Introducing Dingle Peninsula
Unlike the Ring of Kerry, where the cliffs tend to dominate the ocean, it's the ocean that dominates the smaller Dingle Peninsula. The opal-blue waters surrounding the promontory's multihued landscape of green hills and golden sands give rise to aquatic adventures and to fishing fleets that haul in impossibly fresh seafood that appears on the menus of some of the county's finest restaurants.
Dingle Peninsula culminates in Europe's westernmost point, gazing across the sound at the ghost town on Great Blasket Island. Mt Brandon, the Connor Pass and other mountainous areas add drama, as do a high concentration of ring forts and other ancient ruins. But it's where the land meets the ocean, at whitewater-pounded rocks or secluded coves, that Dingle's beauty is unforgettable.
Centred on charming Dingle town, there's an alternative way of life here, lived by artisans and idiosyncratic characters and found at trad sessions and folkloric festivals across Dingle's tiny settlements.
The classic loop drive around Slea Head from Dingle town is 50km, but allow a day to take it all in – longer if you have time to stay overnight in Dingle town. The main road to Dingle town is the N86 via Tralee but the coast road is far more beautiful and shouldn't be missed.
The following section follows a figure eight, starting from the southwestern end nearest Killarney and following the scenic coast road to Dingle town, looping around Slea Head and passing back through Dingle town before traversing the Connor Pass to the northern side of the peninsula, from where you can rejoin the N86 to Tralee and Killarney.