15 Best Things to Do in Dingle, Ireland in 2023
Hey there traveler!
If you’re in the mood for an Ireland road trip, then the Dingle peninsula is just the place for you. The first thing you should know is that there is Dingle town and the Dingle peninsula. Dingle town is on the Dingle peninsula, along with several other small towns.
If you’re road-tripping it, you’ll be able to experience much of the area. And you’ll be glad you did! There’s so much to see and do here, especially if you’re into nature or eco-tourism.
There’s also plenty of hiking opportunities, water activities (like boating, kayaking, even surfing), even animal encounters. Have you been wanting to go dolphin or seal spotting? Love the idea of cradling a baby lamb? These experiences are waiting for you.
But it’s not just naturey activities that Dingle has to offer. You can even avoid all that if you want and enjoy the laid back, small town vibe of Dingle town. You don’t have to hike to be able to take in the beauty of the place. There are great restaurants and pubs to enjoy, and really lovely hotels to relax in.
So if you’re interested, read on to find out all the best things to do in Dingle, Ireland.
1. Dingle Bay
Dingle Bay has some of the most beautiful, postcard worthy views on the coast of Ireland.
Along Dingle Bay are several beaches and small towns. It’s a great place for tourists to venture off and enjoy kayaking, paragliding, and surfing (among other activities). To spend a day or two if you’re looking for an adventure.
If you’re looking for something a little more low key, the towns of Dingle and Dunquin are located along the bay and are perfect for a relaxing stroll. You can also find some good restaurants and pubs in these villages; you won’t have to venture far for an excellent meal or drink.
Dingle Bay is definitely worth a visit if you’re in County Kerry. It’s one of the most beautiful places on the coast, and there’s something for everyone to enjoy. Whether you’re looking for a challenging adventure or a relaxing day by the sea, Dingle Bay has it all.
2. Slea Head Drive
Slea Head Drive is one of Ireland’s most scenic routes. It both begins and ends in Dingle and makes up part of the Wild Atlantic Way (a really long, scenic coastal route that covers Ireland’s west coast).
If you’re doing it right, driving this route will take you 2 to 3 hours (you’re going to want to stop and take in the scenery). Some of the best stops along this route include Coumeenoole Beach, Dun Chaoin (Dunquin Pier), Dunmore Head view point, and Ceann Sibéal view point. Along this ride you’ll travel through Irish speaking villages, see some Hollywood film locations, as well as a few historic sites.
A couple things: if you’ve rented a car, make sure to drive it following the route clockwise to avoid big tour buses (in the summer time anyway), follow the signs, and Americans, don’t forget…stay on the left!
Also you can rent bikes to cycle along the route, which in the warm weather seems like a great way to spend the day.
3. Conor Pass
Conor Pass is another scenic route that runs north-south along the coast of Dingle. It’s also one of the highest passes in Ireland (reaching up to 1,496 feet high).
While driving Conor Pass, you’ll see some really beautiful dramatic sights including views of corrie lakes (glacial mountain lakes), mountains, and valleys.
There are two stops on this route that allow you to really take in the beauty. These stops are located on the North side of Peddler’s Lake and the other at the top of the pass.
Be careful as you drive this scenic route because there are narrow areas where only one vehicle can pass. Stay alert! You may need to stop to let other drivers pass. And watch out for cyclists.
4. Dingle Distillery
This distillery is an Irish whiskey distillery located in scenic Dingle town.
Dingle Distillery opened its doors in 2012 and by 2018, one of their single malts was voted the best new Irish Whiskey. They offer fine Irish whiskey, vodka, and gin (which has also won several awards).
Take the time to schedule a tour where you can visit the Dingle Distillery, learn how their process works, and get a first hand look at their facility… and then have a taste… 🥃
A few things: children under 12 are not permitted. So this isn’t a family activity (young families, that is). Also, you’ll need to make a reservation ahead of time. Check availability on the Dingle Distillery site.
5. Coumeenoole Beach
Coumeenoole Beach is just plain gorgeous.
It’s definitely one of the most beautiful beaches in the Dingle peninsula. You can get here by taking the scenic Slea Head drive.
I don’t recommend swimming at Coumeenoole Beach because the currents are too strong (which is such a bummer, because it’s so inviting. The photo alone makes me want to dive right in!) I’ve seen people in the water, but just in the shallow parts. But regardless of swimability, make the stop, take in the beauty, and snap some pics.
From this beach you can see endless green landscapes, and mountains, and cliffs that sit right over the Atlantic ocean.
6. Fungie the Dolphin
I have to admit, I’m a little sad about this one.
Fungie is a sweet little dolphin that’s been gracing the Dingle Peninsula with its presence since 1984. It started out innocently enough with a curious bottlenose dolphin swimming along the fishing boats.
Well that quickly exploded into a major tourist attraction and a very friendly dolphin named Fungie who loved fishermen, swimmers, and kayakers alike. He is likewise beloved by all, having had children’s books written about him and a lovely bronze statue made in his honor.
For years up until the onset of the lockdown in 2020, visitors could come and book boat tours in search of a Fungie the dolphin sighting. It was one of the best Dingle attractions.
Unfortunately when the borders closed up, the tours stopped. And eventually Fungie swam off.
Some say he’s passed on into dolphin heaven, others aren’t so sure. I choose to believe he’s out there swimming along the coast somewhere.
Who knows, maybe you’ll catch a sight while you’re driving along the Wild Atlantic Way 😉
7. Dingle Way
Dingle Way is a LONG walking trail, about 176 kilometers (which is like 109 miles). It begins and ends in the nearby town of Tralee (taking you around the Dingle Peninsula), and it’ll take you about 8 days to walk the whole thing.
But don’t worry if you don’t have 8+ days. You can enter onto the trail at a few different points.
This one is definitely for the more adventurous set, but the views and stops along the way make it worthwhile for sure.
The sections of the trail themselves will be a mix ranging from easy to difficult (really, it’s only considered difficult when you get to the Mount Brandon part of the trail). But still, it’s a lot of long days of hiking, so you’ve got to really want it in my opinion.
So if you and your group are really into hiking and you’ve got the time, then this is an excellent excursion! The above map is a rough estimate of the route via walking. Definitely consult the official Dingle Way site for all the important details you’ll need to know to plan this journey.
8. Inch Beach
Another great beach located in the Dingle Peninsula is Inch Beach. It’s right in between Castlemaine Harbour and Dingle Harbour and is about 4 miles long.
Inch Beach is ideal for almost any water sport or just relaxing and watching the waves hit the shore. This beach has lifeguards available, so you can swim here if the weather permits. You still have to be careful in these waters though and don’t go out too far.
You’ll even find surfers at this beach. And if you want to try it out, there’s a surfing school right on the beach.
It is best to arrive early on warm summer days as parking can get full fast.
9. Gallarus Oratory
You’ll find Gallarus Oratory as one of the stops on the Slea Head drive, just a short drive from Dingle Town. It’s a stone church built in the 8th century and is considered to be the best preserved early Christian Church in Ireland.
This historical landmark is open to all and even has guided tours available for a brief history on it. If you’ve got a history buff in your group, then definitely make the stop.
You can pay for a visit and tour from the visitor center, or bypass that and walk around for free (but then you’ll miss some info).
10. Pubs in Dingle
There are a ton of pubs in Dingle! Take your pick, or better yet, go on a pub crawl with your besties.
Foxy John’s is a unique one (part bar, part hardware store). Murphy’s is not only a pub, but a bed & breakfast. They have nightly live music during the tourist season (most do). The Dingle Pub is another great one. It’s more spacious than many others, and is centrally located. It’s got live music nightly and it is a really good time.
Dick Mack’s is very popular as well (been around since 1899). They are open year round, have outdoor seating and live music, food trucks, and a brewhouse that you can tour. It’s an all-in-one experience and a great time.
Wherever you end up, you’re bound to find a friendly, lively mix of people and some good music (and honestly, if not, move on to the next one ❤️🍻).
11. Go Kayaking
The Dingle Peninsula is one of the most perfect settings for kayakers, from beginner to advanced. It’s a great way to venture along the coast of the Dingle Peninsula to see some of the most scenic views you wouldn’t be able to on foot.
There are a few different bays along the Dingle Peninsula that are relatively sheltered from weather, making them great for kayaking.
You’ll find several kayaking tours available across the Dingle Peninsula. You can even take a sea-kayaking tour that’ll take you around the harbor to visit sea caves.
12. Boat Out to the Blasket Islands
For those who love a good eco experience, consider visiting the Blasket Islands.
You’ll find them on the west side of the Dingle Peninsula. There’s a ferry service provided for day trips but it only goes to Great Blasket Island.
The islands are uninhabited, but many locals and travelers love to venture there for camping or eco-adventuring in general. There’s plenty of wildlife to see! Keep an eye out for basking sharks, whales, dolphins, and seals. Also lots of varieties of birds.
Check out the official Blasket Islands site for info about boat tours and accommodations.
13. Hike Mt Brandon
Located at the end of the Dingle Peninsula is Mount Brandon. This mountain is the second highest in all of Ireland. It stands at about 3000 feet high and can take about 6 hours to hike round trip.
The hike to Mount Brandon is an accomplished adventure for those who are looking to challenge themselves. Or there are guided tours available so it won’t feel too overwhelming.
Once you reach the top, you will be met with truly astounding views. Aside from just being completely worn out, you’ll want to sit and soak up the scenery for a bit (and it’s totally worth it).
This activity is definitely for the fit and adventurous. I recommend booking the guided hike if only for the convenience of not having to plan everything out yourself.
14. Stop at the Fahan Beehive Huts
Alright, this is a must visit (in my humble opinion) for a few reasons.
But first, what are these beehive huts? Quite simply they are stone structures dating back to over a thousand years ago. They are thought to have been used by monks from a bygone era, and were built in an ancient style (think 6,000 years ago). The beehive name comes from their shape, and has nothing to do with the actual structures.
You’ll find the Fahan Beehive Huts along the Slea Head Drive, about 10-15km (like 6-9mi) from Dingle town. When you visit these huts, you’ll not only get to see some ancient sites, but also views of the Skellig islands (that you may or may not have seen in the Star Wars movie, The Force Awakens).
And then if you get there at the right time, you will get to see some baby lambs (at their feeding time) and possibly a sheepdog show (check the times). The animals alone are enough to entice me personally. But if you’re traveling with little ones, this will be a sure hit.
So if you or your travel mates are into history, amazing movies about galactic warfare, or are animal lovers, then this is a worthy stop for sure. Also, this is a pretty quick visit. So it’s perfect if you need a break from driving.
15. Eat Local
There are lots of places to eat in Dingle town as well as the whole Dingle Peninsula. Take advantage of all the local eateries and fresh seafood. Here are a couple options to choose from (but believe me, there are many!)
Out of the Blue is a great seafood only restaurant. It’s all local and the menu changes daily based on the catch (think chargrilled monkfish on black rice with a peppercorn sauce, or sautéed langoustine with garlic butter) They’re open 7 days a week and dinner availability starts at 4pm (reservations recommended).
James Long Gastro Pub offers a wide variety of food and drink. They serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner. There’s a kids’ menu, and an extensive drink menu. This is also a great place for groups. So if you’re on a multi-generational trip and there’s a number of you, they can accommodate all of you. There’s also a great view of Dingle Harbor and bay.
The Fish Box is another great seafood restaurant. This is a family run business that’s been around since 2007. Everything is local and fresh (caught daily by their own trawler!) It’s not just fish here (burgers too), but you’ll probably just want to go ahead and order the fish anyway 🐟😉
On a nice day (or not so nice day), treat the kids or yourself to a scoop at Murphy’s ice cream shop as you walk and window shop. You may need a pick-me-up by the afternoon. In which case I recommend you try a cup of coffee at Bean in Dingle.
Is Dingle Ireland worth visiting?
Yep. Absolutely. Dingle is definitely worth visiting.
There’s really a lot here for many different types of travelers. You can get lost in nature and have an eco-adventure, stop and absorb the history, or wander through the town shopping, eating, and drinking (and meeting some friendly locals).
What is Dingle Ireland known for?
Eco-tourism. There are endless opportunities for hiking, kayaking, canoeing, animal encounters, and much much more.
How many days do you need in Dingle?
You could get a lot done in a day or two (unless you’re planning to walk Dingle Way). As always, it depends on how much you plan to see while you’re in Ireland.
Why are tourists attracted to Dingle?
It. is. beautiful. So so beautiful here. And the people are friendly, and the pubs are fun, and the dolphin tours are plentiful. And the sheep are so freaking cute!
The Takeaway: All the Best Things to Do in Dingle, Ireland
Well, Dingle is super amazing and you should definitely visit. There is so much for any kind of traveler, whether you’re trekking around with friends, on a family trip, or looking for a romantic getaway.
Put this one on your list if you’re visiting County Kerry. It’s a great time.