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?
Travel
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
and  

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

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Recruitment Genius: Senior Bid Writer

    £25000 - £34000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: With offices in Manchester, Lon...

    Recruitment Genius: Membership Sales Advisor - OTE £20,000 Uncapped

    £15000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The fastest growing fitness cha...

    Guru Careers: Marketing Manager / Marketing Communications Manager

    £35-40k (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Marketing Communicati...

    Guru Careers: Membership Administrator

    £23K: Guru Careers: We're seeking an experienced Membership Administrator, to ...

    Day In a Page

    Syria civil war: Meet the military commander who says his soldiers will not rest until every inch of their war torn country is free of Islamist 'terrorists'

    ‘We won’t stop until Syria is back to normal’

    Near the front lines with Islamist-controlled towns where Assad’s troops were besieged just last month, Robert Fisk meets a commander confidently preparing his soldiers for battle
    The inside story of how Bill Clinton built a $2bn global foundation may undermine Hillary's chances

    The inside story of how Bill Clinton built a $2bn global foundation...

    ... and how it may undermine Hillary's chances in 2016
    12 best olive oils

    Extra-virgin, cold-press, early-harvest, ultra-premium: 12 best olive oils

    Choosing an olive oil is a surprising minefield. Save yourself the hassle with our handy guide
    Rafa Benitez Real Madrid unveiling: New manager full of emotion at Bernabeu homecoming

    Benitez full of emotion at Bernabeu homecoming

    There were tears in the former Liverpool manager’s eyes as he was unveiled as Real Madrid coach. But the Spaniard knows he must make tough decisions if he is to succeed
    Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

    Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

    Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
    Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

    The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

    Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
    Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

    The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

    Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
    The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

    The future of songwriting

    How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
    William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

    Recognition at long last

    Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
    Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

    Beating obesity

    The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
    9 best women's festival waterproofs

    Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

    These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)
    Cycling World Hour Record: Nervous Sir Bradley Wiggins ready for pain as he prepares to go distance

    Wiggins worried

    Nervous Sir Bradley ready for pain as he prepares to attempt cycling's World Hour Record
    Liverpool close in on Milner signing

    Liverpool close in on Milner signing

    Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
    On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

    On your feet!

    Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
    With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

    The big NHS question

    Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?