DETAILS: Dingle Peninsula

Sunday, May 11, 2008

GETTING THERE: I flew to Dublin, rented a car and drove 220 miles or so across Ireland in eight hours. Aer Lingus flies nonstop to Dublin from Dulles; an alternative is to fly into Shannon International Airport near Limerick and drive about 110 miles to Dingle town. Spring fares to Dublin are about $750 round trip, including taxes. To Shannon, expect to pay about $70 more.

WHEN TO GO: On the Dingle Peninsula, the tourist season goes from mid-March to late October, with peak season running June through August. In the offseason, many establishments close down or reduce hours.

WHERE TO STAY: We enjoyed the Milestone House B&B (011-353-66-915-1831, http://www.iol.ie/milstone/index.html), on the west edge of Dingle town. A room for two costs about $125 a night and includes a full breakfast featuring homemade Irish soda bread. Other lodging options -- B&Bs, hotels, farmhouses, country houses, etc. -- are listed at http://www.dingle-peninsula.ie/accom.html.

WHERE TO EAT: At Out of the Blue, a seafood restaurant on the waterfront, the creamy chowder is almost a meal in itself. The James G. Ashe's Bar is a refined pub on Main Street where the Guinness-and-beef stew is the genuine article. Entrees at both eateries run $25 to $35, but if you want to save money, order hefty appetizers, which cost $10 to $15.

WHAT TO DO: Dingle -- Aun Daingaen in Gaelic on road signs -- is a colorful port village teeming with history, culture and pubs. Three taverns of note are Foxy John's, a combo drinking/hardware/bike rental establishment; Dick Mack's, whose front-door sign reads, "Where's Dick Mack's? Opposite the church. Where's the church? Opposite Dick Mack's"; and the Small Bridge, known for live traditional Irish music.

Maritime attractions include the Dingle Oceanworld Aquarium (011-353-66-91-52111, http://www.dingle-oceanworld.ie; admission about $18.50) on the waterfront, and boat tours, which often include sightings of Fungie, the beloved bottlenose dolphin that has been living in Dingle harbor for more than 20 years. For other historical, cultural, leisurely and outdoors attractions on the peninsula, check Dodingle.com ( http://www.dodingle.com).

INFORMATION: Dingle Peninsula Tourism,011-353-66-915-1188, http://www.dingle-peninsula.ie; Irish Tourist Board, 800-223-6470, http://www.discoverireland.com/us

-- B.O.


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