Discover the Stunning Dingle Peninsula
The Dingle Peninsula stretches out into the wild Atlantic Ocean with the historic fishing port of Dingle on the edge of the sheltered Dingle Bay. Dingle was a major port in the past and magnate for smugglers. In 1969, Dingle was the location for the film 'Ryans Daughter.'
Dingle is the most historical of the settlements on the scenic Dingle Peninsula. It is a welcoming, friendly small town on an attractive circular bay and within easy distance of a clutch of other fascinating places to explore.
The town is an inviting jumble of quaint streets with craft shops, restaurants, pubs, an Aquarium, the largest in Ireland, and home to Sand Tiger Sharks, Penguins, and a host of different fish species. Music is important to Dingle, and, especially in the summer months, the sound of Irish music is all-pervading. The Dingle Peninsula features on our customisable Classic Tour of Ireland itinerary.
Beautiful Beaches and Ireland's Highest Drive
A brief history of Dingle region
The Anglo-Norman invasion of Ireland occurred over the late 12th century. After the Norman take-over of the town, it grew into a busy trading port handling wool, fish, meat, and butter. By 1257 it had become sufficiently prosperous to come to King Henry III notice, who imposed a tax on the town's exports.
Further evidence of the town's economic success appeared in the form of smart merchants' houses. By the 16th century, Dingle had become one of the largest ports in Ireland and wine its primary trade. In 1569, it achieved a listing as one of only fifteen towns given a monopoly on importing wine.
Dingle suffered from hostile action on the Dingle Peninsula during the Second Desmond Rebellion in 1580. (The Rebellion was a bloody action led by the Fitzmaurice/Fitzgerald Dynasty against English rule). Queen Elizabeth I, at the town's request, granted a charter allowing defensive walls built, traces of which still exist today.
The Linen Trade
Dingle continued to suffer, caught up in the nine-year war (1593-1603) and again in the Three Kingdoms' Wars (1639-1653), both related to English or British rule and Governance. Recovery started by Robert Fitzgerald, who imported flax seed leading to the establishment by 1755 of a highly successful linen trading operation.
However, competition from English cotton mills was a severe blow, and by 1837, trade-in Irish linen virtually disappeared. A further setback for the town occurred with the outbreak of the plague in 1849. Compounding this situation was an outbreak of potato blight that had first surfaced in 1845 and continued to affect the subsequent year's harvests. The fishing industry also collapsed. Starvation took its toll, with one report stating that 'the utmost destitution prevailed in Dingle.' Another described Dingle as "one monster pauper asylum."
So extreme were the destitution levels that in 1850 a workhouse intended to hold 700 people opened and immediately was housing 1281 inmates. Families were separated, with many never seeing each other again. Many emigrated to America or Australia.
The 20th Century
From the mid 20th century, conditions gradually improved. For visitors to Dingle today, no evidence remains of that truly dark period in Dingle's history.
Highlights of Dingle Peninsula
Within the town of Dingle is St Marys, a Neo-gothic church whose foundation dates back to 1862. Also, see the Chapel of the Sacred Heart, which features six beautiful stained glass windows.
Around the Peninsula is Ventry's village with its attractive pastel colour-washed cottages overlooking a beautiful crescent-shaped beach ideal for bathing, fishing, or relaxing.' Being Irish, it has a legend involving love and heroics. Seemingly the harbour was the location of a 3rd century battle between the hero Finn MacCool. He eloped with the King of France's wife and daughter. The King, aided by the King of Spain, gave chase, and a battle ensued. With the King of Spain killed, and the King of France was driven insane. Finn MacCool won his lady.
A few miles further on are Dunberg Fort's ruins, one of the most interesting Iron Age forts in Kerry.
Ballyferriter is a charming crescent-shaped village at the foot of the Croaghmarhin mountain in the heart of the Irish speaking community. It has an interesting heritage centre telling the history and geology of the Peninsula.
Our Driver-guides love taking visitors through the Connor Pass; it is spectacular. It links the north and south shores of the Peninsula and is the highest mountain pass in Ireland. Running through fantastic scenery, it passes several enchanting villages and bays with breath-taking coastal views from Brandon Point.
Touring and accommodation
Dingle region features in our Classic Ireland Tour. However, we can always customise your trip to reflect any specific interests or requirements you may have. The Dingle and Ring of Kerry, the two most spectacular peninsulas, and Killarney National Park are tucked into Ireland's southwest corner. There is also an option to take a Boat Trip to Skellig Michael – the famous Star Wars film location.
Killarney Park Hotel is a superb five-star hotel within the town of Killarney and the perfect base to tour the region. After exploring The Dingle peninsula, our Tour Designers could have you finish the day at Adare Manor Hotel, near Limerick and one of the finest hotels in Europe.
Drive the Dingle
Sublime Beaches and Wild Scenery
- Spectacular Beaches
- Atlantic Boats Trips
- Tour Ring of Kerry and Dingle
- Stay in Killarney or Adare Manor
Help us make your trip exceptional
Our UK and EU office based staff will listen to what you want to see and experience.
Whether you are a honeymoon couple, a family or a corporate incentive group, our team’s collective resources will be brought together to build the experience that’s right for you.
We will require your arrival and departure dates, details of your personal preferences and places that you would like to visit as well as the events you would like to experience.
We will then prepare a draft itinerary and send it to you by email for your approval. Once agreed, we will send you a Booking Confirmation with Personalised Itinerary and Information Pack via email.