The Dingle Peninsula has high mountain passes, hidden valleys, dramatic cliffs and offshore islands; dramatic, mystical and pure magic. The National Geographic Society has cited the peninsula as ‘the most beautiful place on earth’; Trip Advisor has voted it among the top 100 destinations in the world and CNN has recommended it as a winter destination.Leaving Blennerville under the shadow of the Slieve Mish Mountains, Tralee Bay opens up bringing you to Camp. The Dingle Way makes it way through Camp and you can enjoy safe sandy beaches here or attempt the challenging trails locally such as Caherconree with its magnificent views of Munster. Horse riding and fishing are local pastimes while the local festivals and the Vintage Rally are great events for all the family.Camp has you a combination of routes south and west whether taking the stunning mountain pass route through the Slieve Mish mountains towards Inch, the panoramic route over Gleann na nGealt to Annascaul; or the coastal road towards the Brandon Mountain range. Staying on the coastal road at Aughcasla visit Glannteenassig Forest where you can enjoy wonderful walks, quiet cycling roads and freshwater fishing. Another detour further along will take you to Castlegregory and out to the tip of the Maharees taking in the sand dunes and majestic scenery. There are a host of activities here including swimming, windsurfing, surfing, kitesurfing, diving, golf, fishing, pony trekking and beach walkson Ireland’s longest beach from the Maharees to Cloghane. Heading further west through Stradbally, you will enjoy the breaking rollers of Brandon Bay on the beaches of Cappagh and Fermoyle. Entering the Gaeltacht, take the opportunity to visit Cloghane and Brandon villages, both with a superb setting under Brandon Mountain and on the shores of Brandon Bay. Natural beauty is home here with glacial lakes and valleys, waterfalls, mountain trails and passes and the Atlantic Ocean, a perfect setting for walking, fishing, cycling, and swimming. Heading up the Conor Pass is like a geography class field trip. At the little waterfall, stop and climb to Pedlar’s Lake with its craggy mountain peaks and vistas over the glacial valley and hanging lakes. At the top of the Conor Pass, enjoy the view of Brandon Bay, the North Kerry coastline and Loop Head to the north and to the south, you will see Dingle harbour and bay, the Iveragh Peninsula and on a clear day, the Skellig Rocks.
Dingle’s fishing port is at the heart of the town. Its traditions and heritage are vibrant and it offers so much to see and do. Strolling around town is enjoyable with its colourful variety of shops,cosy pubs and cafes. Traditional Irish music is a key feature every evening.Fungie the Dolphin and Dingle Oceanworld are popular with kids and activities include kayaking, eco tours, deep sea fishing trips, archaeology and scenic tours, horse riding, sailing, diving and walking. Ventry Bay opens up as you head along the Slea Head Drive. With its glorious crescent shaped blue flag beach, swimming, shore angling, walking and horse riding are popular here. You might also spot a pod of visiting dolphins.
Driving on to Dunquin, you can visit a range of archaeological sites from beehive huts to forts and cottages to museums. Cycling and walking this area is amazing with incredible views of the Atlantic Ocean and Blasket Islands. At Slea Head, you are now looking across at Europe’s most western point, Dunmore Head. It is advisable to stop a while at Comeenole beach, if only to take the time to absorb the place. The Blasket Island Centre is in Dunquin and is a great introduction to the history of the islands and their Irish literary tradition. Ferries to the islands are here and in Dingle. You can visit some of the sites used in the films “Ryan’s Daughter” (1970, starring Robert Mitchum) and “Far and Away” (starring Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman). You can climb up the mountain which serves as a backdrop to the Dunquin Parish, Sliabh an Iolair or Mount Eagle (Mountain of the Eagles), which may be challenging but well worth it when you get to see the vista when you reach the top. It is a wonderful sight
Driving on you will marvel at the coastal scenery and stop in Ballyferriter, the heart of the Gaeltacht, and spend time at Músaem Chorca Dhuibhne. Play a round of golf at the picturesque Ceann Sibeal Dingle Golf Links course, buy some unique handcrafted pottery at Louis Mulcahey Pottery and listen to the native Irish language. You can take a gaelic language class, go on walks and explore heritage sites. Stop and investigate the ancient sites at An Riasc, Gallarus Oratory and Kilmalkeadar Church. Make your way back in to Dingle via the quiet fishing village of Ballydavid and take in the scenic character of Feohanagh as you visit Brandon Creek where St. Brendan departed for America. Here you are under the western slopes of Mount Brandon. You can climb to the summit from here.
Back in Dingle, heading east towards Killarney, you will drive through Lispole. Lispole is bounded on the north by mountains and on the south by Dingle Bay and consists of two parishes, Kinard and Minard. At Kinard there is the small beach of Béal, overlooked by the sea stack known as An Searrach or The Foal. The beach is often used by shore fishermen. At Kilmurry Bay, in Minard, are the remains of Minard Castle (another Ryan’s Daughter site) towering over a dramatic storm beach of large round boulders. Nearby is the holy well of St. John, and is visited on the saint’s “pattern day”.The Dingle Way passes by the castle and Lispole village where you can see the Lispole Viaduct, an impressive relic of the Dingle and Tralee Railway.
Annascaul and Inch lie in the southern foothills of the Slieve Mish Mountains. This range forms the backbone of the Dingle Peninsula and rises to peaks of over 2,000 feet. Mountains and beaches are an exciting combination offering amazing views and walking in the area ranges from sea level at Inch Beach to the mountains around Annascaul lake and river. The "Dingle Way" passes through Inch and Annascaul and there are many local way-marked walks. Wherever you walk, the views are breathtaking, the countryside unspoilt, and the routes unfrequented. Annascaul is home to Tom Crean, Antarctic Explorer and renowned sculptor, Jerome O’Connor and stories abound of giants such as Cu Chulainn who is said to have lived here. The supposed ruins of his house and castle are in the mountains above Annascaul Lake. The lakes and rivers here provide excellent freshwater fishing while Inch Strand is an acknowledged international shore-angling venue.Inch Strand was chosen by David Lean as the beach location for "Ryan's Daughter" and the film "Playboy of the Western World" was shot entirely at Inch. It is 3 miles of sandy beach ideal for swimming, surfing, windsurfing and shore angling. Apart from providing a beautiful strand, Inch sand spit and coastline is an area of geographical and ecological significance hosting an extensive range of wildlife.
The drive to Boolteens and Castlemaine is relaxing with the Slieve Mish Mountains on your left and Castlemaine Harbour on your right. Look out for the blacksmith in Boolteens and enjoy a little archery at the gateway village of Castlemaine.