Our Ireland family vacation continued with a ride from Adare to Dingle, which was a certified adventure, driving down curvy, rugged roads past sheep and cows. Dingle neighbors the Ring of Kerry, where we were heading next to stay with friends. We were driving to the west coast of Ireland, and I had no idea that I was about to experience such raw, rugged beauty. In Dingle, the sea was so blue, the grass so green. As we made our way, driving onto the peninsula and into the small town filled with painted shops and pubs, a harbor with sailing boats and a famous dolphin, I was ready to take in the dynamic setting with a pint of Guinness. When we pulled into our hotel, the Dingle Skellig Hotel & Peninsula Spa, we were exhausted from the journey and ready to take it all in.
Our stay at this special hotel was the perfect place to rest our heads on our second night in Ireland. Located right on the Dingle Bay, it’s contemporary and clean, the rooms are spacious, the views are spectacular and there are cows outside your window. It’s quintessential Irish with a lovely staff and traditional music at the bar come nighttime. But best of all, the hotel is extremely family-friendly. From the minute we stepped in, my kids were thrilled to be offered options such as – a game room with Wii and XBox, a nice-sized swimming pool and Jacuzzi, the Funghi Kid’s Club (free of charge) and enough space in our room to spread out and play. Our bed was so large that my daughter was able to crawl in between us when she couldn’t sleep. The rooms are tastefully decorated and very cozy, making us feel quite at home. The staff neatly set up two single beds in the corner of the room for my kids and after a long day and night of enjoying the hotel, they passed out. The room rate comes with a full Irish breakfast, and there was something for all of us to eat, from cereal to cheese to capers to poached eggs and pancakes.
During our one night at the hotel, we treated ourselves to dinner at the hotel’s “posh” restaurant, the Coastguard, where they also happen to serve breakfast. It’s a beautiful room facing the water and once again, the kids were treated royally, with a 9 Euro 3-course meal. Being in Dingle, my husband and I felt compelled to order fish freshly caught by local fisherman, and our salmon and trout dishes were superb.
After a morning hike with the kids on the Bay passing by ruins and old farmhouses, my husband and I treated ourselves to a bit of R&R. Having just come from America a few days prior, it was time to relax in the hotel’s professional spa. I had a nail treatment and he had a massage. We both loved being pampered at the start of our vacation, and more importantly, it gave me a chance to spend time with a local Irish girl. The beautician had grown up in Dingle and never left. She told me Irish stories, folktales and myths. Then my husband and I reconnected at the end of our experiences and spent time in the outside Jacuzzi. Had we had a glass of champagne, it would have been perfect! But it was still perfection and an experience I won’t forget anytime soon – relaxing and dreaming about Ireland in a jacuzzi overlooking Dingle Bay. The spa offers all kinds of treatments, from facials to massages to body treatments and I can’t recommend it enough.
After our stay (it was hard for us all to leave), we spent time walking around the quaint village in the center of town. We had lunch and spoke to the cafe’s owner who was very forthcoming about her life, reconfirming my feeling that Irish folk are just lovely, and then we wandered around the shops. A creek runs through the center of town and it’s simply charming. We bought snow mobiles, painted seashells and books for the kids and then headed to the Ring of Kerry to see our friends.
Stay tuned for more on how I feel about staying with friends when traveling and about that visit in my next chapter on our Irish Family Vacation.
Disclosure: The Dingle Skellig Hotel invited me to their hotel as their guest, but I covered my own dinner and other miscellaneous expenses. As usual, all opinions are my own.