Why Dingle is the best place for a weekend away cycling

Why Dingle is the best place for a weekend away cycling

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There are so many reasons to visit Dingle that it’s hard to know where to start. But given that Ride Dingle is a biking event, let’s start with the awesome cycling! And then we’ll fill you in on just a few of the other great reasons to visit Dingle so you can persuade your friends and family to join you.

The cycling is simply stunning!

The two Ride Dingle routes (55km and 120km) take in some of the most staggering scenery in Ireland as they track the world-famous Slea Head and beyond. You’ll pass the most westerly point in Ireland along the way – with nothing but the vast Atlantic Ocean stretching all the way to the Americas. You could say this spot quite literally puts the ‘wild’ in Wild Atlantic Way! If you choose to tackle the 120km route, you’ll also experience the lung-busting, calf-crunching climb of the Conor Pass. At 456m, this is the highest pass in Ireland serviced by a proper road and you can expect a mind-blowing landscape of narrow roads winding along sheer cliff drops to a patchwork of fields and lakes below. When you experience the visceral beauty of the landscape, you won’t be remotely surprised to discover that it has provided the backdrop for many Hollywood movies like Ryan’s Daughter, Far and Away and of course Star Wars (Episode VIII).

So many active and outdoorsy things to do!

If you love being active and outdoors, you’ll never be bored on the Dingle peninsula. Again, we could write a thesis on this but below are four of our favourite things to do when visiting.

Surfing: Thanks to some of the most westerly coast in Europe, there’s a break to suit everyone on the Dingle peninsula whether you’re a total beginner or a surfing superstar! Amongst others, choose from the world-class reef at Inch, the intermediate- and advanced-surfer friendly Coumeenoole beach, or check out Brandon Bay’s glorious seven miles of golden sand, which offers something for everyone – from the newbies to the pros. If you fancy a lesson or need to hire kit, visit https://dinglesurf.com/

Horse riding: Throwing up spray as you canter down an endless beach, or gaining lofty heights as you trek into the hills, there may be no nicer way to explore Ireland’s landscape than on horseback. From beginner rides to excursions for experts, every level of horse riding is available on the Dingle Peninsula and there are plenty of local providers with great horses waiting to take you out.

 Walking: If you love to stretch those legs, you will be simply spoilt for choice on the Dingle Peninsula. Take your pick from stunning long beaches like Inch or Coumeenoole, or tackle a famous route like the 18km Mount Brandon Pilgrim Path.

Visit Fungie! Like the friendly dolphin himself, a visit to see Dingle’s most resident literally never gets old. There are several boat companies in town that will bring you out (and won’t charge if the man himself doesn’t show up!). Or you could head out to meet him on a Stand-Up-Paddle board tour (https://dinglesurf.com/).

 A great place to be a tourist!

We are aware that you’ll just have completed the Ride Dingle event, so you if you fancy some slightly more sedentary activities, you will not be disappointed. Again, here are some of our favourites.

Take a road trip to Dún Chaoin harbour. You may have already seen photos but we promise you those pictures don’t do this otherworldly place justice. Now if your legs are tired, you’ll probably just ogle the scene from high above rather than walk all the way down, it but it’s still worth the drive. Don’t, whatever you do, be tempted to try and drive down. You’ll get stuck!

Enjoy a dram at Dingle Distillery. Two centuries ago, the island of Ireland had more than 100 officially recognised whiskey distilleries. By the turn of this century there were just two. A new interest in Irish whiskey is steadily blooming now and one of the leaders in that area is Dingle Distillery, which you’ll find in an old sawmills on the fringe of the town. Tours are a great way to while away a few hours and you’ll get to taste their whiskey, gin and vodka, which are growing in popularity all the time.

Visit Tom Crean’s home. If you’re interested in adventure and Irish history, then make your way to the South Pole Inn in Annascaul, just 16km from Dingle. This is where local man Tom Crean quietly retired after major expeditions to Antarctica. On his final one with Ernest Shackleton, the ship Endurance became trapped in the ice and sank. Crean and the rest of the company spent 492 days drifting on the ice before making their way to Elephant Island where they waited. Eventually, a small party, which included Crean, made the perilous 1,500km journey to South Georgia Island in a small open boat to look for help. Miraculously every member was ultimately saved. These days the South Pole Inn is one big tribute to Crean and you can sit back and enjoy photos and tales of the great man.

Visit Dingle Oceanworld Aquarium. If you have kids in tow, this is a great spot to visit. You’ll get a chance to see sandtiger sharks, polar penguins, Asian otters, dwarf African crocodiles, iguanas and snakes. And you’ll even get to stroke the friendly rays or hold a starfish at the Touch Tank.

Ride Dingle takes place on Saturday April 25th 2020.  You can register here.