Dingle Peninsula is more than just a drive. It’s more than just a day trip. It’s more than just a tick on your list of things to see in Ireland. It’s a region where the Irish language is still spoken. It’s a rugged landscape begging to be explored. It’s a massive open-air museum, rich in ancient history, and full of archeological sites… over 2,000 to be precise! The Dingle Peninsula is a DESTINATION.
A local described the peninsula to us as a “microcosm of Ireland”. It’s a region that has everything one would want to experience on a trip to the Emerald Isle. The Dingle Peninsula has a rich history, fascinating archeological sites, intriguing locals, outstanding restaurants, old style pubs, stunning landscapes, a rugged coastline, talented local artists, scenic walks, and plenty of adventures to be had that will keep you active and entertained for the duration of your visit.
You are more than welcome to check out our detailed post on the famous Dingle Peninsula drive. However, for this post, we’re going to focus on highlighting things to do on the Dingle Peninsula other than Slea Head Drive! Whether you’re planning your first trip to Ireland or are returning yet again, we strongly urge you to consider staying on the Dingle Peninsula for at least a few days. Once you get done reading this post (hang with us, it’s a long one!), you’ll understand why the Dingle Peninsula is so much more than just a day trip!
Things to Do in Dingle Ireland
Dingle town is the heartbeat of the peninsula. Tucked between rolling green hills and a lively little harbor, Dingle is a thriving town complete with eclectic shops, alluring restaurants, inviting pubs, ancient structures, and dazzling galleries. Wondering what to do in Dingle on a rainy day? Pop into a pub, go shopping, visit the Dingle Crystal workshop, take a cooking class, tour the Dingle Distillery. There is no shortage of things to do in Dingle Ireland rain or shine. Talented artists and friendly locals welcome visitors from around the globe to experience authentic Irish hospitality here. Visit for a day or stay for several (recommended), you certainly won’t be bored. We’ve got some great recommendations for places to stay in Dingle, so do yourself a favor and don’t rush through!
Dingle Pubs You Don’t Want to Miss
A visit to a pub while in Ireland is a MUST… even if you don’t drink. It’s a place where the locals come together, have a pint, grab a bite, watch a game, and talk about the weather. Pubs are the pillars of connection and community on the Emerald Isle. It’s where songs are sung, stories are shared, and memories are made. Many pubs in Dingle have been around since the 1800s, leaving the current bartenders (typically descendants of the original owner) with countless fascinating anecdotes to be told.
Just across the street from St Mary’s Church (on Green Street) is Dick Mack’s. Opened in 1899, this cozy timeless bar has remained a meeting place for locals and visitors alike for generations. As a member of the Ireland Whiskey Trail, there is no shortage of delicious whiskey at Dick Mack’s. In fact, this iconic pub carries over 200 whiskeys to choose from! Check out their newly opened brew house, taproom, and outdoor area, complete with artisan food trucks.
More Pubs in Dingle
You’ll quickly find that many of the pubs in Dingle aren’t just a pub! Dick Mack’s is also a leather shop where custom belts are made in the summer months. Foxy John’s on Main Street also serves as the local hardware store. J. Curran’s (also on Main Street) is an old style shop and bar that was established in 1871. For more than 150 years, J Curran’s has been a place where the locals have stopped in for a pint and to pick up different odds and ends. John Benny’s on Strand Street is a Dingle pub (and restaurant) not to be missed! In addition to having great food and an outstanding collection of whiskey, John Benny’s is a great place to experience traditional Irish music. John and his wife, Éilis, are both noted musicians and their pub is one of the peninsula’s finest venues for music, song, and dance.
Craic in Dingle
Renowned for music and fun (ceol agus craic), Dingle is an excellent place to catch a local traditional session. A “trad sess” is where local musicians come together for an informal jam session, singing and playing traditional Irish songs on a variety of instruments. It is something you absolutely must experience during your time in Ireland. Pubs in Dingle Ireland and throughout the peninsula host weekly traditional sessions, varying by day of the week and time. West Kerry Live is a free magazine published fortnightly (every two weeks) and lists where and when you can find live music in Dingle pubs and across the peninsula. You can pick up a copy of West Kerry Live in locations all over the peninsula. It’s a great resource for the current local happenings and events on Dingle Peninsula.
Experience The Flavors of Dingle
As a designated “foodie” town, Dingle has an abundance of award-winning restaurants to choose from. Dingle’s close proximity to the sea means that there is no shortage of fresh, excellent seafood! You’ll find that many of the hotels in Dingle have outstanding restaurants, so be sure to not overlook these options when your stomach starts to grumble! This, of course, is not an exhaustive list, but here’s a look at some great restaurants in Dingle Ireland.
Delicious Seafood Restaurants in Dingle
If you’re a seafood lover, you’ve certainly come to the right place! Delicious seafood restaurants in Dingle can be found at every turn, so there are plenty to choose from. Fish and crustaceans are as fresh as you can get coming in right off the boat! You’ll want to be sure to make reservations at Out of the Blue if your visit to Dingle falls during the busy summer months. With a quaint atmosphere and unique dishes that satisfy almost everyone who visits, Out of the Blue is a favorite of many locals and visitors to the peninsula. Mussels, black sole, seared scallops, and more is served at Doyle’s Seafood, another award-winning favorite for those craving the flavors of the sea!
Looking for a quick and affordable taste of Dingle? Head on in to Reel Dingle Fish where you will find spectacular take away fish and chips. However, if you’re celebrating a special occasion or crave a more extravagant dining experience, get yourself to The Chart House, one of Dingle’s most popular seafood restaurants. Fenton’s on Green Street is yet another highly sought-after dining experience in Dingle. With locally sourced seafood, fresh herbs, and vegetables from local farms, you will find nothing but the finest and freshest ingredients at Fenton’s. Again, this is not an exhaustive list, but it’s a look at some of the most highly-rated seafood restaurants in Dingle town.
Dingle Hotel Restaurants
As mentioned, a lot of Dingle hotels and accommodations contain restaurants, so the choices for dining out in Dingle are (almost) endless! The Coastguard Restaurant in the Dingle Skellig Hotel not only offers some of the finest dishes with locally sourced products, but the view overlooking Dingle Bay from the restaurant is outstanding! Book a stay at the Dingle Skellig Hotel and start your day with an elaborate breakfast buffet in The Coastguard Restaurant. Dingle Benners Hotel is a sister hotel to Dingle Skellig and provides comparable cuisine, just without the bay views. The old world charm of the hotel and its restaurant will satisfy your cravings for something distinctive. Paudie’s Restaurant and Pub inside the Dingle Bay Hotel offers a unique range of entrees in a modernized, yet traditional setting. This is just 3 of many examples of excellent restaurant choices located within Dingle hotels.
Dingle Cookery School
Want to learn how to make a creamy Irish chowder or go foraging for seaweed? Sign up for a class at the Dingle Cookery School! Cooking class options include a 3-hour hands-on experience (including lunch) or a 1.5-hour demonstration (including tastings). The Dingle Cookery School has a wide range of culinary experiences to choose from. Check out their course list and sign up for an authentic Irish culinary encounter on the Dingle Peninsula.
Located in an idyllic old cornmill from the mid-1800s, just outside of Dingle town, Dingle Distillery is only one of two Irish owned independent distilleries. They’ve been producing fine spirits (Pot Still Irish Whiskey and Artisan Pot Still Gin and Vodka) since 2012. Distillery tours are offered daily where you’ll learn fascinating facts and information about the production process. During the tour, you will have the opportunity to sample some of their award-winning gin and vodka. Tour times vary by season and require a small fee. Bottles of Dingle Distillery’s products are not sold on site, but can be found in shops all over the peninsula.
Dingle Food & Wine Festival
Time your visit to Dingle right and you just might be able to experience the Dingle Food Festival, held annually in October. See cooking demonstrations, attend wine seminars, and peruse a food and wine market. Take part in the festival’s most popular experience – the Taste Trail. Wander through town and visit over 70 venues offering tastings of some of the best food and drink on the Peninsula. For more information and to purchase tickets for this year’s Food Festival, visit the festival website.
Dingle Peninsula Boat Tours
Seeing as the Dingle Peninsula is surrounded by water, there are plenty of boat trips to enjoy. Go on a tour of Dingle Harbor and meet Fungie, the resident dolphin. Journey out to the Blasket Islands or embark on a wildlife tour or fishing excursion. There are several options for getting out on the water and countless reputable companies to choose from. Dingle Dolphin Boat Tours will take you on a 1-hour tour of the Dingle Harbor, where you’ll hopefully have the opportunity to see Fungie.
Dingle Boat Tours departs from the Dingle Yacht Marina and offers sightseeing Dingle Harbor and Bay tours, sea angling trips, and a Blasket Islands Eco Tour. Blasket Islands Eco Marine Tours leaves from Ventry Pier (4 miles west of Dingle town). Head out on a dolphin, whale, and bird watching tour in Dingle Bay and around the Blasket Islands. In the summer months, longer tours take passengers out past the Blasket Islands to search for humpback whales who migrate through the waters of West Kerry in the summer months from Norway and Iceland. In addition to those already mentioned, Blasket Island Ferries and the Great Blasket Island Experience also take visitors out to explore the Blasket Islands April-September.
Local Craftsmen/Artists on the Dingle Peninsula
There is no shortage of talented artists and craftsmen and women in Ireland and this is particularly the case on the Dingle Peninsula. If you’re looking to mingle with some of the locals and want to pick up some authentic Ireland souvenirs, stop by the workshop/store/gallery of a local artist. We’ll highlight just a few for you. For a longer list of local artists, check out the (2018) Original Kerry Craft Trail brochure HERE.
Looking for a souvenir or Irish gift that represents the heritage and beauty of Ireland? Look no further than the Celtic-themed hand-crafted bowls, glasses, candlestick holders, and vases beatifically crafted at Dingle Crystal. Master craftsman Sean Daly designs, hand cuts, polishes, and signs each authentic piece of crystal that leaves his workshop. Visitors are welcome to make an appointment to stop by his workshop to see him in action. Dingle Crystal also has a shop in Dingle town on Green Street. For more information including locations, design details, and an online shop, visit the Dingle Crystal website.
Brian de Staic Jewelry
For over 30 years, Brian de Staic has incorporated Ireland’s rich Celtic heritage into his handcrafted jewelry. In doing so, he has created many beautifully intricate and desirable collections and has become Ireland’s leading goldsmith. Stop by one of his shops to peruse his Celtic jewelry collections. See how your name would look inscribed in Ogham writing, an ancient linear script and the first known written language of Ireland, and one of Brian’s most popular collections. Brian has a few locations around County Kerry, including Green Street and The Wood in Dingle and also on High Street in Killarney. For more information including locations, designs, and an online shop, check out the Brain de Staic Jewelry website.
Louis Mulcahy Pottery
Situated along Slea Head Drive, near Clogher Strand (beach), you’ll come across the workshop, studio, and shop of Louis Mulcahy. Louis and his team have been hand-making pots for over 40 years. In the summer months (June-September), you can have the opportunity to create your own pottery with their popular Pottery Experience. They’ll even ship the pottery you make directly to your home, so you don’t have to worry about it getting damaged on your continued travels. Don’t miss the cafe upstairs where you can dine on fresh local food. These delicious treats are of course served on Louis Mulcahy tableware. For more information on location, shops hours, and details on the Pottery Experience, visit the Louis Mulcahy Pottery website.
Lisbeth Mulcahy Weavings
Lisbeth Mulcahy is one of Ireland’s most well known weavers and tapestry artists. Name sound familiar? That’s because she’s married to Louis Mulchay (of Louis Mulcahy Pottery). They truly are a talented duo, sharing their talents and creativity with the people and visitors of Ireland. Lisbeth specializes in colorful, traditional, and trendy scarves, stoles, and throws. You can purchase her products at The Weavers Shop (Siopa na bhFíodóirí) in Dingle. For more information about location, shop hours, and an online store, go to the Lisbeth Mulcahy Weavings website.
Harry Clarke Stained Glass
The Díseart Institute of Irish Spirituality and Culture, alongside St Mary’s Church on Green Street in Dingle, has a lovely collection of Harry Clarke stained glass windows from 1922. The former convent also has a stunning fresco of The Last Supper (featuring several locals) by American artist Eleanor Yates. While at the Díseart Institute, take a peaceful stroll around the gardens.
Dingle Peninsula Hiking
What attracts so many people to the country of Ireland is its unrivaled landscape. Rolling green hills bestrewn with ancient stones and rugged coastlines draw countless visitors to the ‘Wild Atlantic’ coast of the Emerald Isle. As mentioned before, the Dingle Peninsula is a microcosm of Ireland, offering some of the best scenic landscapes the country has to offer. Therefore, it’s only natural to want to get out and explore this incomparable terrain, and walking is one of the best ways to discover the natural beauty of Ireland!
The Dingle Way
The Dingle Way is a 111-mile (179 km) circular path starting and ending in Tralee. Walk in the foothills of the Slieve Mish mountains, cross the shoulder of Mount Brandon, stroll above the crashing waves of the Atlantic at Slea Head, wander through scenic farmland, and saunter over the golden sand on the beaches of the Maharees. The Dingle Way takes most decently fit walkers about 8 or 9 days to complete the loop.
Brief Overview of the Dingle Way
Day 1 – Tralee to Camp
Distance: 11 miles/18 km | Ascent: 656 feet/200 m | Estimated Time: 5-7 hours | Difficulty Level: Difficult
Highlights Include: Blennerville windmill, glacial valleys, and ruins of an old settlement in Killelton
Day 2 – Camp to Anascaul
Distance: 10.5 miles/17 km | Ascent: 771 feet/235 m | Estimated Time: 4-6 hours | Difficulty Level: Moderate
Highlights Include: Views of Tralee Bay, Castlemaine Harbor, Inch Beach, the Iveragh Peninsula, and Anascaul Lake
Day 3 – Anascaul to Dingle
Distance: 14.3 miles/23 km | Ascent: 492 feet/150 m | Estimated Time: 5-7 hours | Difficulty Level: Easy
Highlights Include: Minard Castle, remains of the Lispole Railway Viaduct, and Conor Pass
Day 4 – Dingle to Dunquin
Distance: 12.4 miles/20 km | Ascent: 1,214 feet/370 m | Estimated Time: 5-7 hours | Difficulty Level: Moderate
Highlights Include: Burnham House, Ventry, Slea Head Road, Dún Beag Fort, and views of the Blasket Islands
Day 5 – Dunquin to Feohanagh
Distance: 12.4 miles/20 km | Ascent: 410 feet/125 m | Estimated Time: 5-7 hours | Difficulty Level: Easy
Highlights Include: Views of Mt Brandon, the Three Sisters, Smerick Harbor, Sybil Point, and Clochar Beach
Day 6 – Feohanagh to Cloghane
Distance: 14.9 miles/24 km | Ascent: 2,149 feet/655 m | Estimated Time: 6-7 hours | Difficulty Level: Difficult
Highlights Include: Brandon Creek, Mount Brandon, Brandon Pier, and the village of Cloghane
Day 7 – Cloghane to Castlegregory
Distance: 18 miles/29 km | Ascent: 164 feet/50 m | Estimated Time: 7-9 hours | Difficulty Level: Moderate
Highlights Include: Fermoyle, the Maharees, and views of the ‘7 Hogs’ (the Maharees Islands)
Day 8 – Castlegregory to Tralee
Distance: 16.7 miles/27 km | Ascent: 984 feet/300 m | Estimated Time: 6.5-8.5 hours | Difficulty Level: Easy
Highlights Include: Blacksmith’s Well, Washing Bridge, Aughacasla, Tralee Bay, and Caherconree
You are welcome to join the Dingle Way at any point and just complete a portion of the walk. There are also some great mountain hikes and trails off the main route offering endless excellent options for exploring Dingle on foot! Please note that dogs are not permitted on the Dingle Way. Kindly leave no trace, do not light fires along the route, and leave gates on farmlands as you found them (open or closed). Most importantly, enjoy the walk… and the views!
The Saints Path (Cosán na Naomh)
The Saints Path is a casual 11-mile (18 km) walk starting at Ventry Beach and ending at a grotto at the foot of Mount Brandon. You’ll only climb one hill along the route and have constant views of the sea or mountains (or both)! Throughout the walk, you’ll come upon several historical sites, such as Gallarus Oratory, one of Ireland’s most iconic archeological sites, and the 12th-century church, Kilmalkedar.
Lúb na Cille
Lúb na Cille is a short 3-mile (5 km) scenic walk beginning and ending at the Blasket Heritage Center. This loop walk offers spectacular views over Clogher Beach, Ceann Sibeal (film location for Star Wars: The Last Jedi), the headlands of Ceann Sratha, the Blasket Islands, Mount Brandon, and Eagle Mountain, to name a few highlights. Walk on a combination of minor roads, sandy paths, and coastal tracks. You’ll head uphill initially then downhill to a cliff top stretch where you’ll pass the schoolhouse built for the film Ryan’s Daughter.
Annascual Walking Trails
Like pretty much all of the Dingle Peninsula, the area surrounding the village of Annascaul is favorable for exploring! There are many designated walking trails, several of which start from the town center. Ranging from gentle glen walks to the challenging journey across the seven peaks of Maumlaur Ridge, you’re likely to find something that suits your fitness level. Join the local Annascaul Walking Club on one of their regular Sunday walks or set off on your own adventure.
There is a map of the walking trails in the garden across the street from the South Pole Inn in the town center. To plan ahead, you can view the complete list of trails and their descriptions HERE. Every October during the Bank Holiday weekend, the village hosts The Annual Annascaul Walks Walking Festival. During the festival, locals and visitors alike can join in on a variety of guided coastal and hill walks in and around Annascaul.
Interesting History on Dingle Peninsula
Tom Crean, Arctic Explorer
It’s almost impossible to visit the village of Annascaul on the Dingle Peninsula and not hear the stories of local hero and famous Arctic explorer, Tom Crean. Crean ran away from home at 15 years old and volunteered to go on an expedition to Antarctica where he overcame terrible odds while saving the lives of fellow crewmen. His story of bravery, heroism, and adventure is not one to be missed. One of the best places to learn about the life and legacy of Tom Crean is at the South Pole Inn in Annascaul.
Crean opened this now-historic public house opened in 1927. It is filled with photos and memorabilia from his many harrowing voyages. Each summer, the village of Annascaul hosts the Tom Crean Endurance Festival in his memory. In the park across the street from the South Pole Inn pub is a cast bronze statue of Crean. To read more about the fascinating life and stories of Tom Crean check out An Unsung Hero: Tom Crean – Antarctic Survivor by Michael Smith.
Dingle Peninsula Museums
In the small village of Ballyferriter, set in a 19th-century schoolhouse, is the Dingle Peninsula Museum. Here you can explore displays and exhibits on local history, geology, archeology, and ecology of the Dingle Peninsula. The Celtic Pre-Historic Museum, located near the beginning of Slea Head Drive contains various artifacts from the Jurassic, Stone Age, Bronze Age, Celtic, and Viking eras. See Ireland’s only fully intact Woolly Mammoth skull, complete with tusks. Also on display is a baby dinosaur skeleton, a large nest of dinosaur eggs, and the skeleton of a cave bear. The gift shop sells jewelry, fossils, antiques, and other unique gifts.
Blasket Island Heritage Centre
The Blasket Island Heritage Centre celebrates the challenging life, local traditions, and literary achievements of the roughly 200 islanders who called the Blasket Islands home. In 1953, the remaining 22 people living on An Blascaod Mór, the largest of the 9 islands, were moved to the mainland. Through captivating audio-visual exhibits, recreations, film, and literature displays, their fascinating stories are shared. Several pieces of literary work from the islanders have gone on to become international best sellers.
If you want to learn more about life on the Blasket Islands prior to your visit, check out these books – The Islandman by Tomás Ó Criomhthain, Twenty Years A-Growing by Muiris Ó Súilleabháin, and Peig by Peig Sayers. The Blasket Island Heritage Center is open 10 am-6 pm mid-March to the end of October. It is conveniently located right off of Slea Head Drive and provides exceptional views over the Blasket Islands and the wild Atlantic.
Because there are over 2,000 archeological sites on Dingle Peninsula, we obviously can’t showcase them all. Several fascinating sites can be found along Slea Head Drive, so we’ll refer you to our popular Dingle Peninsula Drive post for more information on Gallarus Oratory, Dunbeg Fort, ancient Beehive Huts, and other archeological finds. Other sites worth mentioning include Cathair na BhFionńúrach in Feohanagh. This circular ancient stone fort (~95ft/29m in diameter) sits in the shadows of Mount Brandon. For a detailed write-up on the history of Cathair na BhFionńúrach, check out this post. Cathair Deargain is a restored stone fort, located in Ballydavid, that exemplifies fortified homesteads of ruling families in the early Christian period.
The remains of Minard Castle (pictured above) sit prominently on a small hill overlooking a small bay just a short drive from the village of Annascaul. While you can’t go into the castle ruins, its worth the windy drive to the coast. Built in 1847, Eask Tower is a solid stone tower overlooking Dingle Bay. Its purpose was to help guide vessels into the mouth of the hidden harbor. A wooden hand points from the tower guiding the boats to their destination. A moderate hike up to the tower on Carhoo Hill will provide stunning views over Dingle Harbor, Ventry Beach, Skelling Rocks, the Blasket Islands, and the Iveragh Peninsula (Ring of Kerry). Again, these are just a few examples of the many archeological sites on the Dingle Peninsula.
Learn the Local Language on Dingle
The Irish Language is very much alive on the Dingle Peninsula. Don’t worry, there are still plenty of people who speak English, so you won’t be completely lost and unable to communicate with the locals! Dingle is the capital of the Kerry Gaeltacht (Irish-speaking region), where students come to learn or improve their Irish. If you’re interested in really digging deep into the local heritage and tradition, why not spend some time learning the local language? Oidhreacht Chorca Dhuibhne is a community heritage center located in Ballyferriter offering Irish Language and Heritage courses for adults May-October. The goal at Oidhreacht Chorca Dhuibhne is to “promote and maintain the very rich linguistic, archaeological and cultural heritage of Corca Dhuibhne” (Dingle Peninsula in Irish).
It’s always a good idea to learn a few key phrases in the local language when visiting a new country. So put on your learning hat… we’re going to give you a quick intro lesson, just as Máire, one of the language instructors at Oidhreacht Chorca Dhuibhne, gave us.
|Hello||Dia dhuit (literal translation: God to you)|
|How are you?||Conas atá tú|
|I am Good||Táim go maith|
|Thank You||Go raibh maith agat|
|“May the Road Rise to Meet You”||Go n–éirí an bóthar leat|
Want more? You can view Oidhreacht Chorca Dhuibhne’s course offerings HERE. What’s great about their courses is that you don’t just sit in a classroom and memorize content. While, yes, there are formal instruction sessions, you also go out into the community and put what you’ve learned into practice. There is a range of courses available to suit everyone from a complete beginner to a fluent speaker.
Dingle Peninsula Beaches
Inch Beach is probably the most well known beach on the Dingle Peninsula. At 3 miles long, this blue flag rated beach is great for walking, swimming, surfing, kite surfing, and shore angling (fishing). The popularity of Inch Beach possibly dates all the way back to the Stone Age. This speculation is based on shell middens that have been found in the dunes above the shoreline. Due to its seemingly endless shoreline and abounding beauty, Inch Beach has been the backdrop for a few Hollywood movies including The Playboy of the Western World (1961) and Ryan’s Daughter (1970). If you visit in the winter months, you may see brent geese who travel in from the Arctic starting in September.
Ventry Beach is a sandy crescent shaped beach surrounding the sheltered bay of Ventry Harbor. It is located just over 6 miles (10 km) west of Dingle town. At approximately 5 miles long, Ventry is Ireland’s 3rd longest beach. Its dune system is rich in flora and fauna and because of this, it is in a proposed Natural Heritage Area (pNHA). In 2018, Ventry Beach received the International Blue Flag Award. Here you can set off on the The Saints Path (Cosán na Naomh), an 11-mile (18 km) walk that guides you past several archeological sites on your way to the foot of Mount Brandon.
While the waters at Inch Beach are inviting for water sports enthusiasts, it is best if you do not go into the waters at Clogher Strand Beach. There’s a reason it has earned itself the name “Storm Beach”! The waters are much too treacherous. Despite not being able to go in the water, Clogher Strand is still a recommended visit during your time on Dingle Peninsula. It is conveniently located off Dingle Peninsula’s most popular scenic route, so it’s not out of the way if you’re enjoying a journey on Slea Head Drive.
Dingle Peninsula North Shore Beaches
The north shore of Dingle Peninsula has some of the best beaches for surfing, kitesurfing, and wind surfing in all of Ireland. After spending a few days exploring the north side of the peninsula, we feel that this region doesn’t get the recognition it deserves. As such, we’ve written an entirely separate post about Castlegregory and the North Shore, including its beaches!
Dingle Peninsula Scenic Drives
Slea Head Drive
When you say the words “Dingle Peninsula”, most people automatically think of Slea Head Drive. It’s like the two have become synonymous. Again, the goal of this post is to show that there is so much more to Dingle Peninsula than Slea Head Drive (some refer to it as Slea Head Loop). Therefore, if you’re looking for information about the famous Dingle loop drive, check out this post.
Slea Head Drive Photo Guide
We put together a very detailed guide on what to see and do as you drive Slea Head Drive. It’s something we wish we had for our first time on the Dingle Peninsula loop drive. Get turn-by-turn directions for popular attractions, hidden gems, and unmarked archeological sites. Gain quick access to admission costs, opening hours, and who to contact for further information. Click below to get your copy!
Dingle Peninsula’s second most popular drive is Conor Pass. Ireland’s highest mountain pass, built around 1830, connects the village of Dingle to the north side of the peninsula. The pass becomes a single lane road at times, so you won’t encounter any tour buses here; they aren’t permitted. At the peak (1,300ft/396m), you’ll find a car park that, on a clear day, offers stunning views over Dingle town and Dingle Bay to the south and Cloghane and Brandon Bay to the north.
Conor Pass could be considered quite nerve-wracking for those who are inexperienced at driving in Ireland. Something to keep in mind is that descending traffic has the right of way, so when ascending, use the designated turnouts and yield to vehicles descending and you should be just fine. So, although Conor Pass may be a scary drive to some, it’s definitely worth it for the views! There is also a small car park when descending on the northern side that has a nice waterfall fed by Pedlar’s Lake. From here you can see the 3 lakes in the valley and Mt Brandon to the far right, making this another worthy stop on this scenic drive.
Caherconree Scenic Route
For a less traveled, yet still breathtaking mountain pass, head on over to the Caherconree Scenic Route. This mountain pass climbs to 908 feet (277m) under Cathair Conraoi (Fort of Conraoi) on the way from Aughils to Camp. Just like Conor Pass, this scenic drive also connects the south side of the Dingle Peninsula to the north. On your descent (coming over from Camp), you’ll have splendid views of Castlemaine Harbor, Inch and Rossbeigh beaches, and Cromane.
Dingle Peninsula Tour Guide Options
If you’re searching for a personal Dingle Peninsula tour experience, look no further than Mossie’s Tours. His customizable Dingle tours will leave you with a deep appreciation for Ireland, its people, and its culture. Too scared to drive Slea Head Drive or Conor Pass yourself? Let Mossie do the driving! On Mossie’s Tours, discover everything from ancient ruins to hidden valleys steeped in the rich history of Ireland’s people. He offers a genuine Irish adventure like no other. Pick and choose highlights from any one of his tours to make your own. Sam did an abbreviated version of the Hidden Valley Walking Tour with Mossie and wished he had time for the all-day adventure, which includes a peat-cutting demonstration and an in-depth account of the valley’s fascinating history.
Fairly new to the tour operator business, but not new to the peninsula is O’Connor’s Travel. Run by the O’Connor family who owns The Anvil Bar and Restaurant & Bed and Breakfast, they now offer customizable guided tours throughout the Kerry region. Tour destinations include the Dingle Peninsula, Ring of Kerry, Killarney National Park, Valentia Island, and the Cliffs of Moher. Or give Stephen a call (+353 087 4139565) and let him know where you want to go within County Kerry and no doubt he’ll be able to put together something nice for you and your small group. (You can also contact Stephen via e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.) O’Connor’s 16-seater mini bus can take you to destinations where large coaches cannot travel. Their tours are personal and personalized to help you connect with Ireland and its people. See how the locals live, experience their day-to-day, and visit some of the most beautiful landscapes in all of Ireland!
Congratulations to those of you who made it all the way to this point. This may be our longest post yet! Hopefully it has become very clear by this epically long post that the Dingle Peninsula truly is a DESTINATION. It can’t be done in a day or two. Well, technically it can, but you’d miss out on so much! Sure, there is plenty more of Ireland to be seen. But rather than spend your entire holiday driving all over the country, dive deep into the history, culture, and local hospitality found on the Dingle Peninsula.
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