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Beloved by locals and visitors alike, Dingle town is renowned for its live music, quaint character and pubs that once multi-tasked as stores. Its vibrant atmosphere and cosmopolitan collection of cafés, restaurants and art galleries belies its small size and gives it a distinctive charm.

Brightly painted houses line the streets, fishing boats bob on the water and magnificent scenery ripples in all directions. It's a well-positioned base for exploring the rugged Dingle Peninsula, which is accessible on a looped drive that passes beaches of fine-grained sand, wave-lashed headlands and historic islands. Inland, the mountains offer excellent walking and scenic drives across passes that often lay shrouded in mist and cloud.

DingleDingle has been a major seaport since the Middle Ages, but the area has been inhabited for almost 6,500 years. Over 2,000 archaeological sites litter the peninsula, from Bronze Age standing stones to the Gallarus Oratory, an early Christian church shaped like an upturned boat. Its corbelled roof is still perfectly waterproof after 1,200 years.

A series of beehive huts, thought to date back to the 12th century and possibly built by hermit monks, sits at Fahan. The Romanesque church from the same period at Kilmalkedar features an Ogham stone (carved with an ancient inscription in a series of incised lines), a sundial and carved crosses.

Driving between these sights, you're instantly struck by their setting. Along with high mountain passes is a fitfully indented coastline marked by unforgiving cliffs, sweeping and often deserted beaches, rugged headlines and remote islands. Ethereal mists cradle the shore, Atlantic rollers bash the rocks and winds whip the clouds across the sky.

It's an elemental sort of place, and a drive around Slea Head at the tip of the peninsula brings you past the wind-lashed Blasket Islands. Inhabited until 1953, they were poignantly described by Peig Sayers in her eponymous book, a staple on the Irish school curriculum. More recently, the coastline played host to Hollywood and the filming of Star Wars Episode VIII on Ceann Sibéal.

Dingle’s soft Atlantic light and raw scenery have made it a magnet for artists, film-makers and craftspeople, and you can visit many of their studios and workshops. In Dingle town, a host of craft galleries and artists' studios welcome visitors, while Louis Mulcahy Pottery on Clogher Head is a popular stop at the far end of the peninsula.

Much of the artwork reflects the incredible landscapes of the area. More traditional pieces combine the influence of age-old techniques and the lyrical nature of the Irish language, which is spoken here in this proud Gaeltacht (Irish-speaking) district.

Other craftspeople revive traditional industries such as distilling, and the Dingle Distillery saw its first spirits trickle from the stills in 2012. A tour demonstrates the entire production process and gives you the chance to sample the local whiskey, vodka and gin.

Here, too, is the Dingle Brewing Company, producer of Crean's Lager, named after local Antarctic explorer Tom Crean. It can be enjoyed in Dingle's highly traditional pubs, where rubber boots, brass door knockers and light bulbs are sold alongside Guinness and Jameson. Dick Mack's and Foxy John's are landmark attractions in the town for their old-world charm and character. In other pubs, live music entertains every night of the week.

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Audley Travel specialist Aislyn

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Suggested itineraries featuring Dingle Peninsula

Our itineraries will give you suggestions for what is possible when you travel in Dingle Peninsula, and they showcase routes we know work particularly well. Treat them as inspiration, because your trip will be created uniquely by one of our specialists.

Map of Dingle Peninsula

Places & hotels on the map

    Places near Dingle Peninsula

    Accommodation choices for Dingle Peninsula

    We've selected a range of accommodation options for when you visit Dingle Peninsula. Our choices usually come recommended for their character, facilities and service or location. Our specialists always aim to suggest properties that match your preferences.

    Ideas for experiencing Dingle Peninsula

    Our specialists seek out authentic ways to get to know the places that could feature in your trip. These activities reflect some of the experiences they've most enjoyed while visiting Dingle Peninsula, and which use the best local guides.

    • Dingle Peninsula with a local archaeologist
      Dingle Peninsula

      Dingle Peninsula with a local archaeologist

      Dingle Peninsula with a local archaeologist

      Explore the many fascinating archaeological sites of the Dingle Peninsula on this full-day tour in the company of a prominent local historian. See ancient churches and forts, early Christian monasteries, carved crosses and the region's legendary beehive huts.

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