The Dingle Peninsula
Nothing that is worth knowing can be taught. -Oscar Wilde
The Dingle Peninsula is our last destination in Ireland before we go back to Dublin. According to local brochures the peninsula has more interesting historic sites and varied mountain scenery than any other part of Ireland. Apparently it was once cited as the most beautiful place on earth by the National Geographic.
In my opinion it is one of the most picturesque places I have seen in Ireland and it has a very fascinating history and archaeology.
The Dingle Peninsula is now a very popular tourist destination. First because of Rick Steeves, second because of Star Wars that were shot on the peninsula and on Skellig Michael island.
The town of Dingle is the main tourist attraction. A lovely small town very busy during the day and quiet in the evening. Traditional music can be heard in local pubs.
Dingle offers many hiking trails, the most important one is called the Dingle Way.
It takes you to many beautiful places and offers many surprises. Barbara will later describe her experience hiking along the Dingle Way for 30km.
Sciuird Archaeological Tour was a great way for us to learn about the history of the peninsula in three hours. Here are some highlights.
Colaiste Ide – All Irish Boarding School for Girls. This school offers all subjects in Irish or Gaelic language. The most frequently spoken languages in Ireland are: English, Polish, Chinese and Irish. The purpose of this school is to educate girls to become teachers who will continue using the language Ireland wants to conserve at any cost.
The previous owner of this mansion enjoyed collecting archaeological artifacts. One of them is the ogham stone:
“Ogham is the earliest form of writing in Ireland, it dates to around 4th century A.D. and was in use for around 500 years. The Ogham alphabet is made up of a series of strokes along or across a line. Ogham is sometimes referred to as the “Celtic Tree Alphabet” as a number of the letters are linked to old Irish names for certain trees. The alphabet was carved on standing stones to commemorate someone, using the edge of the stone as the centre line. They normally read from the left hand side bottom up, across the top and if need be down the other side.”
The Dingle Peninsula is famous for its beehive huts – unmortared circular walled huts shaped like beehives. Some of them are reconstructed:
The Slea Head Drive is the most scenic part of the tour. It offers great views of the Atlantic Ocean and of the Blasket Islands.
The ruins of a monastery from the early Medieval time with its cross-slab standing stone:
Finally, one of the most famous landmarks on the Dingle Peninsula, Gallarus Oratory, completely made of stone and very well preserved:
The Oratory is located on the pilgrimage route to Mount Brandon, a holy mountain since the pagan times.
I would like to use this post to recommend one of the best Bed and Breakfast places in Dingle. It is very comfortable, offers very good breakfast and amazing views of the Dingle Bay – Coastline House B&B.