The Ring of Kerry, Dingle Peninsula, and Killarney in Ireland had been on my radar for many years. I had already traveled to Ireland twice prior, but never to the south western tip; home to the Dingle Peninsula and the Ring of Kerry. On my most recent trip to Ireland, I decided to explore the western coast from Killarney to Galway, from the south up to the north, and it was an extraordinary journey.
I traveled by train from Dublin to Killarney, and stationed myself there. Then I took a couple of day trip tours around the Ring of Kerry, and another one to the Dingle Peninsula. Since I have not mastered driving on the left side of the road (American driver), I figured the tour bus route was the safest for everyone in the area!
During the drive around the Ring Dingle Peninsula, I realized why there were many tales and stories of the area. It was intriguing, haunting, stunning, and authentic. There is much history along these coastlines, 6,000 years of it. The scenery is diverse with places of calmness, fierceness, free feeling, and artistic fun. If you are lucky and get an azure sky day, it makes for a beautiful backdrop with the various landscapes from lush green pastures, dramatic grey cliffs, and maybe a rainbow or two.
There is much to see while exploring Dingle Peninsula; you can visit several prehistoric and medieval locations, the incredible Inch Beach, and the charming town of Dingle. We had stopped off at several places to get out and be part of the environment, learn location facts, and hear local legends. Seeing and being in an environment while listening to stories always makes it more real, one reason that I live for travel.
When I had visited in the fall, the shores of Inch Beach were alluring and picturesque, although it was quite chilly. There are days when the skies of Inch Beach are blue, and the surf is up, but I loved its beauty during the autumn. The overcast skies mirrored the waves, and the wet glistening sands perfectly. This is one beach that I would like to revisit in the warmer weather, just to experience its sunnier side. It is a place where stories are told and the imagination runs free.
Inch Beach is located about 40 minutes from Killarney and 20 minuets from the colorful town of Dingle. It is in the Daingean Bay, stretching nearly four miles with sandy beaches along the Atlantic Ocean. The Kerry mountain range surrounds it, which gives it a dramatic, and intriguing feel to its already alluring coastline.
Dingle is a colorful port town on the peninsula’s southwest side. The town dates back to the 13th century as a port, after the Norman Invasion of Ireland. It evolved into one of Ireland’s most important trading ports by the 16th century. Since then, Dingle has become a major fishing port, and a tourist town filled with friendly vibe, delicious food, a creative and boho atmosphere, all with a sprinkle of a colorful street life.
Fungie the Dolphin
By the waterfront, there is a statue of Fungie the dolphin who was a 37 year resident of Dingle. Fungie was an extraordinary dolphin who would accompany swimmers when they trained, and was known by all the fishermen. The dolphin lived in the waters of Dingle since 1983, and in 2020 Fungie was no where to be found. When I had visited Dingle, Fungie was still in the harbor, but he had disappeared during the pandemic in 2020.
Since a dolphin’s life span is roughly 40 years, experts believe that he had passed away. A memorial was held in honor of Fungie by locals, fishermen, and tour operators in 2021.
Lunch at Sheehy’s Anchor Down
The restaurant and food scene in Dingle is well known, and has much to offer. I was offered recommendations by our driver of popular restaurants, but I thought I would venture on my own to find a place. I do not mind a popular restaurant or recommendations, as I give them all the time. Although in a small tourist town with several restaurants, and a lot of hungry visitors, I did not want to wait for a table because everyone was recommended the same place. Call me quirky, but if I cannot make reservations or there is a substantial line, I move on.
I came across Sheehy’s Anchor Down, a charming restaurant tucked away behind a building along the main drag of Dingle. After leaving the group, I intuitively started walking, made a left by some of the shops, and there was Sheehy’s Anchor Down.
The food at Sheehy’s Anchor Down was excellent. I ordered two courses- the seafood chowder, and the local mussels. I received the seafood chowder first and, WoW, it was truly delicious! The chunks of fresh seafood were filling, and the use of dill made for a delightful tasting chowder . The mussels were very fresh, and of course local. They do give you a lot of mussels, so if you can share it that may be a good idea. Sadly, I could not finish my bowl of mussels because I was full from the chowder. Now, the best part about my lunch was washing it down with a lovely glass of chardonnay. It was a splendid lunch in Dingle.
For restaurant information and location, please visit Sheehy’s Anchor Down Restaurant
Dingle Chocolate Shop
I may have gone over gone overboard at the Dingle Chocolate shop. Like the restaurant that I had just eaten at, I stumbled upon this little sweet shop while walking the town. I was overwhelmed by all the deliciousness in this shop, because I knew that I had one shot at it. I was only going to be in Dingle for a few more minutes, so the young lady behind the counter helped me out of my conundrum. I chose four different sweets, since I was thinking ahead. I figured that I would eat them up during my next few days of traveling.
Everything that I decided on was spot on delicious. The ingredients were fresh, which obviously created spectacular sweets. I would recommend trying the Baily’s Irish Cream Liqueur Fudge, Peanut and Pistachio Fudge, Peanut Butter Slice, and Rocky Road- so scrumptious!
For more information, please visit Dingle Chocolate Shop – Wild Irish Chocolates
My first visit to Dingle was not enough, and I considered it as a taster for my next visit to Killarney. I have done that in the past, visit a location for a few days to determine if I want to return with a longer stay. Killarney, Dingle, and the Ring of Kerry were places that I vowed to return to. Not just to see more their sights. but to get a feel of the locals, the towns, eat more delicious seafood, and of course, drink more whiskey!
Every exit is an entry somewhere else…– Tom Stoppard
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