Travel Guide Ireland: Dingle / Co.Kerry

Bean in Dingle

Coffee lovers get your daily brew here. Delish coffee, queues of caffeine fiends to prove it. They have food too- sweet baked goods, I saw some fine looking cakes on my visit and when scrolling through their photos I landed on some epic donuts- think espresso Martini, chocolate and marshmallow or dingle gin and tonic. I mean, how do ya like the sound of those bad boys?

They also had some soup/veg stew on the go (it was suitable for the vegans) and plenty of other sambos and grab and go bits to satisfy the hunger if the coffee isn’t your only reason to call.

Call for the coffee though, the coffee is good.

Pantri Dingle

Ohhh this was a blessing on our Sunday morning quest for brunch, and brunch we did find. It was the last day of Other Voices and we had been told about this place over the weekend. We were not the only ones who had heard of this little hidden treasure at the end of a small corridor. We joined to few people waiting outside the door until a spot freed up, even that was a lovely experience. Chatting with fellow Other Voicers about their weekend and we were getting more and more regretful that we had to make our way back to Galway.

Anyways back to brunch. I went for the Vegan Brunch – it had it all; chunky sourdough, fried mushrooms, hummus, leaves and relish. Yesss. It hit all the spots! And I topped if off with a coffee. Top notch.

It’s a cute and cosy spot with wooden and bright theme and it was full to capacity but still plenty of space and a really nice buzz about the place. The staff were lovely, the whole thing was just the perfect way to end our Dingle and Other Voices weekend on an absolute high. Oh did we want to stay on though.

Solas Tapas Dingle

I walked by this restaurant one of the days and took a look at the menu and inside as it was pretty busy and the bright red exterior certainly catches your attention and draws you over.

The menu looked excellent, I was obviously a bit more attentive to the full vegan menu they had – so I didn’t catch the non veggie one – but based on the options for the plant eaters, I can only assume it’s a great spot to bring all the eaters.

I saw marinated fennel, hummus cake (so intrigued) and braised chickpeas. Yum. It is right in the centre of Dingle town and everytime I walked by over the weekend it was full with happy looking customers.

I will be putting this on top of my list for my next Dingle visit.

Rainbow Hostel

This hostel is super. My friend suggested we stay here as she is a fan, we initially were going to camp (assuming it would be booked out) but thankfully they had a last minute cancellation and we rang at just the right time to get two beds in a four bed dorm.

The place is really clean, spacious and a huge kitchen. It has all you need to cook up a storm, plenty of communal seating and eating space and well even over the fully booked weekend it never felt like there was too many people around so it was perfect to have that seamless overlaps of different guests.

It’s a really short walk into town (during the day) and I paid maybe €5- €8 for a taxi when I came home at night. There are lovely clean, hot showers and bathroom and the room itself was super big – which is great when there are 4 in room.

If you do decide to camp, there is a lovely green area and it would be ideal in the summer. It’s just on the Slea Head Drive so you can zip out in the morning for a bit of a longer route before you head to get your coffee in town.

I really, really enjoyed my stay here and I saw their double/private room and if you are going for that it’s also a great choice.

Slea Head Drive

Alas it was cloudy, rainy and windy when I took my little bubble car up the steep cliff road. It was still magic and it’s all part of our Irish charm and from what I hear very much part of the Dingle charm (thankfully I’m from Galway so it’s like a regular day for us!)

Dingle Walking Club

I had hoped to be able to join this hillwalking club when I was in town but too much Other Voicing and not enough time got in my way.

However, such a fantastic group to have and when talking to a regular Dingle visitor he spoke very highly of this group and that he joins whenever he is in town.

There are regular walks and you are welcome to join as a guest for 3 walks and it is €40 per season after that to join. Great deal and it includes membership to mountaineering Ireland.

You can check the schedule and each walk is graded on difficulty / easy levels and how long it will take and how far it is. Such a perfect way to explore the views and hikes Dingle has to offer and get involved and get to now the local and visiting community.

BallyDavid Walk

I got chatting to a guy when I was waiting to get into a gig and mentioned I hoped to get a walk in while I was in town so he told me about this short but beautiful walk.

We took the drive to Ballydavid, parked at the nearby pub he suggested and found our way to the cliff walk, which you can find if you keep an eye out for the little walking man/woman sign.

It’s a cliff walk for sure, and its slippy and slidy when it’s wet- it was wet and wild and windy. It was stunning! We hadn’t the best shoes on but still managed okay, we walked on for about 40mins or so. Took in the views of the ‘Three Sisters’ and as the wind picked up we made out way back. It was safe but just be aware that its rough terrain. It would be faaaaabulous on a sunny, summer day and we were planning a summer camping trip nearby.

The South Pole Inn

One of the other highlights of this trip was the journey down with one of my dearest friends, it’s a nice 3-4 hour drive and with the incredible views that carry you either side- so having great company for the road trip is another added bonus.

Eimear (my friend) was telling me about Tom Crean and his pub that was on route. I had a vague knowledge of Tom Crean, having seen his book in my Granny’s house for years and a faint idea of who he was. Little did I know exactly what he did and achieved as one of the first explorers or the Antartic and an all round humble hero!

We stopped at his pub just before arriving to Dingle, it was closed for a private function but the lovely lady working in the bar invited us in for tea and chatted to us as she pottered around getting the place ready. The interior is filled with pictures and memoribilia of Tom and his expeditions. Understandbale so, have you read the book An Unsung Hero? I was so curious I bought and just finished it and it really is an unbelieveable read. What people can endure and survive is something else.

You can actually catch Micheal Smith, author of An Unsung Hero and other best selling books about Tom Crean, Ernest Shackleton and other Irish explorers, speaking about his books and the highs and lows of this research at the Lismore IMMRAMA Festival of Travel Writing.

This is a great spot to stop off to on your travels. It is on the Kerry Camino route and for sure a regular stopping off spot for tourists and travelers and adventurers alike.

I also found out that there is a one man show about Tom Creane which is highly recommended (I have yet to attend but keeping my eyes peeled for any opportunity).

James Ashe Pub

This discovery was thanks to my friend and road trip companion. A Dingle and kerry lover who knows all the hot spots (and some spots I have been SWORN to secrecy about !). It isn’t in Dingle, but not far away in the little village of Camp.

This was unfortunately closed when we passed by but doesn’t it look like a sweet spot to stop and get some lunch and enjoy the cosy Irish pub surrounds or sit outside and take in the expansive views around. The thatch roof really gives you the true Irish and Dingle feel.

I would have loved to have my lunch here but next time, according to online research it also has vegan and veggie options. So this is top of my next-trip-to-Kerry list.

Kerry featured a few times in my 12 Months of Festivals in Ireland Guide

So here are some cool things happening on this wonderful peninsula of ours:

Killarney Mountain Festival

March 8th – 10th

This just sounds awesome – a weekend of guided Killarney hikes, documentary screenings, talks with some inspiring and fascinating people in the world of adventure, exhibitions and sure of course there will be music to bind it all together.

This will be one to remember. Be sure to check it out!

Kerry Camino Walking Festival

May 3rd – 5th

A walking festival in one of Ireland’s most beautiful regions is one that you should consider. Taking place in May, one of my favourite months in Ireland (and if you don’t live in Galway, there is a high chance of nice weather).

The flora and fauna that is on show, the views, the people and just a wonderful way to see Ireland at it’s finest, meet some people, learn a bit of Irish/Kerry history and an opportunity to take time out in the healing surrounds of nature.

Yes please. Again you can check out my Festival Guide or the erry Camino website for more details. There are varying walk lengths and it takes in some stunning areas.

Dingle Film Festival

March 21st – 24th

Oh of course there is a film festival in Dingle also, and in March.

Expect screenings of independent films from Ireland and across the globe, it includes animated films as well as Irish language scripts. The 2019 programme looks great, the Galway Film Festival is one of my favorite events in the Galway calendar so this for sure will be an excellent weekend.

Check it out.

This festival is in it’s 13th year!

Listowel Writers Weekend

May 29th – June 2nd

Again , another fabulous event taking place in the Irish Heritage town of Listowel.

Kerry is definitely a source of inspiration for writers and musicians with that magic setting and I can safely assume that this weekend is a fantastic time to soak yourself in the creative juices that will be flowing and take advice, support, workshops and masterclasses from writers, poets and directors.

I love the support and encouragement of the arts, culture and it really is beneficial to surround yourself in environments like these, when you can, to get that much needed boost of energy or motivation at times or to share yours with others.

And a chance to check out Listowel!

I need to spend a whole summer… or a year living in Kerry. I will. Someday.

Dingle Food Festival

Oct 4th – 6th

I was trying to decided between this festival and Other Voices, I went for OV this time round but the Food Festival is a close second and shall be attended in due course.

I mean I love Dingle and I Looove food. So what’s a girl to do?

The freshness and local produce of Dingle food was evident during my trip recently. If you enjoy fresh and local seafood, you are in for a treat. If you just enjoy trying and sampling some fine cuisine taking cookery classes and also a chance to wander and absorb the streets of Dingle – This shall be a treat for you.

There will be a farmers forum, a taste trail, entertainment, children’s events and sure all the fun and deliciousness.

Other Voices

December

Oh, What can I say here? I’m just so happy and grateful that I finally made the trip down for this. I had a vague knowledge about Other Voices for a few years and it always intrigued me.

2018 was to be the year I made the pilgrimage, which is what it feels like. You arrive and there is this whole of attendees who have come far and wide from all over to be here together.

It is unique in it’s set up, there is the main venue – St.Jame’s Church and other pop-up venues in some of the local hot spots – such as Dick Mac’s Pub, Bean in Dingle, Murphy’s Ice Cream store, Nellifred’s, the stunning venue An Diseart and many more.

In each of the varying pubs at night (the one’s listed as part of the festival) everyone congregates together and you can watch the music streamed live from St.Jame’s Church. Its amazing and such a community feel at this and just an all round awesome crowd it gathers to the wild west coast of Ireland.

A mixture of regular attendees, newbies (like myself) and musicians, artists, poets, wordsmiths and just lovers of all things festival.

There is so much happening over the weekend, it really is hard to decide where to go or how to split yourself into five. I spent a lot of my weekend just slowly moving from cafe to bar and different venues, not making too many plans or expectations and just going with the flow. It was ideal.

My friend overheard talk of a Nordic / Irish folk group that were playing in An Diseart. We quickly finished our hot whisky by the fire and made our way down. It’s first come first serve so ya gotta be quick. We were right on time and we part of the 80 people or so who were ushered in.

Slow Moving Clouds in An Diseart at Other Voices

It was just that moment you kind of hope for when you attend Other Voices. It was perfect and it was magic and a moment I’ll remember.

Listening to the haunting and hypnotizing sounds of Slow Moving Clouds really was the icing on this delicious cake.

Soooo long story (not so ) short, I LOVE Dingle, I love Kerry and I just want to visit and do all the things and I things and Iperhaps you may enjoy them too.

I haven’t even touched on the parks such as Killarney National Park which I need to get to!

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