ARCHAEOLOGICAL SITES / Láithreacha Seandálíochta
There are more than two thousand archaeological sites on the peninsula.
Local heritage organisation, Oidhreacht Chorca Dhuibhne, has published a survey of all field antiquities in the area from the Mesolithic Period to the seventeenth century C.E. The book is available from local bookshops or may be consulted in Dingle library.
Corca Dhuibhne Regional Museum
Músaem Chorca Dhuibhne
Welcome to Músaem Chorca Dhuibhne, where archaeology and history are brought to life.
Open 7 days a week, 10:00am-5:00pm, June to September and at Easter.
Open by request during winter months.
Tel: 00353 66 915 63 33
or 00353 66 915 61 00,
Fax: 00353 66 915 63 48.
The museum is in the old schoolhouse in Baile an Fheirtéaraigh (Ballyferriter), 13km (8 miles) west of Dingle (just across the road from the Catholic Church). We also have a café with freshly baked scones and other treats available each day, and also a book shop which stocks a range of books of local interest, as well as books suitable for learners of the Irish language at all levels. Beidh fáilte romhat!
GALLARUS CASTLE & ORATORY Caisleán agus Sáipéilín Ghallarais
(On Slea Head drive near Baile an Fheirtéaraigh/Ballyferriter).
Gallarus Castle is a "tower house" built by the FitzGeralds and is believed to date from the fifteenth century.
Conservation works have recently been undertaken, and the interior is now accessible, although not currently open to the public.
Gallarus Oratory, a small, stone-built chapel in the shape of an up-turned boat, is one of the most famous landmarks on the peninsula. The oratory is built of stone without mortar, using "corbel vaulting", a technique developed by Neolithic tomb-makers.
The oratory is a national monument in the care of the Office of Public Works, and may be viewed by the public free of charge. However there is very limited parking at the site. A privately owned car park is available at the Visitor Centre (see below) along with other facilities, for which there is a charge.
For more information contact
Telephone No: +353 64 6632402
OPW "Heritage Ireland" Website
Gallarus Oratory Vistor Centre
Tel: +353 (0)66 915 5333
Gallarus Oratory Visitor Centre is located alongside Gallarus Oratory. The centre offers visitors an audio visual display of the surrounding area, a shop offering souvenirs and some refreshments located in the main centre. Visitors can also visit Gallarus Oratory.
Large coach and carpark.
KILMALKEDAR CHURCH Cill Mhaoilcéadair
(On Slea Head drive near Muiríoch).
This is the most important church site on the Dingle Peninsula. The site is traditionally associated with St. Brendan, but was reputedly founded by Maolcethair, whose death is recorded in the Martyrology of Donegal under the year 636.
There are no remains of the early monastery except possibly for the Ogham stone with the inscription of "Anm Maile Inbir Maci Brocann". The ruined Romanesque church visible today dates to the first half of the 12th century, and certain features are similar to those found in Cormac's Chapel on the Rock of Cashel in County Tipperary. Also visible on the site are a sundial, large stone cross, and alphabet stone (inside the church near the chancel arch). Some fine stone carving can also be found inside the church.
The church is a national monument in the care of the Office of Public Works, and may be viewed by the public free of charge.
REASC An Riasc (2 km outside Ballyferriter, signposted from the Slea Head Drive)
This early Christian centre is another memorable site, excavated during the 1970s, and famous for its wonderfully carved cross slab bearing Classical, Celtic and Christian motifs. The enclosed site also has the remains of other cross slabs, an oratory, burial ground, shrine site, paved pathways, corn drying kiln, and several dry-stone huts. It was first used in the late 5th or early 6th centuries, and appears to have continued in use up to the 9th or 10th century. The finds of the excavation are on view, with further information on the site, at the Museum in Ballyferriter.
The monastic complex is a national monument in the care of the Office of Public Works, and may be viewed by the public free of charge.
The Dunbeg Promontory Fort and Visitor Centre
Fahan, Slea Head Drive
Tel: +353 87 353 9143 or 86 173 7724
The location of An Dún Beag, or Dunbeag Promontory Fort, makes it one of the most dramatic archaeological sites on the peninsula. It has been excavated and results show that the earliest phase of construction may have been as early as the 6th century BCE, but otherwise evidence for intermittent temporary settlement much later, in the 8th or 9th centuries CE was found in relation to the inner fosse, and the clochán structure was occupied perhaps in the 10th or 11th centuries CE. Even the excavation results did not reveal conclusively what the site was used for; it may have been defensive, or it may simply have just been lived in, but it certainly seems to have been a high status site. This small but impressive fort is located on a sheer cliff promontory which projects South into Dingle Bay at the base of Mount Eagle. begun in the late Bronze Age, 800 BC, and was used right through the Celtic period up to the 10th century. Even the excavation results did not reveal conclusively what the site was used for; it may have been defensive, or used for ritual purposes, or it may simply have just been lived in. This small but impressive fort is located on a sheer cliff promontory which projects South into Dingle Bay at the base of Mt. Eagle.
At the Dunbeg Fort Visitor Centre food is available all day: teas, coffees, sandwiches, soups etc.