Just along Ireland’s south west coast, the Dingle Peninsula is 30 miles of jagged sea-cliffs, numerous mountains and breath-taking beaches. This stretch of land making up part of the Wild Atlantic Way can keep anyone entertained. From honeymooners looking for Ireland’s beaches and adventure to families with kids trying to have a fun time exploring. Dubbed by National Geographic as ‘the most beautiful place on Earth’, the Dingle Peninsula is full of Ireland’s rich history and many must see locations.
The Dingle Peninsula was first inhabited as a seaport district. By the 16th century, Dingle was one of Ireland’s top ports for exporting things like fish and animal hides and importing wine. Still a major fishing port today, the Dingle Peninsula is lined with harbors full of fishing boats.
History buffs will appreciate exploring Dingle’s past during their visit. Kilmalkedar Church is a Romanesque church in ruins, making it the most popular historic site to visit in this region. The Gallarus Oratory is a small chapel right next to the Gallarus Castle, overlooking the Ard na Caithne Harbor. There is a small door and an even smaller window in the chapel said to give anyone who can fit through it automatic access to heaven. Eask tower is another popular tourist destination. A stone tower on Carhoo Hill, Eask Tower was built to help sailors find their way to the correct port. All of these stops and more are a great peek into the Dingle Peninsula’s past.
An interesting stop on your way around the Dingle Peninsula is the Famine Cottages. Built using mud and stone in the 19th century, these cottages have two rooms and a loft. The Kavanagh family lived in these cottages during the worst of the Great Irish Famine. Due to the remoteness of these cottages, they suffered greatly during the times of the famine. Now these cottages serve as a museum of sorts with sheepdog demonstrations and tours of the property to learn more about The Great Irish Famine.
Some of Ireland’s greatest beaches are located on the Dingle Peninsula. Being a peninsula, Dingle is surrounded by beachy areas perfect for getting some sun or adventuring through the many walking trails around them. The most popular area is Coumeenoole beach. Besides having a cool name, this beach is also listed as a must-see location for any time of the year. Inch beach is a great place for swimming and surfing, while you can also drive your car up on the beach or ride horses down the coast!
For outdoor lovers and even more scenic views of the peninsula, hiking is the way to see more of Dingle Peninsula. There are many different trails and mountains to hike in and around Dingle. Conor pass is a beautiful stretch of land that encompasses the summit of Croaghskearda Mountain. At 162 kilometers, the Dingle Way is a long but beautiful path around the whole peninsula. This hike can easily be split up into much shorter segments if need be. Mount Brandon is one of Ireland’s highest peaks and anybody looking for some scenic views will definitely enjoy this one. There are numerous lakes and a German fighter plane wreckage to see for the history buffs as well.
Another option for the adventurous is to take a trip out to Great Blasket Island. This contains a cluster of six islands located just off the coast of the peninsula. The islands are uninhabited and provide perfect views of this rustic area. One of the best-known stopping points is the Dingle Peninsula pier. Walk out to the most westerly point of the peninsula in a stop known for its beauty and magical sunsets. Other adventurous activities to look for are surf school, boat tours and so much more.
While you’re on one of the boat tours that Dingle has to offer, you may run into the famously loved dolphin, Fungie. While most dolphins travel in pods, Fungie has decided to stay in the Dingle harbor and get to know the locals. Fungie has been around for the past 30 years being friendly with swimmers and guiding the fishing boats around the harbor. The dolphin has his own twitter that locals and tourists enjoy following to get Fungie’s updates!
The social atmosphere in Dingle keeps the tourists and Irish natives coming back for more. Locals are incredibly friendly. There are restaurants and pubs for everyone’s taste. Dingle as of recent has become a popular foodie destination on its own. Though it is a small Irish town, Dingle now has 3 dozen restaurants thanks to its rise in the cuisine industry. From seafood to fine cuisine, everyone will be happy with what’s on the menu. And Murphy’s is a must visit for ice cream made from ‘the best milk in the world’ with flavors like butterscotch or gin and tonic.
No matter the time of year or your interests, Dingle Peninsula will entertain all who come through. You’ll find yourself wishing you had more time to do everything the peninsula has to offer. So, what are you waiting for? The Dingle Peninsula is waiting to greet you.