Things To Do in Dingle Ireland
Visit Dingle Ireland to enjoy a lively seaport and the beautiful Irish countryside. In Dingle Town the fish is fresh, fiddles play in local pubs, and the Gaelic language is still spoken. Use our list of things to do in Dingle Ireland to discover Dingle, the stunning seascapes of Slea Head Drive, ancient beehive huts, the Gallarus Oratory, and more.
The southwestern town of Dingle (An Daingean) in County Kerry Ireland is a great base from which to explore the Dingle Peninsula (Corca Dhuibhne). The region is known for its mountains, lush green pastures, and sea cliffs. The rugged landscapes make it a magnet for hikers, bikers, road-trippers, and lovers of the sea.
For an overview of Dingle’s location, weather, and how to get around read our Dingle Ireland Travel Guide.
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THINGS TO DO IN DINGLE IRELAND
The Dingle Peninsula is located in Kerry County about 30 miles from the Killorglin-side of the Ring of Kerry. People ask if it is worth visiting Dingle in addition to the driving the Ring of Kerry. The answer is ‘yes’ It is worth visiting Dingle in addition to visiting Killarney and the Ring of Kerry. Although, Dingle is only a short distance from Killarney, it feels a world away with its tiny villages and wide-open spaces. The rural, un-commercialized character of Dingle and its landscapes make this a stand-alone destination.
Our Ireland travel guide on things to do in Dingle Ireland will introduce you to the area’s history, heritage, and spectacular natural environments. Read on for our list of 12 things to do in Dingle Ireland.
Slea Head Drive
Slea Head Drive (Sli Cheann Sleibhe) is a looping roadway that begins and ends in Dingle Town. The 30-mile (47km) route is one of the most breathtaking sections of Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way. Along the drive there are sites to visit such as the beehive huts, Famine Cottages, and the Gallarus Oratory as well as Gaelic-speaking villages to explore. The route has a number of beaches, overlooks, and locations where Hollywood movies were filmed.
If you are in Dingle more than one day, monitor the weather and drive Slea Head when visibility is best. Plan a leisurely pace; allowing 5-6 hours for the day. Beware: Sections of the Slea Head Drive are one lane. Care should be taken to avoid bicycles and tour buses.
Gallarus Oratory is a tiny stone chapel in Ballydavid that is around 1300 years old. Made from Old Red Sandstone, the Celtic church is thought to have been used for worship and to house pilgrims. The structure was built using a Neolithic dry-stone technique that keeps the interior of the chapel waterproof. Admission is free.
Dun Chaoin Pier (Dunquin Pier)
The Dun Chaoin Pier (Ce Dhun Chaoin or Dunquin Pier) is a working pier that offers seasonal ferry rides to the Blasket Islands. The steep winding road from the parking lot to pier has panoramic views of sea cliffs, mountains, and the Blasket Islands. The pier is located about 10-miles (16 km) west of Ballydavid. There is no charge to walk the pier. Park in the small lot off the road way. Don’t drive down (every season someone gets stuck).
Dingle Town Pub Crawl
Dingle is a port town with a large number of pubs. Many of these alehouses have been in business a century or two. They have fieldstone fireplaces, worn timber, and oddly-shaped booths. A number of these establishments originated as general stores (Foxy John’s remains a working hardware store).
Dingle Town’s traditional Irish pubs are where locals and visitors meet to enjoy the great music, pub fare, wifi, and conversation. We recommend including Foxy John’s, O Sullivans, Kennedy’s, and Dick Mack’s in your Dingle pub crawl.
Conor Pass is a 9-mile (14 km) road that runs over a dramatic mountain ridge between the towns of Dingle and Killanoordane. At 410-meters above sea level, the R560 roadway is the highest paved mountain pass in Ireland. For much of the narrow winding route there is the steep face of a mountain on one side of the road, and a sheer drop on the other. The views are spectacular, but the road can be nerve-wracking to navigate with oncoming traffic. There is a pull-off on the Dingle side of the pass for scenic viewing.
Pastures divided by dry stone walls and grassy ditches blanket the rocky slopes of the Dingle Peninsula. For centuries sheep farming and crop growing have sustained the region’s inhabitants. Today, open farms across the peninsula allow visitors to learn about this way of life. We enjoyed visiting the Slea Head Famine Cottages and Sheep Dog Trials. Also, available are the Sandy Feet Farm, Scanlon’s Petting Farm, the Fahan Beehive huts, Dingle Sheep Dog Demos, and more.
Sailing and whale watching trips are popular excursions out of Dingle Bay. The waters off the coast of the Dingle Peninsula offer great opportunities to spot baleen whales, minke whales, porpoises, and dolphins. There are cruises along the Slea Head Coast and around the Blasket Islands. The water offers unique views of Dingle’s bluffs, rolling hills, and mountains.
Hiking the Dingle Way
The Dingle Way (sli Chorca Dhuibhne) is a circular hiking trail that twists around the perimeter of the Dingle Peninsula. The loop, which begins and ends in Trawlee, measures 101-miles (162 km) and typically takes 8-12 days to complete. Trails wrap around sandy beaches, through the Slieve Mish Mountains, and to the top of Mount Brandon. There are roughly 30 sections to the route. Many hikers choose to complete smaller, scenic sections of the trails.
Dingle Shopping & Eating
Walkable Dingle Town is a treat to stroll. It’s vibrant spirit pops even on a cloudy day. Be sure to save time to shop its colorful streets for souvenirs. Downtown you will find shops selling Celtic jewelry, books, pottery, crystal, woolens, and so much more. To satisfy your appetite try a lunch of fresh seafood at a gastro pub along the waterfront. Then, top off the meal with a trip to Murphy’s Ice Cream.
The Dingle Peninsula is dotted with gorgeous spits of sand flanked by sea cliffs and vistas of the sea. The king of these sandy shores would have to be Inch Beach. Situated between Dingle Bay and Castlemaine Harbor, the blue flag beach is 4-miles long and popular with swimmers and surfers. Sand dunes and the Slieve Mish Mountains flank the ocean oasis. There is a large parking lot and nearby café for take-out.
Dingle E-Bike Adventures
Serious cyclists have long identified the Dingle Peninsula as a top travel destination. Now, with the prevalence of e-bikes, nearly everyone can enjoy the beauty of the Dingle Peninsula’s hills, valleys, and coastal drives. Dingle Town has several bike shops renting pedal and e-bikes that can be reserved for guided or self-guided excursions. Be aware; in high season the roads can get crowded.
Dingle Water Sports
With a working harbor and miles of coastline, Dingle is a paradise for those seeking fun on the water. Home to a North Coast, South Coast, and countless inlets, enthusiasts can seek out sheltered coves or towering white caps. Dingle has several adventure companies offering rental equipment and guided tours for kayaking, surfing, windsurfing, kite surfing, paddle boarding, sailing, and more.
Goodbye for now (slan go deo), Laura and Randy
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