Dingle Ireland Travel Guide
Dingle Ireland is a colorful fishing port in County Kerry. Located on a remote peninsula, the town is surrounded by stunning coastal landscapes perfect for hiking, biking, and road-tripping. Dingle is the largest town on the peninsula, and a lively base from which to launch your adventures. Our Dingle Ireland Travel Guide delves into the area’s Gaelic culture, things to do, how to get around, and when to visit.
In Dingle, visitors will find unique shops and one-of-a-kind pubs serving traditional Irish ale, food, and music. The walkable downtown offers a range of touring and rental services. There is also a commercial fishing fleet and working harbor to explore.
From Dingle it is a short drive to the area’s must-see attractions. Slea Head Drive, Conor Pass, Inch Beach, the pre-historic beehive huts, and Dingle Way hiking trails are all nearby. Use our Ireland travel guide to plan your adventure.
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Where is Dingle Ireland
Dingle (Irish: An Daingean) is on Ireland’s southwest coast. It is the point in Europe closest to America. The Dingle Peninsula (Irish: Corca Dhuibhne) is surrounded on three sides by Atlantic Ocean. The nearest large towns are Trawlee (30 miles) and Killarney (40 miles). The region is known for its jagged coastline, mountains, and hills well suited to hiking, biking, and touring.
Dingle Ireland Map
Dingle Ireland Overview
Irish tribes settled in Dingle about 6000 years ago. Today, the Dingle Peninsula is like an open-air museum with its rich history found on hilltops and in open fields. Stone markers from bronze age settlers, beehive huts from medieval monks, and 19th century farmhouses are scattered across the barren and beautiful landscape.
The Dingle Peninsula has a year-round population of around 2000 people. The local economy is based on farming, fishing, and tourism. Many travelers are drawn to the area to experience Slea Head Drive, a remarkable section of Ireland’s scenic Wild Atlantic Way that rivals the Ring of Kerry.
Dingle Culture and Heritage
Language: Dingle resides in a Gaeltacht district where the Irish government recognizes Gaelic as the native language, and works to support its survival. Everyone speaks English in Dingle, but the road signs are in Gaelic and you will hear the locals conversing in Irish Gaeilge.
Music and Pubs: Dingle works to keeps its Celtic roots alive is through its love of traditional music. Plentiful pubs are warmed by the rhythmic beat of fiddles, guitars, and Gaelic song. Here, the pubs themselves have personality (Foxy John’s is a hardware store by day and bar by night).
Maritime Roots: Dingle Harbor is an active fishing port with a fish factory and commercial fleet. Along the waterfront there is a marina, aquarium, and a statue of “Fungie,” a dolphin who for decades delighted locals and tourists by swimming with boats in the harbor. Boat tours, water activities, and aquatic rentals are concentrated in this area.
Farming: Dingle is dotted with farms separated by a patchwork of dry-stone walls. Crops are planted along the edge of cliffs and sheep roam rocky mountainsides. Visitors are able to participate in agricultural life by visiting open farms offering sheepdog demonstrations’, farmers markets, petting farms, and heritage sites such as the Famine Cottage.
Tourism and Hollywood: Over the past 50 years the movie industry has had a hand in helping to develop the tourist industry in Dingle Ireland. Movies such as Ryan’s Daughter, Far and Away, and Star Wars Episode VIII have taken advantage of the area’s dramatic and romantic terrains. Tourism, and the summer crowds it brings, are now a part of life on the Dingle Peninsula.
HOW TO GET TO THE DINGLE IRELAND & GETTING AROUND
The most convenient way to get to Dingle, and to get around the Dingle Peninsula, is by private motor vehicle. Here are some of transportation options for navigating the region.
Air: The closes airports are Kerry (1 hour away), Shannon (2.5 hours away), Cork (2.15 hours away), and Dublin (4.15 hours away). Most international flights fly into Dublin. There are car rental agencies at all of the airports.
Trains: There are no train stations on the Dingle Peninsula. The nearest train stations are in Trawlee, Killarney, and Farranfore. Car services will transport from these locations.
Public Bus: The town of Trawlee (30 miles away) has the closest bus station. Several buses run every day between Trawlee and Dingle.
Tour Bus: Tour bus excursions from Killarney, Galway, and other locales are a common way to tour the peninsula.
Private Motor Vehicle: Rental cars and private car services are the most popular transport to Dingle, and to get around the Dingle Peninsula. With a private car, visitors can stop at will, stray from the beaten path, and travel during off-hours to avoid tour buses.
Dingle Ireland Weather and What to Pack
Dingle’s average temperature in January is 46’ F (8’ Celsius); in July the average temperature is 59’ F (15’Celsius). It rarely snows on the Dingle Peninsula, but it is a maritime climate with frequent clouds, rain, and mist. The weather is changeable; expect some rain and sun each day.
Pack comfortable, casual clothes. Bring rain gear and chose pieces that are quick drying and can be layered. Be prepared for wind and sun with sunscreen, sunglasses, and a hat. Shoes should be sturdy and suitable for walking on rocks, mud, and cobblestones.
Best time to visit the Dingle Peninsula
With a climate that remains relatively stable throughout the year, Dingle is a year-round travel destination. Our recommendation for best time to visit Dingle is May, early-June, late September, and October. However, when making a decision consider the following:
Spring: Weather is warming. Rain is less prevalent. Seasonal businesses begin to open. Crowds are still thin. Good season to bike/hike.
Summer: Weather is warmest. Rain is lightest. Days are longest. Live music plays in town almost every night. Crowds are thickest. The roads are heavily trafficked; bad time to bike on-road for casual bikers. Good season to hike and for water sports.
Fall: Weather is still warm. Many businesses are open. Rain is more frequent. Crowds begin to thin. Good season to bike/hike.
Winter: Weather is coldest. Rain is heaviest. Days are shortest. Seasonal businesses are closed. Crowds are lightest (often non-existent). Pubs are open, but more difficult to find live music.
HOW LONG SHOULD YOU STAY IN DINGLE
If you are a road-tripper planning to explore Slea Head Drive and town of Dingle by motor vehicle, give yourself at least two full days to see the sights. If you plan to hike, bike, or do water activities, give yourself an extra day or two to fully enjoy the lovely terrain.
THINGS TO DO IN DINGLE IRELAND
Dingle Scenic Drives: Exploring the Dingle Peninsula by car, van, motorcoach, and motorcycle are hugely popular past times. Slea Head Drive and its many attractions (sheep dog demos, petting farms, beehive huts, the Gallerus Oratory, and more) are well signed and maintained. Parking is (mostly) free. The scenery is gorgeous and there are many villages to explore.
Dingle Biking: Cyclists flock to Dingle to bike the peninsula’s undulating hills, lush valleys, and endless ocean panoramas. Rental shops in Dingle have pedal and e-bikes that can be picked up or delivered to your hotel. You can strike out on your own or join a guided tour for a day or multi-day adventure.
TIP: Slea Head Drive is very narrow in places (one lane) and heavily trafficked with vehicles and buses. Unless you are an expert biker, we do not recommend biking this route during high season.
Dingle Hiking: Whether you are a hard-core hiker tackling a week-long Dingle Way trek, or an afternoon adventurer, you will find spectacular hikes across the peninsula. Scaling mountains, hiking under cliffs, and traversing sheep pastures is a great way to get to know the territory. Many companies offer guided treks.
Dingle Pub Hopping: Dingle’s historic pubs overflow with character. Many of town’s alehouses were originally general stores, and to this day you will find oddly shaped rooms and booths tucked in tiny spaces. Dingle pubs tend to be warm and welcoming places. Sit at a table to relax and enjoy the music. Sit at the bar if you want to engage with the locals. Try perennial favorites Foxy John’s, O Sullivans, Kennedy’s, and Dick Mack’s.
Dingle Golfing: Golf enthusiasts will enjoy two golf courses with breathtaking coastal scenery on the Dingle Peninsula. The 18-hole Ceann Sibeal (Dingle) Golf Club is in Ballyferriter. The 9-hole Castlegregory Golf Club is in Castlegregory on Dingle’s north side.
Dingle Shopping: Dingle Town is full of quirky and uniquely Irish shops. There are woolen and whiskey shops, Celtic jewelry stores, and boutiques selling local crafts. In the small villages scattered across the peninsula there are distilleries, farm stands, and artist galleries to explore.
Dingle Beaches: The Dingle Peninsula is ringed by superb and secluded beaches. Inch Beach greets visitors with a 4-mile stretch of sand that is bordered by sand dunes and a mountain backdrop. Ventry is a small beach just outside Dingle that is popular with local families. Dramatic Coumeenole Beach sits under cliffs and offers views of the Blasket Islands.
Dingle Water Activities and Excursions: Dingle is surrounded on three sides by the sea and water activities abound. There are sailing and whale watching excursions the get visitors close to whales, porpoises, and other sea creatures. Tour and rental companies facilitate kayak, surfing, snorkeling, paddleboarding, eco-tours, and more.
Dingle Adventure Sports: For thrill seekers, adventure companies in Dingle offer an array of outdoor activities. Visitors can book rock climbing and cliff repelling excursions, sea safaris, dolphin adventures, mountain skill training courses, horseback riding trips and more.
Photography in Dingle: Photographers adore Dingle. With so many spectacular sea- and landscapes, it is not unusual to see amateur and professional photographers ensconced at scenic overlooks trying to catch that perfect shot. Dingle has several photography shops and photography tours with local guides that are available.
Ag suil le failte a chur romhaibh (Stay safe, stay happy), Laura and Randy
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