Taste the fresh seafood that this town is famous for, indulge in traditional music or even take a boat trip out to the iconic Blasket Islands. Here are ten things not to miss when on a visit to Dingle.
Dingle is Ireland’s largest Gaeltacht town where many speak Irish as their first language. Meet locals in the pub or shops and learn the 'cúpla focal' (a couple of words) to take home. If you’d like to go a step further, spend an enjoyable hour or two with a native speaker at the Díseart Centre of Irish Spirituality and Culture.
Food lovers flock to Dingle for its Food Festival which takes usually place on the first weekend in October every year (check for local advice during 2020). The town comes alive with both visitors and locals as they get to sample foods that they wouldn’t normally get to try. Highlights of this foodie’s delight include cookery demonstrations, over 50 market stalls, wine tastings, workshops and a food trail. This is but one of the many festivals that are held in this busy town, which also hosts the Dingle Literary Festival, Féile na Bealtaine and the Dingle Maritime Festival.
This mature, male bottle-nosed dolphin has been living in Dingle’s waters for many years. Thriving on the attention of his many admirers, he often can be seen leaping out of the water right alongside the boats. Locals adore him and people travel from all over the world to spend time with him.
Experience a horse ride that starts in the mountains of the Dingle Peninsula and rises to a panorama stretching as far as the Skelligs. Finish your excursion with an exhilarating gallop across the shoreline. This unforgettable experience with Dingle Horse Riding is sure to get the heart thumping.
Take a well-deserved sup and a break during your stay on the Wild Atlantic Way with a visit to Dingle Whiskey Distillery. The first purpose-built distillery for a new whiskey in Ireland in over 200 years, its produce is not only delicious but award-winning too. World-class whiskey, vodka and gin can be bought here and if you have time to spare, take one of their tours and learn all about the process behind creating these tantalising drinks.
Just off the Dingle Peninsula, the Blasket Islands are at the very edge of Europe. Rich in both history and folklore, these now deserted islands were home to legendary Irish storytellers like Peig Sayers and Tomás Ó Criomhthain. Explore The Blasket Visitor Centre at Dunquin to get a feel for how people once lived, before you head across the water to discover the Great Blasket Island.
Enjoy the wildlife of Dingle Oceanworld Aquarium where you can come face-to-face with sharks, penguins and exotic fish. At the Touch Tank, visitors can stroke friendly rays and even hold a starfish. Kids and adults will both enjoy this experience as you learn about the wonders of the sea.
Take out your walking boots and head to nearby Dunshean Head. Climb up on the headland to see the crashing waves and looming sea stacks below. Or if diving is your thing, book in with Waterworld, Ireland’s largest diving and leisure centre. Dive underwater, snorkel and enjoy some of the most spectacular scenery off of the wild Atlantic shores.
Experience the ‘tide to table’ ethos first-hand at Dingle Cookery School. Lasting over three hours, they combine theory with a very hands-on workshop. Using local ingredients like fish and shellfish from the Atlantic, whiskey from the Dingle Whiskey Distillery, as well as lamb, eggs and cheeses, you will create a delicious meal from the land and sea.
Whether you’re a regular or a first-time visitor to Dingle, it’s easy to be captivated by the wealth of musical talent in this lively fishing town. Head to An Chonair Bar whose owners are musicians themselves, O'Flaherty's for its regular music sessions or McCarthy’s Bar, the oldest family-run pub in the town.