The other Dingle for 'Other Voices'
Ahead of this year's recording of Other Voices in Dingle, Tony Clayton-Lea shares his hidden gems for the Kerry town, plus some locals give their insider tips
BEST PLACES TO STAY
The beautifully decorated Lantern Townhouse (Main Street; lanterntownhouse.com) is definitely one of the classiest boutique townhouses I’ve ever stayed in. Breakfasts here are exceptional.
Other equally good places to rest the head include Benner’s Hotel (Main Street; dinglebenners.com), which is, effectively, Other Voices central.
Dingle Lodge (John Street; southboundholidaycottages.com) is perfect for a group or family booking, as it sleeps 10 in five bedrooms (three of which are en-suite, with shower), and has a large living room area, too.
BEST FOR FOOD
Breakfast is usually taken care of by your hosts, and depending on what time you shake the sleep out of your eyes, lunch might not even be an option. That said, the best lunches can be obtained at quite a few places around town. My favourites include Goat Street Café (Main Street; thegoatstreetcafe.com), which has a relaxed atmosphere and perfectly cooked informal food. By far the quirkiest cafe is Cul Gairdín (Main Street; no website), where the vegetarian, vegan, wholefood is stunning. We can’t think of another restaurant that does soups or smoothies any better. Another firm favourite for lunch is Adam’s (Main Street; no website), which is snug/nook/cranny heaven, and a genuine respite from walking the legs off yourself. Dinner? Well, if this is about favourites, then it has to be seafood restaurant Doyle’s (John Street; doylesofdingle.ie), which is warm in welcome and atmosphere, and delivers the best fish stew in town, in my opinion.
BEST FOR DRINK
Bars and pubs form the primary meetings points throughout the day and evening for the Other Voices community, and Dingle has enough of them (more than 50) for casual visitor and connoisseur alike.
The town has some of the most brilliantly quirky pubs you’ll ever step into. Possibly my all-time favourite is Dick Mack’s (Green Street), which, while quite likely the pub that tourists and visitors feel they have to see in Dingle, still retains a level of uniqueness that marks it out from any other. Close second is Foxy John’s (Main Street), which is part pub, part hardware shop. Coming up a very close third is Curran’s (Main Street). Lonely Planet might not like it (“Don’t expect an exuberant welcome from the flinty-eyed locals”), but don’t mind them – they’re wrong.
BEST THINGS TO DO AND SEE
Standing on farmland on the Dingle Peninsula, and dating from – depending on whatever reference you read, the sixth, seventh, eighth, ninth or 12th century – the Gallarus Oratory is a fine example of a Christian place of worship. It’s totally waterproof due to its dry-stone construction.