an Daingean / Daingean Uí Chúis
—  Town  —
Harbour of Dingle
Dingle is located in Ireland
Location in Ireland
Coordinates: 52°08′24″N 10°16′18″W / 52.139915°N 10.27153°W / 52.139915; -10.27153Coordinates: 52°08′24″N 10°16′18″W / 52.139915°N 10.27153°W / 52.139915; -10.27153
Country Ireland
Province Munster
County County Kerry
Population (2006)[1]
 – Urban 1,920
Irish Grid Reference Q445012

Dingle (Irish: An Daingean / Daingean Uí Chúis, meaning "Ó Cúis' fort")[7] is a town in County Kerry, Ireland. The only town on the Dingle Peninsula, it sits on the Atlantic coast, about 49 kilometres southwest of Tralee and 71 kilometres northwest of Killarney.[8]

Principal industries in the town are tourism, fishing and agriculture: Dingle Mart (livestock market) serves the surrounding countryside. In 2006 Dingle had a population of 1,920.[1] Dingle is situated in a Gaeltacht region.



Development of the port

The town was developed as a port following the Norman invasion of Ireland. By the thirteenth century more goods were being exported through Dingle than Limerick, and in 1257 an ordinance of Henry III imposed customs on the port's exports.[9] By the fourteenth century importation of wine was a major business. Maurice FitzGerald, 1st Earl of Desmond, who held palatine powers in the area, imposed a tax on this activity in about 1329.[10] By the sixteenth century Dingle was one of Ireland's main trading ports, exporting fish and hides and importing wines from the continent of Europe. French and Spanish fishing fleets used the town as a base.[10]

Connections with Spain were particularly strong, and in 1529 Thomas Fitzgerald, 11th Earl of Desmond and the ambassador of Charles V of Spain signed the Treaty of Dingle.[11] Dingle was also a major embarkation port for pilgrims to travel to the shrine of Saint James at Santiago de Compostela. The parish church was rebuilt in the sixteenth century under "Spanish patronage" and dedicated to the saint.[12][13]

In 1569 the commerce of the town was increased when it was listed as one of fifteen towns or cities which were to have a monopoly on the import of wine.[10]

The Second Desmond Rebellion

The Dingle Peninsula was the scene of much of the military activity of 1579–1580. On 17 July 1579 James FitzMaurice FitzGerald brought a small fleet of ships to Dingle. He made landfall, launching the Second Desmond Rebellion, but was to die soon after in a minor skirmish with the forces of a cousin.[14] The fleet left the town after three days, anchoring at Dún an Óir at the western end of the peninsula, leading eventually to the Siege of Smerwick of 1580.

Walled town and chartered borough

The residents of Dingle applied in 1569 for a "murage grant" to construct walls around the town. The grant was not forthcoming on that occasion. Following the defeat of the Desmond Rebellion, Queen Elizabeth directed that a royal charter be granted to incorporate the town as a borough, and to allow for the construction of walls. Traces of these town walls can still be seen, while the street layout preserves the pattern of burgage plots.[13]

Although Elizabeth intended to grant a charter, the document was only obtained in 1607. On 2 March of that year her successor, James I, sealed the charter, although the borough and its corporation had already been in existence for twenty-two years.[15] The head of the corporation was the sovereign, fulfilling the role of a mayor. In addition to the sovereign, who was elected annually on the Feast of St Michael, the corporation consisted of twelve burgesses. The area of jurisdiction of the corporation was all land and sea within two Irish miles of the parish church. The borough also had an admiralty jurisdiction over Dingle, Ventry, Smerwick and Ferriter's Creek " as far as an arrow would fly".[15]

The charter also created Dingle a parliamentary borough, or constituency, electing two members to the House of Commons of the Parliament of Ireland.[15]


Dingle suffered badly in the Nine Years' War and the Wars of the Three Kingdoms, being burnt or sacked on a number of occasions. The town started to recover in the eighteenth century, due to the efforts of the Fitzgerald family, Knights of Kerry, who established themselves at "The Grove" at this time. Robert Fitzgerald imported flax seed and by 1755 a flourishing linen industry had been established, with cloth worth £60,000 produced annually. The trade collapsed following the industrial production of cotton in Great Britain, and was virtually extinct by 1837.[16]


Although Dingle is now a major fishing port, the industry dates from about 1830. The 1870s saw major development, when "nobby" fleets from the Isle of Man came in search of mackerel. Lowestoft herring trawlers subsequently joined the fleet, allowing for a longer fishing season. The pier and maritime facilities were developed by the Congested Districts Board, and the arrival of rail transport in 1891 allowed for the transport of fish throughout the country, and a canning and curing industry developed.[17]

Places of interest

John Street, Dingle

Dingle's St. Mary's was a neo-Gothic church built to designs by J. J. McCarthy and O'Connell. The foundation stone was laid in 1862. It originally had a nave and aisles separated by arcades, supported on columns capped by octagonal tops. The arcades were demolished in one of the most radical reordering schemes to have been executed in Ireland. The project also saw the demolition of the exterior walls to below the original clerstory level, and, most notably, of the attic and upper ranges of the west elevation.

There are many opportunities to hear traditional Irish music in the town, particularly during the summer tourist season. Dingle has a number of pubs as well as restaurants and cafes. There is also an aquarium in the town, and a number of art and craft shops.

Colourful Dingle

Fungi the Dingle Dolphin

Since 1984 a bottlenose dolphin has frequented the Dingle harbour area. He has been given the name Fungi and has become a major attraction for visitors.[18] He regularly shows up when tour boats go out to meet him. Normally bottlenose dolphins swim in pods, but Fungi seems to prefer human contact rather than interaction with his own species.[19] It is estimated that he was born in the mid 1970s and with a normal life expectancy for his species of 25 years, he is now very old by bottlenose dolphin standards.[20] There is a bronze sculpture of Fungi in Dingle. [21]


Dingle is home to the Dingle GAA club, which plays the popular[22] traditional Irish game of Gaelic football. The most noted tournament in which Dingle competes is the Kerry Senior Football Championship.[23] Diarmuid Murphy and Tommy Griffin are current players from Dingle who are on the Kerry GAA county team for the All-Ireland Senior Football Championship.[24] Dingle Gaa Ladies were launched in June 2010


Twin towns

Country Place County / District / Region / State Originally twinned with Date
United States USA Flag of Santa Barbara, California.svg Santa Barbara Flag of California.svg California Dingle 2003
Italy Italy Tolfa Lazio Flag.svg Lazio Dingle 1974


Dingle was formerly the western terminus of the narrow gauge Tralee and Dingle Light Railway.

The railway station opened on 1 April 1891, closed for passenger traffic on 17 April 1939 and for regular goods traffic on 10 March 1947, finally closing altogether on 1 July 1953, by which time a cattle train once per month was the sole operation.[25]


Spray-painted road sign

In 2005, Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs Éamon Ó Cuív announced that anglicised place names (such as 'Dingle') of Gaeltacht towns and villages would no longer feature on official signposts, and only the Irish language names would appear. The English language version of the town's name was thus officially dropped in early 2005, with the Irish name An Daingean being advanced.

In the case of Dingle, the move was particularly controversial, as the town relies heavily on the tourist industry, and there was fear that the change could prevent visitors finding the town. Detractors noted that tourists might not recognise the Irish name on sign-posts, and that there could also be confusion with a similarly named town (Daingean) in County Offaly. Supporters rejected this argument, pointing out that there are numerous towns in Ireland with similar names. The minister added to the controversy by suggesting that a name change to English could be brought about by removing the town's Gaeltacht status, thereby losing its entitlement to government grants for Irish-speaking areas.

In late 2005, Kerry County council approved the holding of a plebiscite for the change of name to the bilingual "Dingle/Daingean Uí Chúis"[26] which took place in October, 2006.[27] The result was announced on 20 October, and 1,005 of the 1,086 returned ballots (electorate: 1,222) favoured the change to the bilingual version.[28][29] Éamon Ó Cuív stated, however, that there was no remit to act on the results of the plebiscite. Nevertheless, in 2008 Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government John Gormley, announced his intention to amend the local government laws to allow names chosen by plebiscite to supersede any Placenames Order under the Official Languages Act 2003.[30] This would mean that "Daingean Uí Chúis" would be the official name of the town in Irish, with "Dingle" the official name in English. However, the name of the town on road signs within the Gaeltacht will continue to display the name of the town in Irish only. In the meantime, some locals took matters into their own hands by spray painting "Dingle" on road signs that bore only the Irish version of the name.

Looking out from the hills west of Dingle, near Slea Head.

See also


External links

"An Daingean Local Area Plan". Kerry County Council. http://www.kerrycoco.ie/allservices/planning/planspolicies/localareaplans/andaingeanlocalareaplan/thefile,739,en.pdf. Retrieved 8 September 2009. [dead link]


  1. ^ a b c "Census 2006 – Volume 1 – Population Classified by Area" (PDF). Central Statistics Office Census 2006 Reports. Central Statistics Office Ireland. April 2007. http://www.cso.ie/census/documents/census2006_volume_1_pop_classified_by_area.pdf. Retrieved 2011-05-07. 
  2. ^ Census for post 1821 figures.
  3. ^ http://www.histpop.org
  4. ^ http://www.nisranew.nisra.gov.uk/census
  5. ^ Lee, JJ (1981). "On the accuracy of the Pre-famine Irish censuses". In Goldstrom, J. M.; Clarkson, L. A.. Irish Population, Economy, and Society: Essays in Honour of the Late K. H. Connell. Oxford, England: Clarendon Press. 
  6. ^ Mokyr, Joel; O Grada, Cormac (November). "New Developments in Irish Population History, 1700-1850". The Economic History Review Volume 37 (Issue 4): 473–488. doi:10.1111/j.1468-0289.1984.tb00344.x. http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/journal/120035880/abstract 
  7. ^ McKenna 1986:10–11
  8. ^ Kerry County Council 2006:1
  9. ^ McKenna 1986:19–20, Coppage et al 1986:380
  10. ^ a b c McKenna 1986:20
  11. ^ "The Treaty of Dingle remembered". The Kerryman. 29 April 2009. http://www.kerryman.ie/news/the-treaty-of-dingle-remembered-1723306.html. Retrieved 3 December 2009. 
  12. ^ McKenna 1986:60
  13. ^ a b Coppage et al, 1986:381
  14. ^ McKenna 1986:23
  15. ^ a b c McKenna 1986:31–33
  16. ^ McKenna, 1986:45–47
  17. ^ Daniel Graham (1996). "History of Fishing on Ireland's Dingle Peninsula". Dingle Peninsula Tourism. http://www.dingle-peninsula.ie/culture1.html. Retrieved 2 December 2009. 
  18. ^ Do Dingle Fungi article
  19. ^ The Irish Independent article Forget Fungi we need Flipper
  20. ^ Documentary broadcast by RTE
  21. ^ Geograph.org Statue of Fungi
  22. ^ "GAA attendance figures" (PDF). http://www.gaa.ie/files/04arstat.pdf. Retrieved 2008-03-25. 
  23. ^ "Dingle football match report". 'The Kingdom' newspaper. July 2005. http://archives.tcm.ie/thekingdom/2005/07/21/story17938.asp. Retrieved 2008-03-25. 
  24. ^ "Murphy and Griffin appear for Kerry in the All-Ireland football final". RTÉ News. September 2007. http://www.rte.ie/sport/gaa/2007/0916/kerrycork.html. Retrieved 2008-03-25. 
  25. ^ "Dingle station" (PDF). Railscot - Irish Railways. http://www.railscot.co.uk/Ireland/Irish_railways.pdf. Retrieved 2007-09-23. 
  26. ^ "Kerry CC votes to hold Dingle plebiscite". RTÉ News. 17 October 2005. http://www.rte.ie/news/2005/1017/dingle.html. Retrieved 2007-07-24. 
  27. ^ "Dingle so good they may name it twice". Irish Independent. 9 October 2006. http://www.unison.ie/irish_independent/stories.php3?ca=9&si=1702523&issue_id=14743. Retrieved 2007-07-24. 
  28. ^ "90% vote in favour of An Daingean name change". RTÉ News. 20 October 2005. http://www.rte.ie/news/2006/1020/daingean.html. Retrieved 2007-07-24. 
  29. ^ "Do you know the way to An Daingean?". BBC News. 20 October 2006. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/northern_ireland/6070820.stm. Retrieved 2007-07-24. 
  30. ^ "Gormley proposes amendments to legislation on changing Placenames - Dingle and Daingean Uí Chúis to be official names of An Daingean". Local Government News. Dept. of the Environment. April 2008. http://www.environ.ie/en/LocalGovernment/LocalGovernmentAdministration/News/MainBody,17223,en.htm. 

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