A Day Trip To… Dingle – a Vibrant town With Captivating Scenery
Dingle is a gem of seaside towns in Ireland, and most definitely a tourist hub. Everyone will find something here to tickle their fancy; from amazing food, lively old-world pubs to incredible scenery. In this blog we are going to tell you about the Dingle Peninsula’s tourist favourites and, of course, the hidden gems. This part of Ireland is honestly breath-taking so jump in with us and get ready to explore.
Slea Head Drive
Slea Head: Chris Hill Photography
Slea Head is one of Ireland’s most scenic drives and is the perfect way to delve into the Irish coastline. There is a multitude of stops along the route so make sure that you allow at least half a day to complete this drive. The more unstructured the drive the better, let yourself explore and stop when you see something that catches your eye.
Don’t forget to stop one of the food spots along the drive. Tíg Aíne is a personal favourite and has outdoor seating. The best part about the journey is that everyone has their own experience and sees different things. That said we are going to highlight two of our personal favourites along the way and must-see spots.
Ventry Bay: Chris Hill, Tourism Ireland
Ventry is the first stop on the Slea Head drive, and it is not one to be missed. This is a Gaeltacht region which means that the primary language is Irish (Gaeilge). Gaeltachts are rare and there are very few doted around Ireland. This village is the perfect way to really immerse yourself into Irish culture and explore our national language. Don’t worry, you won’t have a problem communicating as almost everyone speaks English as well so don’t be afraid to have a chat with the locals. Also, if you’re visiting in the summer you may notice groups of young teenagers that spend two weeks in the Irish colleges in the area to improve their Irish.
Horse Riding: Tourism Ireland
Ventry beach is stunning and wraps around the coastline nearby the village. It is also a blue flag beach which means it is safe for swimming if you feel brave enough to take a dip in the Atlantic Ocean. The cold water will certainly leave you feeling refreshed and is a great way to clear your mind and escape. One of the most popular things to do on Ventry beach is horse riding. This is a bucket list moment and Ventry beach is one of the most beautiful places to experience it. Longs riding centre offers this service and caters to people of all experience levels. Just be sure to book it in advance of your trip.
This spot is one of the last on the Slea Head drive. This beautiful location is unique and has an amazing viewing-point. A long winding path leads down to the pier which is lined with old stone walls. Make sure to not try to drive down this road as cars do not fit, though many have tried and failed. Simply leave your car in the carpark nearby and walk down.
The best view of the pier is from the grassy cliff located directly above the pier and to the left of the access road to the pier. It is one of the most Instagram-worthy locations on the drive. Watching the sunset from this spot is spectacular so try to be at this location for it if it is a clear day; you will not regret it.
Tips for Slea Head Drive:
- The grassy head at Dunquin is uneven and dangerous so be careful and ensure children are always supervised.
- Beware that in peak season these spots can be quite busy so we would recommend a weekday if possible.
- Wear comfortable and appropriate shoes as there is lots of walking on uneven surfaces.
- Travel in a clockwise direction for the best experience.
- Beware of narrow roads, there are many pull in spots to let people pass so be sure to use these to your advantage.
Conor Pass: Chris Hill Photography
The Conor Pass is one of the most unique experiences in Dingle. This mountain pass stands 410m above sea level and is one of the highest in Ireland. It brings you from Dingle over to Brandon Bay and Castlegregory. This tight bendy road weaves along the side of a rugged mountain and has a large drop on the other side. It is not a drive for the faint-hearted so make sure that you are confident with driving on Irish roads. This road may seem daunting so be sure to take your time.
Halfway through the drive there is a pull in area, where you will see people climbing up the side on a small rock path. This is a short climb and only takes about 10 minutes but the reward for your climb is worth it. You will see Lough Doon (Corrie Lake) which is a glacier lake that sits into the mountain. Nothing says Ireland like a small lake surrounded by vast mountains. Also, the views not only from the carpark but the rock path are worth more then money can buy so make sure to stop.
- Castlegregory, which is situated on the far side of Conor Pass, is a small seaside town and is the perfect quiet escape from the hustle and bustle of Dingle. The best beach is out past the town in the Maharees. It is about a 10-minute drive. The back beach is surrounded by sand dunes and is almost always quiet. It is not a tourist spot so it is perfect place to take a moment to yourself. Also, the sunsets are 10/10.
Tips for driving Conor Pass safely:
- Do not attempt to drive this road in a rush, it requires a slow and steady pace.
- This is a two-vehicle road but only one can drive it at a time. There are little pull in areas dotted around. If you are next to one, make sure to pull in and let other cars pass.
- Only cars and jeeps can drive this road. No tour busses, vans or campervans are allowed.
- Always be aware of cars coming towards you.
Inch Beach: Tourism Ireland
Inch beach is one of the longest beaches in Ireland. It is also a beach you can actually drive onto. This vast beach is the perfect place to take in the sun, relax and listen to the waves crash. The beach is surrounded by mountains and has vast sand dunes. It is a very popular beach for surfers and is great place to watch the sun go down as surfers catch a few waves. There is also a café on the beach and is perfect place to fill the hunger or get a caffeine fix.
Dingle town is a vibrant and busy town, especially in summer when it is extremely popular among tourists. This town has some of the best old-fashioned bars and seafood in Ireland. You will feel an atmosphere like no other here, it is famous for a reason.
Bars: This town is small but has over 65 bars which have live music on most nights so there is lots of choose from, such as:
- McCarthy’s Pub, Goat Street
- An Droichead Beag, Main Street
- Foxy John’s, Main Street- This is a pub mixed with a hardware store and is a must see old fashioned gem.
- Adam’s, Main Street
- John Benny’s, Strand Street
- Danno’s Bar, Strand Street
- Dick Macks, Green Street
- O’Flaherty’s, Bridge Street
Food: Dingle is famous for its fresh seafood and it is a haven for seafood lovers.
- The Fish Box – Perfect casual fish takeaway and the fish and chips are a legacy. The family has their own trawler, so the fish is always fresh.
- Real Dingle Fish – Said to be the best fish and chips in Dingle.
- My Boy Blue – The perfect breakfast spot.
- The Chart House – Fine dining experience (requires booking in advance).
- Boat Yard Restaurant – All about local Kerry meats and fish.
- Doyle’s seafood restaurant – A tasteful sit down restaurant with amazing fresh seafood.
- Out of the Blue – Serves solely seafood, some of the freshest in town.
- Murphy Ice Cream – Famous ice cream parlour with interesting and unique flavours (brown bread ice cream is a must).
Dingle is definitely not short of lively bars or amazing seafood so get ready to enter into full food-coma mode. Whether you want causal or fine dining – it has it all! Dingle is an amazing place and offers activities for everyone. It is definitely worth the trip and has some of the most captivating scenes, drives and beaches in Ireland. So, buckle up and get ready for your once in a lifetime day trip.