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If you make one single-day trip in Ireland, let it be to the stunning Dingle Peninsula. Set on the Wild Atlantic Way, the Dingle Peninsula boasts the most stunning coastline in County Kerry.

On the Dingle Peninsula, rich green farmland sits right up against the cliffs overlooking the wildly turquoise blue waters of the Atlantic Ocean. Amidst it all, the charming town of Dingle, incredible views from Conor Pass, and several sights you can’t miss.

Guide to The Dingle Peninsula in A Day

During our Ireland road trip through Kinsale and then to Killarney, our day exploring the Dingle Peninsula was hands down our favorite. We went back and forth between the Ring of Kerry versus doing the Dingle Peninsula, and we are so glad we went with this.

One of the main attractions that drew us out to visit Dingle was the famous Slea Head Drive. This short and approachable loop drive that goes around the head of Dingle is one of the most scenic drives in all of Ireland. I was in total awe the entire time — the views were over the top, boasting several stops to enjoy.

The beauty of the Dingle Peninsula is that you can easily do it in a day if you choose to. I think it would also make for a great place to stay if you booked in the town of Dingle. So whether you’re there for a day trip or visiting for a few days, this is my guide to visiting the Dingle Peninsula.

P.S. — I also have my entire itinerary for the day below!

Short on Time? Here Are My Top Picks for the Best Hotels for Visitng the Dingle Peninsula:

  1. Great Southern Killarney (Killarney), for the best overall hotel
  2. Greenmount House (Dingle), for the best Dingle hotel

For more Ireland resources, don’t miss my travel guides to Kinsale, Killarney, and the Gap of Dunloe!

Travel Tip: The best way to explore Ireland is by driving yourself. We use Discover Cars for our rental cars in Europe, choose full coverage insurance, and opt for trusted companies like Alamo, Hertz, or Sixt. Renting a car in Ireland is quite easy, and while you drive on the opposite side, you’ll get used to it quickly. Book your car with Discover Cars here.

The Dingle Peninsula, Ireland Guide


How to Get to Dingle, Ireland

Guide to The Dingle Peninsula in A Day

By Car

The Dingle Peninsula is on the south-west coast of Ireland, considered the westernmost peninsula. The closest towns are Killarney (which is where I recommend as a base) at 1-hour drive away, then Limerick or Cork at 2 hours away. It’s the perfect day trip or even base as part of a greater Ireland road trip, and you can easily see it as part of it.

Travel Tip: The best way to explore the Dingle Peninsula is by renting a car, I recommend booking with Discover Cars for the best rental car rates and coverage.

By Tour

If you do not want to self-drive and are already in the vicinity, many tours take off from Killarney for day trips.

Here are a few highly-rated Dingle Peninsula tours that cover the majority of the sights:


Best Time to Visit The Dingle Peninsula and Weather

The best time of year for the least amount of rain will be the summer months from June to August. But with it comes the crowds. So an early start is the best during these months of the year. You may consider going early or later in the year, but rainier days are almost guaranteed. However, it rains nearly year-round, so it’s part of a visit to Ireland.

When out on the Dingle Peninsula, prepare for a wide range of weather. We went from super sunny beach day weather to insane wind on the Conor Pass. Pack layers, and be prepared.


What to Know About Visiting the Dingle Peninsula

I think what most people don’t realize about the Dingle Peninsula is the wide range of activities there are. There are some small surf towns near places like Ventry Bay Beach and Inch Beach, to then sheer cliffs out on the Slea Head Drive. The town of Dingle is bustling with energy, traditional Irish music can be heard at pubs, and then you’re near a lot of farmland. Gaelic is spoken here, making it one of the few regions that does. It’s rich in heritage, culture, and incredible landscapes.


The Best Things to Do in Dingle, County Kerry

Visit the Town of Dingle

Guide to The Dingle Peninsula in A Day

To begin your time in the Dingle Peninsula, head to the town of Dingle itself. It makes for a great first and last stop while exploring. For a cup of coffee, grab something at the Bean in Dingle and stroll the streets. It was a much-needed caffeine fill for us! We ended our day back in Dingle, where we did a handful of things. I stopped into a few stores like Crinkle Stores, Strand House, and the Dingle Bookshop. For kids, the in-town park and the Dingle Oceanworld Aquarium were great (good for a rainy day too!). Afterward, we had dinner at The Fish Box which was well worth the wait (Foxy John’s was also on our list.)

Spend a Morning at a Beach

Guide to The Dingle Peninsula in A Day

The Dingle Peninsula is home to some epic beaches to enjoy (also known as strands). The first two that are most easily reached are Inch Beach and then Ventry Bay Beach. You’ll see kitesurfers, surfers, and many people enjoying the beach. Inch Beach is unique as you can drive your car out on it, but not recommended for rental cars.

Embark on the Slea Head Drive

For me, the entire reason for visiting the Dingle Peninsula is to embark on the Slea Head Drive. It is one of the most scenic drives I have done in my travels. You could drive it in about 1 hour, but you’ll need 3-4 hours to do the loop when including most of these stops.

I would recommend a mid-morning departure with time to include a stop for lunch. And do be sure to drive clockwise so you don’t get stuck behind the tour buses. These are the stops I would do in this order:

  • Fairie Lios — fortified settlement from 1000 AD, stone fairy ringfort
  • Fahan Beehive Huts — incredible, curious cone-shaped houses made from stone from the 8th-12th centuries AD
  • Hold a Baby Lamb — this was SO fun to do and well worth a stop
  • Lunch at Caifé na Trá — the views here were one of the best
  • Coumeenoole Beach — a very scenic beach (Ryan S Daughter was filmed here!)
  • Dunmore Head — consider hiking to the top from the parking lot for views
  • Dunquin Pier — the famous Dun Chaoin pier is so stunning!
  • Ceann Sibéal Viewing Point — this is where they filmed Star Wars episode VIII of the Old Jedi Temple
  • Gallarus Oratory — the best preserved ancient early Christian church in Ireland, made entirely of stone.

Make the Drive to Conor Pass

Guide to The Dingle Peninsula in A Day

Just about a 20-minute drive out of Dingle is the famous Conor Pass. It’s one of the highest mountain passes in Ireland, and the views are incredible. It’s only a 1.5km drive so it’s quite fast to drive, but with it some insane views into Dingle and over the pass. From here, you can also see views of Mount Brandon which is the 8th highest peak in Ireland.

Visit the Great Blasket Island

If you’re looking for time out on the water, then book ahead for a ferry trip out to the Great Blasket Island. It is an uninhabited island, but home to incredible history and you’ll likely see wildlife along the ferry ride. There are several options from this 4-hour tour with a landing, to just making the ferry and self-visiting, to just a scenic boat ride tour from Dingle. This would cut into a day trip, but if the weather is right, it would be an epic experience.


Where to Stay to Visit the Dingle Peninsula

If you’re planning on keeping a single home base for this part of Ireland, I would personally stay in Killarney. You have several accommodation options (we loved the Great Southern Killarney). If you want to stay in Dingle itself for some time, a few hotels that caught my interest were the Dingle Skellig Hotel, Greenmount House Dingle, and Dingle Bay Hotel.


The Perfect 1-Day Itinerary in The Dingle Peninsula

This is exactly how I would spend a day in Dingle in order with stops for coffee, lunch, and dinner. We did this drive from Killarney.

  • 9 am — Dingle Town, stop for coffee + pastry at the Bean in Dingle
  • 10 am — Ventry Bay Beach Stop to stretch legs
  • 11 am – 3 pm — The Slea Head Drive (stops above)
  • 3 pm — Conor Pass
  • 4 – 8 pm — Dingle Town, stop for dinner/stroll

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PS — Are You Booking a Trip Soon? Use My Booking Checklist!

These are the sites I use most to book my own trips. Using the links below is a great way to support Bon Traveler’s travel journalism at no extra cost to you. If you need help organizing your itinerary, get my free travel itinerary template here.

1. Book Your Flights

I use Skyscanner to find the best flights. It searches 100s of airlines and websites across the globe to ensure you’re not missing out on any route options or deals.

2. Book Your Accommodations

I use Booking.com for hotels and guest houses. They have the biggest inventory and consistently offer the best rates.

3. Book Your Tours & Experiences

I use Viator or Get Your Guide to find the best tours and experiences. They are my favorite tour search engines. I always check both as their inventory varies depending on the destination.

4. Book Your Rental Car

Self-driving is the best way to explore most destinations. I use Discover Cars for our rental cars, select full coverage insurance, and opt for a reputable company like Alamo, Hertz, or Sixt.

5. Don’t Forget Airport Lounge Access

I use Priority Pass to gain access to 1,400+ VIP lounges and airport experiences worldwide. The Priority Pass app is the first thing I check when I have a layover. I’ve been a member for over a decade, and having a comfortable place to relax before and between flights makes air travel so much more enjoyable.

6. Don’t Forget Travel Insurance

I never leave the country without travel insurance. It provides comprehensive protection in case anything goes wrong (ie. illness, injury, theft, and cancelations, etc.). I use it frequently for my travels to stay protected.

My favorite companies that offer the best coverage and rates are:


Xx,
Jessica

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