When planning my trip to Ireland, there was one recurring suggestion I continued to get from those who have traveled the country extensively.  Go to the Dingle Peninsula, they said.  You MUST go, they urged.  Skip the Ring of Kerry and drive the Dingle Peninsula instead, they mandated.  You’ll be sorry if you don’t, they warned.

To be perfectly honest, Dingle didn’t make my initial itinerary.  My road trip through Ireland was with my husband, which meant that the pace was (at least slightly) less hectic than my typical international itinerary.  We didn’t want to feel like we were racing from location to location.  Ideally, I would have liked to spend two nights in each city before driving off to the next.  But, I refused to ignore the sage advice I  heard time and time again, so I worked Dingle and its majestic peninsula into my Irish road trip itinerary.  Unfortunately, I was only able to spend one night in Dingle, but it very well may have been my favorite destination in Ireland.

Dingle Peninsula: Ireland’s Most Beautiful Destination?

Is the Dingle Peninsula Ireland’s Most Beautiful Destination?

Although Dingle Town itself is quite charming, the draw to Dingle is driving its ruggedly beautiful peninsula.  As I mentioned, I was even told by some travelers to skip the tourist-heavy Ring of Kerry and focus more of my time on the Dingle Peninsula.

Dingle Peninsula: Ireland’s Most Beautiful Destination?

The most famous portion of the peninsula drive is called the Slea Head Drive.  It is only about 26 miles, but trust me when I say you won’t be flying quickly through it.

Dingle Peninsula: Ireland’s Most Beautiful Destination?

Much of the drive will have your vehicle hugging the side of the road as you climb upward and are forced to navigate narrow hairpin switchbacks looming over green valleys…

Dingle Peninsula: Ireland’s Most Beautiful Destination?

sandy beaches…

Dingle Peninsula: Ireland’s Most Beautiful Destination?

….and dramatic coastline.

Dingle Peninsula: Ireland’s Most Beautiful Destination?

Between slowing your vehicle to navigate the stressful drive and stopping frequently to take plenty of photos, you can expect the 26 miles to take you more than two hours.

Dingle Peninsula: Ireland’s Most Beautiful Destination?

After you complete the drive, check into your B&B, Milltown House, which is known for being the former home of movie star, Robert Mitchum.  Celebrities aside, Milltown House is a delightful, waterfront bed and breakfast.  The rooms are spacious and very comfortable, and the breakfast is made-to-order and delicious.  The B&B’s unofficial mascot is a stately and well-behaved Irish wolfhound named Seamus, pictured above.

Milltown House is only a 10 minute walk to Dingle’s downtown area, but you can find the Dingle Distillery just across the street if you need to calm your nerves after the time you’ve spent in your car.  Once you’ve sampled the distillery’s whiskey, make your way to colorful and vibrant Dingle Town.

Dingle Peninsula: Ireland’s Most Beautiful Destination?

Live music and fresh seafood is plentiful in the downtown area which borders the harbor.  Although not as bustling as Galway, Dingle has a certain energy that made me wish I was able to stay more than just the one evening.

If you’re lucky enough to have more time in the area you can explore the coastline on horseback, go sailing, climb Mt. Brandon, swim with Fungi (Dingle’s very own bottlenose dolphin) or visit the Blasket Islands.

Here’s a few more photos of the Dingle Peninsula in case you’re not convinced yet (although, I can’t imagine that being a realistic possibility)…

Dingle Peninsula: Ireland’s Most Beautiful Destination?

Dingle Peninsula: Ireland’s Most Beautiful Destination?Dingle Peninsula: Ireland’s Most Beautiful Destination?

So, what do you think?  Is the Dingle Peninsula Ireland’s Most Beautiful Destination?  Is Dingle on your bucket list?

Related Posts: The Ultimate Ireland Itinerary; Galway: Gateway to Ireland’s West Coast, and What You Need To Know Before You Go to Skellig Michael, Ireland

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Although I was a guest of Milltown House, my love for the B&B’s understated elegance (and Seamus) is all my own.

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