Surrounded by the crashing waves of the Atlantic and mountain peaks, the Dingle Peninsula is the jewel in the crown of the Kingdom of Kerry. Its history is visible throughout the Peninsula, with ancient monuments in green fields surrounded by sheep and a sense of timelessness that makes one wonder if time travel is possible after all.
When the mist covers the fields, it is easy to imagine that it is a thousand years in the past and if an ancient warrior were to step out of the mist, that wouldn’t be exactly surprising.
From ancient pagan ring forts to early Christian settlements, the sense of history is palpable. You can walk the ancient roads in the steps of Finn mcCool and Oisín on his way to Tír na nÓg. The wonderful thing is that the people of the Dingle Peninsula are storytellers and musicians who bring the ancient stories to life in the pubs and bars of Dingle town.
There is no other landscape in western Europe with the density and variety of archaeological monuments as the Dingle Peninsula. The oldest recorded settlement is from around 4,300 BC and the Ogham stones standing in the fields all over the Peninsula bear the name of the ancient pre Celtic goddess of the area - Dovinia. The Dingle Peninsula is Corca Dhuibhne in Irish and Corca Dhuibhne literally means the People of Dovinia. We only know that because the name is carved into the Ogham stones. She has the reputation of being a dark goddess but no context as to what that meant to her people.
There are more than two thousand archaeological sites on the peninsula and some are well preserved such as Gallarus Oratory. Believed to have been built in the 10th or 11th century it is almost intact. Local legend has it that if you go through the window three times you are guaranteed a place in heaven. Naturally, the window is a tight squeeze!
Aside from the wealth of history, Dingle is a foodie paradise with many multiple award winning restaurants, artisan food products and craft beer, whiskey and gin. It won the the RAI Foodie Town of Ireland in 2014 and is going from strength to strength ever since. It boasts three craft breweries which produce award-winning lagers and stouts and the Dingle Original Gin was awarded overall Best in World at the World Gin Awards Ceremony 2019.
The local restaurants are a feast for the senses with locally produced grass fed Blasket lamb, saltgrass beef and the freshest fish caught on the day in the wild Atlantic. Local growers supply the greens and the vegetables, most of which are organically grown within 10 miles of the town.
Dingle is a fishing town with a tradition of great food and it’s where you’ll find the best and freshest fish and chips in the world. Watch the sunset over the mountains, listening to the lapping of the waves, with a bag of fish and chips and you will know contentment.