Is a weekend in Dingle even enough? It’s one of those places that everyone is enthusiastic to recommend their faves. Everybody talks about it with gorgeous nostalgia. Have you met anyone that’s been to Dingle and didn’t love it? No, the answer is no. How hard is it to pack for an Irish staycation though? I’ve covered that dilemma in this blog post.
We packed up a couple of cars and set off for the long drive, safe in the knowledge there would be a welcome drink when we “landed in” to Dingle. Drinks orders sent as we past over the stunning Conor Pass and arrived a few minutes later in Foxy John’s, the quintessential Irish pub. This is no Mary’s in Dublin, this is a legit hardware store selling all the DIY bits and bobs you could need, they hire out bikes too. While I’m on the topic, let’s talk about where else to eat and drink on a weekend in Dingle.
A Weekend in Dingle: Where to eat and drink
The aforementioned Foxy John’s is an obvious stop for any staycation in Dingle, but here are a few others…
A no brainer. Tours are ridiculously informal, in the best way possible. Tickets are €15, bought in cash from the office just before the tour is due to start. I wouldn’t bother ringing or emailing, they probably won’t answer/respond, it’s just not that kind of place. You’ll hear a bit about the history and be taken through the production process by the lovely Liam. If you’re lucky, he’ll pour some of the ‘water of life’ (ok, pure spirit) into your palm of your hand for you to lap it up like a thirsty little cat. Afterwards, try the whiskey, before making your choice of vodka or gin with a slice of lime. Plus, you’ll get to take away the Dingle Distillery glass as a little souvenir. The place is seriously low key, with a healthy serving of Co. Kerry charm. They can’t sell the product on the premises, so make sure you pick up a bottle in the designated Dingle Spirits section in Supervalu in the town.
There’s a snug when you walk in the front door to the right, grab it if it’s free for a cosy Sunday afternoon pint. This place has been running since the 19th century (ok, 1899), so expect a lot of character, and a lovely Dingle gin and tonic.
Hearty pub grub at its best. Go for the humble fish and chip, soup & sambo combo or one of the specials like Guinness & leek sausages with mustard mash. Wash it down with one of their craft ales or ciders. Delish.
You’ll find the original Murphy’s in Dingle and a new second branch has just opened, proving the popularity of their homemade ice cream. Try the Dingle gin or sea salt flavours, but you can never go wrong with the brown bread variety! The staff couldn’t be cuter either, I’m not even an ice cream fan, but this is a must in Dingle!
Heading into it’s third year in business, this family run place has filled the gap in the market in Dingle for quality coffee. Gorgeous interiors, cakes, staff and flat whites. What more could you want?
Another family-run Dingle establishment, with a homely vibe. Specialising in seafood, they do an excellent value Early Bird with three courses for €33. Glad to see some lovely Albariño wine on the menu too, the perfect accompaniment to locally caught fresh fish.
Dingle Staycation: Things to do
Recommended on a Twitter shout out for things to do in Dingle, the lads at Dingle Surf are the ones to go to. Meet in the town and head out to the beautiful sandy beach at the foothills of Mount Brandon via the stunning Conor Pass. The guys have you covered with surf boards, wet suits and quality tuition. In total, you’ll be gone for about three and a half hours, make sure to bring water and maybe snacks for after plus towels and warm clothes. I was absolutely awful at it and dying of a hangover, but those waves blew the cobwebs away and I was literally wiped out after. You’ll want to see above for re-fuel recommendations post surf.
Fungie Boat Trip
We booked with Dingle Dophin Tours, who you can call (00353 66 9152626) half an hour before you want to do the trip to book in. It costs €16 for adults, which you pay in cash on the boat – only if you see Fungie! I was fairly skeptical, because he’s apparently been in Dingle my entire life (30 years) and more. But, speaking to the lads on the tour, I’m now a believer! Now, on further investigation, they say he’s at least 39 years old, but that dolphins can live to 70. He’s a bottlenose dolphin however, and their life expectancy is much lower (according to a quick google!). So, who knows – still a fun thing to do and very affordable. Great views from the boat too.
Slea Head Drive
Buckle up and in our case, put the top down, for the stunning views along this circular coastal drive. The important part of that sentence is ‘circular’, it’s meant to be a one way route, but that won’t stop people going the wrong way and holding up traffic. So, be patient, but delays mean more time to take in the view, not at all a bad thing.
Next time, I’ll definitely be walking Slea Head or hiking. You can take a ferry out to the Blasket Islands or go kayaking in the bay (the sunset trip is top of my list!). Or if you want to chill, head to The Dingle Skellig Hotel spa. Oh and there’s a dog on a donkey…
Dingle Staycation: Where to stay
I recommend using Airbnb and booking well in advance, a weekend in Dingle is more popular than you might think! If you’re a new user on Airbnb, you can get €35 off your first booking with this code. We hired a beautiful country house 5 miles out of Dingle (here’s the house and here’s the link for the discount). If you need a big taxi, Paudí O Sé is your man (probably completelly incorrect spelling, forgive me – 0871314391). Gorgeous views, well equipped, loads of light, space etc – highly recommended.