While I do not think it is as dangerous as some of the other reviews, you DO have to watch out for sheep in the road (right around that next corner!) so drive slowly and you should be fine. Got a pic of the map before starting out----also had a very nice lunch in Dingle proper at a local pub.
Do drive the winding road around the Penninsula that goes up and down the mountain. It is breath-taking. As always, the road are EXTREMELY narrow which is nerve wracking to say the least when driving on the edge of a mountain with only water below you! Sends shivers up my spine just thinking about it. It is worth it though. There is not much traffic and whenever another car around the bend, we just pulled over into the bushes if need be. Praise the good Lord, we did not encounter any tour buses on these roads.
Look for the 'sleeping giant' - an island that you can see from one of the mountain roads that looks almost exactly like a sleeping giant. There are a number of islands to see. Near the islands, you will also encounter a very large and very white crusifix facing the setting sun and the islands. It is amazing!
On Slea Head Drive, look for the Bee Hive Huts. The cost of admission is 3 euros and then you have to hike a bit up the hill to them but they are absolutely fascinating and the scenery is breath-taking.
There is also a fort on the same road (I think) that is situated on the edge of a mountain as are a lot of things in Ireland. I imagine it was for protection. It is also breath-taking as the water is just below.
Also look for the famine huts on the same road. Interesting but get there early as it closes early in the day.
Along the drive, you will find a relatively new restaurant (just opened in June 2009) that is actually very good. We stopped in when looking for the fort and had some coffee and dessert.
The clear and clean Atlantic seas wash against the rugged coastline of Ireland providing the perfect arena for watersports, angling, and sailing. Check out http://www.dodingle.com for loads of holiday activities.
If you have only one day in this part of Ireland, I would definately recommend the Dingle Peninsula over the Ring of Kerry. The roads are not nearly as crowded and the views are just as good, if not better in some areas. The peninsula also has plenty of things to see and places to stop. We actually had worse weather for this drive then the Ring, and still enjoyed it more.
Hop on a bike and get ready to push down on the peddles a few hundred times. If you have the will bike the entire Dingle Peninsula. It took me about 4 hours to do, and I was exhausted when I got back, but I would recommend it to anyone who likes scenic coastal biking.
Make sure to leave yourself some extra time to be able to see the bee hive huts and some of the old church building along the way.
**Disclaimer: cars will whiz by you only inches from your handle bars. At times you may think you are going to die, don't worry everyone has the same feeling and from talking to locally it seems that people are rarely clipped.
Pack a lunch at the local grocery store (if you like egg salad pack it, the Irish make great egg salad) and hike out to the mouth of the bay. It is only a 1 mile hike out of town and is almost totally flat. After you get to the mouth of the bay I recommend you hike up to the lighthouse on your left. Not far at all. From the take a look around, snap some photos, and hike as far down the coast as you can. I personally recommend you hike about 3 miles down the coast (if you up for it). You will gain some elevation in the first mile and get some great views off the cliffs. From there it is peaceful, beautiful exercise.
Eat your lunch on top of one of the cliffs on the way back and see if you can find the dolphin swimming out in the ocean.
Many people like to bike around the Dingle Peninsula. I hear it's wonderful, but since we didn't do it, I won't write about what it's like. Instead, we took a fairly long (about 6 miles round trip) walk to the village of Ventry (or Ceann Trá in Irish). You will be treated to great views the entire way as you transition from Dingle harbor to Ventry Harbor.
Simply follow the main road west out of town and follow the signs to Ceann Trá. You will turn left at a roundabout and cross a bridge shortly after you leave town. Be sure to wear highly visible clothing and be alert for cars, as the road is quite narrow in places. You'll be rewarded with excellent views and a peek into the Irish-Language-Only culture in Ceann Trá.
A fun thing to do, especially if you're jet-lagged (as we were), is to take a walk along Dingle Harbor. You can't go wrong traveling either way -- past Ventry Manor to Eask Tower, or to the Lighthouse. We chose to do the latter. Despite the heavy rain when we did it, the views were magnificent. Supposedly, it's also a way to see Fungi the Dolphin for free, but it was too stormy for us to tell dolphin splashes from whitecaps. Be sure to bring Gore-Tex coats and good boots, as rain can start at any time, and the trail is likely to be muddy.
From the main road, turn right just past Bambury's Guesthouse and just before the town limits. Continue past Skellig's Hotel and on to the Coast Guard Station. Turn left. You should be where Sara is standing in the photo above. Walk past the wall and continue along the path to the tower, and on to the lighthouse. Give our regards to the cows and sheep you encounter along the way. Enjoy!
When you are lucky, you may get into a "Dingle-trafic-jam" with local sheep - it will even make a great picture, in case that you are able to find a perfect place to stand with your camera.
Simply try to be quicker in finding a great place to take the picture, than I did ! I simply was 2 minutes too late to climb up one of these side-walls, but I was lucky anyway somehow...
Believe me, if you want to arrange such a picture by waiting at a crossing for some sheep, it SIMPLY WILL NOT WORK, it might be the best to arrange such a picture with the help of the local farmers, who will of course expect some tip !
Not far from Gallarus Oratory you may see Kilmalkedar ( Cill Maolcheadair ) with its small graveyard and a famous "Ogham-stone" and this famous early celtic cross.
The celtic cross on the left was made of 1 piece of stone and the ogham-stone on the right of my picture is that small needle-like stone, that even has a small hole drilled in on the top. Such ogham-stones were taken as a calender maybe, but scientists are not really sure about it. Another ogham stone of Kilmalkedar cemetery might have been used as a callender, BUT nobody knows for sure - see my last picture.
This old stone-age village is to be found not far from Gallarus Oratory . It consists of several houses, also called clochans . These buildings are quite usual in that area and they were built by heaping up stones and rocks of all sizes, forming a flat and narrow house, only the roofs are missing today, obviously they had roofs made of straw.
Nowadays there is a fence around these buildings, BUT of course you may climb over it and take a closer look at this great remains !
Dunbeg Fort ( An Dun Beag ) is the best-preserved of the Irish Forts dating back to the Iron-time. Dunbeg Fort ( An Dun Beag ) is about 6 km west of Dingle-town, when you drive on road R559 ( the Slea Head Drive).
On my picture you may see one of the small doors leading from one of the rooms into another, the stones are just heaped upon each other, but in a perfect and absolutely wind-proof way. At some places these walls are 1 meter thick.