Things to do in Dingle

Lily’s Food is the perfect place to refuel after a day spent touring the unforgettable attractions in Dingle. Situated as we are at the foot of the Conor Pass, we are surrounded by jaw-dropping coastal scenery and ancient archaeology. Then there’s the lively traditional music scene and—of course—superb local cuisine. If you’re looking for things to do or places to see in Dingle, here’s what we’d recommend to whet your appetite:

Slea Head

SleaHeadSlung around the breath-taking western tip of the Dingle peninsula, the Slea Head drive starts in Dingle town and heads clockwise out along the coast to Europe’s most westerly point before looping back to Dingle town through countryside studded with spectacular beaches and historical attractions.

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Gallarus Oratory

galleryIt’s well worth taking this minor detour from the Slea Head drive to visit Gallarus Oratory, a perfect early Christian church in miniature. With sloping side walls that give it the look of an upturned boat, the oratory was constructed using a system called corbelling.

So effective is this method of building that the structure has battled the harsh Atlantic weather for at least ten centuries without the need for mortar. It still exerts a strong spiritual influence today.

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Blasket Islands

The enchanting Blasket Islands are just 20 minutes by ferry from the village of Dun Chaoin (15km from Dingle), but they feel like another world. Celebrated in local literature, they served as a harsh if beautiful home for an exclusively Irish-speaking population until 1953. Their unique culture left an indelible mark on the locality.

Wild Atlantic Way

wild-atlanticRoute 66 has nothing on the Wild Atlantic Way: At 2,500km, the Wild Atlantic Way is the longest designated coastal route in the world, and part of it passes through Dingle.

You could start in Donegal and follow the whole route all the way down to West Cork, or just pick out the section that hugs the rugged peninsula of Dingle.

We think that’s the best part anyway!

Fungie

Fungie must be one of the only dolphins in the world to turbocharge a tourist industry. Resident in Dingle Bay since 1983, he has been delighting locals and tourists with his playfulness ever since. If you’re travelling with the family, make sure you take a boat ride from the marina to see him.

Music

Dingle is one of the richest sources of true traditional Irish music talent. Even the most tone-deaf visitor will be moved by the standard of vibrant local music in Dingle’s pubs. The genre is constantly evolving, and it’s not all traditional music either: A renowned festival showcasing new and international musical talent is Other Voices in December.

Dingle Races

An assuming racetrack in Ballintaggart, on the approach to Dingle town, transforms into a hotbed of racing excitement for three days every August. The Dingle Races attract horses, jockeys, and horse-racing enthusiasts from across the country and further afield for a festival that will make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up.

Dingle Food Festival

It’s not just about Lily’s Food either: The Dingle Food Festival has developed into one of the most popular events on the crowded food festival calendar. Held in October, it attracts foodies keen to sample the unique flavours of local food and drink at the outdoor market, cookery demonstrations, and the extensive Taste Trail.

Mount Brandon

One of Ireland’s highest mountains, Mount Brandon is a 952 m peak on the Dingle Peninsula named after Saint Brendan. It’s a steep climb in parts, but the views over Dingle Bay are achingly beautiful. Mount Brandon can be approached via the Pilgrim’s Path in Cloghane, or via the Saint’s Road from An Baile Breac, following the trail of crosses marking the decades of the rosary. The Cloghane route is more challenging – and not for those without a head for heights!

Note: Remember not to undertake any mountain walking without adequate fitness, clothes, and equipment. Never climb alone and be vigilant of the weather conditions. Mists can descend without warning.

Fishing

For a relatively small area, Dingle harbour has a great range of fishing options for the angler. Choose from beach, marina, creek, or rock fishing, and expect to catch impressive ray, conger, pollock, and wrasse, as well as bass, mackerel, flounder and mullet. You can bottom fish, float fish, lure fish, fly fish, and you can also dig ragworms and lugworms for bait.

Walking

Lily’s Food is situated at the base of the Conor Pass, a breathtakingly beautiful spot and a popular location for walkers. Other routes include Mount Brandon (see above), Mount Eagle, Lough Adoon, Ballydavid Head, and the Dingle Way—a full circuit of the Dingle Peninsula that starts and ends in Tralee and extends over 179km. Whether you are an experienced hiker or a weekend stroller, guides are available to show you the way.

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