Venturing beyond Dingle will show you some of the most scenic drives and views you have ever seen. Here is an outline of what day trips you can take from Dingle.We have also included options if you wish to go further a field and stay overnight elsewhere.
Slea Head Drive (Half Day Tour)
Slea Head is located at the western tip of the Dingle Peninsula and is easily rechable from the main town Dingle via the winding Slea Head Drive, a 30 kilometres long panoramic road. On the way there you pass some remarkable “Beehive Huts”, beehive-shaped huts made of stone, in which prehistoric settlers lived. Shortly before Slea Head the road narrows appreciably and uncovers amazing views over the Atlantic, the nearby Blasket Islands and the rugged coast covered with luscious green. Slea Head itself invites you to walks along the beautiful sandy beach, the Counmeenoole Beach, or up to Dunmore Head. Atop the hill there is a handsome Ogham stone, which is standing a little crookedly in the wind. From here you can overlook the Blasket Sound and in good weather the Blasket Islands are within your grasp.
Speaking of weather, depending on how this turns out, the waves are gently undulating, whereas other times one might think there is a fury raging around the rugged cliffs. It´s not hard to imagine for anyone who has ever experienced the last mentioned conditions, how two ships of the Spanish Armada, the Santa Maria de la Rosa and the San Juan, sank here in a storm in 1588. Close by, in Dunquin, the visitor boats go to the Blasket Islands. Everyone who is interessted to learn in detail about life on the Blaskets or the great writers of the island, should not miss the versatilely presented exhibition in the Blasket Visitor Center in Dunquin. Continuing to Dingle, the Slea Head Drive passes by two notable landmarks: The early Christian chapel Gallarus Oratory at Ballyferriter and the ruins of the monastic site at Reask with its unique decorated cross-pillars. By the way, even Hollywood couldn´t resist the magic of Slea Head and so the area became the setting of films like "Star Wars", “Ryans´s Daughter” and “Far and Away”.
Killarney (Full Day Tour)
The town of Killarney hardly needs an introduction. Nationally and internationally renowned as the undisputed center of tourism in the South West of Ireland, Killarney has it all. While its wild beauty and glorious scenery have, for centuries, established it firmly in the affections of all who have visited, Killarney is also a thriving commercial town offering an abundance of attractions and entertainment. Over seventy pubs line the streets of this Kerry town while a vast array of restaurants and accommodation ensure that every imaginable taste can be catered for. The popularity of the town is not a modern day phenomenon though. It has welcomed visitors for over 200 years. Famously, one particular lake view was dedicated to the Ladies in Waiting of Queen Victoria, who visited the area in 1861. Travel around its famous lakes, walk through its picturesque streets or relax in its many cafes and pubs. Some of Killarney’s best attractions include:
Muckross House&Gardens: Location and botanical collection make this one of the greatest gardens in the world. Many tender and exotic trees and shrubs flourish in the mild climate and sheltered location of Muckross Gardens. Attractive features include a fine collection of rhododendrons and azaleas, an outstanding rock garden on a natural rock outcrop and beautiful tree fringed lawns. There is a great collection of dwarf and slow-growing conifers, prostrate shrubs and climbers and alpine perennials. Killarney National Park was Ireland's first (and is now Ireland's largest) national park. The park itself covers over 25,000 acres (10,000 hectares) of mountain, garden, park, woodland, waterway and moorland. It has an unusual and varied ecology as a result of its geology and the climatic influence of the Gulf Stream. The red, mountainous sandstone uplands support large areas of blanket bog. The remoteness and relative inaccessibility of some of these areas helps the continued survival of Ireland's only remaining wild herd of native Red Deer. The well preserved remains of Inisfallen Abbey, a monastic settlement which was founded in the 7th century and remained inhabited until well into the 14th century, can be seen on an island in Lough Leane. Muckross Abbey, built in 1448, the central feature of which is a huge Yew tree, said to be as old as the abbey itself
Lakes of Killarney: Situated in the National Park, the world-famous Lakes of Killarney comprises three individual lakes. Lough Leane, measuring some five miles long and with over 30 small islands, is the largest; Muckross Lake lies in the middle; while the Upper Lake is also peppered with magical islands, each filled with a pleasing variety of trees and shrubbery. Ross Castle: This Castle may be considered a typical example of the stronghold of an Irish Chieftain during the Middle Ages. The date of its foundation is uncertain but it was probably built in the late 15th century by one of the O ‘Donoghue Ross chieftains. It is surrounded by a fortified bawn, its curtain walls defended by circular flanking towers, two of which remain. Much of the bawn was removed by the time the Barrack building was added on the south side of the castle sometime in the middle of the 18th century. The castle contains 16th and 17th century furniture. Access for people with disabilities to the ground floor only by prior arrangement. Muckross Abbey: occupied by the Franciscans in 1448, the abbey was suppressed during penal times. The surviving ruins include a 15th century nave, a magnificent window, a belfry tower and south transept. The striking cloisters, which have 22 arches set about an open court, are rendered more dramatic by a giant yew tree reputedly dating from the abbey’s beginning over 500 years ago.
Day Trip 3: Tralee:
Tralee sits in the shelter of Tralee Bay, with a panorama of sea and mountains stretching into the west. Lying in the heart of Kerry, the coast, lakes and mountains of the Kingdom are all within arm's reach. The town is the capital of the county, the hub of its affairs. Founded by the Normans in 1216, the town has known many rebellions. One of Tralee's main attractions is Kerry County Museum This Museum comprises three unique attractions combining audio visual technology with life-size reconstructions and priceless archaeological treasures to trace man's history n Kerry from 5,000 BC to the present day. Among the center’s highlights is a time car ride through the reconstructed streets and house of medieval Tralee. As you travel through the streets you will experience the sights, sounds and smells of the town on market day and witness the daily life of the townspeople. Also based in Tralee is Siamsa Tire folklore theatre. Founded in 1974, Siamsa Tire is the showcase of our Celtic future through music, dance, storytelling and mime. Siamsa Tire is renowned for its exciting performances and has presented this important aspect of Irish cultural life all over the world. The evening programmes commence at 8.30pm and advance reservations are recommended during the peak Summer Season.
Tralee (Full Day Tour)
Tralee sits in the shelter of Tralee Bay, with a panorama of sea and mountains stretching into the west. Lying in the heart of Kerry, the coast, lakes and mountains of the Kingdom are all within arm's reach. The town is the capital of the county, the hub of its affairs. Founded by the Normans in 1216, the town has known many rebellions. Today it is more famous for the annual Rose of Tralee festival. This is an international competition which is celebrated among Irish communities all over the world. The festival, held annually in August since 1959, takes its inspiration from a nineteenth-century ballad of the same name about a woman called Mary, who because of her beauty was called The Rose of Tralee. The contest, which is broadcast over two nights by RTÉ is one of the highest viewed shows on Irish television with over a million people watching.
One of Tralee's main attractions is Kerry County Museum This Museum comprises three unique attractions combining audio visual technology with life-size reconstructions and priceless archaeological treasures to trace man's history n Kerry from 5,000 BC to the present day. Among the centre's highlights is a time car ride through the reconstructed streets and house of medieval Tralee. As you travel through the streets you will experience the sights, sounds and smells of the town on market day and witness the daily life of the townspeople. Also based in Tralee is Siamsa Tire folklore theatre. Founded in 1974, Siamsa Tire is the showcase of our Celtic future through music, dance, storytelling and mime. Siamsa Tire is renowned for its exciting performances and has presented this important aspect of Irish cultural life all over the world
Ring of Kerry (Full Day Tour)
The Ring of Kerry takes in about 176 km of the most southern peninsula in Kerry, Iveragh, this will take you through some beautiful villages and towns such as Killarney, Waterville, Glenbeigh and Killorglin and there is plenty to see and do on the way. Stretching out into the Atlantic Ocean, the Iveragh Peninsula has a backbone of mighty mountains. Every environment is here, from the snow-capped Corrán Tuathail, Ireland’s loftiest peak, through woodland and blanket bog, to the sandy beaches of the coast. The warm waters of the Gulf Stream ensure a mild climate all the year round. Sub-tropical plants grow quite happily here - adding marvelous splashes of color to the countryside. At Caherciveen you can visit the birthplace of the great justice-seeker and parliamentarian Daniel O’Connell (1775-1847). The Liberator, as he was known, eventually settled near the beautiful secluded beaches of Derrynane. In this century, Charlie Chaplin of silent screen fame was a regular visitor to Waterville. Last year the people of the town erected a monument to his memory. Sneem, possibly Ireland’s most colorful village, has won national awards for its beauty and neatness. George Bernard Shaw did much of his playwriting while staying at the nearby Parknasilla Hotel. Finally spectacular views await you as you head from Sneem to Moll’s Gap and down into the Killarney Valley.
Chauffeured Day Tours
If you prefer to leave the car at the house you can travel with one of these day tour operators
Sciúird Tours provide a guided tour with expert talks on the 6,000 years of human history on the Dingle Peninsula. The tours last 2 and a half hours, includes bus transport and easy walking during which you visit four of five archaeological sites. The tours operate daily at 10.30 and 2.00 pm, depending on a minimum of people. Sciúird tours will collect you from house.
Address: Holy Ground, Dingle,
Telephone: +353 66 9151606
Distance from Dingle Town: 0km
Discover the beauty and heritage of the Dingle Peninsula (Corca Dhuibhne) on tours tailored specifically to your interests. Our trips can be scheduled around your holiday, at times that suit you. We cater for groups from 1 to 16 people. Pick-up from your accommodation. 2-3 hour tours which cover historical points of interest Dingle sights include: Dingle Marina and Harbour port, Ryan’s Daughter 1969 film locations, Esk Tower, Burnham House and gardens, Ogham stones etc. Ventry Harbour, views of the Skellig Rocks, Valentia Island and Ráthanáin Castle (tower house). Prehistoric Dunbeg Promontory Fort, beehive (clocháns) Blasket Islands and the most westerly point in Europe Visit the Gallarus Oratory (an early Christian monastic site) St. Brendan’s House, Kilmalkedar Church with its beautiful 12th Century Romanesque arch, Stone Cross and Ogham stones
Address: Ashmount, Dingle,
Telephone: 087 2504767
Distance from Dingle Town: 0km
(that would require you to stay overnight elsewhere)
Cork and Kinsale
This is our recommended 1 night / 2 day itinerary:
Day 1 Depart Dingle (early morning) and travel southeast to Cork (via Killarney). Take in a tour of Cork City and the outlying town of Blarney (home of the famous Blarney Stone which when kissed bestows you with the gift of talk), and Cobh. Set in a glittering estuary on Great Island – one of three islands that fill Cork Harbour, Cobh (pronounced 'cove') was the ill-fated Titanic's final port of call. The original White Star Line Offices, where passengers embarked, are now home to the poignant Titanic Experience Museum. History also comes to life at the fascinating heritage centre, The Queenstown Story, housed in the old train station; if you're tracing your Irish ancestors, there's a genealogy centre here. Lording it over the town's steep streets and colorful terraced houses is the colossal St Colman’s Cathedral. A nice end to the day is to stop by the Middleton Whisky Distillery where you can tour the facility and do a tasting. Finally head to Kinsale for your overnight stay (our recommendation is The Acton Hotel) Spend the rest of your afternoon and evening enjoying all this wonderful town has to offer.
Day 2 Depart your accommodation and travel southwest along the rugged West Cork coastline passing the towns of Clonakilty, Bantry and Glengarrif. Travel through the Caha Mountains, where you can savor some stunning views of Co. Cork on its East Side and Co. Kerry on its West Side for a stop at Kenmare. This region supports sub-tropical vegetation due to the influence of the Gulf Stream in the sheltered bays. Keep an eye out for palms! Finally return back to Harriet’s Cottage (via the Molls Gap drive to Killarney and back to Dingle).
Galway & The Cliffs of Moher
This is our recommended 2 night / 3 day itinerary:
Day 1: Depart Dingle and travel north via the Conor Pass and Tralee and on to Co Clare taking the Shannon Ferry (20 min crossing). Continue for 75 mins along the West Clare coastline for your next stop. At 800 feet above the Atlantic Ocean a walk along the Cliffs of Moher is a bracing experience and one for your bucket list. Continue on through the Burren of County Clare which covers 100 sq miles of lunar like rock with underground rivers, caves, turloughs and ancient burial places, some dating back more than 3000 years. Finally end up in to Galway and check in to your accommodation (our recommendation The House Hotel.)
Day 2 You have many options today: Note that only one option is advised per day.
1. Depart Galway this morning and travel into the rugged Connemara region. Wind your way through majestic mountains and across sparkling rivers and unspoiled beaches. Travel through the towns of Moycullen, Maam Cross, Oughterard and Spiddal and Kylemore Abbey. Return to Galway for your overnight.
2. Visit the Aran Islands. The three Aran Islands are situated in Galway Bay and the ferry crossing takes about 50 minutes depending on weather. Dun Aenghus, on Inishmore, is one of the most spectacularly situated circular stone forts in Ireland, perched on the edge of the cliffs. All three islands are dotted with ruins of small churches, dolmens, and some beehive huts. Please note this option is subject to availability and an additional charge. It can be pre arranged by your driver. Discuss this with him at the beginning of your tour.
3. Spend your day in and around the picturesque village of Cong, the setting of the John Wayne classic, ‘The Quiet Man’. Cong was founded in the 12th century by Turlough Msr O’Connor, King of Connacht. Rory O’Connor, the last ard-ri, or High King of Ireland died in the abbey in 1198. Following lunch, we will take a short cruise out on Lough Corrib to Inchagoil Island. A 5th Century historic ruin, it is said to be the final resting place of St. Patrick’s nephew.
4. Discover the sights and sounds of Galway city- The city itself is the chief attraction here: allow time to wander its narrow laneways lined with brightly colored shop fronts, stroll its seaside promenade to Salthill, and check out its cracking live music scene. The Crane Bar and Tig Cóilí are fantastic bets for trad music.. Seafood is the city's signature delicacy; try it at Oscar's or Michelin-starred Aniar, or tuck into home-style fish and chips at local institution McDonagh's.
Day 3 Check out of your accommodation and head south taking the M18 route. Your first stop today will be at Bunratty Castle and Folk Park. This 15th century castle is the centrepiece of a fantastic folk park. You can turn the clock back and see thatched roof cottages, crafts and the Irish lifestyles. Continue on to Limerick city, immortalized by the late Pulitzer Prize-winning author Frank McCourt in Angela's Ashes. Overlooking the mighty River Shannon on King's Island, refurbished 13th-century King John's Castle is the stuff of medieval fantasies. Nearby is the 1168-founded St Mary's Cathedral. The country's inaugural Irish City of Culture, Limerick also harbours outstanding art at the Limerick City Gallery of Art, and artefacts at the hands-on Hunt Museum. Travel to the quaint village of Adare. Located here are the ruins of a 13th century castle and a Franciscan Friary, two other medieval Abbeys, which are under restoration, and a line of quaint thatched cottages. Continue back to Dingle and Harriet’s Cottage.
Dublin & Wicklow
This is our recommended 2-3 night itinerary:
Day 1 Depart Dingle early morning and travel to Dublin via Limerick. Check in to your accommodation )our recommendation is The Schoolhouse Hotel ) Take a tour of the capital city, Dublin a place where tradition and cultural heritage have merged seamlessly over the centuries to create a unique atmosphere. Your hotel concierge will be able to arrange this for you The Dublin Hop on Hop off tour is a good option to consider. If you are feeling too tired you can do the Dublin tour the following day.
Day 2 Commence your tour of the capital city, Dublin, a place where tradition and cultural heritage have merged seamlessly over the centuries to create a unique atmosphere. The following are some stops you can make. - St. Patrick's Cathedral / panoramic tour of Dublin featuring the Four Courts, Leinster House (the seat of the Irish Parliament), the National Gallery, Georgian Squares and O'Connell Street / Trinity College / View the Book of Kells / Guinness Hop store. After your touring enjoy some shopping on Grafton Street followed by music and entertainment in some of the local pubs.
Take a drive through the Wicklow Mountains to visit Glendalaugh Visitor Centre. Learn about St. Kevin’s monastic site, which dates from the 6th century and the importance of monasteries in the early Christian period. The site is located in a deep valley between two lakes and you can see the round tower, Celtic crosses and many church ruins. Next stop is at Enniskerry, an elegant, picturesque village built to adorn the Powerscourt Estate. Enjoy viewing the Powerscourt Waterfall before continuing back to Dublin for your overnight.
Return to Dingle (via Limerick)