While you’re likely to have a very packed schedule of literary events to attend, if you have some downtime, or are extending your trip to Dingle by a few days, we’ve rounded up some top tips, from things to see and do, and the best eating and drinking on the Peninsula!
If you’re a whiskey fan, a trip to the Dingle Distillery is a must, and it’s one activity that the weather can’t spoil. In fact, bad weather will only improve the experience of getting to taste a warming dram of Dingle’s finest. For over-18s only, the one-hour guided tour takes you through all aspects of whiskey, gin and vodka production, and you will get the opportunity to sample each of them – Dingle Gin has been awarded World’s Best Gin! The tour will round off with the chance to enjoy one of the Distillery bar’s Signature Serves. Tours of the Distillery run every day and you can book in advance here.
For kids, Dingle Oceanworld Aquarium is a magical (and again, weatherproof) experience, open from 10am daily with last entries at 4pm. It is Ireland’s largest aquarium and hosts a collection of magnificent sand tiger sharks, gentoo and Humboldt penguins, Asian short-clawed otters and an abundance of fish species, both native and from around the globe. Book online here.
There is a wealth of talent in the local area, including painters, potters and weavers. You’ll find a great selection brought together in one place at the Original Kerry Craft Centre at the corner of Strand St and Green St. Just a few steps away the Greenlane Gallery has a fantastic selection of works by local painters, sculptors and ceramicists.
Just a short drive from Dingle town, in Burnham, you’ll find the Holden Leather Goods workshop, where you can see a stunning collection of exquisitely crafted leathergoods, including handbags and belts.
If you’re feeling the chill and forgot to pack a scarf, head to Fiadh Woven Design on Main St (a set of woven handwarmers and a triangle scarf are Dingle winter essentials) or Lisbeth Mulcahy on Green St, where you’ll also pick up pottery by the renowned Louis Mulcahy. If you’re taking a trip around the scenic Slea Head drive, be sure to stop off at the workshop.
Another winter essential is a healthy juice packed with ginger (and a great hangover cure if you’ve had a few too many delicious Dingle G&Ts) – we head to Juice for Thought on Strand Street for a morning reviver, or the greatest breakfast sandwiches and lunchtime chicken salads ever made – takeaway only. Vegans and vegetarians must check out Thyme Out on Dykegate Lane – even the most diehard carnivores could be converted by Brenda’s wholesome and delicious Buddha bowls, curries and incredible soups.
For a special dinner take your pick, there isn’t a bad restaurant in town, but Solas Tapas, Out of the Blue (for seafood) and The Charthouse are consistently great. If you’re after something a little more relaxed, The Blue Zone is perfect for pizza, and also has giant hearty loaded salads that one person would struggle to finish. Fish Box offers an elevated take on fish and chips, straight from the family’s own trawler to your table, if you’re lucky enough to be able to nab one. Mrs Benner’s Bar at Benner’s Hotel is always a reliable favourite – from whiling away an afternoon with tea and chats in the cosy lobby, to a great choice of lunch and dinner options – their seafood chowder and pil pil prawns are delicious and the red Thai curry is guaranteed to warm you up on a wild wintery day.
And to wash it all down – you already know you’ll be seeing us in the iconic Dick Mack’s for events over the weekend; and do check out their well-stocked whiskey bar while you’re there. McCarthy’s, home to our festival club is also a local favourite. For a great pint of Guinness, try and manoeuvre yourself a spot in one of the snugs in Currans, and if cocktails by candlelight sounds like your thing, a spicy jalapeño Marg from Kennedy’s dedicated Margarita menu will blow your mind.