I’m back with another trip about my amazing road trip around Ireland. Today is going to be a long post so grab a coke or cup of coffee and get comfy.
I’d read a lot of books/travel blogs saying that the Dingle Peninsula is THE place to be if you’re road-tripping around Ireland. Some of them said it was better than the Ring of Kerry which I’d heard so much about. I decided to devote an entire day to the drive and to be honest, I wish I’d had more time! The peninsula itself is only about 30 miles long but I made quite a few stops! I started from my B&B outside of Newmarket on Fergus (between Ennis and Shannon). If you’re going to do this drive in a day, I would recommend staying somewhere closer like Tralee. I followed Rick Steves’ route around the peninsula which you can find here in great detail. Since he already did the hard work, I just get to show you pretty pictures and give my opinion on each stop. 😉
You’ll start off with views like this one of rolling green hills which are just breathtaking. I swear, I stopped at every little pull off to take photos. There was a couple from the B&B I stayed at the night before who were also doing this drive. When I saw them later at a gas station, they asked me if I was having car trouble because they kept seeing me on the side of the road! Haha!
Keep driving and you will catch a glimpse of the sea along with larger hills!
The view of the sea will go away as the road starts climbing high into the mountains through Conor’s Pass. Make sure to stop at the road side turn off (has a parking lot on the left) to see this waterfall and the dramatic views across the road. The light was just amazing up there that day but I’m sure it would be just as beautiful if it was cloudy!
Oh yeah, you’re not wrong. Conor Pass is a one lane road cutting through and around a mountain. Quite terrifying really. My recommendation is to just get behind another car and make them do all the work of looking around the next corner 🙂 I was behind a larger van and whenever there was a blind curve or tunnel, they would honk their horn. I just stuck behind him and my drive was a whole lot less stressful!
I made it over the mountain and was rewarded with a really breathtaking view of the sea and Dingle. Once you’re though the pass, the road becomes two lanes again. I made it through the scariest part and it was smooth sailing from there!
The drive around the peninsula is a loop which starts and ends in Dingle town. I decided to stop on my way through the first time and get lunch. I ate at a cute little spot called Pie Cafe (48 Green Street) where I had a delicious toastie sandwich. I would recommend leaving time to wander in and out of the shops in Dingle as there are a lot of cute places there! I bought one of my favorite souvenirs in Dingle… a cute little thatch roofed cottage made from clay. Oh and I HIGHLY recommend heading to Murphy’s ice cream (Strand Street) for dessert. It is handmade in Dingle and seriously some of the best ice cream I’ve ever had. I had one scoop of chocolate and one scoop of Dingle sea salt and the hardest time narrowing the flavors down! It was pretty busy with a line out the door but the workers were quick and I didn’t end up waiting very long at all. Totally worth it!
Once you leave Dingle, you’ll head out on the Slea Head drive. Just follow everyone else and you’ll be fine 😉 The first stop after Dingle I recommend is these beehive huts, or clochans. It is a small fee (2-3 euros) and a short walk uphill. You can walk all around and inside the huts but make sure to have good shoes on since the ground is uneven stones. I’m sure it is probably slippery in the rain!
This is just a random pull off the road but yielded a really beautiful view and lots of pink flowers! I’m pretty sure these are the Blasket Islands but don’t quote me!
Pull over at the stop marked with the stone Dun Chaoin. Can you believe the ocean in Ireland is this color?! I mean, that blue is straight out of the Caribbean. I walked down a little road to the beach but I did see some cars that drove down it. It looked too steep to drive for me so use your own judgement! I took a walk on the beach, watched the waves crash and just enjoyed how cool this place was!
This is a pretty well photographed spot but I almost missed it! Make sure you watch for the sign Dun Chaoin pier and park in that lot. This is where you would pick up a boat to head to the Blasket Islands if you were so inclined. However, it is an amazing view regardless. I spent quite a bit of time taking pictures here since the best vantage point was covered with “professionals” for a while. Just wait your turn and you’ll get some great shots once they move!
This was seriously my favorite part of my whole trip. Rugged coastline, rolling green hills and cute towns that just scream Ireland to me. When I go back, I think I’d stay in Dingle since it was so cute. That would leave me more time to explore the town and not feel as rushed doing the drive. If you have any questions about this drive, let me know in the comments below! I’ve got more posts on charming and gorgeous Ireland coming your way soon!