Want a romantic getaway as a couple? Thinking of Paris or London? Makes plans instead to visit County Kerry’s Dingle Peninsula for a romantic escape for two. One of the keys to true romance is lots of time away from the crowds, and there are plenty of hidden places to explore for the adventurous pair. Consider these top seven secret and dreamy spots as you travel with your love along the Dingle Peninsula.
7. Cruise Dingle Harbour
Whether your vessel of choice is a schooner, tourist boat, or traditional Irish curragh, enjoy a view of Dingle’s coastline from beyond her shores. The colourful pubs and restaurants of village life light up the piers and harbour-front streets. Play among the waterfowl, dolphins and even whales that inhabit the crystalline waters of Dingle Harbor. Spend some time basking in that rare Irish sun, resting on the gentle movement of the sea. Be sure you both pack your poncho, as you’re guaranteed a good soak.
6. Sunset Walk Along Sais Creek
Walk hand-in-hand along the winding trails of Sais Creek, located just beyond the border of Brandon Village. Only about a thirty-minute drive from Dingle, this trail system covers hillsides, dips into valleys, and ends at a cliffside spot with views of the harbour to the east and the sea to the west. You’ll love watching the sinking sun touch the horizon of the Wild Atlantic. This is a well-hidden gem, so prepare to be the only two around for kilometres.
5. Fly-fish the Owenmore Fishery
Love to fish? Or just love the idea of fishing? Grab a rod and permit at a local outfitter, and head below the Conor Pass to Owenmore Fishery. Surrounded by mountains and sheep pastures, this vast series of lakes is an ideal place to cast the rod or just sit and sip a hot drink. Let the wide open sky and the sparkling water set the mood for romance. And don’t worry about catching fish: these waters are teeming with salmon, sea trout, brown trout, and grilse. These lakes are catch and release only, but the adventure is all in the hunt.
4. A Trad Sesh at John Benny’s
Even if you don’t know the steps of an Irish set, jump into the fun at this quintessential pub and let the locals lead the way. Located in the heart of Dingle village, John Benny’s is the perfect place for traditional music, pints and dinner. Lively music, great pub fare, and lots of craic with the locals abound. Try something new as a couple—take the risk of sore toes for a brilliant night out on the town. You’ll be glad that you did.
3. Picnic Overlooking the Sleeping Giant
At the Western tip of the Dingle Way, walk the trail that leads to a private hillside with a full view of Kerry’s Inishtooskert, the most northerly among the Blasket Islands. This mass of land, known to locals for years as “the Sleeping Giant” is surrounded by a gorgeous view of the unending Atlantic. Enjoy an impromptu picnic of sourdough baguette, local Irish cheddar, a few apples and beverages of choice, and you’ll not find a more romantic spot in any four-star restaurant. Discover that you two can sit for hours on a lamb’s wool blanket and never once look at your watch.
2. Climb Mount Brandon from Cloghane Village
Take the short drive over Conor Pass and climb Ireland’s second tallest mountain from the small village of Cloghane. This is a strenuous hike, full of loose scree, steep cliffsides, whipping winds and hidden pools—in other words, just the adventure you’d want to take with the one you love. Go prepared with plenty of water, rain gear, and a compass, as cloud cover and ever-changing weather can get you turned around quickly. Despite the difficulty, the mythic beauty and epic views from the top of Mount Brandon are well worth the effort. When you’re through, be sure to stop into Michol’s Pub for refreshment at the foot of the mountain.
1. Get LOST
What’s more adventurous than getting lost in the middle of jaw-dropping beauty with the one you love? The Dingle Way provides infinite opportunities to take an unplanned turn onto a small village road, not knowing where it will lead but to more incredible views and secret spots. This lovely peninsula is full of welcoming pubs, hidden trails, and water views for the adventurous couple. Don’t be afraid to ditch your map in the glove compartment and explore the wild unknown.
By Cara Murphy of The Unforced Rhythms.