• Dingle Harbor, Ireland

Dingle Peninsula

The Dingle Peninsula, the westernmost tip of Ireland (and Europe, for that matter), offers just the right mix of far-and-away beauty, isolated walks and bike rides, and ancient archaeological wonders — all within convenient reach of its charming main town. Dingle town is just large enough to have all the necessary tourist services and the steady nocturnal beat of Ireland's best traditional music scene. A half-dozen fishing boats sail from here, tractors leave tracks down the main drag, and a faint whiff of smoke from peat fires fills the nighttime streets.

At a Glance

▲▲▲ Slea Head Loop Drive Scenic 30-mile loop from Dingle town (easy by car, demanding five hours by bike) featuring the Gallarus Oratory (impressive early Christian church), Iron Age huts and "fairy forts," Norman ruins, and spectacular coastal views.

▲▲▲ Sciúird Archaeology Tours Fascinating three-hour minibus tours offer an up-close look into the peninsula's ancient history.

▲▲▲ Dingle Town Walk This short stroll introduces you to the town, its finest craft shops, and its characteristic pubs.

▲▲▲ Traditional music Best enjoyed at one of Dingle's many pubs; early birds can take in early-evening folk concerts at St. James' Church.

▲▲ Great Blasket Island Until quite recently home to one of Ireland's most traditional communities; best appreciated after visit to the excellent Blasket Centre in Dunquin, on the mainland.

Harry Clarke Windows Imaginative stained-glass Bible scenes inside a lovely Neo-Gothic chapel in the middle of Dingle town.

▲ Dingle Distillery Tour One-hour tour (with tastings) from Dingle's own whiskey, gin, and vodka distillery.

▲ Oceanworld Aquarium with penguin exhibit, petting pools, and Fungie lore.

▲ Short hikes Bike ride-plus-hike to nearby Eask Tower for great town and peninsula views, or mellow waterside stroll out to the town's lighthouse.