The Dingle Peninsula, Ireland's most westerly point, combines a scenic
coastline with impressive mountains to create beautiful scenery. Less
crowded than the Ring of Kerry, a drive including the Town of Dingle and its
peninsula offers similar landscapes with less gaudy tourist shops. The
Dingle Peninsula is less developed than other areas in Southwest Ireland and
many travelers find its simplicity appealing.
Start your drive either in Castlemaine
N86) if you are approaching from the south (e.g. Killarney), or the larger
town of Tralee
(on N86) if you are approaching from the north and continue to the town of
If your tour of the Dingle Peninsula starts at Tralee you can choose to
stay on N86 to the Town of Dingle or take the northern route along Brandon
Bay and across the Conor Pass (Conair or Connor on some maps), the highest
pass in Ireland. The route through the mountains and Conor Pass
a narrow, curvy road that can be difficult to drive, especially in the fog.
Conversely, it offers some beautiful scenery.
You might want to consider crossing the Conor Pass on any itinerary that
involves driving the Dingle Peninsula, but do so only if you are a good
driver, comfortable with driving on the left and confident in your
abilities. We provide a simple road map below to give you the general
idea of the drive around the Dingle Peninsula, but urge you to click on our
map symbols to explore specific locations to see them shown on our detailed,
annotated, highway map of this spectacular area.
Once you arrive inDingle
some time to tour the town (either when you first pass through or when you
Dingle, also called An Daingean, is focused on its harbor as the town has
long history as a fishing center. As might be expected, tourism now
plays an important part in Dingle's economy. You will find plenty of
good pubs here, as well as a number of restaurants featuring excellent
seafood and good quality food in general. Best of all, Dingle is known
for its music. We recommend Dingle as a great place to spend a night or two
if you plan on exploring the Dingle Peninsula in depth. Dingle also offers
the Dingle Ocean World Aquarium. Check out its
to determine your interest in visiting.
In any case, to explore the western edge of the peninsula you need
to pass through Dingle and take R559 (marked as Slea Head Drive)
towards Ventry. Continue in a clockwise direction on R 599 until you
return to the town of Dingle. As an alternative, Slea Head Drive
continues north at Bally David and you can continue the drive north for more
exploration, or return to Dingle on R559 if you have seen enough.
There are numerous sights scattered along Slea Head Drive.
Near Ventry you will findAn Dúnbeag
, a fort
also known as Dunbeg Fort that dates from the 9th century BC. There is some
archaeological evidence that the fort was used until the 10th century, but
site's historic record has been difficult to untangle. There are a
number of stone beehive huts (clocháns) nearby, although there is some
problem determining which are recreations and which are actual historic
monuments. Dunbeg has a visitor center; drinks and sandwiches are
usually available in high season. The Visitor Centre for the Fort has a
website with contact information.
Slea Head itself is a particularly beautiful section of
the Dingle Peninsula and off the coast you can see the Blasket Islands,
which were inhabited until the mid-1950s. If interested, you can
travel to the islands by ferry for an afternoon's exploration.
The ferry leaves from Dun Chaoin (Dunguin) about 15 miles north and west of
dingle on the R559. See this
site for more information about the ferry. If interested in
the Blasket's, but not in visiting, there is a Blasket Island Centre in
Gallarus Oratory is a 1200 year old stone worship chapel
that was designed for individual or small-group prayer. Although its
roof has begun to sag, the Oratory is in near-perfect condition, a state
made all the more interesting by the fact that it was constructed without
mortar of any type. There is also a modest Gallarus Castle (a small tower) nearby.
Both are managed by
and access is by guided tour only. The car parks for these
attractions are on private property and there is a charge for using these
For more information on the Dingle Peninsula and its other attractions,
as well as excellent descriptions of its towns, see the official website of
Dingle Peninsula Tourism.
More Places to Visit In Southwestern Ireland
Click here for
page 4 on the Southwest, featuring Blarney Castle, Cork,
Gougane Barra and the Drombeg Stone Circle.
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