dingle peninsula

Visiting The Dingle Peninsula

Described in National Geographic as ‘the most beautiful place on earth’ and listed as one of the top 10 places to be on New Year’s Eve, Co. Kerry’s Dingle Peninsula is a stunning location for a short getaway or a long family vacation. Steeped in history and archaeological wonder, this rugged region has supported human civilisation for 6000 years. This has left behind countless ancient monuments, all set in unspoilt countryside that has to be seen to be believed.

The area

Stretching 30 miles into the Atlantic on Ireland’s south-west coast, the mountain range running from the country’s second highest peak, Mount Brandon, into the Slieve Mish forms the backbone of the area. The coast features dramatic sea-cliffs running into sandy beaches. It’s easily possible to drive around the whole area in a day, but take your time and a whole new world will open up.

Dotted with seaside resort towns and fishing villages all along the coast, and the Blasket Islands off to the west, there is no shortage of places to stay, establishments to eat in, or things to see and do. Of particular mention is the town of Dingle itself, a colourful harbour town founded in the 13th Century, which serves as a hub for visitors and the surrounding locals alike.

Where to stay

Unsurprisingly the majority of accommodation is found in Dingle, and it offers townhouse B&Bs, guest houses and hotels. However, out across the peninsula are various rural locations where farm houses or country homes offer bed and breakfast or are available to rent on a self-catering basis, allowing some real alone time.

What to see and do:

  • Walking The Dingle Peninsula offers miles and miles of deserted lanes, cliff-top routes and mountain routes, through spectacular scenery that makes walking there a joy. Including the famous 98 mile Dingle Way, and the 11 mile Pilgrims Route, Dingle Peninsula Tourism publishes a collection of the most popular walks.
  • Exploring The Kilmalkedar 12th century church, Caherdirgan stone fort, the graveyard at St James Church, the monastic sites in Baile Riabhach and Riasc, plus thousands of ancient archaeological spots that litter the peninsula like jewels waiting to be discovered. Don’t forget to see Annascual Lake, with its winding pathways and waterfalls, or the cliff-top views over the Blasket Irelands.
  • Cultural immersion - Local craftworks and pottery shops are popular in the Dingle, there are many art galleries, and outdoor festivals celebrating local music, art and food throughout the summer months.
  • Surfing, yacting, fishing - The towns and villages around the Dingle Peninsula are well equipped to help you indulge in your chosen pastime. The surf is world famous. If you’re not up to full on fishing, try searching for crabs in the rock pools or picking periwinkles.
  • Cycling, horse riding, wildlife watching - There are many local amenities to cater for these activities; it just depends where you want to go. For wildlife, huge numbers of rare birds abound, and trips can be organised for whale watching. Make sure you see Fungie, Dingle harbour’s bottle-nose dolphin, a resident since 1984.

Above all, every moment in the Dingle Peninsula is spent surrounded by the most glorious landscape, welcoming people, and miles of fantastic beaches. What more could you want?

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