24 Best Things to do in Dingle: A Locals Guide To The Mighty Dingle Peninsula

What to do and where to grab a post-adventure pint

best things to do in dingle ireland
Photo left: Kim Leuenberger (via Tourism Ireland). Right: Joe Dunckley

If you’re in search of the best things to do in Dingle, you’ve landed in the right place.

The mighty Dingle Peninsula is home to many a thing to do, from the scenic Slea Head Drive to endless beaches, hikes and ancient sites.

In the guide below, you’ll find a mix of tourist favourites and hidden gems along with a handy map (at the end) with everything plotted out for you.

This corner of the county is home to some of the best things to do in Kerry, so, if you haven’t visited yet, you’re in for a treat! Dive on in!

The best things to do in Dingle Ireland

slea head loop
Top right photo via @leeanndaly. Others via Shutterstock

You’ll find the magnificent Dingle Peninsula in the beautiful County of Kerry. The peninsula is the northernmost of Kerry’s major peninsulas and, interestingly enough, it’s the westernmost point on the island of Ireland.

Named after Dingle Town, the peninsula is home to a Gaeltacht (Irish-speaking area), an abundance of walk and hike routes and an almost endless clatter of scenery.

Right – I’ll stop yammering away. You’ll find the top things to do in Dingle Town and the entire peninsula below. 

1. Decide your Dingle POA

dingle peninsula drive
Photo via Google Maps

I could easily just list off what to do in Dingle, but that wouldn’t really be that helpful, as you need a plan of attack.

The way many people visit the various Dingle attractions is to visit the yellow or green section of the peninsula, first.

The reason for this is that you’ll pass the green section if you enter from the Tralee side and the yellow section if you enter from the Killorglin / Killarney side.

The blue arrow above is Dingle Town and the purple ones show where the Slea Head Drive takes you. 

2. Coffee in Dingle Town

Bean in Dingle
Photo via the lads at Bean Dingle

Although I know absolutely nothing about coffee, Bean in Dingle and My Boy Blue both knock up a tasty brew that’ll get you ready to rock for the day ahead.

The coffee from both is strong and tasty. And the service is warm and friendly. I’m in no way affiliated with either of these lads, but if you’re looking to fuel-up pre-adventure, give one of these a lash.

3. The Slea Head Drive

Slea head road
Photo by Lukasz Pajor/shutterstock.com

The mighty Slea Head Drive is one of the most popular things to do in Dingle and it rivals the Ring of Kerry as one of the best drives in the county. 

It kicks off just outside of Dingle Town and it follows a 46km route that takes in breath-taking scenery, historical sites and lovely little towns and villages.

The Slea Head Drive can take around 1 to 2 hours to finish. However, leave at least twice that if you’re looking to take your time and stop off multiple times (here’s a guide with a map)

4. Conor Pass

conor pass dingle
Photo via Shutterstock

A spin along Conor Pass is arguably the most unique of the many things to do in Dingle, as you can see from the photos above.

The pass here runs from Dingle out to Brandon Bay and Castlegregory. At 410 m above sea level, it’s one of the highest mountain passes in Ireland.

The tight, bendy road weaves its way alongside a rugged mountain on one side and a big ass drop on the other.

Now, if you’re reading this and you’re driving in Ireland for the first time, relax. Although this road may seem daunting, once you take your time you’ll be fine.

There’s a spectacular view from here over the valley below, also. Keep an eye out for the pull-in area (it’s on the Dingle Town side) and you’ll be able to park and admire the scenery.

5. The Great Blasket Island

blasket islands
Photo by Madlenschaefer (Shutterstock)

The historic Great Blasket Island is the largest island in a group of three that can be found off the tip of the Dingle Peninsula.

The island boasts over 1,100 acres of unspoiled, mainly mountainous terrain and is roughly 6.4km long by 0.8 km wide. 

Many associate the Great Blasket Island with Peig Sayers. Peig was an Irish author who moved to the island in 1892 after marrying an island native.

She’s best known for her autobiography ‘Peig’. If you want to visit the island, you’ll need to take a ferry from Dun Chaoin Pier. There’s a 1km crossing and it takes a handy 20 minutes.

A visit to the Blaskets is one of the more off-the-beaten path things to do in Dingle, but the island is well worth exploring.

6. Mount Brandon

summit of mount brandon
Photo by Colm K (Shutterstock)

You’ll find one of the best views on the Dingle Peninsula at the summit of Mount Brandon, a mountain which takes its name from St. Brendan.

There are several different options for reaching the summit of Mount Brandon. The only one that I’m familiar with starts at Faha, a stone’s throw from the village of Clogane.

This is a pretty strenuous walk that can take between 4 and 5 hours. You kick your ramble-off in the car park near Faha Grotto (where you’ll be treated to a fine view on a clear day).

Interestingly enough, the summit of Mount Brandon is the highest point of the Dingle Peninsula. One for the hardy hikers among us.

Here’s a full guide to the Mount Brandon hike if you fancy trying it out (our guide was proofed by the experienced hikers at Kerry Climbing).

7. The Dingle Distillery

Dingle whiskey tour
Photo by Fennell Photography via Failte Ireland

If you’re wondering what to do in Dingle when it’s pouring down, earmark the Dingle Distillery for a visit – this is one of the most popular whiskey distilleries in Ireland for good reason. 

A favourite of local and visiting whiskey lovers, the Dingle Distillery offer a tour of their fully functioning production facility.

You’ll get an introduction to the history of Irish whiskey and the rigorous distillation process in practice at the distillery.

And, of course, you’ll also experience the many sights and sounds of a working distillery. The tour here lasts around an hour and includes whiskey sampling.

This is another handy one for those of you looking for things to do in Dingle with a large group. The tour here is supposed to be the business!

8. Ceann Sibeal

Ceann Sibéal
Photo by Neil Tackaberry (shutterstock)

Ceann Sibeal (the headland in the snap above) is one of several Dingle attractions that shot to fame several years ago.

So, if you’re looking at it and thinking that it looks familiar, it’s because you may have copped it at the end of Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

The lads filming the movie used the area in the photo above to recreate the beehive huts from Skellig Michael

There’s a nice little spot to pull in here (it’s on our map at the end of this guide) and you can walk down onto the grass and soak up the mighty view above.

8. Dingle Bay

sup dingle
Photo by Wild SUP Tours

If you’re in search of fun things to do in Dingle, this should tickle your fancy. Those that join the lads at Wild SUP Tours can experience Dingle Bay…

… from the sea! If you’re looking to see the Dingle Peninsula from a very unique perspective, then this’ll do the job.

There are several companies now offering tours of the Dingle Peninsula via the icy waters of the Atlantic.

If you fancy seeing the Dingle Peninsula from a very different angle, consider climbing aboard a Stand Up Paddleboard.

9. Unique accommodation

rooms at pax house in dingle
Photo used with the Permission of Pax House Dingle

There are a handful of places to stay in and around Dingle Town that offer a stunning view of the surrounding landscape.

In the guides below, you’ll find several great places to stay on the Dingle Peninsula:

10. A Dingle pub crawl

dick macs bar dingle
Photo © The Irish Road Trip

Dingle’s home to many a fine pub. From the very popular Dick Mack’s to the very unique Foxy John’s, there’s a pub that’ll tickle every fancy. 

In our guide to the best pubs in Dingle, you’ll find everything from pubs with live music to places that look like they haven’t changed in 70 years.

If you’re visiting the town and you’re looking for things to do in Dingle with a group, head for a long hike in the morning and head off on our Dingle pub crawl in the evening. 

11. Coumeenoole Beach

Annual leave Ireland 2020
Photo via Tourism Ireland (by Kim Leuenberger)

Right, I’ll level with you – if you offered me €14,000 right now I couldn’t even begin to tell you how to pronounce ‘Coumeenoole’. 

This mighty Dingle beach featured in the movie ‘Ryan’s Daughter’. Now, I’ve never seen the film, but there’s no real mystery around why they chose this as a location for one of the scenes.

Coumeenoole Beach is arguably one of the best beaches in Kerry. You can park up and take a short stroll down a little winding hill to watch the waves crash on the golden sand.

12. Dunmore Head

dunmore head viewing point
Photo via Google Maps

You’ll find the lookout point for Dunmore Head a short distance from Coumeenoole Beach, so make sure you keep an eye out for it.

This is another one of those things to see in Dingle that tends to rock you a little bit. When you step out of your car and gaze out, the sound of wind and wave combined with the view that you’ll be treated to is immensely special.

Spend time here. Who cares how long. Soak up the sights and sounds. Put down the phone and focus on capturing this little chunk of bliss in your mind forever.

Dunmore Head is one of a number of Dingle attractions, like Dun Chaoin, that has graced the cover of many a postcard over the years.

13. The South Pole Inn

The south pole inn dingle
Photo by valentinvdb (Creative Commons licence)

If you’ve ever visited the little village of Annascaul on the Dingle Peninsula, the chances are you’ll have been to (or you’ll at least have seen) the South Pole Inn.

The pub was once owned by a renowned Antarctic explorer by the name of Tom Crean, who originally hailed from Annascaul.

Tom left the village to join the Royal Navy and participated in three Antarctic expeditions over the years. He returned to Annascaul in later life and opened The South Pole Inn in 1927.

14. Dun Chaoin Pier

dun chaoin pier county kerry
Photo © The Irish Road Trip

Dun Chaoin Pier is the very unique looking departure point for the Blasket Island Ferry. Now, if you’re not getting the ferry, don’t worry – you can still stroll down for a look.

You’ll find Dun Chaoin (pronounced ‘Dunquin’) Pier in a gorgeous little Gaeltacht village of the same name on the Dingle Peninsula at the northern end of a little secluded bay enveloped by jagged cliffs.

You can take a stroll down the pier itself (you’ll feel the burn in the quads on the way back up) or you can admire the view from above (don’t get too close to the edge).

The quirky road combined with the gorgeous rocky peaks that jut out from the water in front of the pier make for a wonderfully unique scene on County Kerry’s dramatic coastline.

A visit here is one of the more popular things to do in Dingle, so it can get busy during the summer months. Parking is limited, thin

15. Fungie

dolphins near the blasket islands
Photo via Ireland’s Content Pool

Fungie the dolphin is arguably the most iconic of the many Dingle attractions and the boast tour to see him is easily one of the most popular things to do on the Dingle Peninsula. 

I feel like I’ve been hearing people talk about Fungie the Dolphin for as long as I’ve lived. If you’ve never heard of him, Fungie is a wild Bottlenose Dolphin that lives in the waters around Dingle Bay.

It’s said that Fungie has been exploring the waters of the Dingle Peninsula for over 32 years and according to Dolphin experts, he’ll have a lifespan of between 40 and 50 years.

UPDATE: Sadly, Fungie hasn’t been seen for months now. Hopefully, he’s found a few friends and he’s off exploring. For now, and fingers crossed, he’s just ‘out of office’.

16. The Dingle Way

dingle way walk
Photo via Hillwalk Tours

Walking the Dingle Way has been on my bucket list for what seems like forever at this stage. If you’re not familiar with it, the Dingle Way is a 176km walking route.

It takes walkers around the coast of the Dingle Peninsula over the course of 8 days and is a path generally taken by seasoned walkers, considering the time that it takes to complete.

This is one of the more strenuous Dingle activities so, if you don’t feel up to it, you can always tackle the trail in chunks over several visits.

17. Food galore

The Fish Box dingle

If you’re fond of a decent feed, you’re in luck – there are plenty of excellent restaurants in Dingle that’ll make your belly happy.

If you fancy a pocket-friendly bite, Fish Box is outstanding (and nice and casual). For some finer more formal dining, give the Chart House a crack.

18. Inch Beach

inch beach county kerry
Photo © The Irish Road Trip

I took the photo above at Inch Beach back in the winter of 2016. We had driven from Dublin and arrived at the little restaurant/cafe on Inch just as the sun began to set.

There’s something immensely special about being on Inch Beach for sunset. Especially when there are groups surfing off in the distance and the mountains aren’t covered by clouds.

If you’re peckish, the cafe here does a ridiculously good burger. This is one of the most popular beaches near Killarney for good reason!

19. Foxy John’s 

foxy john's bar in dingle
Photo by Andrew Woodvine (via Creative Commons)

Foxy John’s is one of the best pubs in Ireland. It’s definitely the most unique, anyway! Foxy John’s is a hardware store, a bike hire spot and a traditional Irish pub all rolled into one.

You can literally buy rat poison and a pint at the same time. If you’re looking to listen to some live music during your time in Dingle town, you’ll find some here at the weekends, also.

The last time that I spent an evening here was a Friday in 2018. The music kicked off at (I think) half 8 and the place was hopping. If you can arrive here early, do – it can get pretty packed.

20. Rock climbing

Rock climbing dingle peninsula
Photo via Ireland’s Content Pool

If you’re after unique things to do in Dingle, this should tickle your fancy. The lads at Irish Adventures offer rock climbing lessons at the sea cliffs of Dunsheane.

You’ll find them a handy 4km from Dingle town, where they offer a wide range of rock climbing routes, from handy climbs to more extreme ones.

If you’ve never tried anything like this before but you fancy giving it a bash, there are plenty of routes that are perfect for novices. 

21. Gallarus Oratory

gallarus oratory in kerry
Photo by Chris Hill via Ireland’s Content Pool

Gallarus Oratory is arguably on of the best known of the many Dingle attractions. It’s believed that it dates back to the 11th or 12th centuries.

The interior of the oratory is just 4.8m long by 3m wide and is illuminated by a single window.

There’s a local legend that says that anyone who climbs through the little window will be guaranteed access to heaven (this is frowned upon now, though, so best not to try).

22. Clogher Strand

clogher strand slea head
Photo by Melissa Bobo (shutterstock)

If you’re wondering what to do in Dingle to doge the crowds, carve out some time to visit the mighty (and often-missed) Clogher Strand.

This the Dingle Beach most often missed by those driving along Slea Head for the first time. In fact, it wasn’t until my 3rd or 4th time that we stopped here and went for a ramble.

The bay at Clogher is circular and the little beach is surrounded by rugged cliffs. If you visit, look out towards the sea and you’ll see ‘Fear Marbh’ (‘Dead Man’ in English).

Fear Marbh is the most northerly of the three Blasket Islands. If you arrive on a clear day, hop out of the car or off the bike and head for a ramble.

23. Brandon

murphys of brandon
Photo by @clairemcelligott

If you give the Brandon hike a crack, there are few places as fine for a scenic, post-hike pint than Murphy’s Bar at Brandon pier.

As you can see from the photo above, the drop here is perfectly poured and, if you arrive on a fine day, you can sip it while admiring the views. Magic.

24. Faha Grotto

Faha Grotto
Photo via Google Maps

If you’re planning on hiking Mount Brandon from the side near the Faha Grotto, then you’ll end up parking here.

This is a bit of a random one and it’s a good bit off-the-beaten-track, but it’s places like this that make Ireland special.

Places that rarely (if ever) grace the covers of tourism booklets or guides yet are none the less beautiful. Take a spin out here and admire the view.

25. Murphy’s Ice Cream

murphys ice cream dingle

Round off your spin around the Dingle Peninsula with a trip into Murphy’s. This place is expensive, but the ice cream is tasttttty!

I was here last summer and tried the Caramelised Brown Bread (sounds dodgy, but it’s class!) and the Dingle Sea Salt. Both were insanely good!

26. Things to do near Dingle

geokaun mountain and cliffs
Photo by mikemike10/shutterstock

If you’re looking for things to do near Dingle, hop into our guide to County Kerry or our guide to the best things to do in Killarney.

There are heaps of attractions on the Dingle Peninsula, but there’s also plenty a handy spin away. So, conquer the bits and pieces outlined above and then explore the rest that this county has to offer.

The best things to do in Dingle on a handy map

In order to give you an idea of what to do in Dingle nice and quickly, we’ve put together the map above.

It’s packed with the various different places to visit and things to do in Dingle, from beaches and parks to mountains and more. Here’s how to read it: 

  • Purple pointers: The most popular places to visit on the Dingle Peninsula
  • Yellow pointers: The different beaches on the Dingle Peninsula
  • Orange pointers: These show the historical sites on the Dingle Peninsula
  • Blue pointers: These show things to do in Dingle with kids

FAQ about what to do in Dingle

We get a fair few emails from people asking about the best things to do in Dingle. Below, I’ve popped in the most frequently asked questions that we’ve received.

If you have a question that we haven’t tackled, give me a shout in the comments section and I’ll try to help you out.

What are the best things to do in Dingle?

  • Do the Slea Head Drive
  • Climb Mount Brandon
  • Visit the Blasket Islands
  • See Dun Chaoin Pier
  • Walk the Dingle Way

Is the Dingle Peninsula worth visiting?

Yes. 100% yes. There’s loads of things to do on the Dingle Peninsula, from hikes and walks to cycle routes, scenic drives and much, much more.

Is it better to stay in Dingle Town or somewhere nearby?

Where you stay is usually dictated by budget. Dingle can be an expensive place to stay, especially in the summer. If you want to be close to pubs, restaurants etc. stay in the town. If you want a quieter buzz, stay in Ballyferriter or Annascaul. 

What is there to do in Dingle with kids?

  • Take them out on the boat to see Fungie
  • Bring them into the aquarium in Dingle Town.
  • Get them an ice cream or a hot chocolate from Murphy’s
  • Head for a paddle on one of the many beaches

Howaya! Thanks for visiting the Irish road trip! This site exists to inspire and guide you on an Irish adventure that’ll give birth to a lifetime of memories (sounds very arsey altogether, I know!) You'll find everything from things to do in Ireland to where to stay in Ireland (unique and unusual places) if you have a nosey around!

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