The Dingle Peninsula – Two Weeks in Ireland

| October 12, 2012
Coumeenole Beach

Sunset at Coumeenole Beach on the Dingle Peninsula

I have a childhood memory of waking up on a family vacation in a Bavarian cottage. I awoke to the sound of cowbells as the sun struggled to fill my room with daylight. As I crept across the bed to peer through the lace draped window, I saw a meadow of dew-drenched grass blanketed in light morning fog with barely visible trees in the distance. I remember that moment like it was yesterday. For some reason that experience was etched indelibly into my mind as a place I needed to revisit. Not the place itself but the feeling I had when I was there. Come with me now to a place that helped me relive that experience. A place called the Dingle Peninsula.

The Dingle Peninsula

The gorgeous view from the Pax House B&B

The Dingle Peninsula

We arrived at our B&B in Dingle at about 3:30pm bathed in gorgeous weather. With its sheep-salted farms and freshly mowed tawny fields glowing against a sky thick with atmosphere, the Dingle peninsula emanates a sense of peace and calm. We stayed at Trip Advisor’s top-rated PAX House B&B just outside Dingle’s town center. Above, you can see the view from our room. After we checked in, our innkeeper John told us we should take advantage of the weather and drive the Dingle Peninsula Loop that afternoon. He said he could not guarantee good weather the following day and we would be wise to take advantage of the bright sun and clear blue skies. I am glad we did. The scenery was stunning and we practically had the peninsula to ourselves.

The Dingle Peninsula Map

Map of Dingle and the Dingle Peninsula Loop

The Dingle peninsula, which is 10- by 40-miles, is home to 10,000 people, 500,000 sheep, and countless acres of stone walled farms, tiny villages and dramatic coastline. The Dingle Peninsula Loop, also known as Slea Head Drive, snakes 30 miles around the westernmost part of the peninsula and provides some of the most dramatic views the area has to offer.

Slea Head Dingle Peninsula

Slea Head at the westernmost part of the Dingle Peninsula

The rugged natural beauty of the Dingle Peninsula is breathtaking

Dingle’s peninsula is less traveled than the Ring of Kerry, making it an ideal location to absorb the quiet charm of Ireland. There is a sleepy and untouched feel to this place as you make your way along its winding roads. The photograph at the top of this post was made on our drive near Slea Head at Coumeenole Beach. Although there were people on the beach I was captivated by the rolling waves and the cliffs they constantly attempt to wear away. In all, we spent about four hours that afternoon driving the loop before returning to the B&B to change and have dinner. Road weary but completely fulfilled by the day’s activities, we walked back from dinner and turned in for the night.

Dingle Peninsula Coast

The rugged coastline of the Dingle Peninsula

The next morning I awoke to the sound of mooing cows and cowbells. My memory of the Bavarian cottage instantly came to mind. It was overcast, misting, and the harbor was barely visible. No worries, I thought, because we came prepared for rain and our plan was to just relax and spend some time exploring Dingle town.

Dingle Town

Dingle Ireland

Dingle is an easily walkable town with a nice variety of shops, pubs and restaurants. Donna quickly grew fond of the sweater stores, which feature a wide variety of quality Irish-made wool sweaters and accessories. Yes, we ended up carrying more home in our bags than we arrived with!

Dingle Ireland Pubs

A pub-lined street in the town of Dingle

Dingle’s brightly colored buildings are typical of many villages and towns in Ireland. The vibrant colors became a part of the Irish landscape beginning 35 years ago as part of Ireland’s TidyTowns initiative. The primary focus of TidyTowns was to encourage communities to improve their local environment and make their area a better place to live, work and visit. The competition aspect was an important element in developing friendly rivalry that would help boost standards across the board.

Dingle Pub Nightlife

Night life in a Dingle pub

The Dingle Peninsula experience would not be complete without a few visits to the pub for a pint of Guinness and local Irish music. The photo above was taken at An Droicead Beag. It’s the bright yellow pub on the right corner of the street photo just above the interior shot. The An Droicead Beag features nightly live music that starts up at about 9:30pm. Go a little early to grab a seat because the pubs seemed to get pretty busy as the night wore on.

dingle ireland fishing boats

The Fishing Boats of Dingle Harbor

We will continue exploring the area surrounding the Dingle Peninsula with my next post, which will cover our day trip to Great Blasket Island. The Island has a fascinating history to go along with its rugged and stunning scenery so stay tuned!

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Category: Ireland, Photography, Travel

Comments (2)

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  1. ABarlow says:

    Man, what an awesome scene. Really hope one day I’ll get to go to that place. It’s tops on my list!

  2. Lee says:

    Thanks Aaron. It is an awesome place with 360 degrees of beauty!