Home See & Do Visiting the Dingle Peninsula: all you need to know to plan a trip to this stunning corner of Ireland

Visiting the Dingle Peninsula: all you need to know to plan a trip to this stunning corner of Ireland

by Mama Loves Ireland
Dunquin Pier on Dingle Peninsula in Ireland

All you need to know to visit the breathtaking Dingle Peninsula, Ireland: the best things to do, unmissable stops, travel tips for this stunning stretch of the Wild Atlantic Way. 

The Dingle Peninsula is a stunning peninsula in the West of Ireland, stretching from County Kerry into the Atlantic ocean.

It is one of the most scenic places in Ireland and a fantastic destination from an Irish road trip. 

On the Dingle Peninsula, you find many things that make Ireland extraordinary: breathtaking scenery, vast beaches, rumbling ocean, colorful towns and the traditional Irish welcome that makes the West of the country such a fantastic place for visitors.

Dingle is one of my favorite parts of Ireland.

In this travel guide to the Dingle Peninsula, I share my favorite spots in Dingle, my recommendations for the best things to do and accommodation tips. 

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Where is the Dingle Peninsula? Location and map

The Dingle peninsula is in Co Kerry, in the southwest of Ireland. 

It is immediately north of the more famous Ring of Kerry and you can reach it by car or bus.

From Dublin to Dingle, you get the motorway to Limerick and then follow the National road to Tralee and then Dingle town.

From the South, the fastest road is from the N22 from Cork.

If you don’t have a car, you can explore the Dingle peninsula by bus tour. 

Bus tours serve part of the Dingle Peninsula from Ireland’s main cities.

This one, departing from Killarney 

This one, which leaves from Cork

And this one departing from Limerick 

Driving in Dingle

The best way to visit the Dingle peninsula is by car. With a private vehicle, you will be able to explore at your own pace and explore off the beaten path location. 

Before you go ahead and book a car, however, you need to be aware of the challenges that the roads in Dingle present. 

slea head drive in Dingle ireland

The Dingle Peninsula is wild and scenic and the road here tend to be small and winding. 

Most roads here are narrow and bendy, and visibility at crossroads is tricky even in good weather conditions. 

The most scenic coastal roads have stretches with sheer drops: these are treacherous and must be avoided in bad weather and, in all cases, pose challenges to people who are afraid of heights. 

If you are not used to driving in Ireland, you are here in bad weather or are afraid of heights, I recommend you do not drive in Dingle. I also recommend you do not drive at night or if you are jet-lagged.

Instead, I recommend you rely on the excellent bus tours instead: they will show you the best of the peninsula without the stress!

The best things to do in the Dingle Peninsula

The best things to see in the Dible peninsula are its stunning beaches, towns and ocean.

These are the stops I recommend on a Dingle road trip.

Enjoy colorful Dingle town

The Dingle peninsula owes its name to Dingle town, a delightful, colorful center on the peninsula’s southern coast.

Dingle town is known for its bright-colored houses, and it looks out of a fairytale. Flower pots decorating widows and doors and pubs, restaurants and shops at every corner.

The town has a cheerful charm and is an excellent base to explore the area.

Stay at: An Capall Dubh B&B Dingle, a lovely B&B with good rooms, a yard free parking on-site and free wifi.

Dingle town

Take the Slea Head Drive

Slea Head is a promontory at the very end of the Dingle peninsula.

The road loops around the head and makes for one of the most scenic drives in this part of Ireland: the ring road starts and ends in Dingle town and brings the visitors through ancient sites, cute villages, and wild scenery.

Among the most important stops on the road, it is work mentioning Ventry Bay and its lovely beach, Dungerg Fort and the Dingle beehive huts, offering an insight on the ancient history of this part of Ireland.

Photograph famous Dunquin Pier

Dunquin Pier is probably the most photographed spot in Dingle and is indeed striking!

The pier is on the departing point to the Blasket Islands and you reach it by following a descending, meandering narrow road carved in the seacliffs.

The best view of the pier is from above, which is also the spot from where most photos are taken.

If you want, you can also walk down the pier; however, the road is very steep so I recommend only tackling if you (and your knees!) can take it.

If you have small kids, make sure you hold hands and they are dressed for the wind!

Due to its location and how exposed it is, only tackle this pier in good weather conditions.

Take a boat tour to the remote Blasket islands

The Blasket Islands are a small archipelago sitting in front of the Dingle peninsula.

Regular ferries connect the islands to the mainland and it is worth considering a boat tour out if you love remote landscapes and enjoy spending time in nature as the islands are mostly uninhabited.

The ferry runs during the summer months only

Drive the Conor Pass (or not!)

Conor Pass is one of the most scenic mountain roads in Dingle but also one of the most dangerous roads in the country.

The narrow road to the pass climbs up a steep mountainside and meanders up, hugging the rocks. On one side, you have the grey vertical mountain wall and, on the other, a small wall protects you from the sheer vertical drop beside you.

What makes the road stressful is that it has no space for two vehicles passing each other so, in the unlikely event of meeting someone driving towards you, some maneuvering will be necessary and can prove uncomfortable.

While the small wall is there and offers some comfort, the views from here are as awe-inspiring as terrifying!

If you are afraid of heights, this is probably the worst place you can find yourself. If you are not scared, however, you will enjoy it immensely ( I wasn’t driving and felt both emotions!).

The pass is out of this beautiful world!

While I enjoyed the views of the Conor Pass, I recommend you consider carefully whether this road is for you (I personally would never drive it again!).

The narrow road, sheer drop and unpredictable weather make this drive one of the most dangerous in Ireland. Caution is essential. Do not attempt this drive in poor weather conditions.

Relax in the unique Maharees and Castlegregory

Castlegregory is a small village on the Northern coast of the Dingle peninsula in an area called the Kerry Gold Coast. 

The town is cute and friendly and famous for a type of landscape peculiar to this part of Ireland, the Maharees.

Maharees - beach in Dingle Peninsula, Ireland

The Maharees are a narrow strip of dunes and sandy fields with Tralee Bay on the East and Brandon Bay on the West. 

They are a unique ecosystem with animals that are not common in other parts of the islands, such as the rare natterjack toad and they are beautiful. 

This part of the Dingle peninsula has many campgrounds and caravan parks and it is very popular for surfing and bodyboarding especially.

Walk and hike in the Glanteenassig Forest Park

 Glanteenassig Forest Park is a pristine and remote wooden area where people come to hike and walk in nature.

The trails cater to all fitness levels and are easy to reach from the many well-signposted parking lots in the area. 

Walking here, you can expect to find yourself alone surrounded by typical Irish nature: if you ever wanted to take a photo of Irish mountains with lakes, sheep and no people, this is a good spot! 

Enjou the stunning sandy expanse of Inch beach

Located on the southern edge of the Dingle peninsula, Inch Beach is a large sandy beach famous for its beauty and the surfing opportunities it offers.

Child in wetsuit playing on a beach in Dingle

The beach is vast, sandy and soft and offers a gorgeous view over the Macgillycuddy’s Reeks, Ireland’s highest mountain system.

The beach caters to tourism well with hotels and accommodation nearby, a beach cafe/restaurant and a surf school, all easily accessible from the main beach car park.

You can find accommodation near Inch Beach here

Evening light at Inch beach, Co Kerry, Ireland

Hunt film locations

The dramatic scenery of the Dingle Peninsula has made this stretch of Ireland the location of choice of many filmmakers.

The Star Wars saga has made the Skelligs Islands work renowned, but the Dingle peninsulas themselves have starred in films dating as far back as the 1930s.

Among the many, I can recall The Islandman / Eileen Aroon (1938), The Playboy of the Western World (1962), Ryans Daughter (1970), Excalibur (1981), The Field (1990), Far and away (1992).

Go Surfing

The peninsula-wide beaches are famous for surfing opportunities suitable for beginners and advanced surfers. Some of the most popular spots are Coumeenoole, Inch Reef and Brandon Bay. You can rent surf boards and equipment on site (seasonal).

Enjoy angling

Angling is popular in Dingle, with shore, game, and deep-sea angling all available on the Dingle Peninsula. If you like fishing, you can find a good resource here.

Go cycling

Dingle is a popular cycling destination and it is common to see cyclists on the road.

There are a number of established bicycle rental outlets dotted around the peninsula and you can hire bicycles by the day or for longer periods.

The best things to do in Dingle with kids

The Dingle Peninsula is a great place to visit with kids, especially in the summer, when they can make the most of all the stunning nature of this area.

Our favorite things to do in Dingle with kids are:

Dingle Oceanworld Aquarium, in Dingle Town, where kids can see rays, starfish, sharks and a penguin section with 12 Gentoo Penguins.

Dingle Sea Safari (minimum age requirements apply), a fun excursion and rib ride, offering a chance to spot seals, puffins and whales!

Aquadome Waterworld, in Tralee, at the very start of the Dingle Peninsula, a large water park with a lazy river, slides, waves n’ surf, water rapids

Dingle beaches – large, sandy and wonderful, perfect for anything from sandcastles, to swimming and surfing

HIking – in Glanteenassig Forest Park, you find several easy hikes suitable for kids and offering the chance to see lovely, remote landscapes without excessive effort.

Where to stay on the Dingle peninsula

Dingle offers many accommodation options suitable for travelers of all budgets and travel styles.

The most charming type of accommodation here are local B&Bs, where you can experience the famous Irish welcome.

You can choose between more rural ones, or base yourself in the town Dingle, which offers the biggest choice of restaurants and pubs too and allows you to enjoy a night out without the stress of having to get back in the car.

Some you may like are:

An Capall Dubh B&B Dingle, a lovely B&B with good rooms, a yard free parking on-site and free wifi.

Dingle Harbour Lodge B&B, offering clean rooms with views over the harbor, free parking and wifi

I hope you enjoyed our guide to Dingle. Safe travels in Ireland!

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