If there is one place in Ireland I think people shouldn’t miss – it’s Dingle. I may have loved Sligo the most, but that’s primarily because I’m a neolithic nerd. There is a mixture of a thousand different things to see in Dingle that are sure to satisfy everyone you’re traveling with.
Quaint seaside towns, amazing food, incredible views, those neolithic sites, famine huts, demonstrations of craftsmanship, cliffside beaches to explore…There are simply so many things to see in Dingle.
Practicalities of the Things to See in Dingle
Almost everything besides visiting Dingle Town will require a car of your own (and a strong constitution), or a private tour. My friend and I opted for a private tour with South Kerry Taxi Tours and could not have been more pleased.
There are some group tours that will go out but big buses can’t go on many of the narrow roads and you’ll miss out. In my opinion, it’s worth the splurge. Whatever you do, don’t get one of the tours from Dublin – you’ll be on the bus practically the whole day!
The Beehive Huts
Of course, this is my favorite of the things to see in Dingle. They are estimated to be anywhere from 800-1,200 years old, although the techniques used are thousands of years old. They were used as houses and places of worship.
They’re incredibly well-built, managing to stave off all the harsh weather conditions they would face on the coast of Ireland. Some places will charge a small fee to see them, around 3 euros.
Now, if you’re looking for places to stay or places to eat in Ireland, check out my 2 Week Ireland Itinerary for more details.
Loop Head Star Wars Filming Site (For the Beach!)
The fact that this was chosen as a filming site for Star Wars makes sense. This entire area is full of filming sites (check out this list for all of them).
But more importantly, it’s incredibly gorgeous and a cliff-side beach. This kind of beach is a bucket list item for many people (including me!) and it’s great to cross it off here.
Ring Forts to See in Dingle
Ring forts are ancient settlements built throughout the Bronze Age. They dot the Irish countryside but there are several to see in Dingle as well.
One in particular, the Fairy Fort, charges you 2 euro to enter – but in return you get to feed their herd of traditional Irish animals! Pigs, donkeys, horses, cows, sheep, goats…they’re so cute and it’s great to get your fluffy animal fix while on vacation.
The views aren’t half bad either:
This is another beach but it has a completely different feel from the last one at Loop Head. This one seems to go on forever – and could be a great walk if you want to take the time.
It’s a lot better for playing in the water and it’s in a beautiful location.
Of course, this is the main town in the region and it’s pretty adorable. I wouldn’t say you should stay here, as I think a day trip from Killarney makes more sense. However, it was one of the more authentic smaller towns that we went to.
There is some absolutely fantastic, fresh caught seafood to be had here. It’s definitely the best I’ve had for seafood chowder – perhaps ever. If you’re up to the massive plate sizes, the fish and chips is hard to beat!
There are several craftwork shops here for things like leather tooling and art, if you’re looking for a souvenir this could be a good place.
These huts are dotted up and down the countryside and are a physical reminder of Ireland’s dark past. They are so much smaller than you would ever expect. It’s hard to imagine an entire family could possibly fit inside.
Generally, if you see one you can just pull over on the side of the road to take pictures or even look inside. They’re typically abandoned. If you don’t see one in Dingle, you’re sure to see them elsewhere in Ireland.
For a taste of true craftsmanship stop into the Dingle Crystal workshop which is just outside of the town. In the workshop you’ll have the opportunity to shop and witness a demonstration.
It was so neat to witness how quickly and masterfully they can cut glass with the machines. It’s not a gimmick, this is the only place in Ireland that creates cut crystal with Irish glass. Family owned, you’re much better off coming here than going to Waterford where most everything is outsourced to China.
You can check out their work online!
Conor Pass – Things to See in Dingle
If you have the time, I highly recommend you plan to hike in this area. There is an old neolithic settlement all the way down and some of the most amazing views. The pass itself is situated so you can look at the ocean on either side of the peninsula.
On a good day, you’ll get views of Skellig Michael which is an awesome sight. Sunsets here are also particularly stunning – the photos can’t do it justice.
Of course, let us not forget the history of Christianity in Ireland. There are some lovely spots to see on the Dingle peninsula, including Kilmalkedar Church which was home to the second bishop in Ireland, Saint Brendon the Navigator. There is also an amazing ogham stone there, if you’re still interested in those ancient sites too!
Gallarus Oratory (pictured below) is the first identified monastic site in all of Ireland! It’s small, and make sure that you go on the public road/path so you don’t have to pay 8 euros to traverse someone’s land. It’s a nice site, but not worth that price!