Every October this seemingly sleepy little West Kerry town comes alive for the Dingle Food Festival (5-7 October 2018), which coincides with the Blas na hÉireann Awards – the gold standard in Irish food and drink products, recognising and bestowing the best tastes annually with its bronzes, silvers and golds.
Whether you arrive on a crisp Autumnal afternoon, a summer’s night or a foggy spring morning, a visit to Dingle always delivers delicious bites and offers something for everyone. When you explore An Daingean, you’re guaranteed two things: you’ll never go hungry and you’ll always leave with a smile!
Dingle is renowned as being a hub of Gaeilge, trad music and food – so you know you’ll find a convivial, welcoming and energetic atmosphere any time you visit. But if eating your way around the town is the aim of the game, and particular dishes is what you’re after, here’s some epic suggestions: the scampi at pub grub stalwart Danno’s; chowder at Out Of The Blue (you’ll spot the electric blue and yellow colour of the restaurant a mile off), calamari or scallops at Anchor Down; lobster at Fenton’s (or one of the meatier dishes if fish isn’t your thing); the Annascaul Black Pudding Crêpe at McCarthy’s’ hatch on Strand Street; and *all* of the shellfish (oysters, crab claws, mussels) at Doyle’s.
For something more upmarket and a bit of a finer, sit-down affair for something extra special or a celebration, try the likes of The Global Village for a truly international menu made with Irish ingredients, The Chart House by the bay where the menu reads like a who’s who of the finest food producers locally and across Ireland; the stylish, modern nautical surrounds of The Boat Yard; or new kid on the block Random Restaurant on Dykegate Street.
If you’re staying overnight, grab breakfast at destination café My Boy Blue for an exceptional flat white, a menu of eggs, pancakes and stuff on toast and a fairly certain guarantee you’ll convince yourself that a slice of one of their drool-worthy cakes qualifies as suitable mid-morning fare. Alternatively, stop by Grey’s Lane Bistro, which uses local Bácus Bakery bread and has an indulgent menu to get any day off to a delicious start.
Throughout the day, visit foodie spots like Cheese Shop, for all manner of Irish cheeses, aforementioned Bácus for the best, freshest bread and pastries, Bean in Dingle for brilliant coffee; and why not tip up to the Dingle Distillery just on the outskirts of the town centre for a tour of the facility seeing where the company, with the town as its namesake, produces its gin, vodka and whiskey.
If it’s pints* you’re after or a seisiún or two, Dingle is the perfect spot for popping in and out of the local pubs and enjoying craic, trad and chat in equal measure.
Dick Macks is heralded for its old world interior (it dates back to 1899) and expensive selection of whiskeys, Irish and otherwise, behind the original bar which is appointed with a wide selection of beer taps, too. A maze of little rooms off the compact original bar and a couple of snugs – it also doubles duty as a leather workshop and it’s also a microbrewery now, with a compact facility located out back in the expansive beer garden area.
O’Flaherty’s is also similarly olde worlde with its brick surround and Tigh Tábhairne Ui Fhlaithbheartaigh is a bit of a trad music mecca, so always promises a cosy, music-filled atmosphere. Other brilliant spots to nip in to include Paddy Bawn Brosnan's, Murphy’s on the Strand and the half-hardware shop, half-pub, Foxy John’s on Main Street.
One thing’s for sure, Reel Dingle Fish is a must-stop after a pub crawl (or at any time of the day, really). Their fish and chips, scampi and other chip shop classics are cooked with such expertise, and the flavour is second-to-none.
Finally, no visit to Dingle is complete without sampling Murphy’s Ice Cream. A now-national institution, this is where it all started by the Murphy brothers, so it’s a rite of passage to make a pilgrimage to this unstoppable beacon of Irish ice cream with its incredible flavours. Try the Dingle Gin, Buttermilk, Brown Bread or Sea Salt flavours, whilst it’s always worth trying their seasonal specials too.
Don’t believe us? Best bet is to talk to a local. They’ll never steer you wrong in this town, where food and drink is king, making it one of the premier foodie destination towns in all of Ireland!