Five Best Things to do in Dingle (without tourists)

This list is based 100% on my arbitrary (and wonderful) perspective


Even though I have only spent a few days in this town and am by no means an expert or qualified to write this, I will do so anyway (take that society!) The town itself is pretty amazing, but I wanted to highlight the things away from the tourist industry. No offence to those who like that stuff, but for me it doesn't seem real. It's an experience constructed for you, which is not for me (also because I'm usually too broke to afford that stuff anyway). Therefore, things like seeing the dolphin (which is still cool to do) is excluded from the list because unfortunately tourists will outnumber the the dolphin by like 200 to 1. Now, here's a list of things you don't need to book, join a group, pay much money, or have a guide to do.

5. Try Local Brews/Breweries


Although I hate to but into stereotypes, there is a good reason Ireland is known for its beer. And Dingle lives up to the reputation. Go to one of the pubs here, but don’t order a Guinness or Smithwick’s since you can get those anywhere in the country. Instead go for one of the local ones like Dick Mack’s or Tom Crean’s. Not only were they good, but were often less expensive than their better known counterparts. And if you have time, take a day trip to one of the breweries and get the product right from the source.

4. Murphy's Ice Cream


Do you like ice cream? Do you like brown Irish soda bread? Well, come here and see where some mad geniuses decided to make brown bread ice cream! And while I can guess that some of you reading this may not be as excited about this wonderfully odd creation, I just say one thing: try it. You'll be glad you did. And don't just limit yourself to just one flavor either. Whatever you get, it will be a million times better than abominations like Haagen Daas and Nestle Ice Cream (yes, I stand by that statement). Coming from the States, I was used to milk-based products tasting bland and making me feel sick afterwards, but here (as well as the rest of Ireland), they were so rich, flavorful, and fresh. It was the real deal, thus making both my stomach and tastebuds happy.

3. Hike Mt. Brandon


Unfortunately I didn't get to do this one due to weather conditions. The fog was too thick to see the way or get any views from the top. Therefore, I will be basing all of this off of hearsay and my own imagination of what it must be like. Imagine standing on top of a gigantic, rocky green mound of earth as the wild Atlantic Ocean rages to one side of you while lush fields and quaint villages rest to the other. In every direction (unless it’s really foggy like the time of my visit), you can see for miles off in the distance, because nothing anywhere nearby is as high up in the sky as you. The noises of cars, cities, and people are too far off in the distance to reach your ears as you stand on the biggest mountain in Western Ireland. You feel on top of the world, untroubled by the worries of those lowland dwellers below as you bask in the glory of nature.

Anyway, that’s how I assume it is. If it does live up to that, it might move up a couple spots. I just actually need to do it first before it reaches #1

2. Cycle the Dingle Peninsula


Although the town itself is great, the whole peninsula is out of this world. And by that I mean, get out on the roads and go see it. Some people prefer to do this by driving. Maybe they want to feel safe and relaxed, but I recommend not doing that. Rent a bike and really get out there! Sure, you may crash if the weather gets bad (as I did), but with a bike, you can interact with the rugged landscape, divert down side roads and trails, and stop in places where cars can't. Plus there's also that whole sense of physical accomplishment.

On top of that, what you see on the way is amazing! You'll go along the Atlantic coast and see fields that confirm Ireland's green stereotype, small villages and houses, thousands of sheep, and ancient chapels called 'The Beehive Huts.' (pictured below) The whole loop will take between 2:30-3 hours to ride and personally I recommend renting a bike from Paddy's Bike Rental, which is located on Dykegate Street right next to Grapevine Hostel. For further reasons why you should do this, check out the pictures I was able to take before I crashed.

1. Listen to Traditional Irish Music at a Local Pub


Without a doubt, this is what I'll remember most about Dingle. At roughly 9:00pm every night, something quite special happens in this seaside town. Residents make their way to one of the many pubs and are serenaded by some of the best traditional music Ireland has to offer. Both times I went, there were groups of 3-4 musicians (normally in their 60s or 70s) with at least a fiddle, banjo and guitar. And each time, within seconds of starting, their seized the attention of everyone in the place. People listened, danced, and in some cases, even sang along too.

Since the town is pretty small, the most of the people usually knew the musicians, so in between songs, they would chat and take suggestions on what to play next. The best adjective I could use to describe the atmosphere would be to say that it was fun. Just unbelievably fun. There was nothing to worry or be self conscious about. Just relax, listen, dance, and enjoy some awesome music. Many of the pubs have music all seven days a week, but a few that I went to and could recommend are: Dingle Pub, O’Flaherty’s, and O’Sullivan’s Courtyard. Try to find ones that aren’t advertised by tourist agencies if you want a better experience.