Last Stop Before Brooklyn
The westernmost point in Europe juts out fiercely and dramatically into the Atlantic; “next parish, America” as the saying goes. The lilt of Irish Gaelic is still heard here, and Celtic monuments to ancient Christianity still litter the rugged and spectacularly scenic coastline. The windswept Dingle Peninsula is 30 miles long and from 5 to 12 miles across, providing hikers, cyclists, and motorists with a vast and visually complex expanse of water and shore. From here you can see the seven Blasket Islands—evacuated in 1953 and uninhabited since, they once gave rise to a unique body of literature and today make for a mysterious, near-mystical destination when the sea is not too rough.
Dingle is the prettiest town in all of County Kerry, still reliving its moment when, in 1969, Robert Mitchum (and a sizable Hollywood contingent) arrived to film Ryans Daughter. In the cheerily painted town is a collection of pottery shops, alternative bookstores, and the country’s highest pub-per-person ratio, plus the family-run Doyle’s Seafood Bar, famous the world over for its straightforward cooking based on lobster and fresh fish served with minimal ceremony.
When Doyle’s opened thirty years ago, John Doyle would go down to the small port every day to cull from the local fishermen’s daily catch; now the fishermen come to Doyle’s. New owners have changed little. Doyle’s signature mille-feuille of warm oysters with Guinness sauce is still the draw, as is the selection of deliberately understated seafood that relies upon quality and freshness for its success. This homey bar/restaurant with flagstone floors and eight simple guest rooms in the town house next door has helped attract attention to Dingle as a culinary outpost—the other reason to visit this remarkable corner of Ireland, last stop before Brooklyn.