The Dingle Peninsula

By JohnWwt
Saturday, 13th May 2017
Filed under:

Dingle peninsula

The Dingle Peninsula

This is surely one of the worlds most scenic driving routes, add to that an obscene amount of archaeological remains, a pub for every week of the year, cracking festivals, great restaurants and a friendly welcoming atmosphere crowns Dingle as a must see destination when in Ireland.

The southern entrance to this delightful part of the Wild Atlantic Way begins with the iconic Inch strand where miles of long golden sand, sea and mountain await you, nicely setting the tone for whats to follow. this is a very popular private tour of Ireland route. From Inch beach one skirts the cliffside road route to Dingle town, the dramatically beautiful Ring of Kerry sits impressively across this immense stretch of pure Atlantic water. Hard then to imagine why Tom Crean left the neighouring village of Anascaul to become one of the pioneers of Antarctic exploration but views alone wont cut the turf in this isolated and agriculturally challenging region.This rout is ideal as part of a private tour of Ireland.

There are hidden places here aching to be explored by the curious traveller as well as the Marquee spots such as Slea head drive. Dingle town itself has a long maritime trading and fishing tradition and was very much at the heart of European trading in the middle ages onwards. Its obscure and sheltered harbour providing respite from the punishing ocean conditions outside the harbours safety which have claimed many victims such as the ‘Santa Maria de la Rosa’ of the Spanish Armada.This galley with hundreds of sailors aboard was fleeing the English fleet sunk while anchored during a storm off the Blasket Islands in 1588. 

Today Dingle harbour is home to ‘Fungie’ the dolphin, its most famous resident who has been consistently entertaining visitors for over 20 years as he playfully escorts the pleasure boats that are thronged with spectators to see him. There are numerous impeccable guesthouses to rest ones head along with the freshest seafood restaurants and of course the multitude of pubs each one seductively vying for ones attention, each one as unique, colourful and character filled as the next. The most famous is ‘Dick Macks’ which is opposite the beautiful Dingle church and has entertained many the visiting celebrity over the years. Check out its impressive whiskey selection and enjoy the banter in this essential Irish watering hole.

Leaving Dingle town we venture on towards the spectacular Slea head drive ideal as part of a private tour of Ireland, which be warned is not for the nervous driver as the narrow windy road is perched precariously at the cliffs edge. There are plenty of convenient spots to pull over and take in the sublime setting stretched out as far as the eye can see.

In the distance can be seen the offshore islands, one is almost like a giant blue grey toblerone piece protruding from the Atlantic depths, it is called Skellig Micheal. In the 6th century hardy monks established a monastery here living in beehive stone huts, praying, fishing and keeping watch for marauding Viking longships which happily preyed on these defenceless men of God. This UNESCO world heritage site is one of the worlds most incredible settings, more recently becoming a filming location for the Star Wars movies series.

Further down this raw and rugged coast one can see the bulk of the Blasket Islands a former prolific breeding ground for world reknowned writers and poets who recounted the islanders tough existence with colour and an inate storytelling ability.

In the 6th century it is believed that St. Brendan sailed from a creek on this peninsula to America in a hide covered boat to spread Christianity, perhaps, the only evidence a series of fantastic tales which bear striking resemblance to many of the geographic features one would encounter on this epic journey.

Inch beach Kerry

The brooding mountain of Brandon named after St. Brendan sits dominating the Northern end of this peninsula overlooking the many oratories, castles, ringforts, promontory forts, early Christian habitats, crosses, carvings and beehive huts all part of one of the richest areas of ancient archaeological settlements in Europe. It was in Ireland when the rest of Europe was overrun by the Roman legions that Christian teaching and artwork thrived, blending the earlier strong Pagan traditions with this new belief system. In Kilmakadear Church there exists Pagan and Christian objects side by side and in many cases seamlessly overlapping.

This is the Gaeltacht, the villages of Ballydavid and Ballyferriter the heartbeat of the peninsulas Irish speaking areas. Close to these villages is 'Dun on Oir' fort in Smerwick harbour where over 600 unfortunate Spanish, Irish and Italians were massacred by Lord Grey during the Fitzgerald Desmond rebellion. Just the earthworks of the fort they surrended at survives. The placenames of this location live on such as the aptly named ‘field of heads’ .

To reach the Northeastern part of the peninsula one can choose the Connor Pass which is a spectacular mountain route again not for the driver lacking in confidence as it passes over a precipitous route and rewards the traveller with a splendid spread of valleys, lakes, mountains and the majestic Brandon Bay to be seen far below! Consider a private tour of Kerry and Ireland with your own chauffeur guide.

For advice and Itinerary planning of your Luxury Tour of IrelandContact Us