Dingle Ireland, located in the southwestern part of the country in County Kerry, has long been a favorite among travelers. The breathtaking Dingle Peninsula spans more than twenty miles of rugged green hills and golden sandy beaches, and the region's sprawling countryside also boasts rare prehistoric and early Christian structures and artifacts, such as stone beehive huts dating from the sixth century. Many archaeologists, anthropologists, and curious travelers have trekked through the peninsula's fields and meadows, eager to see ruins on the Dingle Peninsula that date to the Bronze Age.
Although Dingle Peninsula contains several small towns and villages, Dingle is the main town. Known in Irish as An Daingean, the attractive port is nestled at the base of the hills in a quiet and sheltered harbor. Within the streets of the town, visitors will be happy to find a relaxed, picturesque Irish community. Local restaurants and pubs are famous for their down-to-earth service, lively entertainment, and delicious beverages, and during July and August, live music is offered nightly. Besides an energetic music scene, Dingle is also famous for its resident dolphin, Fungi. The beloved bottle-nosed dolphin first appeared in 1984, leaping and playing around the boats in Dingle Harbor. Since then, the docile dolphin has pleased locals and travelers alike. In fact, daily boat rides take eager tourists out on "Fungi Sighting" trips, offering voyagers their money back if the dolphin doesn't show. Dolphin enthusiasts can also swim with Fungi, provided they wear a wetsuit. Wetsuits and snorkeling equipment can be rented at local Dingle stores, and both Dingle Harbor and the nearby Blasket Islands offer superb water activities. Local businesses also offer fishing trips and horseback riding, if you're looking for outdoor things to do in Ireland.
Buses run between Dingle Ireland and the towns of Ventry, Dunquin, Ballyferriter, and Tralee. Ventry is quite a bit smaller than Dingle, but nevertheless has its charms. With a long sandy beach with calm water, ponies for rent, and a handful of pubs and grocery stores, Ventry is a pleasant resting place between longer ventures. Many travelers will head from Ventry to Slea Head, where several archaeological sites are located. From these ruins on Dingle Peninsula Ireland travelers can catch an awe-inspiring glimpse into the fascinating history of the Irish people. Dunbeg, one of the ruins on Dingle Peninsula built in Bronze Age, is located a few miles west of Ventry. It has been excavated, and tests reveal that it was constructed in the late Bronze Age and used until the tenth century. Prehistoric beehive huts called clocháns can be seen on the southern slopes of Mt. Eagle. With such captivating ruins, the Dingle Peninsula Ireland certainly contends for a spot with other archaeological sites around the world. Over the past few decades, archaeologists have rapidly added southwestern Ireland to their must-see list.
The town of Dunquin attracts many students of Irish language and legend, and its magnificent seascapes and cliffs lure sightseers, kayakers, boaters, and adventurous tourists. The Dunquin pier rests between Silurian rock cliffs, which are more than 400 million years old and replete with fossils. Both Dunquin and Ballyferriter are part of the West Kerry Gaeltacht, meaning that Irish is the first language spoken in the villages and schools are taught in Irish. In addition, many road signs are in Irish only, rather than Irish and English, as you'll find in the rest of the country.
Ballyferriter also includes a number of historic Christian churches. The Gallarus Oratory, a stone church known for its ingenious corbelling, dates from between the sixth and ninth centuries, and it is almost perfectly intact, despite being built with no mortar. The Kilmakedar Church is a striking example of Romanesque architecture. The Loch A Dúin Valley, near the village of Cloghane, contains some of the greatest examples of historic ruins on the Dingle Peninsula, including stone structures, field walls, and several monuments.
Tralee, located about 30 miles northeast of Dingle, is County Kerry's largest city and a common stopping point for travelers going to and from Dingle into other parts of Ireland. It holds the annual Rose of Tralee International Festival, associated with the song "The Rose of Tralee." At the end of August, Irish communities worldwide send their young lasses to Tralee to compete for the title of "Rose of Tralee," and the contest is a fun event for tourists to attend as well. With its vivid forests, dramatic seascapes, and the Bronze Age ruins on the Dingle Peninsula, this region of Ireland provides a soothing, rejuvenating experience for travelers to Ireland.
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