Once referred to as "the most beautiful place on Earth" by National Geographic Traveller, the Dingle Peninsula (also known as West Kerry, or Corca Dhuibhne in Irish), is the northernmost of the two major peninsulae in County Kerry, Southwest Ireland.
Famed for its rugged beauty and indigenous cultural heritage, the area has long been a holiday destination, drawing both Irish and foreigner visitors alike. In fact, the Dingle Peninsula has been rated amongst Tripadvisor's top 100 global destinations, while Dingle Town has been recommended as one of the best places to spend New Year's Eve by Lonely Planet Guide.
With a large Irish speaking population and some of Ireland's highest mountains, liveliest pubs and most beautiful beaches, the area has something to offer every visitor, be it music, scenery, excitement or culture.
- Annascaul/Inch. Famed as the birthplace of Antarctic explorer Tom Crean, Annascaul located on the south-central side of the peninsula is a picturesque village popular with hillwalkers. The village boasts a number of pubs, one of which (the South Pole Inn) was once owned by Tom Crean himself. While nearby Inch Beach, is one of Ireland's most beautiful, a four mile long sand spit, the beach is popular with both surfers and anglers.
- Castlegregory/Cloghane. Extremely popular with both surfers and windsurfers, the windswept north shore of the peninsula is home to many great beaches, some of which host national and international surfing competitions from time to time. The road between here and Dingle Town leads over the Conor Pass, the highest mountain pass in Ireland. A steep, narrow and meandering road, the Conor Pass offers magnificent views of Brandon Bay and the treeless valley below. Many locals, particularly in the Cloghane and Brandon area are native Irish language speakers.
- Dingle Town. Located in a natural harbour on the southwestern half of the peninsula, this pretty fishing port is the area's main hub. One of the town's most famous residents and major tourist attractions is "Fungi", a friendly bottlenose dolphin that has lived in the harbour since 1984. Historically a very artsy town, many musicians and artists holiday in Dingle and more often than not, are not intruded upon by locals. The town has a bustling nightlife and was rated by Lonely Planet as one of the top 10 places to ring in the New Year.
- The Gaeltacht. An Irish-speaking area encompassing several villages west of Dingle, the Gaeltacht has a strong tradition of music, poetry and storytelling. As well as rich cultural heritage, the Gaeltacht boasts spectacular scenery, in particular around Slea Head the westernmost point in Europe (excluding islands). Popular attractions in the area include; Dunberg Fort, Gallarus Oratory, Slea Head, Riasc, Kilmakedar and the Blasket Islands. See Ventry, for information on one of the villages in the area.
Playing Music on a Dingle Street
- Mount Brandon. At just under 1,000 meters, this is one of Ireland's highest mountains, and it offers wonderful panoramic views of the ocean and surrounding country-side. There are various routes to the peak, though due to its close proximity to the Atlantic, weather conditions are unstable and prone to sudden changes. Therefore, it is advisable to check weather forecasts before setting out and to carry rain gear and other provisions.
- Slea Head. This magnificent head is located at the tip of the Dingle Peninsula and is the site of the most dramatic scenery in the area. Towering cliffs drop straight in the water, and the most dramatically situated beach in Ireland beckons invitingly. Great views of the Blasket Islands.
It is possible to follow a trail to the tip of Slea Head; one of the most westerly points in Europe (excluding islands).
- Great Blasket Island. The Blasket Islands are a small archipelago of seven islands off the western tip of the Dingle peninsula. While they are no longer inhabited there is evidence of human habitation on almost all of the islands. The Great Blasket Island is by far the largest and was inhabited up until the mid-20th century when the population had dwindled down to a small group of aging islanders and the government determined it was no longer feasible for these individuals to remain there. A ghost town remains, which can be seen from the dingle peninsula on a clear day, and a permanent population of sheep still roams the sloped, grassy terrain. Ferry service take visitors to the island from Dingle and from a small port on the western end of the peninsula, aprox. 20 euros for a return ticket. Once on the island there is a ring loop which offers stunning views of the dingle peninsula and the surrounding area and takes about 2 hrs to walk in its entirety. There is a small beach below the goast town which is a perfect place for a packed lunch on a warm day and for a dip with the seals which you will see just off the shore.
The Great Blasket island to the west, which was evacuated in the 1950s produced at least three well-regarded Irish language writers, the most well-known being Peig Sayers.
The peninsula has an association with St Brendan the Navigator who sailed from Brandon on the north of the peninsula to America, by way of Iceland and Greenland in the dark ages, on a sailboat made of laths and hides. Tim Severin replicated this journey in the 1970s, demonstrating that the story was plausible.
Once described by the National Geographic Traveler as “the most beautiful place on earth”, the Dingle Peninsula is a place of intense allure, with a plethora of green landscapes, rocky hills, long sandy beaches and staggering cliff edges. The warm Gulf Stream reaches the peninsula, giving has a wonderful mixture of sometimes rare and unusual flora and fauna.
Dingle is one of Ireland’s Government-protected Irish (Gaelic)-speaking areas, called “Gaeltachts”. Dingle's Irish name is Daingean Uí Chúis which, to fit on signposts, is generally abbreviated to An Daingean. Despite this, everyone calls the town Dingle and you will be extremely hard pressed to find a single person who calls it An Daingean
Many of the towns and villages in the region have Irish names too and, as many maps use the anglicised versions of these names, visitors are advised to purchase maps that give both the Irish and English versions of all placenames.
The western part of the peninsula is Irish speaking, although no-one will expect you to speak any. However all road signs referring to Irish speaking areas are in Irish only, so they might not look as they sound.
- IrishDolphins (Find out about interactive dolphins in Ireland), . Charting and supporting interactions with solitary interactive dolphins around Ireland, including Fungi the Dingle Dolphin edit
- Fungi the dolphin. Fungi is a male bottle nose dolphin who has taken up residence in Dingle Harbour. He has been there for about twenty years, during which time he has become something of a local celebrity. Boat trips run from Dingle to see Fungi, which are fee refundable if he doesn't show up. Wet suits are also for hire, so it is possible to swim with Fungi.
- Cycling. Cycling the Slea Head Drive route is a great alternative to driving. The full route (about 40-50 km) should take no longer than 5 hours at an easy pace and there is a shorter route (about 25 km) that takes 3 hours or less. Follow the R559 for the shorter route, make a left in Murreagh for the longer one. Rentals are available for 12 euro in Dingle. edit
- Fishing, . On the Dingle Peninsula, you're never too far from the sea, and the fishing here is spectacular! edit
- Walk the Dingle Way, . A scenic 150 km long trail that takes a circular route around the peninsula. It leading from Tralee to Dingle via Inch and Annascaul, then winds around the coast to Slea Head, on to Cloghane and then follows the northern coast of the peninsula back to Tralee. edit
- Horse Riding, . Horse Riding on the Dingle Peninsula. edit
- Dingle Golf Club, ☎ +353 66 915 6255 ([email protected], fax: +353 66 915 6409), . The Dingle Golf Course is highly recommended! edit
Paudies Bar and Longs Restaurant at The Dingle bay hotel: Originally known as Paudie's, we are still here but have created a new look for you, whilst retaining the traditional atmosphere and style of the past. With large stylish leather seats, elm and walnut wood and magnificent stone.The food at the Hotel has been a long standing favourite both to locals and visitors alike. With local produce a priority, it's proximity to the pier ensures the very best in the freshest of fish and seafood with a wide selection of dishes and snacks served throughout the day.
Relax over the morning papers with freshly brewed coffee and oven fresh scones.
Afternoon tea is available offering a choice of delicious sandwiches and decadent homemade desserts.
The lunch and dinner menu attracts many casual diners due to the variety of dishes offered. You'll be torn between the choice of dishes.
Entertainment is offered on a regular basis, from traditional West Kerry and Irish music to ballads and modern tunes wwww.dinglebayhotel.com
- Murphy's, Strand Street (Near the pier), ☎ +353 66 915 1450 ([email protected]), . Murphy's Pub offers excellent food at very reasonable prices. Has an extensive menu so suit all tastes. edit
- The Dingle Pub, Main Street (Across from the Bank of Ireland), ☎ +353 66 915 1370 ([email protected]), . Great value food with excellent service and Irish humour edit
- The Doghouse (The Best In The West), Strand St. The best hotdogs in Ireland. Try the Chilli Dog, its fabulous! edit
- Spillane's Bar & Restaurant (Spillane's), Fahamore, Castlegregory, Co. Kerry (North Side of The Dingle Peninsula), ☎ 066 7139125, . Spillane's serve great Seafood and Steaks in a relaxed family friendly atmosphere. Close to stunning beaches and numerous outdoor activities. edit
- Lord Baker's, The Mall, . The oldest pub in Dingle, but now a nice restaurant with very reasonably priced (by large city standards) and delicious food. edit
- The Dingle Pub, Main Street, ☎ +353 66 915 1370 ([email protected]), . (). For the best craic try out The Dingle Pub edit
- Murphy's, Strand Street, ☎ +353 66 915 1450 ([email protected]), . edit
- The Blue Zone Jazz Wine Bar, Green Street (opposite the church). Live jazz & blues, gourmet pizzas, great atmosphere edit
- Foxy Johns, Main Street, ☎ 35366915316. Buy a bag of 2 inch nails whilsts having a pint. Traditional hardware store one side bar the other. Step through the door and back in time. Recently extended at the back edit
- Spillane's Bar & Restaurant (Spillane's), Fahamore, Maharees, Castlegregory (North side of Dingle Peninsula), ☎ 066 7139125, . Spillane's serve great Seafood and Steaks in a relaxed family friendly atmosphere. Close to stunning beaches and numerous outdoor activities. edit
- Pax Guest House (High-quality guest accommodation with spectacular views of Dingle Bay), John St Dingle Ireland, ☎ +353669151518, . edit
- Southbound Holiday Cottages (Luxury standard holiday cottages on Dingle Peninsula), John St Dingle Ireland, ☎ +353669152224, . Selection of luxury self-catering holiday accommodation on the Peninsula. edit
- Cill Bhreac House, Milltown, Dingle (on Slea Head Drive, 1km from Dingle Town center), ☎ +353 66 9151358 ([email protected]), . B&B with views overlooking the bay. edit
- Murphy's Pub, . facing the pier. Offering excellent food/accommodation and music all year round.
- The Dingle Pub, . Very famous bar located in the centre of town offers delightful accommodation. Your host Tom will make your stay as pleasant as possible. Offering excellent food/accommodation and music
- Dingle Benners Hotel, .
- Dingle Skellig Hotel, .
- Ballintaggart House, . A 300 year old Manor at the entrance to Dingle Town overlooking the Bay, The Skellig Rocks, Valentia Island and the Ring of Kerry, all set within its own private grounds. edit
- Mount Brandon Hostel, . A beautiful hostel in an even more beautiful landscape. Open all year, self catering kitchen, laundry, all rooms en suite, linen included, 2 very nice common rooms, small shop,pub next door. Shiatsu, massage and Cranio Sacral Therapy on request! Quiet place, ideal place for mountain tours. Dormitory 16€, twin room 18€, single room 25 €.
- The Lighthouse Dingle  - A great B&B just a short walk (uphill) from the center of Dingle. The house has well-appointed rooms, a terrific breakfast (good for both a full Irish Breakfast or lighter fare), and is run by a very helpful local family.
- Torann Na Dtonn, Slea Head Drive, . A Country home beside Ventry Village with views of Ventry Harbour and Dingle Bay edit
- Ashes, . Open all year - Charming six bedroom townhouse with non smoking rooms, all ensuite with television. Full traditional Irish Breakfast menu.
- Allan's Bed & Breakfast - turn left as you approach the town centre (as if turning into the Skellig) for a modern, homely B&B with fantastic views of the town, the bay and the mountains plus a great Irish breakfast!
- Heatons Guest House  - Situated on the shore of the renowned fishing town of Dingle
- There is an official An Oige hostel at Dunquin near Slea Head.
- Moan Laur Bed and Breakfast, Slieve East, Camp, ☎ +353 669158957, . Cosy traditional Irish cottage in the heart of the Dingle Peninsula with great views of the Slieve Mish Mountains. Within walking distance of the Dingle Way. 28. edit
- Dingle Marina Lodge, Dingle Town, . Guesthouse overlooking the harbour of the town. edit
- Dingle Town Bed and Breakfast, Dingle Marina (Opposite Dingle Marina), ☎ +353 66 9150800, . checkin: 11; checkout: 10. A modern town B&B overlooking the harbour of Dingle town 35. (52.139676,-10.280142) edit
- Bolands Guesthouse (family run accommodation dingle kerry), goat street,dingle (just up of mai street), ☎ 0669151426, . bolands guesthouse accommodation is located in the heart of dingle town.Beautiful views of dingle bay.The kerry accommodation is only 2 mins walk to pubs,restraints,shops etc. edit
- Castlewood House, The Wood, Dingle, County Kerry, ☎ +353 (0)66 9152788, . Luxury guesthouse accommodation over-looking Dingle Bay. edit
- Hogans Irish Cottages, Throughout Dingle and Ireland (Directions provided upon booking.), ☎ 01244 345 700 (UK), . For quality self catering cottages on the Dingle Peninsula, please visit http://www.hogansirishcottages.com/dingle-holiday-cottages.html edit
- The lantern townhouse, main street dingle, ☎ +353669151088. Guesthouse situated on main street Dingle from €35pp sharing. edit
Take a day trip to other scenic locations within Kerry
- Ring of Kerry - A scenic drive around the Iveragh peninsula in South Kerry.
- Killarney - a picturesque town famed for its location beside Ireland's prettiest mountains and lakes.
- Skellig Michael - A UNESCO heritage site off the South Kerry coast.