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Dingle Peninsula vs. Ring of Kerry

Looking to go to Ireland in June 2010. Does anyone have experience with both the above and willing to share the pros and cons of each?

Posted by
606 posts

Hi Angie,

We're also planning to be in Ireland in June 2010!

I'm looking at the Rick Steves Ireland 2009 book, and he has a Dingle vs. Kerry comparison on page 183.

I drove the Dingle Peninsula loop a few years ago. I've never driven Kerry.

Rick says he loves the town of Dingle, the best base town for visiting Dingle Peninsula.

He calls Kenmare, the base town for Ring of Kerry, forgettable. I've been to Kenmare and loved it, but didn't spend any time in Dingle. So in 2010 we're planning to stay in Dingle a few days. If it beats Kenmare, it must be something else!

Everything about the Dingle Peninsula seems smaller than Kerry. 30-mile loop vs. 120 miles for Kerry. Smaller old stone ruins. Smaller number of tourists.

Rick's bottom line: with limited time, choose Dingle. If you have a day or two to spare, the Ring of Kerry is also a delight.

So I THINK that means, if you can only see one, do Dingle. If you have the time though, see Kerry too.

Posted by
1600 posts

We have been to Kenmare, the Beara Peninsula, most of the Ring of Kerry, the Gap of Dunloe, Killarney (considered it too touristy), and the Dingle Peninsula. We have stayed in both Kenmare and the town of Dingle. Kenmare felt like Irish people lived there, it had lots of shops and some nice restaurants, and was conveniently located for both the Beara and Inveragh (Kerry) peninsulas. Beara has good scenery, isn't too crowded, and has lots of neolithic stones. The Gap of Dunloe pony cart and boat trip was very interesting and had excellent scenery--carts very hard on the tailbone. The lower half of the Ring of Kerry is beautiful and there's also an over-the-mountains road that we enjoyed. Dingle peninsula is interesting to drive around, there are some good church ruins on the northern side. The town is crowded with tourists, but has good restaurants. We liked Kenmare best in the southwestern part of Ireland, although Connemara is our top favourite. Hope this helps.

Posted by
2158 posts

Hi, Angie. I've done both the Rink of Kerry and Dingle Peninsula and loved them both. If I had to pick one, I would probably pick Dingle because it is more compact and has more fabulous scenery per square mile. Also, I love Dingle town; it's a place I love to settle into. It is small and compact but has a lot of restaurants and pubs and shops. It's lively but not overrun with tourists IMO. I have not stayed anywhere along the ring of Kerry, so I cannot compare.

Posted by
15 posts

Thanks for the help. I am off to buy the newest Rick Steves Ireland book. I have the Great Britain one but I never thought about getting one for Ireland. Yippee!

Posted by
319 posts

Angie,

My wife and I spent time in both the Ring of Kerry and Dingle last year. Specifically, we spent a night in Kenmare, then drove the Ring and headed to Dingle the next night. We then spent a couple of nights in Dingle.

I loved both areas, and definitely recommend both highly if you have the time. To me, the major difference is scale. The Ring of Kerry is larger and more majestic, whereas the Dingle peninsula is smaller and more intimate. Both have spectacular scenery.

Dingle is, IMHO, a nicer town to spend a few nights in than Kenmare. I liked Kenmare well enough, but Dingle is incredibly charming and has so much to offer. You really feel like you've experienced the heart of Irish culture after you've been to Dingle.

Posted by
655 posts

I echo the ideas of Michael and Caroll. If I could absolutely only do one I would pick Dingle and I would particularly follow the outline in the RS guide. That said, Kerry is also nice and it doesn't take that much additional time. We were concerned that the road itself would be too challenging but it wasn't difficult at all. Southwest Ireland is wonderful - cut somewhere else if you can.

Posted by
934 posts

Ive also driven them both and preferr Dingle.I also like both Kenmare and Dingle although Dingle town is more touristy.

Posted by
440 posts

I've driven both and liked both for different reasons. We drove half the ring of Kerry in one day, stayed in a B&B in Portmagee and drove the second half the next day. I really enjoyed the locals in Portmagee since it's a very small town and not touristy at all.

Posted by
5 posts

Just got back from Ireland. We decided to Dingle and not the Ring of Kerry. We weren't crazy about spending a lot of time in the car, so we decided to do Dingle. It was the right choice for us. Dingle even though the loop is shorter still takes a big chunk of your day because of the slow traffic and the stops you make. We didn't especially like Dingle town though. Ironically, we did like Killarney a lot, but that could be because there weren't a lot of tourists around.

We spent 3 days in the Killarney region. We did the Gap of Donloe hike/Lakes of Killarney boat ride one day. This was a great way to see the beautiful mountains while being active. We drove Dingle the following day. We did Torque Waterfall and Killarney National Park and the castle the last day in Killarney. If we had another day, we'd have probably done the Ring of Kerry, but I have no regrets.