 USB ports and 2 standard US outlets. We travel with a lot of camera gear so having plenty of outlets to charge all of our gear at night is a must.
What to Pack
Ireland can have unpredictable weather so travel prepared! Here are a few key items you’ll want to be sure to pack:
For more packing suggestions for Ireland, check out list HERE.
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!
(BONUS: If you’ve never booked an Airbnb before you can get $40 off your first reservation by clicking HERE !)
The apartment was an easy 2-10 minute walk from the whole city 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 you can visit their reservation page HERE.
WHERE & WHAT TO EAT IN DINGLE, IRELAND
Dingle is a fishing village so seafood is a must! If fishy foods aren't your thing, no worries! There are still plenty of food and drink options in town for you to try. From coffee and pastries to cheese and wine to fish and chips, there's something for everyone.
What to Eat
Fish and chips
Shepard's Pie and/or Cottage Pie
Breakfast sausage rolls
Any sort of local dairy (daily is huge in Ireland!)
Guinness (of course)
Dingle Gin and Tonic
Where to Eat
Alright, no you know a few dishes/drinks that are must tries in Ireland, now let's talk about where you can try some of these classics in Dingle...
The Dingle Peninsula is a haven for outdoor adventure. With numerous hiking trails including the second highest peak in Ireland, there’s plenty to keep active visitors busy for days! In fact, the peninsula is best seen on foot so bring your hiking boots if that’s your thing.
Slea Head Drive
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!
These Beehive Hut homes are estimated to be around 2,500 years old. While little no documentation remains to indicate what life would have been like for these inhabitants, their homes are very well intact. For €3 you can walk through these homes and admire the engineering marvel that they are.
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.
The €3 entrance fee includes visiting the Beehive Huts and meeting the baby lambs and it's a really fun experience for all ages! Located right on Slea Head Drive, this experience is a short 20 minute drive from downtown Dingle
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.
Fungie the Dolphin
Nobody really knows how he got there, but for years there’s been a dolphin in the harbor of Dingle that swims up to the boats every. single. time. Really! Even the locals will tell you it’s real and nobody knows why he’s there or how he got there. Nobody is feeding him to keep him in the bay, he’s staying there all on his own free will. No matter why he’s there, it makes for a fun outing to go say hello to the famous dolphin. Children especially will enjoy this activity!
Dingle is a relatively small town but they have a great little aquarium complete with sharks, penguins, butterflies, otters and more! It’s the perfect activity for all ages on those rainy Ireland days.
Brandon point is easily accessible 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 trail that connects on the left (western) side of the Brandon Point parking lot. The 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.
This 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.
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.
USE OUR MAPS!
Want an easier way to find our favorite places when traveling? Checkout our Google Maps pins! Just click on a favorite place marked on the map and get directions instantly! Locations are divided into a variety of categories including food, drinks, attractions, trails, and more! Click the image below to get started.
Ireland is incredible and Dingle seems to be the heart of the Irish culture. If you love outdoor activities and a taste of new culture, this place is for you. Take advantage of the small town, slower pace of life that Dingle, Ireland offers and get lost in the adventure for a while.
Eat all the fish and chips you can get your hands on, walk the rocky hiking trails up mountains, and enjoy a sunset looking over the cliffs on Slea Head Drive. Dingle, Ireland offers everything you need for a good vacation: relaxation, good food, and as much fun as you’re willing to have. So what are you waiting for? Book that vacation!
WATCH OUR DINGLE VIDEOS
Did you know we're on Youtube? Below you'll find our videos featuring many of the places we've mentioned here in this blogpost so check it out! :)
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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!