10 delightful Dingle businesses to watch

Barry Walsh casts his expert eye on 10 businesses from the Kerry town of Dingle who are pushing the boundaries of taste and creativity.

Perched on the Dingle peninsula, the town of Dingle has so much going on. The town is a magnet for creativity and a draw for lovers of music, food and art.

A small port town, it has a variety of artisan businesses and is the location for events that are reaching global renown including the Other Voices music event, the Dingle Animation Festival which boasts attendees from Hollywood and further afield and the Blas nah Eireann Irish food quality awards every year.

The Dingle peninsula is known for its rugged scenery and natural beauty.

With a population of more than 2,000 people, Dingle has amazing businesses that are thriving. Here are 10 to watch:

Animation Dingle

Man speaking at event.

Animation Dingle CEO and co-founder Maurice Galway

The Dingle Animation Festival stands as a vibrant celebration of the artistry and innovation within the world of animation. Held annually in Dingle, this festival attracts animation students, industry professionals from around the globe.

The event showcases a diverse array of animated films, 135 films from 17 countries. Through screenings, panel discussions, and workshops, attendees can explore the creative process behind these captivating works and gain insights into the evolving landscape of animation.

The festival offers a welcoming environment where animators can come together to share their love for the art form. Whether you’re a seasoned animator, a student aspiring to enter the industry, there’s something for you at the Dingle Animation Festival.

Beyond the screenings and workshops, the festival also serves as a platform for networking and collaboration within the animation community. Industry professionals have the opportunity to connect with emerging talent, while aspiring animators can seek mentorship and guidance from seasoned veterans. It remains a beacon of creativity and inspiration within the animation world, showcasing the limitless possibilities of this dynamic art form while nurturing the next generation of storytellers and innovators.

You can find out more about the festival on the ThinkBusiness Podcast episode here

Bean in Dingle

Cup of coffee.

From the moment you step through the door of this café, you’re greeted with the inviting aroma of freshly brewed coffee and homemade pastries. The café’s rustic décor and friendly staff add to its cosy atmosphere, making it the perfect spot to relax and unwind.

The menu at the Bean Café features a tempting menu of breakfast and lunch options, with an emphasis on hearty, wholesome dishes that celebrate the best of Irish cuisine. Serving for breakfast includes sausage rolls, porridge and cinnamon rolls and more, along with homemade cakes and pastries. For lunch they have sandwiches and soup. All food is made by them using local suppliers.

In addition to its delicious food and drinks, the Bean Café also prides itself on its commitment to sustainability and community. The café sources its ingredients from local farmers and producers whenever possible, supporting the local economy and reducing its carbon footprint. For example, the café roasts their coffee just miles outside of Dingle. With its welcoming atmosphere, delicious food, and dedication to sustainability, the Bean Café has earned its place as a beloved culinary destination in the heart of Dingle.

Dingle Cookery School

Dingle Cookery School website, showing range of dishes.

Immerse yourself in the flavours of Ireland at the Dingle Cookery School, a culinary gem nestled in the picturesque town of Dingle. Led by Chef Mark Murphy, whose expertise and passion for Irish cuisine are renowned, this school offers an authentic and enriching experience for food enthusiasts of all levels.

Mark’s dedication to promoting local businesses shines through in every aspect of the school’s offerings. From sourcing the freshest ingredients from nearby producers to showcasing traditional Irish recipes, the Dingle Cookery School celebrates the rich culinary heritage of the region.

Whether you’re a novice cook eager to learn the basics or a seasoned foodie looking to refine your skills, the school’s diverse range of classes caters to all tastes and interests. From seafood workshops to baking sessions with traditional recipes, each class promises hands-on learning and plenty of delicious creations to enjoy.

More than just a cooking school, this establishment fosters a sense of community, bringing together locals and visitors alike to share in the joys of good food and camaraderie. A visit to the Dingle Cookery School is not just a culinary experience—it’s an opportunity to support local businesses and immerse yourself in the vibrant culture of Dingle

Dingle Crystal

Man holding crystal ball in Dingle.

Founded in 1981 by master glasscutter Sean Daly, Dingle Crystal epitomises craftsmanship and elegance in Dingle. The workshop overlooks Dingle’s bustling streets, where skilled artisans meticulously transform raw crystal using traditional techniques. The result is exquisite hand-cut crystal pieces that radiate brilliance and sophistication, inviting visitors to marvel at the mesmerising display in the showroom. Each item, from delicate vases to intricate bowls, reflects a commitment to quality and a dedication to preserving Irish crystal-making traditions, carrying on Sean Daly’s legacy with his son, Keith, ensuring the workshop’s continued excellence.

Dingle Crystal is not only its unparalleled craftsmanship but also its dedication to sharing the art of glass cutting with visitors. Guided tours offer firsthand glimpses into the intricate process, allowing guests to appreciate the skill and precision behind each masterpiece. As a cherished destination for collectors and connoisseurs alike, Dingle Crystal remains a beacon of excellence in the world of crystal craftsmanship.

Dingle Distillery

Dingle Distillery website.

The Dingle Whiskey Distillery was founded by Oliver Hughes, Liam LaHart, and Peter Mosley Their journey from beer enthusiasts to whiskey connoisseurs led them to establish an artisan distillery, challenging the dominance of major whiskey brands. In 2012 amid Ireland’s economic recovery, the distillery began its operations in Dingle, County Kerry.

They have a handcrafted approach to distilling their products  using distinctive copper pot stills, ensuring the production of flavorful spirits. The distillery’s innovative approach marks the beginning of a revolution in Irish whiskey-making, with hopes for a bright future in the industry. Dingle Whiskey Distillery’s independence is reinforced by its Founding Fathers program, where investors become custodians of individual casks, allowing them to decide the whiskey’s fate—whether to bottle, mature further, or sell back to the distillery. Each bottle bears the owner’s name, emphasising the personal connection between the distillery and its patrons. The release of 500 bottles per batch pays homage to the 500 Founding Fathers, underscoring their pivotal role in the distillery’s journey.

They have also just launched another cask programme called Descendants 2024 (there were other Descendants programmes prior to this one, but this is the most recent!), where 50 casks of different types are available for purchase – info on this can be found on our website if you’d want to include that.

Dingle Dolphin Tours

Dingle Dolphin Tours logo.

Dingle Dolphin Boat Tours is the longest operating boat tour company in Dingle and has been taking visitors out to see the beauty of the Dingle Peninsula and ocean wildlife since 1987. 

While the most charismatic resident dolphin, Fungie, may not be there anymore, he made Dingle Bay his home since the early 1980s, Fungie become a beloved local icon and a must-see attraction for tourists visiting the area. Dingle Dolphin Boat Tours decided to carry on and created new tours to continue the legacy Fungie created for us in Dingle. On their website they say “We are forever grateful to him and will always know the ‘Dingle Dolphin’ in Dingle Dolphin Boat Tours only refers to him.”

Led by experienced skippers and marine biologists, Dingle Dolphin Boat Tours offer more than just dolphin sightings. Each excursion provides a fascinating educational experience, with knowledgeable guides sharing insights into the behaviour, habitat, and conservation of dolphins and other marine species that call Dingle Bay home.

The tours take visitors on a scenic journey along the rugged coastline, where they can admire dramatic cliffs, hidden coves, and pristine beaches. Along the way, guests may also encounter a variety of other marine life, including seals, seabirds, and even occasional sightings of whales.

Dingle Dolphin Tours caters to visitors of all ages and interests, with options for private charters, group tours, and specialised photography expeditions. Whether you’re a nature enthusiast, a wildlife lover, or simply seeking a unique and memorable experience, a trip with Dingle Dolphin Tours promises an adventure you’ll never forget.

Holden Leathergoods

Holden Leathergoods logo.

Founded by the Holden family Conor Holden in 1989, it quickly gained local acclaim as a cherished establishment in Dingle, attracting visitors seeking handmade leather goods. The workshop emanates old-world charm, inviting patrons to discover its craftsmanship. Here, tradition converges with innovation as skilled artisans meticulously craft each piece using time-honoured techniques, reflecting a dedication to quality. What distinguishes Holden Leathergoods is not only their commitment to craftsmanship but also their strong ties to the local community.

As a family-owned business, they prioritise supporting local suppliers and artisans, ensuring ethical sourcing and sustainability. Beyond their storefront, Holdens Leathergoods offers visitors an authentic Irish experience with guided tours and demonstrations, showcasing the rich tradition of Irish craftsmanship. As they continue to flourish in Dingle, they serve as a testament to the enduring appeal of artisanal craftsmanship and the timeless allure of handmade leather goods, highlighting the value of tradition, quality, and personalised care in an age of mass production.

The Fish Box Dingle

Man and two women outside Fish Box restaurant in Dingle.

Dingle’s Fish Box, aka Flannery’s Seafood Bar, provides an authentic dining experience infused with the charm and hospitality of coastal Ireland. Visitors can savour their meals in the restaurant or al fresco, basking in the salty breeze and soaking in the panoramic views of Dingle Bay.

The Green Street Dingle restaurant was awarded the Best Seafood Restaurant Award at the La Chef Ireland Awards in recognition of the boat-to-plate approach that has been hugely successful for the Flannery family.

“My mother was a chef and my father was a fisherman. Myself and my brother Patrick saw a market opening,” said Michael Flannery, who co-founded The Fish Box in 2018 with his brother Patrick in an article in ThinkBusiness. His mum Deirdre is head chef and his sister Eimear also works in the restaurant. Almost the entire menu comes from the day’s catch from the family’s own trawler which docks in Dingle.

“With the trawler we catch a lot of the fish ourselves. We just thought that by combining this with local bread, local beer and local vegetables we would be able to create really nice food at a really nice price and be able to have our food tell a story for us.”

Murphy’s Ice Cream

Ice cream and store front of Murphy's ice cream in Dingle.

Established in 2000 by Kieran and Sean Murphy, brothers with a passion for artisanal desserts, Murphy’s Ice Cream has become a beloved landmark, drawing locals and tourists alike with its unique flavours and commitment to quality.

What sets Murphy’s Ice Cream apart is its dedication to using only the finest ingredients, many of which are sourced locally from the surrounding area. From the rich, creamy milk sourced from Kerry cows grazing on lush Irish pastures to the ripest fruits picked from nearby farms, each scoop of Murphy’s Ice Cream is a celebration of Ireland’s natural bounty.

The flavours on offer at Murphy’s Ice Cream are a testament to the creativity and ingenuity of its founders. While classics are always available, it’s the more adventurous offerings that truly capture the imagination. Think Dingle Sea Salt, a flavour infused with salt harvested from the nearby Atlantic Ocean, or Brown Bread, a nod to Ireland’s culinary heritage.

Beyond its delicious ice cream, Murphy’s has also earned a reputation for its warm, welcoming atmosphere. Whether you’re enjoying a cone while strolling along Dingle’s charming streets or relaxing with a sundae in the cosy parlour, a visit to Murphy’s Ice Cream shops is a must when visiting Dingle

West Kerry Brewing

Selection of bottled beers from West Kerry Brewing.

Founded in 2008 by Adrienne Heslin and Paul O’Connor, the microbrewery has garnered acclaim not only locally in County Kerry but also across Ireland and beyond. What distinguishes West Kerry Brewing is its dedication to using locally sourced, premium ingredients that capture the essence of the surrounding landscape. Nestled in the stunning scenery of the Dingle Peninsula, the brewery draws inspiration from its environment, infusing its beers with a distinct sense of place, from the pure waters of nearby streams to the rich soils of the region.

The brewery’s flagship beers include the celebrated Cúl Dorcha stout, renowned for its velvety texture and notes of dark chocolate and roasted coffee, along with offerings like the Carraig Dubh porter, Beal Bán pale ale, and Tír Dhá Ghlas saison, each showcasing unique flavours and characteristics. Additionally, West Kerry Brewing continuously explores new brewing techniques and ingredients, producing seasonal and limited-edition brews to excite both locals and visitors.

Beyond its brewing endeavours, the brewery fosters community engagement by hosting tours, tastings, and events that celebrate the cultural richness of the region. A visit to West Kerry Brewing promises an unforgettable experience, where every sip reflects the craftsmanship, passion, and natural beauty of Ireland’s west coast.

Main image at top: Mark Lawson on Unsplash

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Barry Walsh
Barry Walsh is a journalist specialising in business, diversity and inclusion and is also a content marketing specialist.



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