24 Hours On The Dingle Peninsula

Turn your watch back to Kerry time - life is enjoyed at a peaceful pace on Europe's most westerly point

Breakfast with a view of the bay

07.30: It's likely you're awake if you're travelling with children. But even if you're not, it's worth getting up early to catch the morning sun on the calm waters of the inlet upon which Dingle is set. The four-star Dingle Skellig Hotel (00 353 66 915 0200) offers rooms from €92 (£63) per night and is just a five-minute walk from the town. Tuck into a generous breakfast in a dining room that overlooks the bay. The short stroll into town will make you feel marginally less guilty for having that extra wedge of potato bread.

Go slow and use the Kerry clock

09.00: Dingle, Europe's most westerly town, is a beguiling, brightly coloured place that runs on "Kerry time". So the pace of life is calm and unhurried, although Dingle retains a sizeable working fishing fleet. Amble slowly around the quays and pop into the tourist office on the waterfront, then pay a visit to Dingle Oceanworld (00 353 66 915 2111, dingle-oceanworld.ie). Recently refurbished, here you can see all manner of fish, and digest nuggets of information such as the fact that flat fish are not born flat. Oceanworld this year celebrates its 10th anniversary and has a walk-through tunnel, a touch pool, a shark tank and an Amazon display featuring deadly piranha, poisonous frogs and catfish. Oceanworld is open daily and costs €10.50 per adult, €6.25 per child.

Have some fun with Fungie

11.00: All that marine life will inspire a boat trip in search of Fungie the dolphin, which first appeared in Dingle Bay in 1984. Paddy Ferriter, the Dingle Harbour lighthouse keeper, had noticed a lone dolphin escorting the town's fishing boats to and from the harbour. Soon after, the dolphin was recorded as a permanent resident of the entrance channel. Fungie is a fully grown, possibly middle- aged, male bottlenose dolphin. He weighs in at around one-quarter tonne (500lb), measures in the region of four metres (13 feet), and usually shows up during the one-hour Fungie-spotting trips run from the marina. If he doesn't, the trip is free. Call the Dingle Boatmen's Association (00 353 66 915 2626).

Dine out at Doyles

13.00: Time for lunch and there's really only one choice, Doyles (00 353 66 91 51174; doylesofdingle.com). First opened in 1790 as a shop and pub, the restaurant now produces some of the freshest and tastiest seafood around. Try the lobster, a house speciality, or freshly landed catch of the day. If you want to stray from the sea, there's also Kerry lamb and Guinness stew.

Europe's most westerly spot

14.30: Time for the Slea Head Drive. This wends its way along the coast offering some of the best views on the Dingle Peninsula. The Slea Head area is dotted with ancient beehive huts, inscribed stones, ring forts and church sites, and the sense of wonder is heightened by the Blasket Islands, lying due south-west from Slea Head. These, the most westerly islands in Europe, were inhabited as far back as the Iron Age and can be reached either by ferry from Dingle Town or from Dunquin. Book through the Dingle Marina Centre (00 353 66 915 2422). There are good walks and a healthy sense of isolation, but if you haven't the energy for the ferry trip, Dunquin itself is well worth a visit. This scattered village is home to the Blasket Centre, which celebrates the lost lifestyle of the Blasket islanders as well as Irish language (spoken widely in this area) and culture.

Where Clinton bought pots

16.30: From Dunquin it's a short hop north to Clogher, a tiny settlement that houses the Louis Mulcahy Pottery (00 353 915 6229). Widely regarded as Ireland's foremost potter, Mulcahy's work has been acquired by luminaries such as Bill Clinton and the Pope. Within a few miles there is the haunting Riasc Monastic Settlement, which dates from the 5th century, and the impressive Gallarus Oratory.

A glimpse of the Antarctic

19.00: Before the sun sets there is a choice of two equally compelling options. You can drive back to Dingle and up to the summit of the Connor Pass, from where there are spectacular views over the Atlantic and of Ireland's second-highest mountain, Mt Brandon. Or you could make a pilgrimage to Annascaul, birthplace of the great Antarctic explorer Tom Crean (1877-1938). Crean was a key member of Ernest Shackleton's Endurance crew, but after many Antarctic expeditions returned to live a quiet life in Annascaul. He opened the South Pole Inn there, which is full of fascinating Shackleton and Crean memorabilia - and as good a place to wind down as any.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Recruitment Genius: Car Sales Executive - OTE £36,000

    £12500 - £36000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This established Knaresborough ...

    Beverley James: Accounts Payable

    £23,000: Beverley James: Do you have a background in hospitality and are you l...

    Recruitment Genius: Cleaning Manager - York and Bradford

    £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The post holder is a key member of the V...

    Recruitment Genius: Vehicle Breakdown Recovery Drivers

    £18000 - £28800 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Vehicle Breakdown Recovery Driv...

    Day In a Page

    HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

    Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

    Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
    How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

    Time to play God

    Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
    MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

    MacGyver returns, but with a difference

    Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
    Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

    Tunnel renaissance

    Why cities are hiding roads underground
    'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

    Boys to men

    The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
    Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

    Crufts 2015

    Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
    10 best projectors

    How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

    Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
    Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

    Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

    Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
    Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

    Monaco: the making of Wenger

    Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
    Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

    Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

    Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
    In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

    In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

    This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
    'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

    Homage or plagiarism?

    'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
    Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

    A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

    Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
    A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

    Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

    A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower