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The Dingle Peninsula: The Attractions, The Drive + Handy Map

The Dingle Peninsula: The Attractions, The Drive + Handy Map

I’ve spent more weekends on the Dingle Peninsula than I have in any other county in Ireland.

This gorgeous little corner of Kerry sits just above the Iveragh Peninsula and just below the bustling town of Tralee.

It’s home to countless attractions, like the Slea Head Drive, Conor Pass and the buzzy little Dingle Town.

Below, you’ll find a map of the area (with attractions) along with an easy-to-follow overview of the Dingle Peninsula Drive.

Some quick need-to-knows about the Dingle Peninsula

map of dingle

Photo left: Google Maps. Others: Shutterstock

Before you scroll down to to have a nosey at the Dingle Peninsula Drive, take 20 seconds to read the points below as they’ll get you up-to-speed quickly:

1. Location

The breath-taking Dingle Peninsula is the northernmost peninsula in County Kerry and it attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors every year. It’s a 70-minute drive from Killarney and a 1-hour and 45-minute drive from Kenmare.

2. Towns and villages

The most notable town on the Dingle Peninsula is, of course, Dingle Town. However, there’s plenty more worth considering as a base for your visit, such as Annascaul, Dun Chaoin, Ballyferriter, Brandon and Castlegregory

3. Main attractions

There’s plenty of things to do in Dingle, but the main attractions are Slea Head, Coumeenole Beach, Dun Chaoin Pier, Gallarus Oratory, Conor Pass, the Blasket Islands and Mount Brandon (more on these below).

4. The best way to explore it

Personally, I like to stay in one of the B&Bs in Dingle Town and explore from there. That way, you can head off for the day and tackle the Dingle Peninsula Drive and then return to spend the night tucked away in one of the many mighty pubs in Dingle, like Foxy Johns.

A Dingle Peninsula map with attractions

I’m going to give you two maps in this guide – the first is a general map that will help you get a lay of the land nice and quickly.

Here’s what each of the coloured pointers represents on our map of Dingle:

  • Yellow: The various beaches in Dingle
  • Red: The different towns and villages
  • Green: The main attractions and viewpoints

When you zoom into the map, you’ll see that many of the Dingle Peninsula’s attractions can be found towards the Slea Head end.

However, there are plenty of things to see and do before you reach the town, as you’ll discover below.

An overview of the key stops on the Dingle Peninsula Drive

So, the Dingle Peninsula Drive doesn’t have to be done in one big swoop. You could easily do half of it one day (e.g. drive from your start point towards Dingle Town, taking in the likes of Inch Beach, Annascaul Lake and Conor Pass en route.

You could then tackle Slea Head the following day. In the map above, I’ve included the main stops along with a route to follow – this isn’t gospel – I’d argue that the best way to explore the Dingle Peninsula is to have a general sense of the route.

Then allow your nose to guide you when you see something that catches your interest. Below, I’m going to show you the main Dingle Peninsula attractions that you can visit one-by-one if you drive clockwise around it.

1. Caherconree Scenic Route

Caherconree Scenic Route

Photos via Shutterstock

The Caherconree Scenic Route is one of the more overlooked stops (that isn’t really a stop) on the Dingle Peninsula Drive. You’ll see it on the map above – it’s the red pointer that doesn’t have the route connected to it, as it’s an optional stop.

This is arguably best done at the start of the loop, if you’re kicking-things off from Tralee (drive from Tralee towards Camp Village and the turn off is impossible to miss.

Or you can do it at the end if you’re starting from the Inch Beach side. This is raw, unspoiled scenery at it’s finest with a landscape 

2. Inch Beach

Inch Beach

Photos via Shutterstock

Inch Beach, as you’ll see from the photo on the left above, is nearly like a little peninsula in itself. It stretches for an impressive 5.5km and it’s a lovely spot for a stroll.

There’s a small car park up front and, before you braze the chill Atlantic breeze, you can grab a coffee from Sammy’s (you can’t miss it).

As you ramble, you’ll see surfers attempting to conquer the waves whole the mountains of Kerry off in the distance seem to loom over you from every angle.

3. Minard Castle and beach

minard castle and beach

Photos via Shutterstock

Now, if you’ve ever watched the 1970’s film ‘Ryan’s Daughter’, you might recognise Minard Castle, which was referred to in the movie as ‘The Tower’.

The castle here is finely plonked on a little grassy hill that overlooks the water, commanding breath-taking views on a clear day.

Minard Castle dates to the 16th century and it is one of several ‘Fitzgerald castles’ that were built by the Knight of Kerry on the Dingle Peninsula.

4. Dingle Town

dingle town

Photos via Shutterstock

Next up is the lively Dingle Town. It’s well worth parking up (you’ll find a car park at the pier), hopping out and heading for a stroll around this colourful little town.

It’s very walkable and, while very touristy, it boasts a fine bit of charm and character. In the town, you have attractions like the Dingle Distillery and the Dingle Aquarium.

There’s also plenty of great restaurants in Dingle (Fish Box is our go-to!) and there are endless old-school pubs in Dingle, too!

From the town, you can join one of the various Dingle Tours, like the Sea Safari or the boat trip to the Blasket Islands.

5. Eask Tower

Eask Tower

Photos via Shutterstock

So, our next Dingle Peninsula attraction is Eask Tower – now, if you’ve zero interest in history, don’t worry – there’s outstanding 360 views from here!

The solid stone tower has been perched at the top of Carhoo Hill since 1847 when it was constructed to aid vessels into Dingle Harbour.

There’s an entrance fee (€2 – prices may change) that you need to pay into an honesty box as it’s located on private land. It’s a steepish walk up to the top of the hill and shoes with good grip are essential when wet.

Related read: Check out our guide to the Ring of Kerry Drive (with a handy Google Map)

6. Ventry Beach

Ventry Bay

Photos via Shutterstock

Ventry Beach is a Blue Flag Beach and it has a a lifeguard service throughout the summer months. On a warm day, there’s few places like it.

One of the more popular beaches in Kerry, Ventry Beach stretches for around 4.5km and, for me, it marks the beginning of the Slea Head Drive.

Hop out, flick off your shoes and head for a stroll or a paddle. It’s from this point that the Dingle Peninsula Drive goes from good to great!

7. Beehive huts, forts and sheepdog demonstrations

dingle sheepdog demonstrations

Photos via Shutterstock

So, these next stops are completely optional. After you leave Ventry, you’ll follow the road to the coast and it’s here that there are several paid and free attractions.

The first you come to is the Celtic Prehistoric Museum, the second is the FairyFort Ringfort, the third are the Dingle Sheepdog Demonstrations, the Famine Cottages and Dunbeg Fort and the fifth is the Beehive Huts.

You’ll then drive around a bend and reach Cashel Murphy followed by a place where you can hold a baby lamb

Personally, I’ve never done them and I likely never will, but I know of many visitors to the Dingle Peninsula that have.

8. The viewpoints

Photos via Shutterstock

Now, a word of warning – the Dingle Peninsula Drive has numerous viewpoints. Unfortunately, many of them are beyond bends in the road and you often find yourself missing them.

The issue then is that, at certain stages of the route, there’s very few places to turn. The first two you arrive to are Ceann Sleibhe and the White Cross.

Both are next to each other and each is worth stopping at if there’s room to do so.

Related read: Check out our guide to the difference between the Ring of Kerry vs Dingle Peninsula

9. Radharc na mBlascaoidí viewpoint

Radharc na mBlascaoidí

Photos via Shutterstock

The next viewpoint, listed as Radharc na mBlascaoidí or Blasket’s View on Google Maps is one of my favourites on the Dingle Peninsula Drive.

There’s a nice bit of parking here and you’ll be treated to a good eyeful of Dunmore Head. If you’re here when the weather is wild, you’ll see (and hear!) waves bashing against the craggy cliff face below.

10. Coumeenoole Beach

Coumeenoole Beach

Photos via Shutterstock

Next up is Coumeenoole Beach – another filming location for the movie ‘Ryan’s Daughter’, however, this one comes with a WARNING.

No matter how inviting the water looks here, never enter it – the bay here catches the full force of the Atlantic which creates strong and unpredictable currents.

There’s a little parking area next to the beach and you can either admire it from above or walk down the winding track to the sand.

11. Dun Chaoin Pier

Dun Chaoin Pier

Photos via Shutterstock

Dun Chaoin Pier is arguably the most notable of the many Dingle Peninsula attractions, thanks to its quirky appearance.

This is the departure point for the ferry to the Blasket Islands and it’s particularly impressive at sunrise and sunset.

Now, another warning – every year a tourist attempts to drive down the path here and gets stuck, destroying their car in the process.

There’s a bit of parking near the ticket office – never… ever attempt to drive down it!

12. The Blasket Centre

The Blasket Centre

Photos courtesy Valerie O’Sullivan via Ireland’s Content Pool

The Blasket Centre is a good option if you’re doing the Dingle Peninsula Drive when it’s raining and you need a bit of respite.

Boasting magnificent views of the coast and the islands, the Blasket Centre offers an insight into the unique community that lived on the remote Blasket Islands prior to they were evacuated in 1953.

As you walk around it, you’ll get an insight into island life, how the island’s inhabitants made ends meet and plenty more.

13. Ceann Sraithe (Star Wars filming location)

star wars filming location slea head

Photos via Shutterstock

As you may be aware, parts of Star Wars: The Force Awakens were filmed in Ireland, most notably on Kerry’s Skellig Michael.

However, a section of the Dingle Peninsula was also used to recreate the Skellig Michael set for later movies. We have this point plotted on the map above.

Now, a warning – there’s no dedicated parking area here, just hard shoulder, so please use caution and never block the road. 

14. Clogher Strand

Clogher Strand

Photos via Shutterstock

Our next stop is Clogher Strand – one of many little coves that you’ll find dotted around the Dingle Peninsula.

While swimming isn’t allowed here, Clogher Strand is a gorgeous little beach that’s surrounded by rugged cliffs on all sides.

It can make a nice little stop-off point as it’s generally nice and quiet.

14. Wine Strand

Wine Strand

Photos via Shutterstock

One of the more impressive beaches on the Dingle Peninsula is the mighty Wine Strand, a short spin from the previous stop.

There’s a little car park here and, as it’s tucked a little out of sight, tends to get missed by those driving Slea Head.

The views from here are outstanding and you’ll often have the place all to yourself in the off-season,

15. Gallarus Oratory

Gallarus Oratory

Photos via Shutterstock

Gallarus Oratory is one of the final stops on the Dingle Peninsula Drive, and it’s a place that gets plenty of mixed reviews.

There’s a visitor centre (which you need to pay into) or, if you can find parking nearby, you can access it for free via a public path.

It’s believed that Gallarus Oratory was built around the 11th or 12th century. It’s a pokey little structure, standing at just 4.8m by 3m in size.

16. Mount Brandon (see notes)

Mount Brandon

Photos via Shutterstock

The Mount Brandon hike is hard to beat, but it’ll only fit into the Dingle Peninsula Drive if you break it up into two days and dedicate a good half day to it.

This is a challenging trail that takes you up to the 952-metre-high summit and offers breath-taking views en route.

Good hiking/navigational experience is needed for this hike as the weather can change in an instant and cause visibility issues.

17. Conor Pass

Conor Pass

Photos via Shutterstock

Next up is Conor Pass. Now, if you’re not doing the Mount Brandon hike, you can get to Conor Pass from Gallarus Oratory via Dingle Town.

At an impressive 410m above sea level, the mighty Conor Pass is one of Ireland’s highest mountain passes, and it can be the stuff of nightmares for nervous drivers.

However, you don’t have to drive it. If you head up to it from the Dingle side, you’ll reach a car park before you hit the narrow road. From here, you can soak up views of the surrounding valley and watch the cars navigate its narrow bends from afar.

18. Glanteenassig Forest Park

Glanteenassig Forest Park

Photos via Shutterstock

The final stop on the Dingle Peninsula Drive is Glanteenassig Forest Park – another often-missed spot on the peninsula.

Boasting a whopping 450 hectares of forests, mountains and lakes, Glanteenassig Forest Park is well worth dedicating some time to.

It’s a bit off the beaten path, but the scenery here is like something from another word and there are several trails to tackle.

On a clear day you’ll be treated to views of Brandon Bay, the Maharees and Tralee Bay.

FAQs about the Dingle Peninsula Loop

We’ve had a lot of questions over the years asking about everything from ‘Is there a Ring of Dingle?’ to ‘How long does it take?’.

In the section below, we’ve popped in the most FAQs that we’ve received. If you have a question that we haven’t tackled, ask away in the comments section below.

Is Dingle Peninsula worth visiting?

Yes. This corner of Kerry is how to some spectacular scenery, incredible drives, like Slea Head, endless hikes and walks and countless historical sites.

How long does it take to drive the Dingle Peninsula?

We’d recommend allowing a day to d0 the Dingle Peninsula Loop. If you were to drive it non stop, starting and ending at Inch Beach, it’d take 2.5 to 3 hours.

What is Dingle Peninsula known for?

The Dingle Peninsula is arguably most famous for the Slea Head Drive and the lively Dingle Town. Its scenery has graced to cover of millions of postcards.

Can you do Dingle Peninsula a day?

Yes. However, if you’re dedicating a day to the Dingle Peninsula Loop, you need to have your drive planned out in advance. Follow our map above.

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