Packed with pubs and brightly painted shops, the compact and colorful Irish-speaking fishing town of Dingle is popular for good reason—it has a busy arts and music calendar, an artisan distillery, and a number of restaurants serving fresh seafood, plus it makes a great base for exploring the Dingle Peninsula. The town serves as a starting point for the long-distance Dingle Way hiking trail and the Slea Head driving route, which leads past the westernmost point in all of Europe.
Dingle is an undoubted highlight of Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way. Guided day tours to Dingle town typically depart from Killarney, Tralee, and Kenmare, often stopping elsewhere on the Dingle Peninsula as well, at sites such as Gallarus Oratory, Inch Beach, Slea Head, and the Blasket Island Visitor Centre, which tracks the history of the nearby remote Blasket Islands archipelago. Boat tours from Dingle take visitors in search of Fungie, the famously friendly bottlenose dolphin who has been approaching humans in and around Dingle since 1984. Active travelers can embark on hiking tours along the area’s coastal trails to catch stellar sea and mountain vistas.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Though Dingle is part of an Irish-speaking area known as a Gaeltacht, English is widely spoken.
- Like most of County Kerry and Ireland as a whole, Dingle’s weather can be unpredictable, so rain gear is a must.
- Book a boat tour from Dingle during summer and you might spot killer whales, minke whales, or even humpback whales, all in addition to several species of dolphin.
How to Get There
Bus services from Tralee to Dingle (275) are operated by Bus Eireann, which also runs a seasonal summer-only route (276) from Killarney to Dingle. While the town itself is walkable, organized tours are the best way for car-free travelers to see the Dingle Peninsula.
When to Get There
Dingle is busiest during summer and on weekends, when a lively, almost festive atmosphere pervades. For a quieter experience, go in winter when the roads and restaurants are calmer.
Visiting Dingle’s Pubs
Dingle’s pubs are legendary and noted not just for their high concentration—there are more than 35 drinking establishments serving a population of fewer than 2,000 people—but also for their welcoming social atmosphere. Dick Mack’s, which dates back to 1899, is one of the oldest and most popular; Foxy John's famously doubles as a hardware store; and O’Sullivan’s Courthouse Pub is known for hosting traditional music sessions.