Discovering Dingle and its Famous Dolphin

Client: Back-Roads Touring

A land of wave-pounded craggy rock, sandy shores and ocean surf. This peculiar island extends from the western coast of Ireland and meets the Atlantic. It is a land awash with ancient monuments of stone and meek beauty, galvanised by the throes of time and now tell stories of devastation, conflict, and hope. The Dingle Peninsula is rich in history and atmosphere, underscored by charming settlements that dot the region amid beautiful mountain and coastal scenery.

The History And Sights of The Dingle Peninsula

The Dingle Peninsula bookends key eras of its past with landmarks and relics that retain virtually all their original fabric, devoid of modern recreation or conservation. This helps retain the unique and indigenous culture of Dingle and presents its history in an illustrated fashion. Artefacts dating from the stone age are laid bare even today in the form of rune-like standing stones and passage tombs of dense rock formations. Signs of the iron age come in the form of the awe-inspiring ring forts of Dun Clar and Annascaul which are imbued with magical properties as Irish mythology would dictate.  

Then we have the bee- hives of bonded stone slabs that typify early 6th century Christian architecture. These isolated monastic sights were placed upon the edge of the known world at the time, proving secluded worship for adopters of Christianity. It’s hard to not feel a sense of tranquil emptiness when traversing these sights and contemplating over the vast horizons that take hold of your gaze.

Fast-forwarding to the 16th century, we have the remnants of the imposing Minard Castle, which still stands upon the crest of a grassy overlooking a beach of huge boulders and crystal blue waters. What a picturesque last stand it would have been for Walter Hussey and his Irish forces as they were besieged by the English under Colonels Lehunt and Sadler, who bombarded the castle until it collapsed on the defenders.

Dingle Town and Fungie The Dolphin

  • Dingle Town

With a rustic charm that where tradition and heritage flirt with cosmopolitanism, Dingle Town is the exciting capital that glows with character. It is situated an idyllic natural harbour and is burgeoning with museums, workshops, friendly local pubs, and folklore festivals meaning that this modest town of 1500 citizens has plenty to do and see. Its allure has made it quite artsy by modern standards, as artists, musicians and general creative types make a habit of visiting the town.

In fact, you could even say that Dingle has a unique love affair with Hollywood, as stars seek the quaint beauty of the town for hideaways and relative peace. You’ll often find pubs adorned with the pictures of the A-listers that visit, such as Keanu Reeves, Pierce Brosnan and Sean Connery among others. Similarly, the rugged mountains and stunning landscapes of the Peninsular have starred in major titles, such as Far and Away and Ryan’s Daughter.

  • Fungie The Bottlenose Dolphin

For over 30 years, resident-in-chief dolphin, Fungie (pronounced “fun-guy”) has been beloved by visitors and adorned by thousands. He has been making waves in the Dingle Town waters since 1983, putting the town on the map for those who love nature and wildlife. The most miraculous aspect of Fungie is his playful behaviour and natural acclimatisation towards humans. He never shies from interaction or entertaining, so much so, that there are dedicated boat tours to go and see him and it’s an incredibly rare occurrence that he misses one.

Fungie enjoys playing near the lighthouse and faithfully escorts boats, big and small,  to and from the harbour. And Fitting for any beloved showman, Fungie has been immortalised in the town by a golden statue in his likeness. It is rare to find a dolphin with Fungies carpe diem outlook on life, making him a living legend.

What are you waiting for? Be you a budding archaeologist or historian or lover of wildlife, a trip to Dingle Peninsular will be one to remember.

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