What to Do on the Dingle Peninsula in 2 Days

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One of the most common questions I receive when helping people plan their Ireland family vacations is, “We want to visit the Dingle Peninsula. Can we do it in a day trip from Killarney/ Adare/ Cork?” I answer honestly – yes, you can. But then I add, “You will likely feel rushed, and you may have to cut short or miss a few things.”

Though the Dingle Peninsula is small, there is plenty to see and do. I recommend a two day Dingle itinerary to really enjoy the unique sights and opportunities of this peninsula.

Coumenoole Strand, Slea Head Drive, Dingle, Ireland
Coumenoole Strand where parts of Ryan’s Daughter were filmed.

Driving to the Dingle Peninsula

Though Ireland is a small country, driving takes longer than you think it will once you get off the major motorways. I was reminded of that as we made our way from Kilkenny to Dingle- a trip I thought would take 3 hours at the most. After nearly 4.5 hours of driving I was reminded, once again, why I recommend seeing Ireland in small bits rather than trying to cover a lot of ground.

Read More: The Single Thing That Can Ruin Your Ireland Vacation

If you're planning to head out to the Dingle Peninsula, I recommend starting your day in a location like Adare, County Limerick or Killarney, County Kerry. The furthest I advise beginning from would be Cork City. Otherwise you will spend much of your first day driving.

After your fabulous, filling Irish Breakfast, begin your drive to the Dingle Peninsula, the westernmost point in Europe. There are only two roads that take you onto the Dingle Peninsula. Coming from Adare (or Limerick and Shannon), you will find yourself on the N86 where you can easily exit at Camp and see the spectacular views from the famed Conor Pass. If you are driving in from Killarney (and points east), you'll arrive on the peninsula via the R561 which passes beautiful Inch beach and features stunning cliff-side driving.

Conor Pass overlooking the Atlantic Ocean
The Dingle Peninsula is a Gaeltacht, or Irish language, area. All signs, like this one at Conor Pass, are in Irish.

Don't worry if you didn't cross Conor Pass on your way into Dingle- you can easily exit that way or take an afternoon drive before you leave.

Things to Do in Dingle in 2 Days

You'll find Dingle to be a small village, easily walkable. As we explored, and asked directions, we were told time and again, ‘It's about 5 minutes walk.” Truth be told, you can likely cross the town from one end to the other in 5 minutes! But don't let the village size fool you- you'll find plenty of things to do in Dingle!

Though you will be arriving in the morning or early afternoon, it's always nice to see where you will be staying for the night, so take a quick tour of the town and find your lodging. If you're traveling with family, the Dingle Skellig Hotel is a fine place to lay your head.

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Dingle: Day 1

Now that you have an idea of the size of Dingle, find a place to park. I recommend parking at Dingle Pier (pay & display parking; have €1 & €2 coins handy). The tourist office is nearby- just next to the Dingle Dolphin Boat Tours.  If the day is fine go ahead an book a tour to see Fungi, the Dingle Dolphin. While you are waiting for your tour, pose with Fungi's statue or wander through the nearby shops.  You'll find everything from dolphin trinkets and postcards to fine jewelry and woolens.

Fungi races the tour boats in Dingle Harbour
Fungi races beside boats in Dingle Harbour

Video bonus: A Morning with Fungi, the Dingle Dolphin

If you've taken the basic tour, your visit with Fungi will last 1 hour. If Fungi is playful (as he usually seems to be), the time will flash by. After your tour, the breakfast you had hours ago is likely beginning to wear off. Forego lunch and visit Murphy's Ice Cream, where everything is hand made. They even harvest the sea salt! My favorite is the Caramelized Brown Bread ice cream, a beautiful vanilla with chewy chunks of caramelized brown bread. The fun thing about Murphy's is that you can put as many flavors in one cup as you want- you pay by the cup size and not by the number of scoops. This is a do not miss in Dingle!

Sticky Toffee Pudding Special at Murphy's Ice Cream in Dingle
Sticky Toffee Pudding Special at Murphy's Ice Cream

(Didn't come in via Conor Pass? Now would be a great time to take that drive!)

Weather not cooperating? Not to worry! Spend some time in the Oceanworld Aquarium. A fun aquarium, your ticket buys you all day entry so you can come back for special programs- like penguin feeding!

Go ahead and get checked into your lodging now. Your hosts should know where you can find live traditional music- as well as a restaurant to fit your pleasures- but if they don't, ask where you can find a copy of West Kerry Live (or find it online here). Under the ‘music & entertainment' heading you'll find live entertainment offerings for the week.

After dinner get a different view of Dingle Harbour with a walk from the Dingle Skellig Hotel to Hussey's Folley.

Video bonus: Discover the Dingle Peninsula

Dingle: Day 2

Make sure you have a filling breakfast as today is all about exploring the peninsula! The coastal views on the Dingle Peninsula rival the Ring of Kerry in their dramatic beauty.

Dunmore Head looking toward Blasket Islands, Dingle Peninsula, Ireland
Dunmore Head looking toward the Blasket Islands

Begin with scenic Slea Head Drive (click through for more information!). And don't just drive the route- experience it! Get out of the car. Feel the sea spray on your face. Go off the path a bit and explore. Get off the main ring road and discover the villages. You'll find stone age forts, beehive huts, movie locations, castles, and even a boat ride around the Blasket Islands (weather permitting). Don't rush through this, savor it.  3-5 hours recommended.

Gallarus Oratory, Dingle Peninsula, Ireland
Gallarus Oratory on the Dingle Peninsula

More sites on the Dingle Peninsula:

  • Dingle is home to Mount Brandon, the peninsula's highest mountain, and Brandon Creek where St. Brendan the Navigator is said to have begun his epic journey (and discovered America before Columbus).
  • You can spend quite a bit of time beachcombing and birdwatching near Ventry, Feohanagh, and Fermoyle Strand.
  • Explore inland to Lough Adoon to see wedge tombs, standing stones, ritual sites and beehive huts.
  • Minard Castle is located off the N86.  The ruins have a beautiful view.

Tonight enjoy your final evening in Dingle with a pint at the pub. And maybe a bit more Murphy's Ice Cream!

Note:  As a peninsula, Dingle's weather tends to change quickly, and often.  Use the Dingle itinerary suggestions, but be sure to change them about to fit both your interests and the weather!

If you have a favorite spot in Dingle please share it with other travelers in the comments below!

 

5 COMMENTS

  1. Loved this part of Ireland so much I am returning with a sister this month. Hoping to do Slea Head Drive again, but be careful of fog on both SHD and Conor Pass. Also, check out my fav leather goods shop Holden Leathers. They have a shop in Dingle as well as a workshop nearby (the sign is tiny, but follow it.) Enjoy your planning and your trip!

    Where did you stay in Dingle and did you like it. Loved your itinerary. We are going next September. I was going to allow 2 days of our 14 day trip here. We will Killarney for 3 days before heading there.

      In Dingle we stayed at Dingle Skellig Hotel (review here) – it’s a solid 3* and an easy walk into town.
      If you want a bit more luxury- and some amazing views- you can’t beat Pax House.

    I loved the Dingle Peninsula. So much so, I’m going back in September. I went in early April, so it was still cold and pretty rainy. We spent 1 full day (2 nights) there, so here is what our itinerary was:

    Day 1: Drove in from Galway (6 hrs because we stopped in Adare for lunch and a walk in the park, then stopped at Blennerville and took a tour of the Windmill – normal drive is about 3.5-4 hours). We arrived in Dingle about 6 pm, checked into our accommodations, then ventured out for dinner at Murphy’s Pub. Relaxed for the rest of the evening at our accommodations.
    Day 2: Had breakfast at Bean in Dingle, then spent a bit perusing the shops on Green Street. We then headed out on Slea Head Drive to Clogher Strand. We parked at Louis Mulcahy Pottery, then hiked over to the beach, wading through the hiking path (and getting a bit soaked in the process). After taking pics and videos, we then hiked back and explored the pottery store. From there, we drove up the road to Ceann Sraithe, the vantage point to see Ceann Sibeal, where a part of Star Wars: The Last Jedi was filmed. From there we headed over to the Blasket Center; watched the movie telling the story of the islands and exploring the halls of all the artifacts. Stopped to chat with a lovely tour guide while a small storm rolled in, then had lunch in the cafeteria as we looked out over to the Great Blasket Island. After lunch, we continued along Slea Head Drive to Coumeenoole Beach. We walked along the shore a bit, watching the waves crash in and avoiding getting our feet wet by standing on the rocks. We then drove to the Slea Head Drive vantage point and over to the Hold A Baby Lamb sheep farm and beehive huts. After, we stopped at Paidi O’ Se’s Pub for a drink, then back into Dingle. Later that evening, we had dinner at The Half Door Restaurant, then headed over to Neligan’s for live music, ending the night at O’Sullivan’s Courthouse Pub.
    Day 3: Breakfast at Bean in Dingle, a bit more shopping, then headed out of town to Inch Beach and Killarney.

    My favorite part of the entire trip was the views of the islands and landscape. Seeing the blasket islands, walking the beaches, holding a lamb… it inspired me.

    Though it was a quick trip, I fell in love with it all, which is why I’m headed back to spend a whole week in Dingle so I can explore and see the things I didn’t get to see while there (and maybe even dare to drive Conor Pass!). Perhaps I’ll be able to narrow down to one favorite place after spending more time there, but I doubt it. 😉

      Thank you for sharing your time in Dingle, Jami. I hope you have a wonderful return trip!

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