Celebrating St. Patrick's Day with a Road Trip to the Dingle Peninsula in the West of Ireland

St. Patrick's Day Weekend on Dingle Peninsula - Gallatus Oratory
The Dingle Peninsula is one of the premiere destinations for a road trip in Ireland. We'd been living in Dublin for five years and somehow still hadn't made it out there. We decided to rectify the situation this year and planned a road trip to Dingle over the Paddy's Day weekend. Here are some highlights from our 4-day St. Patrick's Day weekend on the Dingle Peninsula.

Irish Hospitality at Browne's B and B

St. Patrick's Day Weekend on Dingle Peninsula - Browne's B&B

We set ourselves up for the weekend just outside of Dingle Town (just a 20 minute walk away). Browne's Bed and Breakfast featured lovely farm and bay views. We could have spent the entire trip watching the lambs frolic across the street. Too cute and very zen. The breakfast was filling with a number of options to try each day. We'd definitely recommend checking out Browne's.

Downing a Pint in Colorful Dingle Town

St. Patrick's Day Weekend on Dingle Peninsula - Colorful buildings of Dingle Town

Walking into town, we were spoiled for choice of pubs to grab a Paddy's Day pint. 

Amazing Seafood

St. Patrick's Day Weekend on Dingle Peninsula - plate of mussels

Dingle is also known for its amazing and fresh seafood. Most folks from the region balk about having seafood anywhere else, even in Dublin. It's just not the same. We enjoyed dinner at Out of the Blue, a seafood only restaurant in Dingle Town.

Dunbeg Fort

St. Patrick's Day Weekend on Dingle Peninsula - Dunbeg Fort
For the ultimate freedom to explore, a car is a must. We drove out to Slea Head at the far end of the Dingle Peninsula. Our first stop was at Dunbeg Fort, an Iron Age fort practically spilling into the sea. 
St. Patrick's Day Weekend on Dingle Peninsula - Dunbeg Fort

The Westernmost Point in Ireland

St. Patrick's Day Weekend on Dingle Peninsula - curving road, westernmost point in Ireland

Slea Head drive took us to the Westernmost point in Ireland. The point is marked by a big bright white crucifix.

Scenic Views

St. Patrick's Day Weekend on Dingle Peninsula - craggy cliffs and sea

The views on the way to Dingle and along Slea Head are positively stunning. We pulled over as often as possible to take pictures.
St. Patrick's Day Weekend on Dingle Peninsula - green fields

A Challenging Hike with (No) Snakes and Ladders

St. Patrick's Day Weekend on Dingle Peninsula - rocky hill
It's definitely important on any road trip to take time to get out and stretch your legs. We parked at the Blasket Centre and walked the nearby loop trail. We even detoured up a large hill for sweeping views of the sea.
St. Patrick's Day Weekend on Dingle Peninsula - rocky hill and sea views
There were a couple points in the trail when it wasn't clear exactly which direction to go. The map suggested that the trail would continue along the water, but it was all fenced off. Fortunately, we spotted this ladder, climbed up and over, and continued on the trail. 
St. Patrick's Day Weekend on Dingle Peninsula - trail ladder
Some of the best scenery on the trail is beyond these ladders.
St. Patrick's Day Weekend on Dingle Peninsula - cliffs and sea

Get Close to the Water

St. Patrick's Day Weekend on Dingle Peninsula - cliffs and sea

Near the end of the loop trail, I spied a rough staircase descending to the sea. Always curious, we descended into what looked like a man made bath. We enjoyed the views at sea level as we listened to the waves crashing into shore. Positively stunning.

Beehives

St. Patrick's Day Weekend on Dingle Peninsula - beehive huts

Ancient architecture features prominently along the Dingle Peninsula. We've already talked about the Dunbeg Fort. The area also features a number of beehive stone structures that are more difficult to date but that are thought to originate around the 12th century when Normans forced the Irish away from the best lands. This area may not be as good for farming, but those 12th century hut dwellers certainly had no shortage of amazing sea views.

A Reason to Go Vegetarian

St. Patrick's Day Weekend on Dingle Peninsula - adorable lamb

I have to say, I was very tempted to go vegetarian on this trip especially after I saw this adorable little lamb peeking out at us curiously as we explored the beehive huts. If you visit Dingle in Spring, expect to see many cute sheep.

Gallatus Oratory

St. Patrick's Day Weekend on Dingle Peninsula - Gallatus Oratory

The Gallatus Oratory is another impressive stop on the Dingle Peninsula. It's a perfectly preserved beehive church believed to date back to the fifth or sixth century. It's amazing to see how a structure like this, so unprotected and out in the windswept elements of Dingle has survived through the centuries.

Dingle Brewing Company

St. Patrick's Day Weekend on Dingle Peninsula - Dingle Brewing Company, Tom Crean

As with any road trip, it's a great feeling to drop the car off at the end of a fine day's exploration and tuck into a well deserved pint. Back in Dingle Town, we stopped at Tom Crean. Tom Crean is a craft beer brewery named after the Irish Antarctic explorer. We sipped our pint as we toured the premises and learned more about this man who signed on for not one, not two, but THREE Antarctic expeditions before retiring to run the South Pole Inn in nearby Anascaul. 

Gorgeous Sunsets

St. Patrick's Day Weekend on Dingle Peninsula - Gorgeous Sunsets

Our St. Patrick's Day weekend in Dingle was also blessed with some amazing sunsets. We enjoyed strolling along the harbor and watching the sun melt away to a deep orange glow.

Try a Murphy's with your Murphy's

St. Patrick's Day Weekend on Dingle Peninsula - Murphy's Ice Cream
Dingle is the land of Murphy's...ice cream, that is. There is a Murphy's outlet in Dublin but the original is in Dingle Town. We stopped in to try a scoop made with Dingle sea salt and milk from Kerry cows. For a treat we thought, why not combine a scoop of Murphy's ice cream with a pint of Murphy's at a nearby pub :-)
St. Patrick's Day Weekend on Dingle Peninsula - Pint of Murphy's Beer

Trad Sessions

St. Patrick's Day Weekend on Dingle Peninsula - Trad Music

No Paddy's Day in Ireland is complete without a bit of traditional Irish Music. Most pubs have musicians planning on most nights. We especially enjoyed the craic at John Moriarty's in Dingle Town.

What are some of your favorite St. Patrick's Day experiences? Would you consider an Irish road trip?

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Sidewalk Safari: Celebrating St. Patrick's Day with a Road Trip to the Dingle Peninsula in the West of Ireland
Celebrating St. Patrick's Day with a Road Trip to the Dingle Peninsula in the West of Ireland
Find out things to do on a long weekend trip to the Dingle Peninsula for St. Patrick's Day. Written by Dublin-based travel blogger, Jennifer (aka Dr J) from Sidewalk Safari.
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