Holly and her friends went to Dingle in August for a colleagues wedding. Whilst there they explored the region and here are the top 9 things they recommend:
- Go on a walk along the harbour
Dingle is a beautiful, picturesque town sitting on the Kerry peninsula. This harbour town is full of life and is a great way to experience County Kerry. Take a relaxing stroll around the harbour, explore the shoreline and watch the fishing boats come in with their latest catch.
- Drive Slea Head
Signed posted along the Wild Atlantic Way, Slea Head is a circular route following the Dingle Peninsula. Take your time to enjoy the scenery and the views; the roads are a mix of country single track and normal roads making it an exciting adventure!
There are lots of viewpoints sign posted along the way to stop and take it all in. One of our pit stops accidently lead us to discover these fantastic prehistoric Beehive huts, ancient dwellings nestled along the coastline.
- Head to the beach
The west coast of Ireland is littered with beautiful sandy beaches and County Kerry is no exception. Inch beach is by far the best one in the area, which is around a 30 minute drive from Dingle. We passed a number of beautiful beaches on the Slea Head drive, all with parking, so it was easy to stop and paddle in the cool Atlantic Ocean.
- Experience as many pubs as possible
Dingle is full of quaint pubs on every street. These traditional pubs might not look like much from the outside but on the inside they are bursting with character and atmosphere.
Whilst all the pubs we visited we enjoyed, there were two we would definitely recommend putting on your list:
Dick Mack’s, found opposite the church in Dingle, sells a selection of beers, whiskeys and craft leather goods. No, you read that correctly, whilst you are enjoying a quiet pint whilst you can get a personalised belt made to mark the occasion (if you are so inclined).
It’s much larger than it looks on the outside, with a second bar towards the back of the property which opens when it gets busy on an evening. The courtyard at the rear hosts 2 permanent food trucks, one with fresh pizza and the other has burgers and chips. As if all of that wasn’t enough to entice you, in the last three years Dick Mack’s has won the Munster Whiskey Bar Of The Year and the Irish Whiskey Bar Of The Year.
Another great stop just around the corner from Dick Mack’s, Foxy John’s is also a hardware store during the day. This pub is more spacious than Dick Mack’s but still has a wide selection of beverages and a good courtyard out the back if the weather is good.
- Do a Brewery or Distillery Tour
Microbreweries have become increasingly popular in Ireland over the last few years and the Dingle Brewery Company is an excellent example of this, located only a 10 minute walk from the waterfront.
They make Tom Crean’s, a lager inspired by a local adventurer who travelled to the South Pole. He was named a hero after walking 35 miles, non-stop for 18 hours, alone across the Antarctic to save the lives of his fellow explorers.
For 7 euros you get a self-guided tour and a pint, which you can take on the tour or enjoy in their nautical themed bar afterwards.
Whilst we didn’t get a chance to go to the Dingle Distillery, we had heard great things about it. They specialise in their own line of gin, whiskey and vodka which can all be found in the local pubs. Tours occur a few times per day and cost 15 euros.
- See Fungi the Dingle Dolphin
Probably the most famous attraction within Dingle is their resident dolphin, Fungi. We remember coming to Dingle as children and this was definitely a highlight.
There are several companies around the harbour providing boat trips out into the bay to try and see “Fungi”, departing regularly throughout the day. We went with Dingle Dolphin Boat Tours, the trip was an hour long and cost 16 euros. They gave an up-close look at the dolphin in his natural habitat and was seen just alongside the boat.The trip also took us along the coastline, taking in the landscape including the natural rock formations – sea arches, famous in the area. You could also go on a longer boat trip, visiting some of the nearby islands – Blasket and Skellig.
- Live Music
Nearly every day, every bar has incredible live music. We stayed in a B&B next door to Murphy’s Pub and after 9pm each night there was a small band set up. It was a perfect place to get a pint, sit in a booth and relax listening to the music.
- Sample all the local delights
Dingle is a harbour town, home to lots of fresh seafood but you’ll also find delicious traditional Irish favourites such as beef stew and soda bread. We ate in several of the bars along the seafront but which ever place you choice to go to, you’ll be treated to a delicious feast and a hearty welcome.
- Explore the town
This might seem a fairly obvious point to make but there is plenty more to the town than just the waterfront harbour and the next-door streets. We found whilst walking to the Dingle Brewing Company (see point 5) we saw streets full of shops and pubs we wouldn’t have know were there! Every Friday, Holyground car park hosts the weekly market. You’ll find a few stalls set up flogging the best in local food and craft fare.
Did you know? Both Game of Thrones and the latest Star Wars movie (Episode VIII) were filmed around Dingle. There are plenty of signs up, informing tourists of the different filming locations.