Dublin to Dingle Road Trip: Five Cool Places to Stop and Stretch Your Legs in Ireland

Road Trip Pit Stops between Dublin and Dingle - The Jealous Wall at Belvedere House in Mullingar
A road trip from Dublin to Dingle is one of the longest you can undertake in Ireland. How far is Dingle from Dublin? Around 5 hours. Stated another way, the distance from Dublin to Dingle by car is about 350 kilometers. This road trip is a short jaunt by US standards, but still, it's great to have the excuse of a "long" drive to find places to stop and stretch your legs along the way. While we normally prefer train travel and love exploring Ireland by rail, hiring a rental car and taking a road trip affords the luxury of getting off the beaten track. Here are five of our favorite pit stops that we recommend on a self-drive Dublin to Dingle itinerary.

Dublin to Dingle Road Trip Stop #1: Steep in Science and Nature at Birr Castle

Self-drive Dublin to Dingle Tour: Birr Castle
Birr Castle features an atmospheric house and extensive gardens for a leg-stretching stroll. For a period (1845-1914), the castle was also home to the largest telescope in the world. We marveled at the massive series of ladders and contraptions required to point the telescope toward the sky for some Victorian stargazing.
Road Trip Pit Stops between Dublin and Dingle - Birr Castle Telescope

SIDEWALK SAFARI SPOTLIGHT: Ireland is a fantastic country for road trips. Some of our favorite Irish road trips include:
  1. Dublin to County Clare and the Cliffs of Moher in summer. You might just see puffins!
  2. Galway to Connemara for some of the wildest scenery you'll find in Ireland.
  3. Dublin to Sligo paired with the poetry of W.B. Yeats.
  4. Dublin to Kinsale in winter for a bit of birdwatching.

Dublin to Dingle Road Trip Stop #2: A Quick Stop in Adare

Road Trip Pit Stops between Dublin and Dingle - Thatched Cottage in Adare
Adare is a lovely town featuring beautiful thatched cottages, colorful pubs, and a small park for a quick stop on the way from Dublin to Dingle. Adare is actually an ideal pit stop on a road trip; there are some fun things to see but not so many things that you are tempted to linger there all day. We were excited to get to Dingle and stayed for maybe 20 minutes in Adare.

Dingle to Dublin Road Trip Stop #3: A Spin through Listowel in North Kerry

Road Trip Pit Stops between Dublin and Dingle - Listowel Town Square
Listowel is another whistle-stop place in Ireland that we checked out on the return drive from Dingle to Dublin. We spent about 20 minutes exploring the colorful square and walking in the footsteps of writers like Bryan MacMahon and John B. Keane who called Listowel home and helped the town earn its reputation as the Literary Capital of Ireland.

SIDEWALK SAFARI SPOTLIGHT: Have you heard of the Rose of Tralee, Ireland's premier beauty competition that takes into account more than just looks? Why not take a detour from Listowel to Tralee if you have a little extra time. A visit to Tralee will only add about 30 minutes to your journey.

Dingle to Dublin Road Trip Stop #4: Relive the Era of the Flying Boat in Foynes

Road Trip Pit Stops between Dublin and Dingle - Flying Boat Museum in Foynes
We were absolutely fascinated by Foynes and actually drove out of our way a little bit to make a pit stop on our way back to Dublin from Dingle. Foynes in County Limerick is home to the Flying Boat Museum which is housed in the former airport (boatport?). In contrast to the float planes of today, flying boats were jet-sized behemoths that took off and landed on water and really jump started the era of intercontinental flight. The airport was situated here in Foynes because it is in the very west of Ireland and thus represents one of the shortest possible distances to North America. The exhibits on the history of aviation were intriguing and we enjoyed the chance to walk around one of the flying boats. The flying boat era really only lasted a short time (around the time of World War II) but it is a fascinating and romantic era for aviation.

Dingle to Dublin Road Trip Stop #5: Soak in the Sun at Belvedere House and Gardens in Mullingar

As the sun set on our return drive from Dingle to Dublin, we were faced with stunning clear blue skies (such a rarity in Ireland!) It was perfect weather for a stroll around Belvedere House and Gardens. We stared up at the famous 'Jealous Wall' glowing in the golden hour sun. Catalyzed by a family saga that pitted brother against brother and involving accusations of adultery, the Jealous Wall was erected so that Robert Rochfort, the owner of Belvedere House wouldn't have to look at his brother George's house next door. 
Road Trip Pit Stops between Dublin and Dingle - Follies at Bevedere House and Gardens
It is possible to amble for hours on the grounds of Belvedere House and in doing so, you'll encounter a number of follies (structures mainly built for decoration). The follies look like they've been around for hundreds of years but in reality they were built in the 20th century and were just styled to look old. Fascinating.

There you have it...five ideal places to stop and stretch your legs on a road trip between Dublin and Dingle. For more on our trip to Dingle see: 

Map of Ireland: Road Trip from Dublin to Dingle with Stops Along the Way

Click on the image below to access an interactive map of the places and routes covered on the way between Dublin and Dingle.
Map of points of interest on an Irish road trip between Dublin and Dingle

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Five Cool Places to Stop and Stretch Your Legs on a Road Trip Between Dublin and Dingle Ireland
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Sidewalk Safari | Part-time Travel Blog: Dublin to Dingle Road Trip: Five Cool Places to Stop and Stretch Your Legs in Ireland
Dublin to Dingle Road Trip: Five Cool Places to Stop and Stretch Your Legs in Ireland
Take an Irish road trip from Dublin to Dingle. Learn about some cool places to stop on the way and stretch your legs when you're traveling between Dingle and Dublin by car in Ireland.
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