The Southwest: Places to Explore

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An Daingean (Dingle Town)

Backed by mountains and facing a sheltered harbor, An Daingean, the chief town of its eponymous peninsula, has a year-round population of 1,400 that more than doubles in summer. Although many expect Dingle (to use its English name) to be a quaint and undeveloped Gaeltacht village, it has many crafts shops, seafood restaurants, and pubs.

Still, you can explore its main thoroughfares—the Mall, Main and Strand streets, and the Wood—in less than an hour. Celebrity hawks, take note: off-season Dingle is favored as a hideaway by the likes of Julia Roberts, Paul Simon, and Dolly Parton. These and others have their visits commemorated on Green Street's "path of stars."

The latest addition to the annual calendar is the Dingle Food and Wine Festival (www.dinglefood.com) on the first weekend in October. Sample local produce on the Taste Trail, enjoy special menus, try your hand at chocolate making, or learn about beekeeping and biodynamic vegetable growing. This is a major festival, and growing in popularity with every passing year.

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