Sheltered from the ravages of the Atlantic by its impressive natural harbour, DINGLE is an excellent base, not only for exploring the western end of the peninsula (“back west” as it’s known locally), but also for a variety of water-borne activities. Even if the weather gets the better of you, there are plenty of welcoming cafés, restaurants and pubs, which host some excellent traditional music, to retreat to. Tourism is far from the only industry here: in medieval times, Dingle was Kerry’s leading port, protected by town walls, and it’s still a major fishing harbour. From the extensive quays, narrow streets of stone houses, colourfully painted and appealingly substantial, run up the slope to the bustling main street. Besides music festivals, the principal events on Dingle’s calendar are a four-day film festival in March (wwww.dinglefilmfestival.com), Feile na Bealtaine (wwww.feilenabealtaine.ie), a week-long multidisciplinary festival of arts and politics in early May, the riotous Dingle Races at Ballintaggart Racecourse on the east side of town over three days in early August, the Dingle Regatta for traditional currachs later in the month and a food festival over a weekend in early October (wwww.dinglefood.com).

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