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Visit Dingle and Enjoy a Quaint Coastal Setting
Dingle is a quiet County Kerry destination, known for being the only town on the picturesque Dingle Peninsula. It has less than 1,500 residents, but many people make sure to visit during their Irish holidays. That’s partially because the town is a Gaeltacht, or area where Irish Gaelic is widely spoken. It’s common to hear Dingle’s dwellers seamlessly switch between English and Irish Gaelic when speaking, which makes for an interesting auditory experience. After checking into hotels, visitors often frequent Dingle Bay hoping to spot Fungie, a friendly bottlenose dolphin that’s been seen in the area since the 1980s.
Embark on a Scenic Drive
Because Dingle is known for offering some of the most unspoiled sights around, many travellers spend several hours taking leisurely drives that originate at hotels and wind through quiet roads. The Slea Head Loop is Dingle’s most famous route for motorists. It’ll take you along the peninsula’s southern coast until you get to Slea Head, then you can head north through Ballyferriter and Dunquin before getting back to Dingle. The route is only 42 kilometres long, but plan to ease through the journey, since some parts of the road become narrow and take you near the edges of cliffs. Alternatively, visitors can go on a drive to Conor Pass and its surrounding areas, which will provide views from some of the highest points in Ireland. Although it doesn’t offer the extreme altitude of some other European destinations, this drive provides incredible outlooks that let you take in gorgeous scenery where light-blue sea water contrasts with the grey-black hue of jagged rocks, creating a stunning display of natural beauty.
Check Out the Rugged Setting of the Blasket Islands
You’ll find the Blasket Islands just a few miles off Slea Head. They’re nearly untouched by modern advancements, and due to the simple surroundings, you may be surprised to learn that people lived on the largest of the islands until the early 1950s, and had been there for the previous three centuries. The last of the residents left because they lacked access to a school, medical services and other essentials. With that in mind, you couldn’t trade your well-equipped Dingle hotel room for a long-term stay on the Blasket Islands, but should still think about spending at least part of a day there and temporarily separating yourself from the hustle and bustle of today’s society to relax and rejuvenate. Simply take a ferry from the Dingle Marina. Trips depart at 11 a.m. daily and most people spend about four hours experiencing the Blasket Islands. It’s also worthwhile to see the Great Blasket Heritage Centre, located in Dunquin, which offers exhibitions about the islands’ former residents.
Engaging Group Activities in Dingle
Some people book hotels with individuals they know to experience the benefits of group travel. If you’ve decided to do that, Dingle’s an ideal place to do things with others. When you and your fellow travellers want to see memorable examples of meticulous Irish craftsmanship, head to the Dingle Crystal Factory to watch the crystal-making process up close. Demonstrations are held for up to 35 people simultaneously. After discovering how much effort goes into creating the crystal items, which are renowned for their clarity and detailed design work, visitors eagerly buy crystal bowls, stemware and vases. If you’re up for a more active group excursion, learn windsurfing basics. The area offers some of the best conditions in Ireland, particularly at Ventry Beach and the north side of Brandon Bay. Teachers conduct lessons in friendly and safe settings that help you and other members of your group master necessary skills, and could be instrumental in encouraging further participation in a newfound windsurfing hobby during your Dingle trip.
See Some Sacred Christian Sites
Dingle is home to the Gallarus Oratory, a stone chapel built with techniques used by Neolithic tomb makers and probably constructed sometime between the 7th and 8th centuries. The waterproof and nearly pristine building is among the best-preserved structures associated with Ireland’s Christian beginnings. Shaped like an upside down boat, the chapel stands against a backdrop of sprawling farmland. During your visit, you’ll probably notice white dots in the distance, representing some of the area’s many sheep. People interested in seeing the Gallarus Oratory, as well as some surrounding sites, often book guided bus tours after getting advice from representatives at their hotels. Alternatively, spend time at St. James Church, a facility associated with the Church of Ireland, which is a Christian organisation comprised of about 410,000 members throughout the country. Built in 1808 in a Georgian Gothic Revival style, the building features stone walls and lancet windows. On many evenings, you’ll find traditional folk music concerts held inside, which could serve as excellent preludes to evening pub crawls.