Coordinates: 52°08′24″N 10°16′17″W / 52.13991°N 10.2715°W / 52.13991; -10.2715
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Daingean Uí Chúis
Strand Street, Dingle
Strand Street, Dingle
Dingle is located in Ireland
Location in Ireland
Coordinates: 52°08′24″N 10°16′17″W / 52.13991°N 10.2715°W / 52.13991; -10.2715
CountyCounty Kerry
Irish Grid ReferenceQ445011

Dingle (Irish: An Daingean or Daingean Uí Chúis, meaning "fort of Ó Cúis")[9] is a town in County Kerry, Ireland. The only town on the Dingle Peninsula, it sits on the Atlantic coast, about 50 kilometres (30 mi) southwest of Tralee and 71 kilometres (40 mi) northwest of Killarney.[10] Principal industries in the town are tourism, fishing and agriculture: Dingle Mart (livestock market) serves the surrounding countryside.

In 2022, Dingle had a population of 1,671,[1] a decrease from the 2016 census, and the oldest average age for a town in Ireland (44.4 years).[11] Situated in a Gaeltacht region, 13.7% of the population spoke Irish on a daily basis in 2016.[12] An adult Bottlenose dolphin named Fungie had been courting human contact in Dingle Bay since 1983 but disappeared in 2020.[13]


A large number of Ogham stones were set up in an enclosure in the 4th and 5th centuries AD at Ballintaggart.

The town 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 King Henry III imposed customs on the port's exports.[14] By the fourteenth century, importing wine was a major business. The 1st Earl of Desmond, who held palatine powers in the area, imposed a tax on this activity around 1329.[15] 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.[15]

Connections with Spain were particularly strong and, in 1529, Thomas Fitzgerald, 11th Earl of Desmond and the ambassador of Emperor Charles V signed the Treaty of Dingle.[16] 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.[17][18]

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.[15]

Second Desmond Rebellion[edit]

The Dingle Peninsula was the scene of much of the military activity of 1579–80. 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.[19] 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[edit]

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.[18]

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.[20] 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 admiralty jurisdiction over Dingle, Ventry, Smerwick and Ferriter's Creek "as far as an arrow would fly".[20]

The charter also created Dingle a parliamentary borough, or constituency, electing two members to the House of Commons of the Irish Parliament.[20]


Commemorative plaque to Fr. Michael Divine, a parish priest who ministered to cholera victims and himself succumbed to the plague

Dingle suffered greatly 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.[21] The town fell victim to a cholera plague in 1849.


Dingle is a major fishing port, and the industry dates back to 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.[22]


There are three primary schools in Dingle: Scoil An Ghleanna, Scoil Iognáid Rís and Bunscoil an Clochair. There are also two secondary schools – Pobalscoil Chorca Dhuibhne and Coláiste Íde Boarding School. Dingle as part of the Corca Dhuibhne Gaeltacht also hosts Irish School for students during the summer.

The Sacred Heart University, Connecticut, USA, has an Irish studies centre in Dingle.

Places of interest[edit]

Dingle's St. Mary's is 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 clerestory level, and, most notably, of the attic and upper ranges of the west elevation.

Stained glass windows, Chapel of the Sacred Heart

The Chapel of the Sacred Heart is a neo-gothic chapel attached to Saint Mary's.[23] It was built for a local enclosed order of Presentation Sisters, by the architect C. J. McCarthy in 1886. The major Irish artist Harry Clarke produced six double-lancet stained glass windows for the chapel which were installed in 1924. The lancets depict scenes from the life of Christ. Clarke was at the time a leading figure in the Arts and Crafts movement and was paid a fee of £1,000 for the works.[24]

Irish traditional music is played in several locations, particularly during the summer tourist season. Dingle has a number of pubs, restaurants and cafes. The aquarium, "Oceanworld Aquarium", is home to tropical, foreign and native animals, and a number of art and craft shops.

Dingle is home to Murphy's Ice Cream, a cafe that serves ice cream and coffee. Murphy's has homemade ice cream made from Kerry cattle. Another business, Dingle Distillery, was launched in 2012.

Gallaunmore, a standing stone and National Monument, lies 3 km (2 miles) to the east.

St. Manchan's Oratory (An Teampall Geal), a medieval oratory with ogham stone and souterrain, lies on nearby Lateeve Hill.


Dingle is home to the Dingle GAA club, which fields Gaelic football teams. The most noted tournament in which Dingle competes is the Kerry Senior Football Championship.[25][26] Rugbaí Chorca Dhuibhne, the local rugby team, and Dingle Bay Rovers F.C. are also based in the area.

The yearly Dingle Marathon started in 2009, when John Griffin, a former winner of the Dublin Marathon, won the race at 50 years old.[27][28] The full marathon begins and ends in Dingle town, taking in Slea Head and the Dingle Peninsula on its route, whilst the half marathon goes from Dingle to Dun Chaoin.[29][30] The inaugural event had 2,500 participants, and participation peaked at approximately 3,500 participants in 2018.[29] The course is certified by the Athletics Association of Ireland.[28]


Dingle Harbour
Main Street in central Dingle

Bus routes serving Dingle include routes to Killarney, to Tralee, to Kerry Airport, to Cloghane (via Castlegregory), and to Ballydavid (via Ballyferriter and Dunquin).[citation needed]

Dingle was formerly the western terminus of the narrow-gauge Tralee and Dingle Light Railway, which closed in 1953. The station was sited opposite the hospital, on the N86 road into the town from Lispole, where an undertakers premises and disused petrol station now stand. 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.[31]

Today, the closest train terminal is Tralee, with bus services operating from Tralee Bus and Rail Stations. In addition, bus services operate from Killarney Bus and Rail Stations to Dingle.[32]


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 largely colloquial 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 from finding the town. Detractors noted that tourists might not recognise the Irish name on signposts 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"[33] which took place in October 2006.[34] 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.[35][36] 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.[37] 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. Section 48 of the Environment (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2011 specifically made "Dingle" the English name and "Daingean Uí Chúis" the Irish name.[38]


See also[edit]

Dolphin Fungie memorial



  1. ^ a b c "Interactive Data Visualisations: Towns: Dingle-Daingean Uí Chuis". CSO Ireland. Retrieved 26 September 2023.
  2. ^ "Population Classified by Area" (PDF). Central Statistics Office (Ireland). April 2012. p. 39. Retrieved 25 January 2017.
  3. ^ "Census 2006 – Volume 1 – Population Classified by Area" (PDF). Central Statistics Office Census 2006 Reports. Central Statistics Office Ireland. April 2007. Retrieved 7 May 2011.
  4. ^ Census for post 1821 figures. Archived 9 March 2005 at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ "Histpop - The Online Historical Population Reports Website". www.histpop.org. Archived from the original on 7 May 2016.
  6. ^ "Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency - Census Home Page". Archived from the original on 17 February 2012. Retrieved 2011-11-03.
  7. ^ Lee, JJ (1981). "On the accuracy of the Pre-famine Irish censuses". In Goldstrom, J. M.; Clarkson, L. A. (eds.). Irish Population, Economy, and Society: Essays in Honour of the Late K. H. Connell. Oxford, England: Clarendon Press.
  8. ^ Mokyr, Joel; O Grada, Cormac (November 1984). "New Developments in Irish Population History, 1700–1850". The Economic History Review. 37 (4): 473–488. doi:10.1111/j.1468-0289.1984.tb00344.x. hdl:10197/1406. Archived from the original on 4 December 2012.
  9. ^ McKenna 1986:10–11
  10. ^ Kerry County Council 2006:1
  11. ^ "Census of Population 2022 Profile 1 - Population Distribution and Movements". Central Statistics Office Ireland. 29 June 2023. Retrieved 25 September 2023.
  12. ^ "Census 2016 Sapmap Area: Settlements Dingle-Daingean Uí Chuis". Central Statistics Office (Ireland). Archived from the original on 27 June 2020. Retrieved 22 March 2018.
  13. ^ O’Loughlin, Ed (27 October 2020). "Fungie, Ireland's Missing Dolphin, 'Goes With the Tide'". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 16 April 2021.
  14. ^ McKenna 1986:19–20, Coppage et al 1986:380
  15. ^ a b c McKenna 1986:20
  16. ^ "The Treaty of Dingle remembered". The Kerryman. 29 April 2009. Retrieved 3 December 2009.
  17. ^ McKenna 1986:60
  18. ^ a b Coppage et al, 1986:381
  19. ^ McKenna 1986:23
  20. ^ a b c McKenna 1986:31–33
  21. ^ McKenna, 1986:45–47
  22. ^ Daniel Graham (1996). "History of Fishing on Ireland's Dingle Peninsula". Dingle Peninsula Tourism. Archived from the original on 4 February 1999. Retrieved 2 December 2009.
  23. ^ "Saint Mary's Catholic Church, Green Street, Dingle, County Kerry". Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht. Retrieved 30 June 2019
  24. ^ "The Harry Clarke Windows". Irish Arts Review, Volume 30, No. 1, Spring (March - May 2013). p. 14
  25. ^ "Dingle football match report". 'The Kingdom' newspaper. July 2005. Archived from the original on 22 June 2007. Retrieved 25 March 2008.
  26. ^ "Murphy and Griffin appear for Kerry in the All-Ireland football final". RTÉ News. September 2007. Archived from the original on 2 August 2009. Retrieved 25 March 2008.
  27. ^ "Marathon a galloping success". The Kerryman. 16 September 2009. Retrieved 8 January 2024.
  28. ^ a b "Dingle marathon is launched". The Kerryman. 22 July 2009. Retrieved 26 December 2020.
  29. ^ a b "Record number of entries for 10th Dingle Marathon". The Kerryman. 1 September 2018. Retrieved 26 December 2020.
  30. ^ Epic Runs of the World. Lonely Planet. 1 August 2019. ISBN 978-1-78868-525-2.
  31. ^ "Dingle station" (PDF). Railscot – Irish Railways. Retrieved 23 September 2007.
  32. ^ "Dingle Public Transport". Retrieved 18 January 2017.
  33. ^ "Kerry CC votes to hold Dingle plebiscite". RTÉ News. 17 October 2005. Retrieved 24 July 2007.
  34. ^ "Dingle so good they may name it twice". Irish Independent. 9 October 2006. Retrieved 1 April 2017.
  35. ^ "90% vote in favour of An Daingean name change". RTÉ News. 20 October 2005. Retrieved 24 July 2007.
  36. ^ "Do you know the way to An Daingean?". BBC News. 20 October 2006. Retrieved 24 July 2007.
  37. ^ "Gormley proposes amendments to legislation on changing Place-names – Dingle and Daingean Uí Chúis to be official names of An Daingean". Local Government News. Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government. April 2008. Archived from the original on 5 October 2008.
  38. ^ "Local Government Act 2001 Revised". Revised Acts. Law Reform Commission. 10 November 2017. Sec.191. Retrieved 20 April 2018.; "Placenames orders". Placenames Database of Ireland. Retrieved 20 April 2018. Section 48 of the Environment (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2011 amended the Placenames (Ceantair Ghaeltachta) Order 2004 (S.I. No. 872 of 2004) made under the Official Languages Act insofar as it relates to the placename "An Daingean". This amendment provides that "Daingean Uí Chúis" in Irish and "Dingle" in English are now the official placenames rather than "An Daingean".


  • Barrington, T J (1976). Discovering Kerry. Its History, Heritage and Topgoraphy. Cork: The Collins Press. ISBN 1-898256-71-3.
  • Cuppage, Judith; Bennett, Isabel; Cotter, Claire; O Rahilly, Celie (1986). Archaeological Survey of the Dingle Peninsula. Ballyferriter: Oidhreacht Chorca Dhuibhne. ISBN 0-906096-06-5.
  • An Daingean Local Area Plan 2006–2012 (PDF). Tralee: Kerry County Council Planning Policy Unit. 2006. Retrieved 3 December 2009.[dead link]
  • McKenna, Jack (1985). Dingle. Killarney: Mac Publications.

External links[edit]