Updated On: November 08, 2023 by Ciaran Connolly
If you find yourself in Kerry a trip to Dingle should definitely be on the cards. Our article will tell you the best things to do in Dingle.
Once home to the famous local dolphin Fungi, Dingle has so much to offer whether you are staying for a weekend or two weeks. An Daingean is a place full of Irish culture, where you will hear the Irish language being spoken amongst locals and Irish songs being sang late into the night.
What I love so much about Dingle is how close everything is, you are only a short walk away from every pub and if you want to explore more you won’t have to drive far. Dingle never fails to impress and is a place that I will continue to go back to forevermore, how could you get bored of a place that transports you back to old Ireland.
Table of Contents
- Things to do in Dingle: Pubs
- Things to do in Dingle: Indoor Activities
- Things to do in Dingle: Outdoor Activities
- Free things to do in Dingle
- Places to Eat in Dingle
1. Things to do in Dingle: Pubs
A must when in Dingle is visiting many of its quaint and cosy pubs. Dingle pubs are the epitome of creamy pints, good conversation and great music. I have been to Dingle many a time and whether you come in the quite season of January and February or the busy Summer season, you will have a great night out. So, what are the best pubs in Dingle to visit?
“Where is Dick Mack’s? Opposite the Church. Where is the Church? Opposite Dick Mack’s” Dick Mack’s is an award winning pub and there is a reason for it. When I visited Dick Mac’s during the Summer there was a food truck outside that served delicious snacks that you could bring into the pub with you. The interiors of this old Irish pub are very unique with many leather shoes stacked high on one side of the wall.
The pub is made up of a narrow bar with a desk opposite and bar stools, many small rooms and a very impressive beer garden. During your visit make sure to look down on the ground as you make your way closer to Dick Mack’s and you will see their very own Hollywood Walk of Fame. You will see names such as Julia Roberts, Tom Crean, Robert Mitchum and Timothy Dalton etched onto a star embedded in the ground.
I can guarantee you have never seen a pub like foxy johns. This unique Irish pub is also a hardware store. When you walk in the door on your left you will see the bar and high stools and on your right you will see any hardware tool you can imagine. These hardware goods aren’t just for decorative purposes but for sale. So, if you find yourself enjoying a drink in Foxy John’s and remember that you were meant to pick up a pack of screws then don’t worry you can just turn around and purchase them.
If you walk through the pub you will find a lovely room with an open fire that creates a very cosy atmosphere. The outdoor area is also a nice place to sit on a sunny day.
An Droichead Beag
Dingles late night bar “An Droichead Beag” is a great spot, which translates to “The Small Bridge” in Gaelic. This sports and music bar has a trad session every night of the week. If you are looking to dance the night away “An Droichead Beag” has an amazing DJ that plays well into the night. I went to Dingle for a weekend in January and the mixes that the DJ was playing in Droichead Beag were some of the best I have heard in a long time. I couldn’t get off the dance floor and didn’t see the hours go by.
Even in January when many places would have their quite time, “An Droichead Beag” was jam packed with primary teaching students who were spending their time in the Gaeltacht for two weeks. When you are finished dancing and singing take a left outside An Droicead Beag and eat at “Eat.Dingle” for a delicious takeaway or sit-in grub that is sure to satisfy you after your night out. Service is fast and the food is nice, even on its busiest of nights and with the restaurant full, the friendly staff at “Eat.Dingle” still served good quality food.
O’Flaherty’s is great pub for traditional Irish music. What makes O’Flaherty’s Bar stand out? Well the owners of this pub treat their customers to live traditional Irish music and have an open-door policy. If you spend an evening in O’Flaherty’s you are sure to see more than one musician play their instrument or sing a song. If you play an instrument our can sing a tune don’t be afraid to step on up to the mic and join in on the entrainment.
Regardless of what pub you decide to sit down a drink pint after pint in you are sure to find a cosy fire, good chat, great music and joyful atmosphere. Why not do a pub crawl?
2. Things to Do in Dingle: Indoor activities
The Dingle Aquarium: Ocean World
It is highly likely that it may rain on your trip to Dingle. The Oceanworld in Dingle is the perfect spot to take the kids to pass away some time while you are in Dingle especially if the weather stops you from seeing other sites. During your trip to the aquarium you can see the adorable otters and the cute penguins being feed. If you catch the penguins at the right time and in the right form they will even put on a display of jumping and diving for you. It is spectacular to see how they shoot themselves out of the water so gracefully.
You will also get to see a range of different species in different shapes, sizes and colours, from Nemo and friends to frightening piranhas. The biggest tank has two magnificent sharks and and a tortoise called Molly. You won’t believe how big they are! Near to that tank is the jellyfish display who light up their tank in an enchanting blue and purple colour. Dingle Oceanworld also has a touch tank where visitors can touch the animals inside such as stingrays and eels when a member of staff is present.
Shop the Rain Away
Dingle has many different shops that you should pop into during your time there. A particular favourite of mine is Griffins Gift Shop, here you will find so many unique Irish novelty gifts to bring home, from magnets, bottle openers, keyrings and paddy caps. Trust me you are sure to spend a bit of time in this small shop looking at all its bits and bobs.
Close by you will find the Dolphin Shop, if the exterior of this shop doesn’t draw you instead then I don’t know what will! With six big dolphin sculptures popping out of the front wall, the Dolphin Shop is very picturesque. Although Fungi, the beloved dolphin of Dingle hasn’t been seen since 2020, the Dolphin shop keeps the spirit fungi very much alive and well.
Dingle Crystals which can be found just down from Dick Mack’s pub is a very beautiful shop. Here you will find hand cut unique Irish crystal ornaments, glasses, bowls and vases to name a few. Sean Daly is the man behind the amazing crafts you will see and he runs the shop with his family.
3. Things to do in Dingle: Outdoor Activities
A Trip to the Blasket Islands
Take the boat across the sea to the Great Blasket Island and step onto an island that is steeped in Irish history. To truly experience the Blasket Islands a boat trip is advised to get up close to these captivating remote islands. You can even choose to stay on the Great Blasket Island if you wish to do so by staying in one of the self-catering cottages located on the Island.
Visiting the Blasket Islands is a top tourist attraction in Dingle for a reason, stepping onto the island transports you back in time and you feel a great sense of history as you are aware that the ground you are standing on once inhabited hundreds of people and was a place they called home. As the old Irish saying goes “Níl aon tinteán mar do thinteán féin” (There’s no place like home)
Visit Gallarus Oratory and Beehive Huts
The Gallarus Oratory is an ancient church which is over 1,000 years old and is still standing tall today. I would really recommend visiting this magnificent building as seeing it in person is so much more powerful then any picture you will see. The same can be said about the Beehive huts. It is amazing to see how these structures are still in such great condition thousands of years after they were first built.
The Famine Cottages
The Great Irish Famine was a huge part of Irish history and if you are someone who is interested in history the Famine cottages are worth the visit. To visit these cottages and learn some fascinating information on them you will only have to pay €3 per person. A nice treat at the end of the tour is that you get the chance to bottle feed and give food to the animals close by.
4. Free things to do in Dingle
Spend the day at Inch Beach
Although the name of this beach may lead you to believe it is small, it is quite the opposite. In fact, Inch beach is actually quite long! Inch Beach is a stunning beach that is a hugely popular spot for surfers. If you want to try surfing for a day why not opt for one of the various surf lessons that are available on the beach and surf the day away. Well, try to anyways. You can’t beat a day on the beach whether you want to walk the length and breath of the sand shore or swim in the sea it is up to you decide.
Drive Slea Head
Slea head drive is a very scenic loop that offers fantastic views throughout. It is up to you what direction you want to drive in as the loop starts and finishes in the Dingle Peninsula. You should allow yourself a couple of hours to complete this drive as trust me you will want to stop off at some of the amazing viewpoints along the way.
Walk Dún Chaoin Pier
During your Slea Head drive you should stop by to walk down to Dún Chaoin pier. Walk, not drive. Don’t make the mistake as many before and drive down Dún Chaoin pier. As you walk down you will be greeted by the most stunning view of Dún Chaoin pier looking out to the Atlantic Ocean. This makes for a very Instagram worthy picture opportunity.
If you are brave enough to drive cliffside then Conor’s pass will give a beautiful scenic view. I would not advise Conor’s pass to very nervous drivers as the road can get quite narrow and very bendy. It is important to take your time when driving Conor’s pass. The spectacular views are definitely worth the drive.
5. Places to Eat in Dingle
When you are walking around and touring Dingle you are sure to build up an appetite. Dingle will satisfy your hunger with its amazing fresh food. Here are three restaurants that are worth a visit while in Dingle:
The Fishbox does not disappoint. You are guaranteed good quality food here and if fish isn’t for you, they also serve gorgeous chicken meals too. Some of the dished the Fishbox serves are good old reliable fish and chips, crispy chili monkfish and prawn and monkfish curry. Every dish is as delicious as the next. If you take any information from this article it should be this: Eat at the Fishbox.
John Beeny’s Pub
If you are in the mood for music, food and drink, John Beeny’s Pub is the place for you. The food is fresh and tasty and their desserts are delicious. You can get anything from lite bites, sandwiches and main course meals throughout the day. Service is also very friendly and attentive. What’s not to love!
My Boy Blue
For breakfast, lunch or brunch, My Boy Blue is the place to go. Whether it is pancakes and muffins or burritos and chicken melts, My Boy Blue has you covered. If you are in need of a lovely place to grab a bite to eat and enjoy a lovely coffee, you have come to the right place. You cant go far wrong by walking in through this cafes door.
Sidenote: If you are planning on visiting Dingle during its off season such as January and February, just beware that many cafes and restaurants tend to close during this off period. Some pubs and other places also use this time to renovate so may be only partially open. Always check in advance to see if places are open.
Without a doubt Dingle should be at the top of your list of things to do when you visit Ireland, make sure it is a long stop on your Wild Atlantic Way Route. With so much to offer and so many memories to be made Dingle is just waiting for you to visit.