Europe > Britain and Ireland > Ireland > Southwest Ireland > County Kerry > Dingle
Dingle (An Daingean or Daingean Uí Chúis) is the only sizable town on the Dingle Peninsula in County Kerry, some 50 km southwest of Tralee. With a population in 2016 of 2050, it has a colourful town centre and fishing harbour. It's in an Irish-speaking area, with 14% having that as their everyday language. In 2005 they had a great ruckus over whether the town's official name was the Irish or English version, and the decision was sort-of a bit of both.
Dingle became famous from 1983 for Fungie the dolphin. He's gone, but dolphin-watching trips live on. The Tourist Information Centre is by the harbour.
For sights and amenities on the north coast of Dingle Peninsula see Cloghane.
For inter-city routes travel via Tralee, which has buses and trains from Dublin, Limerick and elsewhere.
Bus Éireann 275 runs every hour or two from Tralee, taking an hour to Dingle via Camp and Annascaul.
By road from Dublin follow M7 / M20 past Limerick then N21 via Adare and Castleisland to Tralee, then N86 south side of the peninsula through Annascaul. For a scenic alternative north side, branch off at Camp onto R560, and follow it through Castlegregory and Cloghane then over Conor Pass into Dingle.
Local Link Bus 277 runs six times M-Sa to Ventry, Ballyferriter and Dunquin.
Local Link Bus 275A also runs once or twice M and Th to Ventry, Ballyferriter and Dunquin. On Tu and F it runs to Ballydavid, once via Gallarus (for Oratory and castle) and once via Cuas and Feohanagh. Bus R73 makes a similar loop on four days a week.
Local Link Bus R74 runs twice M and W to Lispole and Annascaul.
Dingle is a pinchpoint on the peninsula and all roads west loop back here. Follow R559 (the Slea Head Drive) for clifftop views and a series of Iron Age / early medieval sites.
- Fungie, Dingle's most famous denizen, is commemorated by a plaque at the harbour. He was a male Atlantic bottlenose dolphin Tursiops truncatus who from 1983 to 2020 regularly sought human contact around the harbour, and wasn't associated with a pod. He was already full-grown when first sighted, so he was a great age in dolphin terms when he disappeared in Oct 2020 and presumably died. It's not uncommon for dolphins to habitually track shipping (the first famous example was "Pelorus Jack" 1888-1912 in Cook Strait, New Zealand) but Fungie would approach not only boats but individual swimmers and kayakers, and was never aggressive. As a regular fixture he triggered "dolphin tourism" in an era when whale- and dolphin-watching trips weren't established in Irish and British waters, so he boosted coastal economies and enhanced wildlife awareness nationally. Fungie didn't seem motivated by the offer of food. Perhaps he was the mirror image of those lonesome naturalists who shun city life and camp far away observing some species, until they become accepted by that animal community.
- St Mary's Church, 46 Green St, Dingle. RC church built in neo-gothic style in 1862, but with much of that style later stripped out. Its Chapel of the Sacred Heart has elegant Arts & Crafts stained glass windows by Harry Clarke. The convent opposite is now Diseart cultural centre, see below.
- The Bullaun Stone is on Main St at the foot of Chapel Lane. Such stones collect rainwater that's supposed to have holy or curative properties. The lane leads north to the Famine Graveyard, where over 7000 are believed to lie, including inmates of the former Workhouse.
- Art: Dingle doesn't have a civic gallery but private selling-galleries include Dingle Art Works, Carol Cronin Gallery, Dingle Design Gallery, Ádh Dánlann Gallery and Greenlane Gallery.
- Oceanworld Aquarium, The Wood, Dingle, ☏ . Daily 10:00-16:30. Large aquarium with walk-through tunnel and touchpools. Beasts include sharks, penguins, reptiles and otters. Adult €16, conc €11.50, child €11.
- 1 Hussy's Folly, built in the 1840s, is a ruined two-story tower resembling a church. You just come for the views over the bay.
- 2 Ballingtaggart Ogham Stones are grouped in an enclosure near the race course. Eight inscribed stones form a circle with the ninth in the centre. They're grave markers of 5th-6th century AD.
- 3 Eask Tower is a day-mark for sailors atop Carhoo Hill. It's of solid stone and never had a light, but a pointer indicated the route into Dingle Harbour, so it resembles a megalithic dalek. It's 10 m tall, built in 1847 as a famine relief project; its Protestant instigator also hoped it would convert the local Catholics. He built a second tower by the cliff edge, on an outcrop linked by a natural arch, but this tower and arch have collapsed and are not known to have converted anybody. Walk up the lane from Ballymeenbocht (the landowner may ask you for €2), but you want a clear day for the views.
- 4 Gallaunmore is a standing stone 3 km east of town along N86. It's 4.2 m tall and tapered like a giant tooth.
- 5 St Manchan Oratory or Teampall Geal is a structure similar to Gallarus Oratory (below), but roofless and it takes some finding. Near it is a souterrain, an ancient burial ground, a holy well and an Ogham stone circa 7th-9th century AD dedicated to "Cellach, son of the son of Ania".
- 6 Gallarus Oratory is a curious drystone hut in the shape of an upturned boat, of unknown date and function. An Oratory is where prients chant prayers and hymns, as in a funeral chapel; it might also have been a regular church or a shelter for pilgrims. It was first documented in 1756 so it could be medieval or early-modern; there were no buttons, coins, inscriptions, bones et cetera to pinpoint it. "Gallarus" may refer to the nearby headland, or to foreigners (meaning pilgrims) or have nothing to do with its actual use. It's open all year, but the visitor centre is only open Apr-Oct daily 09:00-20:00.
- Gallarus Castle 500 m north of the Oratory is a 15th C tower house.
- 7 Ventry is a small fishing village 7 km west of Dingle. Its Irish name is Fionntrá, "white beach", and it's a popular seaside area. The bay is usually sheltered enough for kiddy-bathing, but it's exposed to the southeast so weather from that quarter heaps up waves big enough for surfing. Along the lane 2 km northwest, Rahinnane Castle is the crumbling shell of a 15th / 16th century tower house, built over the 7th / 8th century ringfort of Rath Fhionnáin.
- Celtic Prehistoric Museum is in a cottage along R559 west of Ventry. In summer it's open daily 09:00-17:00. Fairy Fort is a ring fort just beyond it.
- 8 Dunbeg Fort is Iron Age, some time between 500 BC and 800 AD, though with stone huts that are medieval. It's a defensive wall enclosing a headland: this is succumbing to erosion, and since 2018 the site has been closed off as unsafe.
- Famine cottages on the main road by Dunbeg now stage sheepdog demos daily Apr-Oct. There's an ancient beehive hut another 500 m down the road, then Cashel Murphy another Iron Age fort, then yet more beehive huts.
- Slea Head has dramatic cliffs with views towards the Blasket islands. The road here turns north.
- 9 Dunmore Head is the most western point on the Irish mainland. A few scraps remain of Ranga, a container ship wrecked in 1982 when it lost power in a storm.
- 10 Dunquin or Dún Chaoin is a small harbour where in 1970 several scenes of Ryan's Daughter were filmed. Some boats to the Blasket islands sail from Dunquin, and the Blasket Centre is an exhibition on island life. There's a couple of B&Bs, and Kruger's Bar where CAMRA the Campaign for Real Ale was founded in 1971. CAMRA also campaign for the preservation of heritage pubs.
- 11 Ballyferriter or Baile an Fheirtéaraigh is a village straggling along the road east from Clogher Head. West Kerry Museum (Músaem Chorca Dhuibhne) is open June-mid Sept daily 10:00-17:00, and the remains of Riasc Monastic Settlement anytime. The village also has a golf course, West Kerry microbrewery and a few B&Bs. There's not much to see of the ringfort Dún an Óir (Fort of Gold) 2.5 km north on the coast, but it's notable for a massacre of 1580. After the Pope declared that Elizabeth I was not the rightful queen, a band of 600 Italians and Spaniards landed with arms to support a mass rebellion, and they holed up in the fort. They were beseiged by Royalist forces, surrendered after 3 days, and were put to death.
- Ballydavid or Baile na nGall, m east of Ballyferriter, is near Gallarus Oratory and Castle, described above. At the road junction you can head straight back to Dingle on R559 or continue the coastal loop on R549.
- Kilmalkedar (Cill Maoilchéadair) is the ruin of a 12th century church, on a pilgrimage site since the pre-Christian era. There's a very early sundial in the grounds, and an Ogham stone which, unusually, is pierced. It's 1 km east of Murreagh or An Mhuiríoch.
- 12 Brandon Creek or Cuas an Bhodaigh, reached through Feohanagh and Letterard, is where R549 fetches up against the slope of Mount Brandon and turns south to Dingle. In legend it's where St Brendan the Navigator set out across the Atlantic: in 1976 Tim Severin (1940-2020) built a 6th-century currach and sailed it to Newfoundland. (He didn't recreate the bit where St Brendan sailed into hell, or the getting back.) Ballynavenooragh (Cathair na bhFionnúrach) is a cluster of over 60 ringforts, beehive huts and other late Iron Age / early medieval structures on the mountain side, the best being a 27 m diameter cashel. Ballybrack just south is the start of the simplest trail up Mt Brandon, see below.
- 13 Conor Pass is the top of the road from Dingle to Cloghane and Castlegregory; vehicles over 7.2 m length or 2 tonnes are prohibited. The south side coming up from Dingle is a moderate gradient up the "dip" of the slope. The most scenic section is the sharp descent north side, see Cloghane, but the road is narrow and twisty and will need your full attention.
- 1 Blasket Islands, uninhabited since 1953, lie 2 km beyond Dunmore Head. Boats visit from Dingle, Ventry and Dunquin.
- Boat trips range from short excursions round the harbour and near shores, to visits out to the Blasket isles. The main operator is Dingle Boat Tours. Others may be just agencies placing you on these trips for a mark-up.
- Kingdom Falconry based at the harbour have various demonstrations of their raptors, waether permitting.
- Phoenix Cinema is on Dykegate.
- An Diseart next to St Mary's on Green St is a centre for Irish spiritual and cultural events.
- Dingle World of Leisure at 37A John St has a ten-pin bowling alley.
- Horse riding: Dingle Horse Riding are at Ballinaboula Stables 1 km north of town. They offer tuition and treks for all levels of ability.
- Golf: Dingle Links or Ceann Sibeal are 2 km northwest of Ballyferriter. White tees are 6737 yards, par 72, visitor round €90.
- 2 Mount Brandon (Cnoc Bréanainn, "Brendan's hill") is the sharp ridge north of Dingle, rising to 952 m / 3122 ft. Very sharp - its cliffs are popular for rock-climbing, and most visitors are content to admire it from afar. It's Ireland's 8th highest mountain; it's often incorrectly described as the 2nd highest, but is specifically the 2nd most prominent, as it rises abruptly from sea level. The simplest approach is from the west, from the car park at Ballybrack near Brandon's Creek. This is the last stage of the pilgrimage route from Ventry and is a "dip" slope requiring average hill-walking fitness but no great skill; reckon 3-4 hours for the 8 km return hike. The approach from the east above Cloghane is a "scarp", a tough scramble, and from the north it's an arduous slog along the ridge. Brilliant views but there's little point coming up if the summit is socked in, though one early hermit had his abode up here, perhaps St Brendan himself.
- Learn Irish: Coláistí Chorca Dhuibne (Dingle Peninsula College) run distance and residential short courses in summer. They're designed for those already at Junior / Leaving Cert standard, not beginners.
- Dingle Marathon is normally in May but in 2021 is postponed to Sat 4 Sept - entries for this have closed.
- West Kerry Agricultural Show is in July at Dingle Mart, 1 km northeast along Spa Rd. Arrangements for 2021 are tba.
- Dingle Races are held over the second weekend in August, with some 20 horse and pony events round the 7 furlong grass circuit. The next are probably F 13 - Su 15 Aug 2021 but tbc.
- Dingle Regatta is a rowing race for traditional Irish currachs or naomhóg at the end of August. Dates for 2021 are tba.
- An Cafe Liteartha, Dykegate St, Dingle V92 Y384. M-Sa 10:00-18:00. Visit for the bookshop, stay for the cáfe in the back.
- Dingle Record Shop, Green St, Dingle, ☏ . Claims to be the smallest record shop in Ireland. Wide selection of local singers / musicians CDs and info about what's on.
- Garvey's Supervalu the town supermarket is on Holyground, open daily 08:00-22:00.
- Farmer's Market is on Holyground parking lot, foot of Dykegate St, Friday 09:00-15:00.
- Louis Mulcahy runs an acclaimed pottery shop west of Ballyferriter. It's open daily 10:00-18:00 and you can shop online.
- Murphy's, Strand St, Dingle V92 FX62, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Pub serving food daily from noon, also has accommodation. Has private parking.
- Fast food kiosks and trailers next to Murphy's Pub are Dingle Dog House, Sheehy's and Dingle Ahoy!
- Reel Dingle Fish is a takeaway 50 m further east on Bridge St, open daily 13:00-21:00.
- Global Village Restaurant, Main St, Dingle, ☏ . Daily 17:30-21:30. Family-friendly Irish restaurant, earned great reviews to 2019 but very uneven since.
- Lord Baker's, Main St, Dingle, ☏ . M-Sa 17:30-21:30. Seafood restaurant and pub, another place that earned awards to 2019 but uneven quality since.
- Ashe's, Main St, Dingle, ☏ . Sa Su 13:00-14:30, 18:00-21:00. Friendly seafood bistro and bar, they also have accommodation in the adjacent townhouse. B&B double €90.
- Old Smokehouse on Main St is a restaurant with accommodation.
- Harrington's Restaurant, Strand St, Dingle, ☏ . Daily 09:00-23:00. Warm and cozy, they make great seafood chowder.
- Chart House, The Mall, Dingle, ☏ . May-Oct daily, Nov F Sa Su, 17:30-22:00. Relaxed restaurant with trad and continental menu.
- Coastguard is an upscale restaurant within Skellig Hotel, see Sleep. They're open to non-residents for dinner 18:30-21:00.
- In Ventry your best bet is Quinn's Bar or Tigh Ui Chuinn.
- O'Flaherty's, Bridge St, Dingle V92 VK50, ☏ . M-Th 11:00-23:30, F Sa 11:0-00:30, Su 12:00-23:00. Small trad pub with live music later on. Cash only.
- John Benny's, Strand St, Dingle, ☏ . Daily 08:00-23:30. Seafront pub and a good stop for food.
- An Droichead Beag (The Little Bridge), Spa Rd, Dingle (corner with Main St), ☏ . M-Th 15:00-02:30, F-Su 12:00-02:30. Grand little trad pub, touristy but deserves its popularity.
- McCarthy's, Main St, Dingle, ☏ . Su-Th 12:00-23:30, F Sa 12:00-00:30. Good local trad pub with a friendly landlord.
- Dingle Bar, Main St, Dingle V92 RHP1. Touristy but lively all-day pub with live music and TV sport. Also has bar food and accommodation.
- Hannie Agnes at the foot of Green St used to be the coffin-makers.
- Curran's, Main St, Dingle, ☏ . Pub and haberdashery.
- Courthouse (O'Sullivan's), The Mall. M-F 16:00-23:30, Sa Su 16:00-23:30. Lively small pub with trad music from 21:00 every evening, with an early set Sunday. They don't have food. Cash only.
- The Blue Zone, Green St, Dingle, ☏ . Th-Tu 17:30-22:30. Live jazz, blues and pizza, great atmosphere.
- Foxy John's, Main Street, Dingle V92 PD6F, ☏ . M-Th 10:30-23:30, F Sa 10:30-00:30, Su 12:00-23:00. Buy a bag of 2 inch nails whilst having a pint: a traditional hardware store on one side with a bar on the other. Step through the door and back in time.
- Dick Mack's, 47 Green St, Dingle V92 FF25, ☏ . Tu-Su 11:00-23:00. Welcoming pub, good selection. The 19th century cowshed, wool-drying shed and storehouse has since 2017 been a micro-brewery, tours available.
- Dingle Distillery produces whiskey, gin and vodka and offers tours. It's open daily 09:30-17:30.
- West Kerry Brewery is near Ballyferriter and offers tours. Their pub Tig Bhric has food and accommodation.
- Grapevine Hostel, Dykegate St, Dingle V92 E183, ☏ . Cosy small hostel near town centre.
- 1 Rainbow Hostel, Ballinaboula, Dingle V92 HE95 (on R549), ☏ . Clean well-run hostel open Apr-Oct with camping in the orchard. Camping €12 ppn.
- Dingle Camping (Campail Teach an Aragail), 87 Dykegate St, Caherdorgan South, Dingle V92 HE95 (by Gallarus Oratory), ☏ . Family-friendly site near the tip of the peninsula. Dogs only in campervans not tents. Two-person tent or campervan €24.
- Allan's B&B, Emlagh West, Dingle V92 YX08, ☏ . A modern, homely B&B with good views of the town, bay and mountains.
- Brosnan's B&B, 9 Cooleen St, Dingle V92 D6Y8, ☏ . Friendly spacious B&B. B&B double €90.
- Alpine Guesthouse, Mail Rd, Dingle V92 D920, ☏ . Simple comfy B&B. B&B double €80.
- Kirrary House, Avondale, Dingle V92 VY96, ☏ . Peaceful central B&B. B&B double €80.
- Russell's B&B, The Mall, Dingle V92 R221, ☏ . Central modern B&B, some rooms really small.
- Sraid Eoin House, John St, Dingle V92 P89C, ☏ . Small B&B in central townhouse. B&B double €80.
- 2 Bolands Guesthouse, Goat St, Dingle V92 TY06, ☏ . B&B with good views of the bay, short walk to centre. No dogs.
- 3 Cill Bhreac House, Slea Head Drive, Dingle V92 V560, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Pleasant edge-of-town B&B with views overlooking the bay. Open April-Oct. B&B double €90.
- Dingle Marina Lodge, Strand St, Dingle V92 DD43, ☏ . Comfy guesthouse overlooking the harbour. Has six parking spots, otherwise use the harbour car park. Double (room only) €130.
- Heatons Guest House, The Wood, Dingle V92 D430, ☏ . Friendly B&B right on the shore. B&B double €120.
- The Lighthouse, High Rd, Dingle V92 KW92, ☏ . It isn't a lighthouse of course, it's a clean comfy modern B&B, open Feb-Nov. B&B double €100.
- Ventry has several B&Bs, but in early 2021 most are only offering self-catering. Try The Plough, Torann Na dTonn or Ceann Trá Heights.
- Dingle Bay Hotel, Strand St, Dingle V92 D9HH, ☏ . Smart central hotel. B&B double €140.
- Castlewood House, The Wood, Dingle V92 XF61, ☏ . Swish guesthouse overlooking Dingle Bay gets great reviews for comfort. Free parking. B&B double €150.
- Dingle Skellig Hotel, Farran, Dingle V92 D5X2, ☏ . Smart hotel with spa, mostly good reviews, one guest had a noisy room. In winter they're only open at weekends. B&B double €180.
- Benner's Hotel, Main St, Dingle V92 FTK2, ☏ . Comfy small hotel, pricey for the standard of accommodation, it's the food that earns the best reviews. Has on-site parking. B&B double €250.
- 4 Pax House, Upper John St, Dingle V92 NX45, ☏ . Pax gets great reviews for comfort, welcome and sea-views. B&B double €160.
- 5 Ballintaggart House, Ballintaggart, Dingle V92 K654, ☏ . A 300 year-old Manor just east of town overlooking the bay. Six rooms, dog-friendly. It was formerly a hostel but they've gone upmarket for the wedding trade.
As of May 2021, Dingle has 5G from Eir and 4G from Three and Vodafone. There's a mobile signal on the roads east and west, but poor coverage north over the hill towards Cloghane.
There's also a 4G signal on all the Blasket Islands except Tearaght and on the boat ride out.
- Follow the road over Conor Pass to Cloghane on the north coast, and a series of U-shaped valleys carving into the mountains.
- Stay on the south coast to reach Killarney and Killorglin on the Iveragh Peninsula, and the very touristy Ring of Kerry coastal route.
- The bus routes take you inland to Tralee the county town, picturesque Adare and the historic city of Limerick.