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Dingle Peninsula, Beara Peninsula, or Ring of Kerry, Ireland?

Dingle Peninsula, Beara Peninsula, or Ring of Kerry, Ireland?

Jul 18th, 2005, 12:26 AM
  #1  
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Dingle Peninsula, Beara Peninsula, or Ring of Kerry, Ireland?

Can't fit everything into our first trip to Ireland. Have you visited the Dingle Peninsula, the Beara Peninsula, and the Ring of Kerry? Which did you enjoy the most?

I am leaning towards the Dingle Peninsula, with 3 nights in Dingle, because it may combine the most factors to satisfy everyone in the family. Hubby is a biologist, 2 young adult daughters will want some lively pubs in the evening (lively but safe!), and I am interested in Ireland's people, culture, history, scenery, and I love languages... I want to learn a little bit of Gaelic before I go. They offer lessons in my hometown in southern california!

The Beara peninsula sounds less crowded, which does have a certain appeal.

We may be able to see part of the Ring of Kerry as well, since my husband wants to add walk in Killarney National Park to our itinerary. We won't do the whole Ring of Kerry due to the summer crowds, I am thinking.

What did you enjoy? Thanks for any suggestions.

Melissa5 is offline  
Jul 18th, 2005, 10:10 AM
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Hello, Melissa5--

We were in Ireland in October '04. Our preference is for the Dingle Peninsula, especially since you are considering spending time there. We skipped the ROK on purpose, due to various comments on the boards, and not wanting to spend an entire day on that drive. We did enjoythe Beara Peninsula, but our favorite was the Dingle Peninsula.

There also is a marvelous tour, Sciuird Archelogical Tours, with an excellent tour guide, Tim Collins. His mini-bus only seats 12 and he will take you around the beautiful Dingle Peninsula, stopping at so many fascinating places that would be hard to find for the average tourist. His historical knowledge is excellent and well-presented. Highly recommend this tour!

Dingle has many fascinating sites and sights, fun pubs with good music indeed(and they are family-friendly), good resaturants, too -- the little town is charming and the Irish people, of course, are welcoming and make your visit special. We thoroughly enjoyed our 3 days there, and wish you a wonderful time!

Sue
suelh is offline  
Jul 18th, 2005, 11:44 AM
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I wouldn't spend more than 2 nights in Dingle. Have you looked at Loop Head Peninsula? You could do that the day before you leave if you are flying out of Shannon.
Budman is offline  
Jul 18th, 2005, 12:32 PM
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SUE: I am excited to hear that you enjoyed the Dingle Peninsula. From my reading I think that one is attracting me the most, in spite of the fact that some people find Dingle to be a bit "funky". I am getting the impression that Dingle isn't "cute" like Kenmare maybe? But it has a different kind of appeal? Why did you enjoy the Dingle Peninsula more than the Beara Peninsula? Also do you have a recommended B&B in Dingle? Do you have a trip report posted and what is the title, please? Thanks very much!

Is it possible to stay in Dingle and do the Dingle Peninsula drive one day, and do the Beara Peninsula drive the next day? Or is the drive too far, using dingle as a base?

I would also be happy to hear from people who preferred the Beara Peninsula, to weigh more info into my decision.

I will also look into Tim Collins Archaeologocal tours of the dingle Peninsula. Sounds worthwhile. Do you know if he does private tours? In Italy we were fascinated by a private guided tour of the Ancient Rome area...we got to ask all the questions we wanted!

I don't do a lot of tours, but when it comes to ancient history and archaeology, it's a good time to hire a knowledgeable tour guide! Otherwise you might find yourself looking at a pile of rubble that doesn't speak to you...

BUDMAN: Why wouldn't you spend more than 2 nights in Dingle? Also what did you enjoy about the Loop Head Peninsula? We'll probably be flying into shannon and out of dublin, but haven't decided for sure yet! Might do it in reverse. Might even skip Northern Ireland/Dublin in the end, but can't decide.

But my Irish grandmother was from Northern Ireland, hence it does call to me a bit. If we visit northern Ireland it won't be to the scenic areas...it will be to County Armagh and Belfast where my Irish grandmother grew up before she emigrated to Philadelphia at 17.

BUDMAN: the reason I will probably select "bases" for 3-night stays is that our family has very different interests. Because of that we often need more time in 1 location to make sure everyone in the family gets to do what they want. With 2-night stays anywhere, we always find that somebody doesn't get to do something that they wanted to do. Also we will have a car so won't feel "stuck" in town. But I am still curious, are you saying that for you, dingle wasn't worth a 2-night stay? Or are you saying that you generally like to take off after 2 nights in 1 town? Thanks for the advice.




Melissa5 is offline  
Jul 18th, 2005, 05:03 PM
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Just my point of view. Arrive in Dingle early afternoon, tour the town, pub crawl. Next morning, drive the Slea Head, back to town, pub crawl, spend the night, head out.
Budman is offline  
Jul 18th, 2005, 05:15 PM
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Melissa5 - on our last trip to Ireland, we stayed just outside Dingle, on a farm B&B (10 minute drive into town) for 2 nights, and found that to be sufficient. As for the Ring of Kerry, not all of the route is that scenic, just a portion of it. Beara Peninsula is quiet and very scenic.
If you go to Dingle, don't forget to do the short drive up to the top of Connors Pass.
We also stayed at Kenmare, prior to our arrival at Dingle. Kenmare is a lovely town, with some great pubs and restaurants. From Kenmare, it is quite easy to do the Ring of Kerry, then proceed up Dingle. Killarney National Park is also well worth visiting, if you like bushwalking or rambling, as they say.
tropo is offline  
Jul 18th, 2005, 06:11 PM
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We were in Ireland in May. We flew into Shannon, stayed our first night in Glin at a wonderful O'Connors B&B. We then drove over Connor's Pass, and around the Dingle. We then spent our second night in Kenmare, and drove the Beara the next day, after visiting the Muckross estate. We didn't rush it, but there weren't lots of tourists. I'm no expert, but three nights on the Dingle sounds like a lot, and I wouldn't miss the Beara, and we found some wonderful music and fun pubs in Kenmare.
TomRO is offline  
Jul 18th, 2005, 08:04 PM
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Melissa, I'm getting ready for company arriving tomorrow so don't have enough time to write more about Dingle for a few days. Sorry!

My trip report (Oct.'04 Ireland Trip Report) is still listed, somewhere around #137 for Part 1, and #132 for Part 2 (at least as of now). More later to you re Dingle and why we enjoyed it (and we also loved Kenmare, but it has a different feel to it). Keep in mind, too, that we traveled in October, not during the height of tourist season, and that may be why certain areas appealed to us while not to those traveling when towns are so busy. Gotta go!

Sue
suelh is offline  
Jul 20th, 2005, 10:13 AM
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Melissa,

I like your plan (Dingle 3 nights), given your criteria. Beara Peninsula, which we didn't see enough of (we stayed in Kenmare for 3 days), is isolated and beautiful. But from Dingle, you could soak up some Guinness in the pubs--oops, I mean soak up some culture, and not feel rushed. Explore Slea Head drive, AND a pretty easy drive (2 hours, in October last year) to Killarney National Park for a day trip is a possibility.

That said, from a base in Kenmare you could easily explore Killarney National Park (and even part of the ROK, we went as far as Sneem and would have liked to have gone to the tip and back--not all the way around) AND lots of Beara Peninsula. That would pretty much exclude Dingle though.

I liked Kenmare a little better than Dingle, but my criteria is not the same as yours. Dingle is funkier than Kenmare, and I think your daughters will like it better.
beach_dweller is offline  
Jul 20th, 2005, 10:56 AM
  #10  
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beach_dweller: Thanks for the comparisons! I am now thinking of spending 3 nights in Dingle AND 3 nights in Kenmare.

3 nights in Dingle will allow leisurely exploration of Dingle Peninsula, Blasket islands, and spontaneous experiences. 3 nights in Kenmare will allow walks in the Killarney National park, exploring the Beara peninsula, checking out this little Ceim Hill Museum near Skibbereen, part of the Ring of Kerry...

Do you think 6 nights in southwest Ireland are too many?

does anybody know if Kenmare is close enough to get to the area near Skibbereen on a day-trip? I think it is.

However if we do spend so much time in southwest Ireland, I will have to exclude Donnegal from my itinerary...which also looks interesting!
Melissa5 is offline  
Jul 20th, 2005, 11:04 AM
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I would recommend against taking a trip out to the Blasket Island unless you really have a strong desire to hike. There's virtually nothing out there, and transportation was sporadic. You had to boat to the Island then take a dingy into the pier. We were told 1:00pm return, and it was 3:00pm before they came back to get us, then the boat could only hold 12-15 people, and there were over 20 waiting to return. It was totally disorganized, people were fighting for life jackets, pushing & shoving to get on the dingy, etc. It's something I wouldn't want to experience again.

Visit the Blasket Visitor Center instead.
Budman is offline  
Jul 20th, 2005, 01:32 PM
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Budman, and during all this hullabaloo waiting on the Blasket Islands, were there any toilets for ladies to use? (This is a real important question!)
Melissa5 is offline  
Jul 20th, 2005, 04:12 PM
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There was a coffee shop which was a distance away from the pier, and I believe there was a hostel, but both were a hike, literally up hill.
Budman is offline  
Jul 20th, 2005, 04:31 PM
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Hi, Melissa -- re Dingle v. Kenmare, we stayed 3 nights in each place and had wonderful times in both towns. Kenmare is a more charming town, we thought, a pleasant and delightful place -- and, of course, the Beara Peninsula is a lovely drive. Also, Quill's (center of town) is a great store to shop for woolens, Aran Island sweaters, crystal, etc. (My trip report that I mentioned to you in prior post described some of our time in Kenmare).

As for Dingle, to us, it has a different atmosphere from Kenmare -- it's a working town as well as a tourist area, with a busy harbor and fishing boats (larger ships, too)coming and going. Dingle seems like a place your daughters might find to be a lot of fun. And of course, there is the archeological tour that I referenced in my prior post to you, and also a pretty church, St. Mary's, where, in a separate bldg. behind the church, there is St. Joseph's Convent and Diseart, which has a beautiful neo-Gothic chapel (1884) with 12 stained glass windows by a famous Irish stained glass artist, Harry Clark. Oh, goodness, a lot to see and do!

In both Kenmare and Dingle, we met gracious, friendly and interesting folk and we thought both areas were special indeed. We were there in October '04, so the travel season had slowed considerably, but we know many travelers go in the summer months and have great times, too. The Irish people are so welcoming!

In all, during our 3-week driving trip, Kenmare, Dingle (and Donegal in the north) were our favorite towns. Whatever you decide,you're going to have a great time, see so much beauty, and meet such warm people. I wish we were returning! By the way, what are the dates for your trip?

Sue
suelh is offline  
Jul 20th, 2005, 05:58 PM
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SUE: thanks for sharing your experiences in Kenmare, Dingle, and Donegal! I have a preliminary itinerary which includes 3 nights in Dingle AND 3 nights in Kenmare. Maybe you can help me decide if it's practical to include Donegal, which is so far north?

With 15 nights in Ireland, do you think this itinerary leaves enough time for slowing down to chat with folks, and for hidden discoveries? Here is the itinerary, but it's not in order yet:

3 nights: Dingle town
(Explore: Dingle Peninsula, Blasket Islands)

3 nights: Kenmare
(Explore: Killarney National Park; Beara Peninsula; Skibbereen/Baltimore coastal area)

3 nights: Lisdoonvarna or Ballyvaughan;
(Explore The Burren, Cliffs of Moher,
Dunguaire castle medieval banquet)

4 nights: Trim
(Explore Boyne Valley area & Dublin:
Trim Castle; Newgrange; Dublin)

2 nights: Northern Ireland
Plan A: 2-nights in Belfast/Lurgan
area where my Irish
grandmother grew up;
OR:
Plan B: 2-nights in Donegal
or Derry (Londonderry)
to explore County
Donegal

Sue, do you think this plan would work? Or is it unrealistic to go in so many directions with only 15 nights?

Anybody have suggestions? Can anybody help me put this in order? Should we fly into Shannon and out of Dublin? We will rent a car.

You asked our dates. Our 2-week trip will be next summer, probably end of June through beginning of July.

The fact that Dingle is a working town as well as a "tourist town" is part of its appeal to me. I'd like to see some of the "real" Ireland and not just the Ireland that is set up for us tourists...
Melissa5 is offline  
Jul 20th, 2005, 10:03 PM
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Melissa:

In re-reading your tentative itinerary and realizing now that your grandmother came from Belfast area, I would have to vote for your returning to Northern Ireland over Donegal. You can take a train, in fact, from Dublin to Belfast (which my cousins did). Returning to your "roots" is the most important aspect of your trip, I think. The country will already "speak to you" when you are there, but it will be even more meaningful to be where your grandmother came from.

In Trim, which came almost at the end of our 3-week trip, when I mentioned to the B&B innkeeper how much I felt at home in Ireland (being part-Irish), she said: "Ah dear, 'tis in your genes." So true....

I think for your planning that Donegal and the lovely northwest Ireland will have to be experienced in a follow-up visit. We were there 3 days, and still only scratched the surface.

Well, we'll see what Wendy thinks -- she truly is the expert after so many visits and her knowledge of Ireland!

Cheers,
Sue
suelh is offline  
Jul 20th, 2005, 11:37 PM
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SUE and WENDY: well, 2 votes for returning to my Irish roots in Belfast/Lurgan area...maybe my Irish grandmother is sending a message! Plus, if 3 days was only enough to scratch the surface of Donegal, well, maybe that is another trip.

Even if hubby won't return to Ireland more than once...I can always go with one of my daughters or with a friend...

You know what hubby said? He wants to go to Northern Ireland so that when people ask him where he went on vacation, he can say, "Belfast, Northern Ireland!" Then he will enjoy the look on their face, he says. (He's a bit of a non-conformist.)

Melissa5 is offline  
Jul 22nd, 2005, 11:37 AM
  #18  
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Right now my itinerary includes 3 nights in Dingle, 3 nights in Kenmare, and 3 nights in Lisdoonvarna.

I might need to subtract one of those nights to add it to Northern Ireland, where my Irish grandmother was born and raised.

Where would you subtract 1 night from? Keeping in mind that the purpose of having 3 nights in each place was to make more day-trips possible and to have time for finding hidden treasures and chatting with Irish folks...

Thanks!
Melissa5 is offline  
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