A little dream world, Dingle town is a hub of literary and creative culture. Music plays long into the night, and festivals can be found along its winding roads. With the watchful gaze of the Blasket Islands, wander ruined cottages; take in dramatic views from Slea Head; discover the stories; and taste its famous seafood cuisine. Here’s 10 things not to miss when on a visit to Dingle!
1. Learn to Speak Irish!
Dingle is Ireland’s largest Gaeltacht town and thousands speak Gaeilge – Irish – as their first language. But you won’t feel out of place. The people of Kerry welcome you: they’ll tell you “Fáilte romhat isteach – you’re most welcome here”. Meeting the locals in the pub you learn your very own 'cúpla focáil' (couple of words) in Irish to take home. Spend an enjoyable hour learning to speak a couple of Irish phrases with a native speaker in the heart of Dingle Gaelthacht at the Diseart Cultural centre.
A four-day extravaganza takes place in March and celebrates all things film and animation. 2016 is a very special year at the festival as the team celebrate the birth centenary of the late, great Gregory Peck (Roman Holiday, To Kill a Mockingbird) who had a personal connection to Dingle and is honoured with the festival’s annual Gregory Peck Award. This year the film Ryan’s Daughter will open proceedings on St. Patrick’s Day, while a David Lean retrospective will also feature.
3. Fungi the dolphin
Fungi is Dingle’s most famous personality. He is a mature male bottle-nosed dolphin who made the town his home over a quarter of a century ago. He thrives on the attention of his many admirers. The people of the area adore him and others travel from all over the world to spend time with him. Find out more about whale and dolphin watching.
4. Beach Trekking
Imagine a horse ride that starts in the mountains of the Dingle Peninsula, rises to a panorama stretching as far as the Skelligs, before trotting through the old town towards a canter or gallop on the shoreline. Such an experience not only exists, but you can do it in all within two hours on the Wild Atlantic Way with Dingle Horse-riding.
Image via Dingle Distillery
5. Enjoy a Drop in Dingle!
Fancy a sup of the Wild Atlantic Way? Well, what better way to raise your spirits than with a visit to Dingle Distillery, the first purpose-built distillery for a new whiskey in Ireland in over 200 years. It may not be possible to bottle the Kerry landscape, but these spirits definitely come close.
Just off the Dingle Peninsula, the Blasket Islands lie at the very edge of Europe– you can’t go any further west! Rich in both history and folklore, these now deserted islands were home to legendary Irish storytellers like Peig Sayers and Tomás O’Crohan. Explore the Blasket Visitor Centre at Dunquin to see how people once lived, before you head to An Blascaod Mór (the Great Blasket).
7. Under the Sea
Submerge yourself in the wonderful enchanted underwater world of Oceanworld! Come face-to-face with the most fearsome creatures of the sea: sharks. Gain exclusive access to Sand Tiger Sharks - this is the only place in Ireland where you can see them! Meet the delightful Polar Penguins and get hands-on experience at the Touch Tank where you can stroke the friendly Rays and even hold a Starfish.
8. Climb to new heights or take a dive!
The Wild Atlantic Way, with its cliff faces and sharp ascents, is home to world-famous climbing. Near Dingle in County Kerry lies Dunshean Head and its looming sea stacks – here’s what to expect from the Razor’s Edge. Or if diving is your thing Waterworld is Ireland’s largest diving and leisure centre. Take a dive or a snorkel, and enjoy some of the most spectacular scenery and coral off the wild Atlantic shores.
9. Catch a trad session
This colourful fishing town, set around a busy fishing port and marina, is packed with eclectic eateries and traditional pubs where you’re bound to catch a lively traditional music session.
Experience the ‘tide to table’ ethos first hand with an experience at Dingle Cookery School. Lasting over three hours, it combines theory with very hands on experience. Working with local ingredients – fish and shellfish from the Atlantic, whiskey from the Dingle Distillery, plus lamb, eggs and cheeses from nearby – you can create a truly unique meal from the Atlantic seas and land.
These are just 10 of Dingle's many stunning sights and delights, why not discover more yourself? Check out the Trip Planner to start your own adventure.