To make it short – the Dingle Peninsula is one of the most beautiful spots in Ireland. It should be on everyone’s bucket list, a truly magical place! To help you with planning your trip to this western part of Ireland, I put together my Top 8 Things to See & Do on the Dingle Peninsula. Enjoy:
- Visit Fungie: He is by far the most famous inhabitant of the Dingle Peninsula and that’s why he is No.1 on my list: Fungie the Dolphin. In 1984, a young bottle-nosed dolphin started to appear at the mouth of Dingle Harbour. The now world-famous dolphin has remained in Dingle since, and has become both a friend to the locals and a great “attraction” for visitors. You can take a closer look at Fungie by boat – boat trips to see Fungie leave from the top of the pier in Dingle Town and last approximately 45 minutes. Or you can even hire a wetsuit and swim with the dolphin.
- Get Murphy’s Ice Cream: Another, very delicious, must-to when in Dingle (Town), is to visit the original Murphy’s Ice Cream shop and get some (or a lot!) of their yummy ice cream. Sean and Kieran Murphy started Murphys Ice Cream in in Dingle in 2000, with the goal of making the best ice cream in the world.And they succeeded! They say Murphys Ice Cream is so good because it uses milk from the rare, indigenous breed of Kerry cow because the milk is so wonderful. Plus, they make all of their ice cream from scratch and never use preservatives, colours, mixes, powdered milk, bottled flavours, or anything not natural. One thing that’s different about this ice cream are definitely the flavours that you can get. They range from “old-school” varieties like Vanilla, Strawberry and Chocolate to some more special flavours like Irish Cream Liqeuer, fresh Peppermint leaves, Peanut, to truly extreme falvours like Brown Bread, Pink Champagne, Sea Salt, Candied Chilli Pepper, Honey Lavender and much more. On their website they also list the worst flavour ever made: Smoked Salmon (yuck!); the best weird flavour: Goat’s Cheese and Caramelised Shallot (really?!); the oddest customer request that was made into ice cream: Green Pea and Mint (nope!); and the tastiest flavour that they couldn’t convine customers to buy: Licorice. So you see, you will have a whole lot of fun in this ice cream parlour!
- Do the Slea Head Drive: When you are in Dingle and you have a car, one thing you just have to do is the Slea Head Drive. The Slea Head Drive is a circular route, beginning and ending in Dingle, that takes in a large number of attractions and stunning views on the western end of the peninsula. The route is clearly labelled by road signs throughout its length so you won’t get lost. To properly enjoy the Drive, a half-day should be set aside for the journey.Make sure to travel the route clockwise to avoid getting stuck behind tour buses especially during the summer months. Some attractions you will see anlong the way include: Ventry Beach, Dunbeg Fort, Slea Head, Coumenoole Strand, Corca Dhuibhne Regional Museum, the excavated early Christian site at Reasc, the Gallarus Oratory, Mount Brandon, and much more.
- Discover the Blasket Islands: While on the Slea Head drive, you will get an amazing view of the Blasket Islands, sitting there in the Atlantic Ocean. My tip: Get on a ferry from Dunquin (Dún Chaoin) which brings you over to Great Blasket Island and do some serious exploring! The ferry takes approx. 20 minutes each way and passengers are given a set of return times which enables them to spend as long or as little time as they want exploring the island. The Blasket islands are uninhabited today as their former inhabintants were evacuated in 1953. This place is so remote and wildly beutiful that you can spend hours there just marvelling at its beauty.
- Visit the Penguins at the Dingle Oceanworld Aquarium: They are not quite as famous as Fungie – but stil a big attraction: the Dingle Penguins at the Dingle Oceanworld Aquarium. Make sure to check them out for the extra “awwww” factor. Oceanworld Aquarium is situated in Dingle town and also hosts Ireland’s largest collection of Sharks. But that’s not all, there is also an amazing amazonian display including deadly Piranhas, Catfish, Pacu and lots more; native marine species; a Touch Tank where you can hold a starfish or stroke friendly Rays; and underwater tunnel; and so much more. Great fun for the the little ones as well as the big ones
- Go Surfing at Inch Beach: One of the coolest beaches in Ireland is Inch Beach on the Dingle Peninsula. These 3 miles of sandy beach are ideal for bathing, surfing and sea angling. The countryside around Inch beach is simply stunning and this is probably why Inch Strand was chosen by David Lean as the beach location for “Ryan’s Daughter”, while the film “Playboy of the Western World” was shot entirely at Inch. Also, cars are allowed on the beach! So grab your surfboard and head to Inch Beach for a day. A whole lot of fun and like-minded people are guaranteed. For those of you that can’t surf yet – no problem! There is a surfing school at the beach as well. So no excuses Dudes & Bettys!
- Walk the Dingle Way: Are you into hiking? then this one is for you – the 153km circulare walking trail called Dingle Way.The walk begins in Tralee, overlooking Tralee Bay, and then swings southwest across the peninsula from Camp to look down on Dingle Bay while you ramble inland to Annascaul, and then on to Dingle Town. From Dingle the route continues west around Slea Head to Dunquin, with magnificent views of the Blasket Islands to the west and beautiful coastal cliffs to the north. Then the trail turns back along the north coast of the peninsula, past Smerwick Harbour, and continues on below the massive Brandon Mountain, Ireland’s second highest peak and named for St. Brendan the Voyager. A high pass will bring you to the village of Cloghane, east of Brandon, and then the route continues along coastal beaches to Castlegregory and the Maharees, ultimately ending back in Tralee. Obviously, if you don’t feel up to it, you don’t need to do the whole thing – just pick out the most interesting / beautiful parts of the Dingle Way.
- Night out in Dingle Pubs: Last but not least – after a long day exploring, walking, surfing or chasing dolphins and penguins, you need to realx in a real Irish Pub. Dingle Town is just the right place for that! Dingle’s pubs are famous all over the world. A good laugh, many new friends, delicious pints of the black stuff and first class traditional musical entertainment are guaranteed. Let the pub crawl roll on!
You surely can’t wait to visit the Dingle Peninsula now, right?! So go ahead and plan your trip now!
Where to Stay: Check out our Dingle Peninsula cottages Kerry Cottages and the Tralee Bay Holiday Village!