Dingle - An Daingean
Dingle Peninsula protrudes 10 miles wide from the southeast of the island of Ireland. It runs 40 miles from Tralee to Slea Head, the point in Europe that is closest to North America. Approx. 60km from the tourism town of Killarney
Its highest peak is Mount Brandon, which, at 3,300 feet, is the country’s second tallest mountain. You are advised to give yourself about four hours to travel the 30-mile road circuit of the peninsula by car, as you will want to stop off at many of its beauty spots.
Once described by the National Geographic Traveler as “the most beautiful place on earth”, the Dingle Peninsula is a place of intense allure, with a plethora of green landscapes, rocky hills, long sandy beaches and staggering cliff edges. The warm Gulf Stream reaches the peninsula, giving has a wonderful mixture of sometimes rare and unusual flora and fauna.
Dingle is one of Ireland’s Government-protected Irish (Gaelic)-speaking areas, called “Gaeltachts”. Dingle’s Irish name is Daingean Uí Chúis which, to fit on signposts, is generally abbreviated to An Daingean.
Many of the towns and villages in the region have Irish names too and, as many maps use the anglicised versions of these names, visitors are advised to purchase maps that give both the Irish and English versions of all placenames.
The area is also very popular with cyclists. Some of the most noteworthy stops on the Peninsula tour include the village of Inch, which has a glorious beach, the now uninhabited Blasket Islands, and the Gaelic-speaking Ballydavid and Ballyferriter.
The region is littered with with relics from both the Stone Age and Bronze Age and, more recently, the Ecclesiastical period, when Ireland was known as the “land of Saints and Scholars”, due to its high number of monasteries and religious schools.
The Dingle Peninsula is also associated with the film industry. Ryan’s Daughter was filmed here, as were parts of Far and Away, which starred Tom Cruise.