Dingle Hiking Historical Highlights
Dingle Peninsula compares to no other landscape in western Europe. Dingle is home to the highest number and variety of archaeological monuments. This stunning finger of land which juts into the Atlantic Ocean has supported many tribes and people for 6,000 years. Bearing in mind Dingles remote location, and lack of specialised agriculture, means that there is a remarkable preservation of over 2,000 monuments.
It is impossible to visit the Dingle Peninsula and not be amazed by its archaeological heritage. We have picked out our favourite Dingle Historical Highlights that you will come across on our Dingle Hiking Tours
1. Killelton Oratory
The ruins of the Killelton Oratory are located in the west of the village. Bearing the same name in Loch a Duin Valley, near Camp on the north side of the Dingle Peninsula.
Caherconree is named after a stone ringfort that is two-thirds of the way up the southwestern shoulder. It overlooks a mountain road called Bóthar na gCloch. This translates as ‘road of the stones’.
Three sides of the ringfort are surrounded by steep cliffs. Cú Roí mac Dáire lived in the fort according to Irish mythology. He was able to make it spin around at night to stop any attackers from finding the entrance to get in.
In the story of Aided Con Roí, the king’s daughter called Bláthnat is kidnapped and taken to the fort by Cú Roí. She is subsequently rescued by her lover, Cú Chulainn. Bláthnat pours milk into the stream which signals to Cú Chulainn that the time is right to attack. Now called the Finglas (from an Fhionnghlaise meaning “the white stream”) and you can still see its source is close to the remains of the ringfort.
3. Minard Castle
Originally the castle is believed to have been four stories in height, it is now a beautiful ruin and 3 stories high. Holding a strategic position however it was not strong enough to withstand Cromwell’s Forces.
In 1640 The Cromwellian forces placed their cannons inside an Iron Age Ring Fort at the opposite end of the bay. Heavy cannon fire swiftly damaged the east wall and Lehunt and Sadler had the upper hand. Things turned from bad to worse for Hussey’s men when the English noticed that the Irish had ran out of ammunition. Lehunt and Sadler’s men moved in for the kill, planting gunpowder under all four vaults of the castle.
Walter Hussey and many of his men were killed immediately in the explosion that caused the upper stories of the castle to crumble. When the Cromwellian forces entered the tower house the remaining survivors were put to death and buried in shallow graves where they fell. The castle remained uninhabited from that day forth.
Not surprising in its glorious surroundings that Minard was used in 1970 as the backdrop for scenes from the Oscar Winning film ‘Ryan’s Daughter’. Much of which was shot in and around the Dingle Peninsula.
4. The Blasket Islands
The Blasket Islands are a group of islands off the west coast of Ireland, forming part of County Kerry.
They were inhabited until 1953 by a completely Irish-speaking population, and today are part of the Gaeltacht. The inhabitants were evacuated by the government to the mainland on 17 November 1953 due to the declining population and harsh nature of life on the island. Many of the descendants currently live in Springfield, Massachusetts, and some former residents still live on the Dingle Peninsula, within sight of their former home.