Mountains of the Dingle Peninsula
|Mountains of the Dingle Peninsula|
|Elevation||925 m (3,035 ft)|
|Length||20 km (12 mi) E/W|
|Width||11 km (6.8 mi) N/S|
|Country||Republic of Ireland|
|Provinces of Ireland||Munster|
The Mountains of the Dingle Peninsula are grouped into two major unnamed mountain ranges, one running along the centre of the Dingle Peninsula in County Kerry, in Ireland and the other found at its extreme western tip. The mountains dealt with here include all those west of the Slieve Mish Mountains, which extend from the mainland south of Tralee to the narrow neck of the peninsula and are separated from the mountains of the Dingle Peninsula by a series of low foothills and deep river valleys.
Like the wider Dingle peninsula, the mountains are formed from a thick succession of sandstones and conglomerates dating from the Devonian period and traditionally collected together as the Old Red Sandstone. The Ballymore Sandstone and Coumeenoole Sandstone form a part of the Dingle Group whilst the slightly younger Cappagh Sandstone is apart of the Slieve Mish Group. Whilst the rock strata were originally deposited in horizontal beds, they have subsequently been folded such that they dip, often steeply to the north-northwest and south-southeast, on the limbs of several ENE-WSW oriented geological folds such as the Fahan Syncline. giving a particular character to these mountains.
The eastern mountains on the Dingle peninsula run along the centre of the peninsula in an east-west line for a distance of approximately 20 kilometres, except at the western end where they extend northwards to the sea for a distance of 11 km, resulting in a series of high sea cliffs. These mountains for the most part form a relatively steep, narrow spine along the centre of the peninsula in the shape of an L when viewed on a map, but in some areas this spine widens out into a wide, flat, boggy plateau, dotted with many small lakes. There is evidence of many features of glaciation, such as corries, U-shaped valleys, and paternoster lakes, evidence of the effects of the last ice age. There are dozens of mountain peaks, many of them unnamed, and because the Irish language is still strong in the area, many peaks are known only (or primarily) by their Irish name. Where a peak does possess an anglicised name, it often bears no relation to its present Irish name, possibly because the anglicised names reflect older Irish names that have now been discarded. Some of the more notable peaks include, from east to west: Stradbally Mountain (Cnoc na tSráidbhaile), 798m; Beenoskee (Binn os Gaoith), 826m; Cnoc Mhaoilionáin, 593m; An Cnapán Mór, 649m; Sliabh Mhacha Ré, 620m; Ballysitteragh or Cnoc Bhaile Uí Shé, 623m; Brandon Peak or Barr an Ghéaráin, 840m; Mount Brandon (Cnoc Bhreandáin), 952m; Piaras Mór, 748m; and Masatiompan (Más an Tiompáin), 763m.
A separate, much smaller, mountain range is situated at the western tip of the peninsula, which has only two named peaks, Mount Eagle (Sliabh an Iolair) to the south and Croaghmartin (Cruach Mhárthain) to the north, 516 metres and 403 metres high respectively. The most westerly settlement on mainland Ireland, Dunquin, lies on the western slope of this mountain range, adjacent to the sea. The southern slope of Mount Eagle falls steeply away to the sea to form Slea Head (Ceann Sléibhe), the most south-westerly point of the Dingle Peninsula.