Things to do in Dingle
Posted by Niamh Allabyrne on the 12th of September 2013 at 09:22:21
Rugged beauty and spectacular coastal views, infused with a strong sense of history, heritage and tradition have long made Dingle in County Kerry a popular touring destination. It is the people and beauty that make this town something a little special – the sense of community, freedom and welcome which seems to follow you everywhere – people chat to you in shops, restaurants and bars – asking what you’re doing or hoping to do, offering advice on purchases, recommendations on places to see and parting with life stories and secrets which imbibe you with a real sense of belonging and connection. Standing on the precipices of Europe, Dingle is surely the jewel in Ireland’s crown – and if you ever find yourself there for a couple of days, here are some of my top picks on what to do and where to go!
Dingle Distillery – this small, charming artisan distillery first opened in 2012 and has a growing reputation amongst whiskey aficionados. It is 100% Irish opened and its whiskey has the unique element of being distilled in the humid Gulf Stream which Dingle so enjoys thus providing different conditions to other Irish distilleries in colder and wetter parts of the country. Although in its infancy, this is well worth a visit to - you can literally just walk in and see if you can catch a tour. Also offering vodka and gin, this is one to watch, and how nice to say that you had seen it in the beginning! Sláinte!
Fungie – this is the name of the bottle-nosed dolphin who has made a home for himself in Dingle Harbor since 1984. This super friendly fellow loves nothing more than playing chase with the boats which regularly take people out to the Harbor to see him. So popular and well known, a statue has even being made in his honor so if you don’t meet the man himself but sure and get your photo taken by his statue!
Islands – Kerry’s most famous islands are the Blasket Islands and the Skelligs both accessed with boat companies taking regular trips out to each of the island groups. The Blasket Islands are just off Slea Head and were inhabited for over 300 years until 1953 when they were abandoned - it is no mean feat existing in the vicious onslaught of the wild Atlantic for so long! The Skelligs are my personal favorite – an old monastic settlement, with surviving bee-hive huts. Again the wonder is how people survived and thrived in these small communities in the face of Mother Nature. Beautiful and stunning – not to be missed!
Murphy’s Ice-cream – set up only 7 years by two Irish American brothers, these delicious ice-creams are made preservative free and use only the best of locally produced goods from the collecting of Dingle sea water for their sea-salt ice-cream (yes really) to growing their own mint. An eclectic mix of traditional and non-traditional flavors, Murphy’s are not afraid to try something new nor embrace suggestions and even critique from their customers in the quest of ice-cream perfection!
Pub Crawl – best place in Ireland to do! Literally teeming with pubs and bars of all sizes and most beside one another, my advice is to visit each one for 40 minutes and then move on to the next one or however long it takes you to finish a glass of something – alcoholic or not! The craic is mighty, the pubs are authentic and the people friendly. Catch a great Trad Music Session in The Courthouse Bar, The Mighty Session or John Benny Moriarty’s and check out Curran’s - a great pub where I always seem to end up!
Eats - Dingle has a whole array of great restaurants – something for everyone – however it is still a fishing village and so fish really is their specialty. Out of the Blue, Ashes and The Half Door offer some great seafood culinary delights!
Slea Head – The dramatic and staggering coastline of the Dingle Peninsula is nowhere more highlighted than taking the Slea Head Drive. This circular route is approximately 42 km long and there are road signs demarcating the route all along it so you can’t really go wrong! Usually taken clockwise to avoid the tour-buses and cyclists, you take in Dingle, Ventry, Dunbeg Fort, Coumenoole Beach, Gallarus Oratory, Ballydavid to name just a few of the highlights. Driving past coastal views and historic sights this is drive to be savored and not rushed!
Shopping – Dingle is known for its artisan craft shops, and nearly every shop seems to offer locally produced goods, from crystal, metal work to jewelry – never left Dingle without a pair of handmade earrings! Pop into the Dingle Artworks with some lovely prints of Dingle scenes, myths and landscapes from artist June McIntyre, indulge in some terrific cheeses in The Little Cheese Shop and treat yourself to some Dingle Crystal!
A day in Dingle is featured in several of our tours from Clodagh’s Irish Food Trials Tour to our Journey Through The West Tour. And of course you can Custom Make your very own tour of Ireland and include a day or two in Dingle. So contact us today and make sure if don’t miss out on the magic and myth of delightful Dingle Town!
And while down in The Kingdom (Kerry) here are some suggestions about what else you can do!