Found at the most westerly edge of Ireland, the Dingle Peninsula is a must-see for visitors to County Kerry. Once cited as ‘the most beautiful place on earth' by the National Geographic, this wild Irish Peninsula is full of things to see and do.
In addition to its magnificent natural beauty, Dingle has a history that goes back for millennia. It has a thriving Gaeltacht (Irish-speaking) community who are keen to share their passion for the region’s unique language and heritage, allowing travelers to connect with the core of what is Irish. What’s more, the area also features an eclectic mix of artists, musicians and writers who make wonderful contributions to the vibrant local culture. A gastronomic hub, Dingle is also a great spot for foodies who wish to discover Irish cuisine at its finest and freshest. Its rugged coast provides an abundance of delicious seafood which is cooked to perfection in the area’s many fantastic restaurants.
The fastest way is to follow the L2019, R561 and N86 roads. It should take approximately just over an hour to drive from Killarney town to Dingle.If You are Taking the Bus
You can take the 276 bus from the Killarney bus station into Dingle town. The journey takes roughly one hour and twenty minutes and an adult single ticket costs just under €14. You can find more information about the timetable from the Journey Planner tool on the Bus Eireann website.
You could also book a day tour to Dingle with a local company such as Deros Tours. This may be a more convenient option, as some bus companies can pick you up directly from your hotel.
The Connor Pass is a scenic stretch of road that connects Dingle with Brandon Bay and Castlegregory. The highest mountain pass in the country, this beautiful 5K route encompasses mountains, lakes, and arresting coastal vistas. The road also includes many stopping points where you can step out and drink in the full majesty of the panoramic views around you. Motorists need to be very careful when driving these narrow and winding roads as there are many sharp cliff faces and visibility can be poor in adverse weather conditions.2. OceanWorld Aquarium
Nestled in the heart of Dingle town, OceanWorld is a great spot for families. The aquarium has an impressive range of sea creatures, including otters, turtles, penguins and Ireland’s largest collection of sharks. 2019 also saw the opening of a new butterfly oasis and living jungle exhibit. Kids in particular will love the “Touch Tank” where they can get a closer look at the fish. Before you visit, be sure to check their website for a schedule of daily activities including feeding times and expert Q&As.3. Take a Boat Trip to the Blasket Islands
No trip to Dingle would be complete without a visit to the Blasket Islands. These islands offer a spell-binding blend of fascinating history, unique literary heritage, and unspoilt natural beauty. You can now take a tour of the Great Blasket Island where you can explore the abandoned village and learn more about the island’s unique contribution to Gaelic literature. Nature lovers will also enjoy the walking routes and the chance to spy on seals sunning themselves on the White Strand beach.4. The Blasket Centre
Lying at the most westerly tip of the Dingle Peninsula, the Blasket Centre tells the story of those who lived on the Blasket Islands. Home to a small community of Irish-speakers until their evacuation in 1953, villagers were at the mercy of the full might of the Atlantic Ocean and life on the Blaskets could be extremely harsh. The centre explores the unique history of the Blaskets through a variety of innovative exhibitions, interactive displays, videos and more. After you enjoy the museum, give yourself some time to walk around and enjoy the sights of the charming Irish-speaking village of Dún Chaoin.5. Dingle Distillery
Drinks connoisseurs will relish the chance to step inside a real Irish distillery. The Dingle distillery offers a brilliant guided tour which allows you to learn more about the distilling process while tasting some delicious samples. The Dingle Distillery is one of Ireland’s finest distillers, having recently taken the prize for producing the world’s best gin. However, if gin isn’t your drink then you will be pleased to know that the distillery also produces excellent whiskey and vodka.6. Say Hello to Fungi
No trip to Dingle is complete without meeting Fungi, the town’s most famous resident. Fungi first appeared in 1984, and has since become renowned for escorting boats in and out of the port. There are a few different operators who provide boat trips where you can meet the playful bottlenose dolphin. This is also a great way to take in Dingle’s unique coastal scenery and to find out more about the local marine life.7. Gallarus Oratory
History buffs won’t want to miss the Gallarus Oratory. Resembling an upturned boat, this remarkably well-preserved stone church is believed to date all the way back to the 7-8th century. According to local lore, anyone who can pass through the building’s tiny window, dubbed “The Eye of the Needle”, is guaranteed a spot in heaven. Be sure to give yourself enough time to explore the Gallarus Oratory Visitor Centre and the nearby Gallarus Castle.8. Murphy’s Ice-Cream
Film buffs may recognise this stunning beach from Ryan’s Daughter and The Playboy of the Western World. The largest uninterrupted sand beach in Western Europe, Inch Beach is located between the outer Dingle Bay and inner Castlemaine Harbour. This Blue Flag beach offers amazing views out onto the dramatic Iveragh and Dingle Peninsulas. Outdoor types will relish the area’s diverse offering of water sports which includes surfing, kayaking, windsurfing, kite surfing, hang-gliding, fishing. If your preference is for dry land, then there are also a number of lovely walking routes for you to enjoy.
Gourmands will relish the opportunity to sample Dingle’s rich gastronomic culture in the town’s annual Food & Wine Festival. Held in the first weekend of October every year, this festival features a wide range of events including cookery demonstrations, markets, tastings, street entertainment, and taste trails.11. Climb Mount Brandon
Mount Brandon offers one of the most breathtaking hiking trails along Ireland's Wild Atlantic Way. Located at the end of the Cosán na Naomh (or “Saint’s Road” in English) pilgrimage trail, this mountain was named after known after Saint Brendan the navigator who is said to have discovered America nearly 1,000 years before Columbus. Mount Brandon is a good option for hikers as it offers multiple routes to suit all levels. Once you reach the peak, you are rewarded with an unforgettable panorama of the Faha Ridge, Blasket Islands, and the Dingle Peninsula.12. Drive The Slea Head Loop