The Dingle peninsula is, inarguably, one of the most beautiful places in Ireland.
The first time I road tripped around Ireland, we only had a few days, which didn’t leave time to head out to the Dingle peninsula. Since that trip, I’ve listened to others go on about how wonderful of a place it is, and dreamed of getting the chance to visit myself.
While planning a west coast road trip in July, I knew Dingle had to be on the agenda.
And sure enough, it lived up to the hype.
Ireland may be full of colorful towns, but Dingle really shines.
The small town, and surrounding area, quickly became one of my favorite places in the country. It’s a one hundred percent must-see on a jaunt around the emerald isle.
We visited Dingle en-route south, coming from Doolin, and heading toward Ring of Kerry, which meant we drove in through Conor Pass and left via Inch Beach (far from tiny, despite its name, Inch is a seemingly never-ending stretch of sand).
If your days in Ireland are limited, you may want to consider visiting Dingle on a day trip from Killarney- it’s only about an hour to Dingle town centre, making it a totally doable day trip if you plan to spend 2-3 days at Ring of Kerry.
However you get there, don’t miss Dingle. It’s small town charm, rugged mountain vistas, gorgeous seascapes, and isn’t as touristy as some of the larger Irish cities, so it’s easy to get a bit more of a taste for Irish flair.
3 Must Do’s in Dingle
Drive Conor Pass
If you have a clear day in Dingle, driving part of (if not all of) Conor Pass is a must do.
Conor Pass is one of Ireland’s highest mountain passes. It’s a lush, green landscape that’ll make you want to stop every few moments to take in the view.
It’s a winding, breathtaking drive. Parts of the pass are one way and quite narrow, so be sure to drive with caution.
We drove all of it, coming into Dingle from Doolin via Limerick. But, if you’re starting in Doolin, you could drive halfway- at the mountain top, there are two lookout points, both with incredible, varying views, be sure to stop at both.
Explore Dingle Town
Walking the streets of this charming town was one of my favorite parts of being on the peninsula.
The lower main street, adjacent to the water, is connected to another upper high street by a road lined with adorable cafes, cheese stores and shops.
Both the high and low street are worth wandering- we couldn’t get over how colorful and idyllic all of it was.
A few stops not to miss:
- The Little Cheese Shop
- Dingle Distillery
- Foxy Johns: Hardware store, and a pub
- The Dingle Pub
- John Benny’s Pub: Lively scene at night
- Dick Mack’s: Half brewpub, half leather stop, Dick Mack’s is a definite good time. Around since 1899, it’s been owned and operated by the same family for over a hundred and twenty years
- Murphy’s Ice Cream: You’ll find Murphy’s all over Ireland, but this is the original location- don’t miss out on trying the sea salt and Irish coffee flavours
- Dingle Coffee House Hut: Great for morning brew
- Bean: Beautiful cafe, perfect for lingering over a morning cup
- Sheehys Fish N Chips: Delicious, classic fish and chips
When we visited Dingle, it was during COVID, and so not too many boat tours were running. But, if you’re there on a nice day and have the chance to hit the sea, do so, if for no other reason than to see Fungie. Fungie the dolphin is a legend in town- the dolphin has lived in the harbour since the 1980s, and likes to put on a show for the tour boats.
Loop Around Slea Head Drive
Slea Head Drive is a stunning stretch of coastline- at parts, you can see the ocean for miles.
It’s one of the most beautiful scenic drives I’ve ever done.
When we drove Slea Head at sunset, it took us about 2 hours, but we could have easily spent longer if we’d gone earlier in the day. To be safe and not feel rushed, I’d allocate 2-4 hours to the drive.
A few can’t miss stops:
- Dunmore Head: Sweeping cliffs with incredible views, and a beach below
- Dunquin (Dun Chaoin): On a clear day, in the distance, you can spot the Blasket Islands, the westernmost point in Europe. From the top of the walking path, you’ll recognise the walking path view as one of the most iconic in Ireland- it’s often used in publicity campaigns. The pier and boats that stopped here were once the lifeline to the Blasket Islands, bringing livestock, food and medicine to those who lived there
- Clogher Head: Walk 10-15 minutes to the top of Clogher Head for jaw-dropping views
- The Riasc: A dry-stone monastic settlement from the 6th century, situated on back roads amongst farmland. Here, you’ll see remnants of many buildings, but perhaps most interesting are the remaining pillars with inscriptions
- Gallarus Oratory: The best preserved dry-stone Early Christian church built between the 6th and 9th centuries
PS. Star Wars fan? Then you’re in luck, parts of the film, The Last Jedia, were shot on the peninsula.
Have you ever been to Ireland and visited Dingle? Is it somewhere you’d like to visit one day?
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