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Home base in Ireland--Dingle or Doolin

We are planning a multi-generational family trip (9 of us) to Ireland for my father in-law's 70th birthday. We will rent a home for a week. Since his family is originally from Dingle, we thought we should stay there, however it's not terribly convenient to other should-see sights. Would Doolin be better for a home base? Or another town? Thank you.

Posted by
25 posts

It really depends on what you consider "should-see sights". Doolin and Dingle are our 2 favorite places, but I would choose Dingle, especially if there is family there. Its a very special place and the peninsula offers most of what people come to Ireland for: nearly 2,000 archelogical ruins, stunning scenery, cliffs and beaches, shopping, great pubs, an aquarium, horsebackriding, hiking, biking, LOTS to do! Killarney National Park (and Muckross) would be a long, but do-able daytrip from Dingle.

Since you'll be driving from (which?) airport, you could spend a night or 2 at an in-between town (like Cashel) to catch some sights.

Doolin is wonderful, too (great pubs, limited shopping, beautiful scenery, Cliffs of Moher, Doolin Cave, The Burren, Aran Islands), but if you are planning to do day trips (from either town), keep in mind traveling is MUCH slower than in the US. Its easy to plan too much by underestimating driving times.

My vote is probably Dingle, because of your family ties and there's plenty to do, but what does your family want to see and do in Ireland?

Posted by
1358 posts

I think it depends on what you want to do. If you're going to be tracking down family or your family roots, stay in Dingle. If you're going to see the sights, like the Cliffs of Moher, the Burren, Bunratty Castle,and the Aran Islands, then stay in Doolin.

We took a big family trip (11 all together, lots of kids) to Ireland this summer and rented 2 cottages in Doolin for a week. It was easy (as Ireland goes -- lots of little twisty roads over there) to get to all of those places. There's not much to the town itself, and it's about a 20 minute drive to the closest grocery store, but we got to see a lot of places and the kids loved it.

Posted by
3 posts

My vote is for Dingle (though both places are favorites) simply because it's a larger town. With such a diverse group of travellers, you may have the best luck pleasing everyone with more options at your disposal. Having said that, you cannot beat session night at O'Connor's or the friendliness of the people in either place.

Posted by
2 posts

Thanks for your input. Sounds like Dingle would be a better choice for us. Just wondering, is a week in Dingle too long? With our group size and age diversity, we thought the home-base idea might give everyone more flexibility for day trips of their choosing. Or we could plan something more conventional, where we move to a new town every few days. Thoughts? Thank you.

Posted by
2744 posts

Dingle is my favorite place in Ireland, and it's a wonderful place to settle in. However, you might get bored spending a whole week there. It depends on how you want to spend your time. If you want a lot of together time with your family, it might be fine. But if you want to see as much as you can of Ireland, Dingle is not a very central location. You spend a day in the town, spend a day driving around the Dingle Peninsula, spend a day going to Killarney National Park (I think it's about an hour and a half each way) and another partial day visiting Great Blasket Island (might be too much for older people). Then you might start getting antsy, unless you just enjoy relaxing in a beautiful place with family.

Posted by
9 posts

Don't want to highjack the post, but I have a similar question, couple of differences: we are staying two weeks in June. everyone is outdoor oriented, my husband and I mid 50s and fit, and our sons and spouses, mid 20s and very fit. there will be at least 10 of us, possibly 13. I had pretty much settled on county clare because of the cliffs and it would be a home base for trips to the pennisula, etc. and doolin with the music. my husband and I love traditional music. but I am having second thoughts. I wonder if the southeast may have better weather. If one is particularly inclined to go off adventuring in the wilds, there's a very good chance they will be rained out it seems. Because the younger ones may get a little antsy, any suggestions? Also, how do you verify that a selfcatering rental is genuine?

Posted by
45 posts

Dingle is my favorite place in Ireland by far and I spent 8 days there this summer (2 months in Ireland total) and didn't want to leave. I would definitely choose it over Doolin for a multi-generational family as Doolin has very little to offer in terms of services and things to do in the town itself.

Posted by
36 posts

Dingle is a great choice. If you rent a selfcatering holiday home each family could have their own place. We stayed at Trident Holiday homes, within walking distance of Dingle town. A week really isn't too long. There is live music every night in town, an aquarium, ferries, Funghi the Dolphin. The beach at Ventry is close by if the weather is really nice. Slea Head drive is spectacular, and there's loads of walks for anyone who might be interested. Tralee is a large town not far from Dingle. It's a fantastic location.