Christmas 2010 in Dingle
The Dingle News archive: January - 2012
28 January 2012
TWO of Dingle's best loved characters joined a high-flying club of sorts this week as Ryanair's in-flight magazine featured Milltown's Timmy and Stevie Kelliher.
The affable brothers feature in an article entitled 'West Coast Story' where renowned travel writer Turtle Bunbury describes a visit to Dingle. A visit to Currans pub, an encounter with the Kelliher brothers and their solution to the issue facing the pub-goer when it comes to drinkdriving, will no doubt endear the brothers to a host of new fans worldwide.
Stevie and Timmy imparted their strategy to Mr Bunbury whose article, which has now been published on Ryanair's website.
"Stevie and Timmy Kelleher… have hit upon a canny solution to the drink-driving conundrum," the author writes. "Even though their farm is less than 3km from Curran's, they know better than to risk driving home after a few - and so they now have two houses - the farmhouse, where they spend most of their days, and a townhouse in Dingle, where they 'rest' on drinking nights."
Aside from Timmy and Stevie's day in the sun, elsewhere the article is extremely complimentary to the Dingle Peninsula, describing the region as a 'cut above the rest'.
Other notable mentions in the article include the author's visit to Jamie Knox's Surfing School in Castlegregory, a drive over the Conor Pass and a night on the tiles in Dingle's pubs, adding that it is the 'craic of the pub life that makes Dingle a cut above'.
That, and Timmy and Stevie.
21 January 2012
It’s been another big week for Dingle as a local family hotel was voted the number one hotel in Ireland by TripAdvisor.com. Castlewood House, situated on the waterfront on the western side of Dingle, has been named the number one hotel in Ireland by TripAdvisor.com. Even more notably, in the website’s listings for the overall top ten hotels in the world, Castlewood House comes in in sixth place. They have also been named second best in Europe. TripAdvisor Travellers' Choice winners are based on millions of valuable reviews and opinions from travellers around the world; the website revealed the list of Ireland's Best Hotels for 2012 last week and the proprietors at Castlewood House, Helen and Brian Heaton, were absolutely delighted. "We are so honoured to be recognised by TripAdvisor as a 2012 Travellers' Choice award-winning hotel. We strive to provide the utmost in service and customer care to our guests and would like to take this opportunity to thank our guests for helping us to receive this award,” said Brian. “This isn’t an assessment by an agency or body, these awards are bestowed according to people’s reviews and experiences and that means a lot to us,” Helen added. According to Brian a high proportion of the guests at Castlewood House hail from North America, the UK, Germany and even Australia, adding that there is approximately a 50-50 split between international and domestic guests.
Castlewood House is a twelve bedroom establishment and their signature breakfast menu includes Eggs Benedict Supreme, Chef’s Omelette, Home-made Pancakes and Dingle Bay Kippers. “While Irish people would probably classify us as a guesthouse, as we have no bar, the US market classify us as a hotel and this is how we are categorised on TripAdvisor,” Helen explained. “We’re very close to Dingle and when people get here they are keen to get settled and get into town as they have heard so much about it!” As if that wasn’t enough in terms of accolades for Dingle this week, another local establishment also made the Top Ten Hotels in Ireland – Heaton’s Guesthouse – which came in at seventh place. Heaton’s Guesthouse is actually located next door to Castlewood House – proprietors Nuala and Cameron are Brian’s parents. Clearly, an eye for excellence runs in the family!
21 January 2012
DINGLE can add another string to its bow this week as the world renowned travel guide Lonely Planet has listed the West Kerry town among its top ten ‘things to see and do in Ireland’. The tenth edition of Lonely Planet’s Ireland guidebook, which was published only last week, lists a visit to Dingle as one of the best experience visitors to Ireland can undertake.
The guide, which rates ‘the pub’ as Ireland’s ‘greatest experience on page 693, lists Dingle alongside Dublin, Connemara, traditional music, Glendalough, Galway City, hiking, Brú na Bóinne and the Rock of Cashel in their top rated things to do and see. The 10th edition of Lonely Planet’s Ireland guide is written by Coordinating Author Fionn Davenport and a team of writers who personally visited thousands of hotels, restaurants, cafes, bars, galleries, museums and more.
Locals were delighted with the news, representatives from the Dingle Business Chamber adding that it was a great boost for the Dingle Peninsula that a travel guide as reputed as Lonely Planet would give the town such a positive rating, especially amid such challenging times. It’s not the first time the area has received international attention; in 2008 TripAdvisor.com listed Dingle in the top twenty destinations in the world to visit and the town’s popularity has seen it continue to feature strongly in the site’s listings ever since.
14 January 2012
on John Street has provided a focal point in Dingle since its establishment in the mid- 1950s however since 2004 the pub has been gained an entire new generation of punters under the stewardship of Kerry Football Star Tommy Griffin and third generation publican Padraic Corcoran. In a town that is famous for its pubs and which at one time boasted a pub for every week of the year, Muiris Dan’s
stood out as a place to enjoy a pint after the Mart, a place to do business in, to get some shopping or to get all the day’s news. Muiris Dan O’Sullivan first ran a pub at the corner of John Street before acquiring Kennedy’s and MacDonald’s further up John Street, establishing a landmark business, which as a farm and feed suppliers, shop and pub, soon became a central part of life in Dingle and West Kerry. Today Muiris Dan’s
pub is a vibrant hub, full to the brim of GAA nostalgia, and with two well-known and well-thought of young characters at its helm, it has engaged an entire new generation. In many ways Muiris Dan’s today embodies why Dingle is so famed for its pubs as it has managed to retain a sense of the past while at the same time providing a place where young people can mix with the town’s old stock, situated at the heart of the action on John Street just beside the Mall Bridge. Padraic Corcoran is the grand-son of Muiris Dan himself, the third generation of publicans in the family, who took over the running of the pub from his uncle Bernard O’Sullivan in 2004. Up until that point the premises had operated mainly as a farm supplies shop with a small bar which was only open during the day. Padraic embarked on the venture of establishing Muiris Dan’s as pub that could hold court with some of the bigger hostelries in the town, with lifelong friend Tommy Griffin who grew up just up the street in Marian Park. As one of Kerry’s celebrated footballers, with five All-Ireland’s under his belt, Tommy spent months collecting photographs and memorabilia and he and Padraic have managed to transform the pub into something of a Mecca for any football or sports fan. Padraic and Tommy officially opened the doors of Muiris Dan’s on December 19 2004 – a year in which Kerry won the All-Ireland and the same day that Lispole won the West Kerry Championship – with no less than Darragh Ó Sé, Dara Ó Cinnéide and Paidi Ó Sé as guests of honour. Since then football fans have beat a path to its door and both Tommy and Padraic have taken great time in sourcing Dingle GAA, Kerry GAA and other sporting memorabilia, echoing the legacy established by Padraic's uncle Bernard who is himself an All-Ireland winner, having played with the legendary Kerry team of 1981. Reflecting on the seven years since the launch of, Padraic and Tommy have seen many changes. “The pub business today is a challenging business what with emigration and drink-driving laws,” said Tommy, “but we are delighted to have amassed some very loyal patrons who have supported us and continue to support us, so we are very grateful for that.” “It was important to us also that we acknowledged the past as Muiris Dan’s has played a special part in Dingle’s history,” Padraic added, taking a moment to look at the painting of his grandfather that has pride of place behind the bar. In addressing the economic challenges a country-town pub faces in 2011, Tommy and Padraic expanded their business this year. As well as now operating one of the town’s most popular nite-spots, they now also offer accommodation and the feedback has been very positive.“People are now looking for comfortable, clean and affordable accommodation and that’s what we have developed here,” Tommy explained. “Muiris Dan’s is located right in the centre of town on John Street just beside the Mall Bridge – we just recently celebrated New Year's, the countdown which took place just outside our front door and Wren’s Day was another big occasion as the John Street/Sráid Eoin Wren were out in force on our street.”“We don’t offer breakfast but that isn’t a problem as we have found that people just want somewhere comfortable and affordable to enjoy a good night’s sleep while at the same time being close to the action.” “We are very lucky as we are right in the middle of Dingle town and we have free private parking off the street – I suppose we have tried to put together somewhere we would like to stay ourselves and we are happy with the way things are going so far.” Tommy and Padraic are happy to be carrying on the tradition of Muiris Dan's in John Street, while at the same time, looking towards the future. “It just came together at the right time and while it is a challenging business to be involved it is something we both love – the craic and the banter in Dingle is priceless, the characters you encounter on a daily basis are just brilliant, you wouldn’t hear the likes of it anywhere else and that is what keeps us going,” said Padraic. Muiris Dan’s, Sráid Eoin (John Street), Dingle can be contacted on 086-078 5575 or 087-917 7413 or check out their website HERE.
07 January 2012
2012 is shaping up to be a big year for a Dingle-based band whose edgy acoustic rock, classical piano and polished pop sound have earned them major kudos on the national music scene.
Walking on Cars, who are tipped for big things by those in the know, had a very successful year in 2011, selling out a string of live gigs, not to mention their live performances alongside the likes of The Coronas, O Emperor and rock legends Whipping Boy.
The West Kerry five-piece comprises of Patrick Sheehy on vocals and rhythm guitar, Sorcha Durham on piano, Paul Flannery on bass guitar, Evan Hadnett on drums and Tom Kavanagh on lead guitar and backing vocals.
The band got together in the Summer of 2010 when they began writing their songs together in a friend’s caravan.
They are currently signed to Coal Records and their debut EP is due out in mid-2012. According to the band's management, Triona Duignan of BeoBinn and James Mahon of Coal Records, music for the new EP is currently being reviewed for inclusion by a number of high profile producers based in Ireland, Finland and Sweden.
“2012 will see the release of two singles from their debut EP and they are looking to releasing their first album before next Christmas,” Triona Duignan told us this week.
“We started out by recording a demo in a caravan in Ventry,” lead guitarist Tom Kavanagh added, who also used to play tin-whistle with the Quay Wren.
“We had some great gigs last year, including one in France which was great. We had a house back west and over the past three months we have been writing and recording.”
“Our sound is modern pop/rock with very distinctive lead vocals - it's a big sound with great emphasis on melodies and harmonies . We think our sound is going to be the soundtrack to 2012 so be prepared!”
Walking on Cars also featured in a recent TG4 documentary and the buzz surrounding these young musicians is palpable.
Anyone who would like to get a flavour of what Walking on Cars are all about can do so this Saturday January 7 as they are set to play the Marina Inn in Dingle. “It’s going to be epic!” Tom added. Check out Walking on Cars HERE
01 January 2012
The boom was back in Dingle on December 31 as thousands descended on West Kerry to herald the arrival of 2012 and partake in the annual New Year’s Eve celebrations.
The buzz in town was palpable in the days preceding the festivities as people arrived in town in advance of the celebrations which got underway at the Dingle Maria at 10pm last Saturday with a stunning fireworks display, funded by local businesses.
Guesthouses, B&Bs and Hotels reported full houses and a bed in Dingle was at a premium with the old adage, ‘no room at the Inn’ a common complaint, providing a massive, and much needed, economic injection.
As hundreds lined along the pier and marina a fireworks display, which has become an annual event since 2000, illuminated the night sky. The event is organised at 10pm so families can attend and this was very much in evidence with the majority of those in attendance comprising of children and their families.
In fact Dingle had a major boast this year with regards to the fireworks, as according to the Dingle Business Chamber who facilitate and organise the event, the display was a whole two minutes longer than the fireworks display in Sydney, Australia!
“The New Year’s Eve Fireworks Display was one of the most colourful in its 13 years history and was much appreciated by locals and visitors alike,” said Risteard Mac Liam of the Dingle Business Chamber.
With the cockles of even the coldest of hearts warmed, the night progressed as revellers proceeded to congregate in Dingle.
As 11.30 approached, the Dingle Fife and Drum band readied themselves in O’Flaherty’s before taking to the streets. As the band followed a route from Bridge Street, to Green Street and on towards Main Street, the crowds following them swelled before reaching the Mall Bridge where a giant digital countdown (created by local man Diarmuid Ó Conachuir) was projected on the gable of a house.
There thousands counted down the seconds to 2012 before erupting in a wave of joyous celebration marking the arrival of a new year, full of promise and hope.
There had been some mild trepidation by some locals with the knowledge that many of bus companies had been scheduled to deliver young party-goers to Dingle for the night however a good feeling was generally in evidence with little incidences reported.
“New Year’s Eve was a huge success,” said publican Danno O’Keeffe. “There was a great atmosphere and a huge crowd in town – outside of the Dingle Races weekend; it is certainly the biggest weekend of the year from an economic standpoint.”
“Overall Dingle Business Chamber was very happy with the huge number of visitors in the area over the holiday period and we are already planning for their various activities in 2012,” added Risteard Mac Liam.
“The Dingle Fife and Drum Band also deserve special praise for their major voluntary contributions to the success of the New Year’s Eve celebrations in Corca Dhuibhne.” Pictured: Main Street on New Year's Eve (photo by Jon Wright)