As you drive over the Conor Pass and Dingle (Daingean Uí Chúis or An Daingean as many locals refer to it) comes into view, you cannot help but feel inspired and enveloped by its beauty, and it doesn’t disappoint! It's like a beautifully wrapped gift- colourful and enticing, and on opening, is exactly what you wanted. The unique selling point of this town is that it really does have something for everyone.
Dingle is a beautiful and quaint town, surrounded by mountains and opening out on to a sheltered harbour. Dingle town is the heart and soul of the Dingle Peninsula, the town to which locals within a forty mile radius congregate. It is here that they do their weekly shops, visit the doctor, go to school, attend the local farmers markets, visit the cinema, and so much more.
Dingle, the most south westerly town in Europe, is a haven for holidaymakers, musicians, artists and families alike.
It provides a wealth of experience, culturally, romantically, and socially. The town itself boasts a bevy of acclaimed restaurants, cafes and pubs. There are quiet bars, where radios, televisions and pool tables are banned in order to leave room for impromptu traditional music sessions! And busy pubs, with popular music and a buzz which is perhaps more attractive to the younger person.
There is a multitude of walking opportunities for the enthusiastic and for the less so to enjoy in the region. From mountain walks, to walks along roadways, the walker is spoilt for choice. The Dingle Way meanders its way through the town and Cosán na Naomh (the Saints Way) is another exceptional walk locally which covers some 48 km (30 miles) and connects many of the early Christian sites for which the Dingle Peninsula is renowned. It begins in Dingle, turns south in Ventry (Ceann Trá), then north to Riasc, wandering over to Kilmalkedar Church along the older Saints Road, and then by road to Cloghane.
For those who enjoy more challenging treks, Mount Brandon (Ireland’s second highest mountain), is a life changing experience with the most exceptional views from the summit taking in the Atlantic Ocean and Blasket Islands to the west, North Kerry and County Clare to the north, the spine of the Slieve Mish Mountains to the east and the McGillycuddy Reeks, Iveragh Peninsula and Skellig Rocks to the south. Throughout the year there are pilgrimage walks to the summit and it is possible to get guided informative tours for these walks.
Fungi is Dingle’s most famous personality. He is a 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 the four corners of the world to spend time with him. The Boatmen who have made a living from bringing people out onto the water to see the dolphin have an incredible but genuine love and respect for the dolphin who has meant so much to the town.
There are a myriad of fabulous festivals held in Dingle annually. The Dingle Film Festival, Féile na Bealtaine, The Dingle Races, The Dingle Food and Wine Festival, The Wren, New Year’s Eve Festival, and many more. At these times the sense of community in the town swells and the positive energy tends to be contagious so don’t miss out!
Other Voices is a musical festival/ television programme, that is held in Dingle annually. It is held in St. James Church which is over 200 years old. It’s a small and intimate church and there is a certain spirit about it. Traditional music has been played in the Church over the years so there’s a real sense that there is music in the walls. Acts such as Amy Winehouse, Lisa Hannigan, The Frames, James Vincent McMorrow, Florence and the Machine have played here to name but a few. Tickets for this are like Golddust, but if you can get your hands on some it’s well worth it! During this weekend in December, there is a music trail around the town which everyone can partake in.