The Best of West Ireland: Dingle, Galway, and the Aran Islands


In Ireland, you drive on the left. For that reason, I take my time in a car there, especially when doing a do-si-do up and over scenic mountain roads. I slowly weave down the dramatic Conor Pass, spilling out into the rugged Dingle Peninsula. My Irish dreams have long been set in this lush spot, and I recently went back for a long-overdue visit. I’m excited to be enveloped again by forty shades of Irish spring green.

Dingle perches on the westernmost tip of Ireland — and Europe, for that matter. Residents are fond of saying, “The next parish over is Boston.” The peninsula offers just the right mix of far-and-away beauty, isolated walks and bike rides, and ancient archaeological wonders — all within convenient reach of its little main town, also called Dingle. The only downside seems to be the 100 inches of rain that falls each year.

Fishing once dominated Dingle, and the town’s only visitors were students of old Irish ways. But tourists and movie makers are well onto Dingle now (two Hollywood features have been filmed here). What had been a trickle of fans grew to a flood, as word spread of Dingle’s musical, historical, gastronomical, and scenic charms.


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