The Dingle Peninsula in County Kerry is one of the favorite spots for vacation in Ireland. Dingle Town is a thriving port where visitors enjoy warm hospitality, delicious meals, traditional Irish music, and even a chance to see “Fungi”, the resident dolphin, who lives in the bay and performs alongside the boats out for a tour.
Dingle Peninsula is just north of the well known and heavily traveled Ring of Kerry. A scenic car, bus or bike trip on Slea Head Drive takes us along a winding road with spectacular views of the bay leading to the Atlantic. As we near the western tip of the Peninsula, the Blasket Islands can be seen just off shore. The main island was home to a few hundred natives until the 1950s, when the last of them were moved to the mainland; many relocated to the eastern U.S. and primarily to the Boston area. Ferries travel daily to tour the Blaskets, weather permitting, offering a taste of the isolated yet peaceful life the islanders must have lived.
Dingle Peninsula offers golfers a chance to play a round of eighteen holes at its Dingle Golf Links (Ceann Sibéal), just around the western tip of the Peninsula. A shorter route cuts across the Peninsula just west of Dingle Town. It is well worth the drive for a genuine Irish golf experience. You will enjoy beautiful views of the surrounding hillsides and of the sea and even have a chance to cross a stone bridge reminiscent of the world renowned bridge at the Old Course at St. Andrews.
Bikers and hikers will have no shortage of possibilities on Dingle Peninsula. The “Dingle Way” walking trail goes through fields and hilly terrain as well as more level areas of the countryside. Mount Brandon is one of the highest peaks in Ireland and is a satisfying trip for the ambitious hiker. Bicycle enthusiasts travel the roads for a closer look at the beauty seen at a faster pace from a car.
Conor Pass, which starts in Dingle Town, is a roadway you won’t want to miss. It winds higher and higher adjacent to Mount Brandon and down again leading to the village of Castlegregory on the north side of the Peninsula. At many spots along the Pass, two cars cannot pass together. One driver must pull off and wait for the other to make their way past. The mountainside leading up on one side of the road and leading down the cliff on the other side is great motivation to cooperate with fellow drivers. The spectacular scenery and the harp player next to the parking area at the peak make the trip well worth the effort.
You will find traditional Irish music nightly in many of the pubs and restaurants in Dingle. It’s great to have a meal of fish and chips and stay for the music. Visiting with the people of Ireland is always the highlight of any trip to the Emerald Isle.
On your next trip, visit the Dingle Peninsula. You won’t be sorry!