25+ Memorable Things to do in Dingle, Ireland (For Every Travel Style)
“What’s the best place you’ve visited?”
Is the question travellers get asked oh so often. And no matter how many times I was asked over the years, I could never narrow it down. I have genuinely loved something about every city we’ve visited over the years (as annoying as that sounds).
“Oh, I couldn’t possibly pick just one. Everywhere we’ve been is so beautiful!”
Add that to my next-level indecisiveness and you bet you’d never get a satisfying response to the popular question. Until we went to Dingle.
There’s something magical about the Dingle Peninsula. The many visitors who have come and decided not to leave are a testament to the beauty you’ll be met with when you visit this westernmost region of Ireland. There’s a lot of diversity packed into this small region that will equally satisfy the nature enthusiasts, foodies and active travellers. I envy those planning their travels to this gem because I secretly want to come with you and relive the experience all over again.
To help make the most of your time on the peninsula, we’re sharing over 25 memorable things to do in Dingle for all different types of travellers. At the end of this post you can watch a video recap of our experience there in the Fall of 2017.
Top Sites to see in Dingle for Nature Lovers
The beautiful Slea Head Drive → This coastal drive is perhaps the best thing to do in Dingle allowing you to see the peninsula’s stunning landscapes on a 47 km scenic loop. The Slea Head Drive (Slí Cheann Sléibhe in Gaelic) starts and ends in Dingle and is best driven in a clockwise direction. It might take you under 2 hours with no stops at all but you’ll want to leave yourself at least half a day to really enjoy the magnificent scenery. Rick Steves wrote a breakdown of the best stops along the way in this free and detailed guide.
Check out Ireland’s Sheep Highway → Dunquin Pier (Dún Chaoin in Gaelic) was made famous by a viral photograph picturing dozens of sheep walkway up the narrow walkway. Though rarely used by sheep today, it’s still one of Ireland’s most iconic and dramatic spots with pedestrian access for that picture-perfect photo op.
Enjoy the long, sandy beaches → There are a handful of family-friendly beaches sprinkled between the jagged cliffs of the Dingle peninsula with Inch and Ventry being among the most popular. Coumenoole Beach is a personal favourite as my visit there become the most memorable place for me in all of Ireland.
Get a closer look at the Blasket Islands → Ferries to one of the six Blasket Islands are run by independent companies like Blasket Island Ferries which operates from Dunquin Pier. A short ride later and you’re on a beautiful, uninhabited island where you can choose from a variety of scenic walks and take in views of the nearby islands.
Fun Things to do in Dingle for the Active Traveller
Rent a Bike at Paddy’s Bike Hire → There’s a reason they’ve been in business for almost 30 years. Daily hybrid bike rentals start at €15 which includes a helmet, lock and local route map. ID required, cash only.
Get Tips at the Mountain Man → An outdoor shop offering guided tours, hiking advice, bike rentals and more.
Paddle with Wild SUP Tours → Explore the coastlines with a friendly, local guide on a Stand Up Paddle tour in the bay and nearby caves. Half day SUPfaris start at €49 with full day adventures available as well.
Learn to Surf at the Dingle Surf Shop & School → The town’s only surf shop is well-stocked with gear and accessories for surfers of all levels. For the newbies, surfing lessons start at €25 and SUP tours start at €35. Booking in advance is recommended.
Join the Dingle Hillwalking Club → A small group of hiking enthusiasts gathers for walks on some weekends. Experienced hikers may join as a guest for up to 3 walks and further outings require membership (€40). Visit their website for scheduled walks and more info.
Hike Mount Brandon → This is the second highest mountain in Ireland offering amazing views of the peninsula on a clear day. We found a detailed blog post with photos and video sharing what you can expect if hiking Mount Brandon.
Horseback Rides → Enjoy the stunning scenery of the peninsula on horseback with guided tours for beginner and experienced riders. Dingle Horse Riding offers 2-hour tours from €75 per person with multi-day riding holidays available as well. English saddle only.
Top Experiences in Dingle for Foodies
Learn from the experts at Dingle Cookery School → From seaweed foraging to catch-and-cook experiences, this culinary school offers hands-on tours where you can make your own traditional Irish dishes. Courses start at €75 and are subject to minimum numbers.
Start your day with a hearty breakfast → Enjoy a filling meal before heading out for a day of sightseeing. Some of the best coffee and breakfasts in Dingle can be found at My Boy Blue, Pantri Cafe, Treehouse Cafe and Bean in Dingle.
Dine early and save → Many restaurants in Dingle offer early-bird dinner savings usually between 5:30pm and 6:30pm. For a memorable culinary experience, make a reservation at Chart House, Out of the Blue or Global Village, the only restaurants in Dingle awarded “Bib Gourmand” by Michelin.
Enjoy the best ice cream around → It’s as good as they say it is! Murphy’s Ice Cream has been making quality ice cream using dairy from the cattle of Co Kerry. Try a classic scoop like Dingle Sea Salt or get adventurous with one of their experimental flavours.
Attend the biggest food festival in Ireland → Food-lovers gather in October at the Dingle Food Festival where one highlight of the weekend is the Taste Trail. Hungry visitors can exchange tickets from their Taste Trail booklet for food or drink at any of the 70 participating venues
Indulge in some seriously fresh seafood → Mackerel, mussel and lobster are among the many seafood options you’ll find on the peninsula. For amazing fish and chips in Dingle, head to the Dingle Ahoy shack on Strand St.
Fun Things to do in Dingle if you like to drink
Visit a dual-purpose pub → Back in the day, it was pretty common for a store to serve one purpose by day and then double as a pub by night. The tradition stuck around in Dingle and tourists love it. Part of Dick Mack’s Pub is a leather repair shop and half of Foxy John’s operates as a hardware store.
Enjoy the live Irish music → Pubs in Dingle really pick up around 10pm when you’re more likely to enjoy a band and maybe even some dancing. There are many to choose from like O’Flaherty’s, John Benny’s, The Dingle Pub and O’Sullivan’s which are known for their local feel and good music.
Take a tour of the distillery → The Dingle Distillery offers fun and informative tours of their facility where you can learn about their award-winning whiskey, gin and vodka products. 1 hour tours are offered between 2-5 times a day, depending on the season. Tickets are €15 and include some samples.
Unique Places in Dingle for Arts and Culture Fans
Enjoy live music at Siopa Ceoil → For those who might not be able to hang out at the pubs all night, you can opt for an intimate evening at this charming music shop in Dingle. They hold laid-back concerts in their shop at 7pm on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays during the summer months. Inquire within for up-to-date schedules and ticket info.
Make your own pottery at Louis Mulcahy → This shop in Ballyferriter makes for a great stop on your Slea Head drive with interactive workshops where you can make your own pot in their studio. Gluten-friendly options can be found on the menu at their cafe that serves all of their treats on Louis Mulcahy pottery. Pottery experiences start at €9.90.
Support local vendors at the Farmer’s Market → Pop by the booths at Holyground to see vendors selling everything from fresh produce to handmade crafts at this small market in Dingle. Fridays from 9am to 2:30pm (April to October and Christmas).
Admire the An Diseart Windows → There’s a convent behind St. Mary’s Church that houses 12 historical and impressive stained glass windows in a small chapel. It’s a quick visit and the colours are best seen when the sun is out to shine through the windows. Open most weekdays, admission is €3 and Diseart is pronounced dee-shirt.
Treat yourself to an authentically Irish souvenir → The Dingle Peninsula is home to plenty of skilled artists and artisans creating items to help you commemorate your time in Dingle. Pick up an Aran wool sweater from the Strand House or a one-of-a-kind crystal piece from Dingle Crystal or simply window shop at all the colourful shops in Dingle.
Our days exploring the peninsula may have been short but they ended up being the highlight of our campervan travels on the Emerald Isle. I think we would have extended our visit if it weren’t for the already aggressive itinerary I had mapped out. Luckily the peninsula’s compact size means you can cover a lot of ground in a short amount of time (and even more when the weather cooperates!).
If you’re not renting a car to explore Ireland, there are plenty of tour operators like, Get Your Guide, with options that include the scenic Slea Head Drive and more. We have yet to personally use them but they are a top-rated option if you’re looking to book a tour of Dingle in advance.
Ireland Travel Essentials:
Maybe it was because the sun was shining brightly for the first time since we had started our two-week road trip through Ireland. Or because of the memorable conversation I had with a 65 year-old surfer who lived in an RV with his cat. Whatever the trigger, I remember exactly where I was standing when I thought to myself, “I could live here.”
I’ve only ever experienced this love-at-first-sight moment a couple of times in my years of travel. Most recently in the small town of Bacalar, Mexico. Thanks to these special gems, I have, not one, but two answers to proudly share when asked about the best place I’ve visited.
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