For those who have read my other post about things to do in the Republic of Ireland, this one goes a little more in depth about my favorite place: Dingle! This small town is located in the Gaeltacht region, so all signs are in English and in the local language Gaelic. It is a peninsula similar to the Ring of Kerry, but smaller a less touristy. It gives you a feel for the “real” Ireland. To give you an idea of how much I enjoyed it I will tell you that I have taken 2 trips there, one for a week and stayed in Dingle 2 days, the other for 3 weeks and stayed 5 days. That is a week out of 4 weeks or 25% of my time just in this town! Some might be wondering why I spent so much time in just one place. Well there is so many things to see and do there: an aquarium, an archaeological tour, shopping, lots of eateries, Fungie the dolphin, wonderful places to stay and meet people, and of course some of the best traditional pubs in the Emerald Isle!
Best Places to Stay
1) If you’re like me, budget is the number one factor when vacationing. These places are sure to please any budget and include everything you would need. First is the Grapevine Hostel. If you’re not quite sure what a hostel entails, it is basically dorm room styled, with bunk beds, communal bathrooms (there is privacy, no worries!), communal lounge, and communal kitchens. There are usually private rooms if sharing is too much, some with private bathrooms but not always. Hostels are by far the cheapest option. And a lot of times if you get a private room, it’s not much different than a hotel. I prefer hostels because you get to meet some great people! At this particular hostel, the staff was wonderful! The fella working (Johnny), even took us out to the local pubs along with some of the other guests we met there. They recommended local beaches for us to gather seashells, shared many dinners with us, just overall the friendliest and most welcoming place. Also easy on the wallet.
2) This second place is little higher in cost, but for a good reason. The Kirrary House B&B, run by Eileen and Tim Collins is a home away from home. The rooms are homey and cozy, and Eileen makes a great Irish breakfast in the mornings and serves tea in the afternoons. Tim does an archaeological tour of the artifacts left behind by early Christian and ancient civilizations. He was very informative and it was a great time. I highly recommend this B&B over any others in town.
As previously mentioned, there is the archaeological tour with Tim Collins, which is terrific. There is also the local aquarium with lots of sea life. It is pretty inexpensive and quite a lot of fun. We were able to pet stingrays and hold starfish (that was a first for us). Another local treasure is the celebrity dolphin, Fungie. This is a male dolphin who has been around faithfully for many years. You can take a boat tour out at almost any time of day, to catch him swimming nearby. An added bonus, is that if you don’t see him then you don’t have to pay.
Of course there are dozens of shops in town, but here are couple that I thought were worth mentioning. The formerly Craic House (craic in Gaelic means fun), now known as Celtic Gifts I believe. This is a small local shop run by Mike O’Hare (aka Music Mike). He sells music by local artists (such as my favorite Eion Duigan), jewelry, clothing, and other items. Be sure to get a t-shirt advertising the Craic House! Nearby is another little shop called the Dolphin Shop with some similar items, but with a more hippie edge. Also in Dingle is the wonderful Murphy’s Ice Cream! A little on the pricey side, but made in Dingle, with great local flavors like Dingle Sea Salt ice cream.
The saying “when in Rome” means that when you are in Rome you should do like the Romans do. Well when in Ireland, you go to pubs! There are a number to choose from in Dingle, but for me personally I prefer the ones that play really great traditional music. The absolute best one in town is O’Sullivan’s Courthouse Pub (aka the Courthouse). What makes this one stand out is the musicians that play there. It is a tiny little place, and you will want to get there early for a good seat. But they get some of the best musicians in there and so it gets packed pretty fast. Another nearby pub is the Mighty Session, not bad as a second choice with many local musicians. Basically the key to a good pub, is finding out which one is playing some great music, without being overly packed.
Thanks for Reading!
I hope you have enjoyed this about my favorite local spot in Ireland. Next on my agenda will be a post on some of my favorite spots in Northern Ireland, so keep an eye out!
A Related Post by JQueen: