Exploring Dingle: 3 Days of Adventure, Culture, and Charm

After completing a self-guided 12-day/11-night trek along the stunning Dingle Way, organized by Hillwalk Tours —covering 113.5 miles from Tralee and back, we decided to extend our adventure. We spent a few days in Dingle, one of the many charming villages we explored along the route.

Dingle, situated on a rugged peninsula, pulsates with life. Its vibrant streets, resounding with the melodies of live music from welcoming pubs and the breathtaking Atlantic vistas, create a perfect harmony. The town’s rich history, thriving artisan scene, and the genuine warmth of its people make it a must-visit destination. Whether you’re marveling at ancient stone structures, exploring local shops, or engaging with the locals, Dingle offers an experience that goes beyond mere sightseeing—it’s about immersing yourself in its vibrant authenticity at every turn. And even amidst the tourist bustle, there’s always a quiet corner to discover or a local haunt to enjoy.

Upon reaching Dingle, we checked into An Capall Dubh on Green Street. The hospitality was exceptional, our stay comfortable, and the location was perfect. And the breakfast? Absolutely delectable.

With over fifty pubs in this quaint village, it was a no-brainer to do a self-guided pub crawl.

Dingle, Ireland
The lovely village of Dingle

1. Pub Crawl in Dingle 

In pursuit of the quintessential Guinness, we began our pub crawl at the popular Dick Mack’s, conveniently located just steps away from our B&B. The first pint set the standard, offering a genuine Irish welcome in liquid form. More than just a tavern, Dick Mack’s is steeped in history, complete with snug corners—those intimate spaces within an Irish pub where people once sought privacy for a quiet drink, especially women back when they weren’t common patrons in the public bar area. It’s a place where you can enjoy a discreet conversation or simply savor a pint in solitude, all while surrounded by the shop’s heritage, including an in-house leather smith.

Dingle, Irelsand
Dick Mack's Pub

After Dick Mack’s, we made our way to The Dingle Pub. Located on Main Street, it’s a hit with tourists, and you can’t miss it—its white facade is brightened by green trim and large painted shamrocks. Inside, the lively vibe, friendly faces, and music made for a great spot to enjoy a few pints and join in the fun.

Dingle, Ireland
The Dingle Bar

But Currans Pub truly captured the essence of Dingle for us. It’s a genuine local spot, popular with residents, and very welcoming to us as the only tourists there.

At Currans, the bartender pours each Guinness with meticulous care, almost as if performing a sacred ritual. The result is a pint that’s as pleasing to the eye as it is to the palate. But it’s more than just the creamy head or the rich, dark body that makes it stand out—it’s the bartender’s pride in the perfect pour, the warm atmosphere of the pub, and the prevailing sense that, at this moment, there’s nothing more important than savoring the perfect Guinness. This dedication to quality makes Currans an essential stop on any Dublin pub crawl.

Dingle, Ireland
Currans Pub

Amidst the convivial atmosphere, a seasoned gentleman struck up a conversation. He asked my name, and I responded, ‘JoAnne.’ When I asked his name, he said ‘Long’—which I initially misunderstood. Realizing my confusion, he clarified that his last name was Long, and his first name was Tom, playfully dubbing himself ‘Long Tom,’ a delightful nod to the Irish penchant for familial history.

Once we finished our Guinness pints, we said our goodbyes to “Long Tom” and then headed across the street to Foxy Johnny’s. 

Dingle Ireland
Foxy Johnny's

Foxy Johnny’s was another unconventional and eclectic-feeling bar—this one has a bar on one side and a hardware store on the other.

While enjoying a pint, I couldn’t help but take in the array of old artifacts scattered throughout the place. The combination of a pub and a hardware store seemed to strike a chord with the locals—creating an enjoyable atmosphere. Just think – you can enjoy a refreshing pint and conveniently shop for hammers and nails all in one place!

I really liked the vibe in Foxy Johnny’s.

Dingle, Ireland
Foxy Johnny's — a bar and a hardware store

Since it was getting late, we decided to end our little pub crawl at O’Sullivan’s Courthouse Pub, known for its TRAD (Traditional Irish music) music—a perfect ending to our night in Dingle. The cozy atmosphere, complete with low ceilings and rustic charm, offered a relaxed and inviting setting. To top it off, the live Irish band playing traditional music added an extra touch of charm to the experience.

2. Indulge In Some Ice Cream From Murphy’s

While on our pub crawl, we took a break at Murphy’s Ice Cream on Strand Street. This little ice cream shop piqued our interest while watching a documentary about Dingle

Dingle, Ireland
Murphy's — best ice cream in Dingle

Murphy’s is unassuming but inviting, offering a dozen unique ice cream flavors. The Chocolate Whiskey stood out, a perfect blend of West Cork Whiskey and luxurious Valrhona Chocolate, which I found irresistible.

Yet, it was the Dingle Gin flavor that completely won me over. It’s a distinctive creation, incorporating local Dingle Distillery gin with hints of juniper berries, coriander seed, and citrus peels.

I visited Murphy’s three times during our two-day stay in Dingle, always opting for double scoops to enjoy both the Chocolate Whiskey and the Gin flavors. The Irish Brown Bread Ice Cream also deserves a mention – it’s another delicious option that left me longing for more.

The staff at Murphy’s is wonderfully welcoming and offers tastings of their flavors. I’d definitely recommend stopping by for a scoop or two for anyone visiting Dingle. 

3. Enjoy Walking The Streets And Browsing In Dingles Many Shops

While on our pub crawl, I also took some time to walk through the streets and explore the local shops. These shops had a variety of unique souvenirs to offer, including pottery, crystals and locally handmade knitwear. Who doesn’t like to purchase something made locally? I certainly do.

4. Explore Slea Head Drive

Our drive along Slea Head Drive was breathtaking—taking in the rugged coastline, historic ruins, and the distant Blasket Islands. Stretching about 30 miles, it’s celebrated by many as one of Europe’s most picturesque routes.

Dingle, Ireland
Dunquin— which we passed through on Slea Head Drive

One memorable stop was the sloping path to Dunquin Pier. Later, we circled back with our driver to Dún Chaoin Burial Ground. There, we sought out the resting place of Peig Sayers, a renowned Irish storyteller from the Great Blasket Island. Peig’s autobiography once was a staple in schools, taught in Irish Gaelic, offering a vivid window into a bygone era.

As we continued, we passed through Kilmalkedar, an evocative medieval church site. The drive took us by landscapes once captured in ‘Star Wars’ and ‘Ryan’s Daughter,’ adding a touch of cinematic history to our journey.

Dingle, Ireland
The medival church, Kilmalkedar

Tracing parts of the Dingle Way, we’d hiked earlier, the drive offered a fresh view from our earlier trek. Although the drive was spectacular, walking the path allowed us to immerse ourselves in the landscape’s full splendor.

On our return to Dingle, we were charmed by a field of Oreo-like cows. These Belted Galloways, with their distinctive white belts, are a traditional Scottish breed and were a whimsical sight to end our day.

Dingle, Ireland
Belted Galloway Cows

5.  Book A Day Trip To The Great Blasket Island

On another outing in Dingle, I headed out to the remote yet stunning Great Blasket Island. I booked the trip with the Great Blasket Island Experience for their direct departure from Dingle Harbor, although there were other commendable options available.

Dingle, Ireland

The tour, a six-hour journey costing €80, sets off from Dingle Marina at 11 a.m., just below the tourist office and the famous Fungie the Dolphin statue. The ferry provides beautiful views along the coast, a perfect introduction to the island’s wonders.

Dingle, Ireland
Ruins on the Great Blasket Island

The Great Blasket Island is steeped in history. Until its evacuation in 1953, it fostered an Irish-speaking community renowned for its rich tradition of storytelling, birthing several distinguished writers. Today, the remnants of this community evoke a bygone era against the backdrop of stunning natural landscapes.

Dingle, Ireland
Some of the sheep living on the Great Blasket Island

Arriving at the island, we switched from ferry to dinghy to reach the shore. The island’s abandoned homes told a story of resilience, and time stood still. I followed trails that wound to commanding views of the endless Atlantic.

The raw beauty of the place—from the sharp cliffs to the tranquil beaches—was alive with the sights and sounds of sheep, rabbits, and even donkeys, not to mention one of the area’s largest seal colonies.

Dingle, Irland
Seal colony on the Great Blasket Island

While there, I made sure to join the free 45-minute guided tour to learn more about the island’s culture. And trust me, having a picnic here is an absolute must—imagine dining surrounded by such breathtaking beauty.

A note for visitors: there are no public restrooms, but choosing The Great Blasket Island Experience gives you access to facilities and a warm drink. Pack a lunch and remember to bring a jacket—preferably waterproof—as the weather can be as unpredictable as it is beautiful.

Dingle, Ireland
More ruins

6. Attend Traditional Music Session

Back in town after the day’s adventures, we settled in for dinner. Later, we decided on one final pub visit to Neligan’s. True to tradition, I enjoyed a pint of Guinness—or rather for me, a half-pint, to be precise—while soaking up the lively strains of traditional Irish music.

Neligan’s was bustling and full of energy, and the atmosphere was infectious. It was the ideal wrap-up to our stay, the kind of night that’s a must when in Ireland.

Sadly—Time To Say Goodbye

After a few wonderful yet full days in Dingle, we arranged for a cab to take us back to Tralee. From there, we caught a train bound for Dublin, bringing our Irish adventure to a close before our journey home.

Other things to do in Dingle besides what I’ve mentioned above:

7. Explore Harry Clark’s Stained Glass Windows at the Díseart Centre of Irish Spirituality and Culture:
These six windows, created by artist Harry Clark in 1924, depict the life of Christ and are housed in a chapel within the former Presentation Sisters’ convent. Although the windows are renowned, I couldn’t visit the center as it was unexpectedly closed during my visit.

8. Visit the Dingle Oceanworld Aquarium:
The Aquarium is an educational and interesting experience for all ages.

9. Hike up Mount Brandon:
Take a hike up Mount Brandon for a beautiful panoramic view of the Dingle Peninsula. This challenging hike is perfect for outdoor enthusiasts.

10. Book a boat tour:
Enjoy a ride on the Dingle Bay —keeping an eye out for dolphins or seals in the waters around you.

NOTE: Though Pub Food was all I wanted while in Dingle, they have quite an impressive food scene here, and if fish is your thing, you will be in luck.

I absolutely love Dingle, and I have no doubt you will either!