Exploring Dingle Peninsula: Everything You Need to Know For a Perfect Trip

With every coastal view more dramatic than last, with the briny smell of wild Atlantic ocean and flawless exhibitions of natures wonders, Dingle is and always has been close to my heart because there is more to it than just scenic terrain.

She’s a beauty with a big inspiring soul. Utterly irresistible with layers of uncrowded corners unfolding before your eyes, allowing you to think, feel, and breathe.

It doesn’t matter whether it’s your first or fifth time, there is always something new and something extraordinary to see on Dingle Peninsula; it has to be one of the most stunning places in the entire world!

While most recognizable for its long and craggy cliffs and deserted beaches, Dingle offers noteworthy hikes, picturesque fishing villages, and traditional food too.

But, the best thing about the peninsulas open-air ventures is that you’ll never be able to do it all in one lifespan. You can catch a boat to the Blasket Islands,  search for demanding waves, get a healthy dose of adrenaline rush by cliff jumping into the ferocious Atlantic ocean and raise your heart rate by ascending sea stacks and then do it all again.

Picture-perfect views

Dingle Peninsula: Everything you need to know for a perfect trip

Are you planning your autumn holidays and a staycation in Ireland? Why not embark on an epic road trip to Ireland’s southwest and plan to explore one of its wild peninsulas?

With this blog post, we are very excited to introduce you to an utterly incredible corner of Ireland we’ve just had a chance to explore  –  remote yet naturally fertile Dingle Peninsula.


Things to know before you go

Prepare for the weather | To make sure unpredictable Irish weather doesn’t affect your plans or your travels, always prepare in advance. Bring warm socks, quality rain jacket, and water-resistant boots to keep you warm and comfortable.

Driving in Ireland | If you are arriving by car – driving in Ireland is on the left side. If you have no experience, then it can be tricky at first. It can also be intimidating especially if you rent a car in Dublin Airport and head out straight on one of the motorways.  Still, after a day or two, it’ll be second nature to you.

Driving requirements | Residents of Canada, USA, and European Union, are allowed to operate in Ireland’s once they have a valid drivers license. Travellers from other countries need to secure an International Driver’s License. Once on the road, remember that the use of mobile phones, while driving, is strictly forbidden and you have to wear the seatbelt all the time.

Roads in Dingle | In the past year’s roads in Ireland have improved dramatically and are in top conditions if you need to cover the long distances between the most significant cities. However, in the rural region, be prepared for small country roads, many of them single lane. Take your time to navigate them and leave some room for flexibility.

Dingle Loop Drive |  It takes a full day to drive the Dingle peninsula loop and around 2-4 hours to drive the Slea Head, even more, if you wish to explore all the tourist attractions along the way. Plan your trip accordingly; don’t rush and spend quality time in each place you choose to explore.

One of the beehive huts on Dingle Peninsula – an early medieval stone-built round house

Getting to Dingle and around

Getting to the remote peninsula isn’t that easy as it takes nearly 5 hours to reach from Dublin. The nearest airport is in Cork from where you will need to hire a vehicle for the 2-hour journey to Dingle town. Cork Airport is connected to many European destinations, but Shannon Airport, located 173 km from Dingle, has direct flights from the USA.

Travelling from Dublin | If you are driving from Dublin Airport, rather than spending the whole time behind the wheel, you can stop overnight at Limerick or Tralee and see the attractions along the way. You can break up the 350 km journey by stopping at Adare village to stretch your legs and admire traditional thatched cottages.

Public Transport| Nearest train stations to Dingle are Killarney, Tralee, and Farranfore. You can get a train from Dublin’s Heuston station to Tralee, which takes around 4 hours one way and then from Tralee get a bus to Dingle town. You can also use Bus Eireann service which links many cities, airports and ferry ports within Ireland.

Getting around | The best way to get around the Dingle peninsula is by car. As the loop drive is approximately 47 km, you could also opt for a bike. Self-guided bike trips are always exciting, and you get the freedom to explore the area on your terms.  Stop for a photo, a coffee or to chat with a local and keep paddling on.

Organised Tours | If you don’t want to drive or cycle and wish to see Dingle Peninsula on organised tours, get in touch with Dingle Slea Head Tours. They specialise in private and group tours and take visitors to various attractions such as Ventry Harbour, Star Wars Locations, and The Fahan Group Beehive Huts.

Inch beach is a great beach with miles of lovely sand and clean water.

Where to stay on the Dingle Peninsula

Dingle is peninsulas biggest town, and many travellers choose it as their home base for exploring. Book your accommodation well in advance, especially if you plan on visiting during the busy summer season.

Hostels | For budget-friendly accommodation, choose one of many Dingles hostels. Hostels usually provide goo value for money, and it’s a great way to meet other travellers. Choose Mount Brandon hostel located in Cloghane, Dingle Gate hostel in Annascaul or Rainbow independent hostel in Dingle, and you’ll receive a warm welcome.

Campsites | For avid campers there a couple of good campsites that cater for tents, motorhomes, caravans and campervans with access to services such as showers and shared kitchens. Green Arches Caravan Park and Teach an Aragail Campsite are two of the places on Dingle Peninsula.

Hotels | You’ll find a great variety of hotels on Dingle peninsula to suit every budget. Benners Hotel is one of the most luxurious hotels in Dingle.

Who doesn’t love a beautiful front entry door?

Best things to do on the Dingle Peninsula

Dunmore Head, Slea Head drive, Dunquin, Inch beach, and Brandon Point are just a few of the main points of interest on the peninsula.  If you are visiting for the first time, make sure you mix a couple of famous tourist attractions with lesser-known.

Photography | If landscape photography is one of the reasons you love to travel, you’ll like this part of Ireland. The best way to make the most of your morning photo session is to stay close enough to the place where you want to take sunrise and sunset photos.

Scenery | From charming villages and rocky cliffs to beautiful sea views and small, winding roads, you’ll be spoilt for many picture-perfect moments to enjoy along the way. Dingle peninsula is home to some of the best coastal drives rewarding you with unforgettable sights.

Food | Ireland has some of the best comforts foods, and many of them you can sample in Dingle. Whether you fancy a full Irish breakfast, Guinness pie or ice cream from the world-famous Murphy’s.

Hiking | Mount Brandon, located on the peninsula, is Ireland’s second-highest mountain and if you are a hiking enthusiast, why not make it to the top for fantastic views? Always check the weather forecast and wear appropriate clothing before any hike in Ireland.

Surfing | Dingle town surf shops have everything you need for a surf lesson. You can arrange lessons in advance and they cost around €25. Dingle Surf also offers SUP tours that start at €35.

The Great Blasket Visitors center tells the story of the islands and the people who lived there.

Best time to visit Dingle Peninsula

Every season brings something new and exciting to see. September is one of the best times to visit Dingle; it’s warm enough to hit the trails before the winter arrives. There still be lots of tourists, yet it’s considerably better than in the summer months.

Winter | In the wintertime you can expect fewer people and fantastic accommodation rates yet the weather conditions can be brutal. With limited daylight hours, you might need to plan your trip thoroughly.

Spring | The weather is often pleasant by late spring, and seasonal business is reopening. Forests are blooming with wildflowers; temperatures are gradually rising. And the rolling green countryside can be a joy to explore. April and May are some of the best months to visit Ireland due to warmer temperatures and fewer crowds.

Summer | During the summer month, the midges are out, and it’s the most crowded time of the year, yet it’s relatively warm. But even at the height of summer, it’s impossible to be guaranteed a spell of good weather.

Autumn | Tourist crowds and midges start to disappear, and the weather is still pleasant in September. Late autumn arrives with lots of rainfall, and many businesses are closed by late October.

Some of the best known books about a life on the Blasket Islands.

What to pack for your Dingle adventure

It doesn’t matter where you travel to; you always have to pack for the environment. Are you planning on spending your time cafe crawling in towns or getting lost in the wilderness? Ireland is a perfect blend of urban adventures, and for a stress-free travel experience, come prepared.

However well-laid plans you may have the weather will always have the last word. As long as you are willing to go with the flow, rain and bad weather won’t stop you from having a great time exploring the Island.  Rain and fog look good in the photos, and all you have to do is to bring appropriate clothing and footwear.

  • Warm socks
  • Sturdy hiking boots
  • Raincoat
  • Mosquito repellant and bug bite
  • Warm clothing
Taking in the views at Brandon Point, Murirrigane

Top places to see on Dingle Peninsula

Some of Ireland’s most incredible sights are located on Dingle Peninsula. Dingle has a lot going for it, especially if you are looking to get off the beaten path and hike your way through its hidden corners.

  • The Great Blasket Island | Jump on a boat and explore the Blasket Islands, which is the westernmost point of Europe.
  • Inch Beach | With its lovely golden sands and amazing looking dunes that stretch for miles Inch Beach is perfect for walkers and surfers alike.
  • Mount Brandon | For an impressive panoramic views hike Ireland 8th highest mountain and enjoy the views across the Irish landscape.
  • Go dolphin- or whale-watching | The waters around Dingle are a fantastic place to see Dingle’s most famous dolphin named Fungi.
  • Dunquin Harbour | Whether quiet or busy, beautiful weather or windy gales, Dunquin Harbour is a must-see place that offers fantastic views of cliffs, rock formations, and the islands.
  • Beehive Huts | Learn more about the way people lived in Ireland by visiting Beehive huts. It costs only a few euros to see the amazing structures build without fancy machinery.
Dingle is a small port town on southwest Ireland’s

What travel photography gear to pack

Dingle peninsula is known for its stunning photography locations. If you are a landscape photographer, you need to be prepared, because what gear you pack can have a significant impact on photographs you capture. On Dingle Peninsula, you are going to be exposed to natural elements and its inhabitants, puffins, and dolphins included.

Although bringing along all the essential photography gear can quickly add up to lots of extra weight, they are important if you want sharp images that can tell stories.

  • Camera body and a selection of lenses that ideally cover wide-angle to medium telephoto (for instance 25mm to 200mm).
  • At least 2+ camera batteries and at least two memory cards. If you have more than two camera bodies, bring a separate charger too.
  • Bring a small laptop so you can backup your images and external hard drives.
  • Tripod
  • Camera backpack
  • Hot-shoe spirit level (if your camera has a level indicator built-in that’s fine).
  • Lens cloth, polarisers, travel adapter, camera rain cover
  • Tech Pouch to keep all your cables, small accessories and chargers all in one place
The most famous portion of the peninsula drive is called the Slea Head Drive

Follow ‘leave no trace” principle

The outdoors belong to everyone. Minimise your impact and be kind to people you meet on the trails. Don’t play loud music and don’t disturb wildlife. Dispose of your waste correctly. There are so many things we can do to protect nature; we have to adjust our attitudes, behaviour, and the way we see the world.

  • Pitching your tent or parking your campervan in designated areas helps to protect the natural environment and ecosystem.
  • When hiking, stay on the trail whenever possible, and always follow an established route.
  • Say yes to recycling and reducing. Reduce water and electricity consumption and buy reusable products.
  • Stay off of delicate foliage like moss, heather, and wildflowers.
Irish pubs are famed the world over and you’ll find plenty of them on Dingle Peninsula

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Now, over to you!

Have you ever been to the Dingle Peninsula? Let us know in the comments below!

Let us know if you are plotting a visit to Dingle and have travel-related questions!

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Our Crossings follows the daily adventures of Latvian expats living in Sligo as they surf and explore the world

39 thoughts on “Exploring Dingle Peninsula: Everything You Need to Know For a Perfect Trip

    1. Thank you very much. Dingle Peninsula is one of Ireland most scenic locations and we are absolutely delighted for a chance to explore it. It rained more than we initially liked but nevertheless, we had heaps of fun. Thanks for stopping by and have a good day. Aiva

      Liked by 1 person

  1. This post brings back so many memories of weekends spent exploring the peninsulas of southern Ireland.
    Ireland is not a very large country and people think that everything is close to everything. But going to the southern peninsulas is like going very far away. It should also be pointed out that Dingle is a Gaeltacht, a region where people speak Gaelic, and it’s not just folklore, especially among the eldest. Otherwise the best way to find accommodation is in B&B, they are everywhere and outside the high season it is possible to find a room without making a reservation. In the very low season, some are not open.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Hi, and thanks for stopping by, I’m glad to see a new reader!! Yes, you are right, much of the peninsula of Corca Dhuibhne is a Gaeltacht or an area where the Irish language (Gaeilge, Gaelainn or Gaelic) is widely spoken in the home, workplace or school. I should incorporate that specific fact somewhere in the post because the Irish language runs through so many experiences across the Dingle Peninsula; from road signs and place names to business descriptions and menu items, music and literature, festivals and events. In summer, many school students from other parts of Ireland stay for three week-long Colaistí Samhraidh or Summer Language Colleges, staying in the homes of local people. I hope you had a great time exploring southern Ireland peninsulas! Have a good day and take care. Aiva

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I have not been to Dingle Peninsula before, but your photos of it look gorgeous! As Lookoom wrote, Ireland might be small, but the limited access to parts of the country can make the journey over a long one– whether it’s due to fewer roads and rougher terrains. Ireland has that wild, rugged beauty to it, and I’d love to return to see more of it besides Dublin! Thanks for sharing your adventure there, Aiva. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much, Sheree. We are just back from a 10-day road trip around Ireland and can say that the Dingle peninsula packs a punch when it comes to beauty and variety of landscapes. Thanks for stopping by. I hope all is well. Yesterday 200 additional cases of Covid-19 were confirmed in Ireland and we are waiting to see what’s going to happen next. Some parts of Ireland were back in full lockdown again. I hope it won’t happen in Sligo. People are eager to go out again, but the pandemic isn’t over just because we are tired of living with it, Have a good day. Aiva

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      1. Our caseload in France is up too thanks to irresponsible youngsters of all nationalities. Fortunately, we remain Covid-free in our little area and hope to remain so. Take care!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Great post Aiva. Now, we have an idea for our next trip. The closest we go was Tralee on our 1977 honeymoon travels. Looking at the peninsula now, it would be a great excursion for a few days. Love the coastal scenery and the fact that it is never far away, but I can believe it when you say that winters out there would be brutal. Thanks for sharing. Hope all is well with you. Allan

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi, Allan. Dingle Peninsula makes for a great introduction to Ireland and its history. My highlight of the trip was visiting the Blasket Island visitors centre and learning about the way people used to live there. The island itself has been deserted for decades, but three restored, self-catering cottages are available to rent. Due to coronavirus, we missed out on a boat trip, but I am happy to wait for another year. Thanks for stopping by and have a good day. Aiva

      Liked by 1 person

    1. There’s no place like Dingle Peninsula. It has landscapes spanning from large beaches to quaint towns and mountain scenery. This was our second trip to Dingle, and we were in awe of everything we had a chance to see and do. Thanks for stopping by and have a good day. Aiva

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    1. I’m sorry about your cancelled trip to Ireland, Pit. Although we are finally allowed to travel within the country many tourist attractions were closed or access was unavailable due to restricted visitors numbers. We missed out on many planned activities yet it was nice to be back on a road. I hope you get to come back one day. Thanks for reading and have a lovely day. Aiva

      Liked by 1 person

    1. The weather was Irish for most of the part for us too, but visiting the Dingle Peninsula was a great way to disconnect from modern life. We had no internet connection, we saw more sheep than people and at times it felt as we were on a different planet altogether. Definitely a trip to remember. Thanks for reading and have a good day. Aiva

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  3. Sounds like such a great time visiting Dingle! Once I am older and start to travel more, I plan on staying in more hostels. Most of my hostel experiences while hiking the Camino de Santiago were good, and I LOVE the fact that you get to meet and interact with other travelers. That’s my favorite! I visited Ireland when I was very little, but we didn’t really visit any “beaches”. The whale and dolphin watching sounds so cool! Thanks for sharing. 🙂

    Miles of smiles,
    Grace

    gracefulrags.com

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Grace. Going on a staycation wasn’t really what we had in mind for this year’s adventures. But with the way everything is at the moment, we are very grateful for an opportunity to travel within the country; a luxury many people from around the world don’t even have. Staying in hostels is a fantastic way to meet travellers from different parts of the world, and they’ve come a long way from offering just bed. Thanks for stopping by and have a good day. Aiva

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  4. Great information Aiva, and given with such enthusiasm. We are undecided where to travel next because who knows when that will be, but this is great info if Ireland tops the list. Dingle certainly sounds like our type of destination.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Undoubtedly, the Dingle Peninsula contains some of Ireland’s most beautiful scenery but it also contains a wealth of historic sites and attraction. We’ve wanted to explore Dingle Peninsula for some time now and finally had a chance to do it this summer. Visiting Beehive Huts, which are dry-stone huts with a corbelled roof, commonly associated with the south-western Irish seaboard, taking in the views of Mount Brandon and camping on the Inch Beach made for a memorable family road trip. Thanks for reading and have a good day. Aiva

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Dingle has landscapes spanning from large beaches to quaint towns and mountain scenery. It’s a region where the Irish language is still spoken. As we often prefer to be far away from maddening tourist crowds, Dingle was just the perfect place to find some solitude amongst the craziness of the world. Thanks for reading and have a lovely day. Aiva

      Liked by 1 person

    1. The peninsula is crossed by several roads but the driving conditions here are very peculiar and do pose some safety risks if you are not used to driving in Ireland. Crossing from the north to south peninsula via the Conor Pass, one of the highest mountain passes in Ireland, was certainly an experience unlike any other. Thanks for stopping by and have a good day. Aiva

      Liked by 1 person

    1. The Dingle Peninsula in County Kerry is a long, winding drive of about five hours from Irish capital Dublin. But despite the long trip, there are many reasons to visit. From Irelands best icecream to beautiful coastal views, it’s a place unlike any other. Due to rainy weather, we didn’t get a chance to climb Mount Brandon, but nevertheless, we had a fantastic trip. Storm Ellen left more than 50,000 homes without electricity for a second day running and many places struggle to cope with extensive flooding. As if coronavirus wasn’t enough for us to deal with! Thanks for stopping by and have a lovely day. Aiva

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I look forward to returning to Dingle again someday. So beautiful. You also reminded me of all the amazing and colorful doors across Ireland, a few of which I captured on my digital camera three years ago when Tom and I visited. I love your homeland, Aiva!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I hope you get to return to Irelands once the pandemic comes to halt. We had lots of fun exploring Dingle but sadly missed visiting some of its famous pubs. We don’t drink, but we wanted to visit because many of the pubs in Dingle aren’t just a pub! Dick Mack’s is also a leather shop where custom belts are made in the summer months. Foxy John’s on Main Street also serves as the local hardware store. J. Curran’s (also on Main Street) is an old-style shop and bar that was established in 1871. Well, maybe next year they gonna be open again. Thanks for stopping by and have a good day. Aiva

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    1. As much as we wanted to travel to Latvia to see our families and friends, staying local and exploring Ireland was the sensible thing to do at the moment. Knowing that our friends in Melnburn are still in full-on lockdown, it would be foolish to complain about our ability to freely roam around Ireland. And I have to say – visiting Dingle was ten days of pure excitement, adventure and exploration. Thanks so much for reading and take care. Aiva

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Isn’t it great having a “local” place that you can return to over and over again and still be just as enthralled as the first time you visited. Dingle looks truly spectacular. I feel that way about Tofino/Ucluelet on the west coast of Vancouver Island.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi, Caroline, how are you doing? We had a great time exploring Dingle, where most of the villages have one main road with a gas station, a bank, a post office, one bed and breakfast and three little pubs. One of the most famous drives on the peninsula is called Slea Head Drive. Dingle. Other than being five feet away from the edge of a cliff while you drive along a narrow winding road, the drive is simply beautiful. I hope all is well with you! Thanks for stopping by and have a good day. Aiva

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    1. Thank you very much. We loved our road trip around Ireland. What can be better than jumping in the campervan, turning up the tunes and hitting the road? Especially after month and month of isolation! The highlight of the trip was travelling to Dunquin, at the westernmost tip of the Dingle Peninsula, where the Blasket Visitor Center (Great Blasket Centre) is located, which invites you to get to know the inhabitants of the Blasket Islands, and how they managed to survive on the land and sea. Thanks for reading and have a good day. Aiva

      Liked by 1 person

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