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Gateway to the Dingle Peninsula
Gateway to the Dingle Peninsula
The first sighting of the Dingle Peninsula from the N86 is an unforgettable vista. Driving from Tralee the low lying road between a canal and river forms a causeway running towards this iconic view. A seven bay stone bridge spans the River Lee at its estuary, the Slieve Mish mountains rise up from the water stretching westwards along the Dingle Peninsulas north shore and the horizon opens wide with promise. Before this dramatic backdrop of ocean, sky and mountain, on the south bank of the River Lee stands the crisp white outline of a windmill surrounded by a cluster of buildings. Welcome to the scenic and historic village of Blennerville, gateway to the Dingle Peninsula.
Blennerville was once the main trading port for nearby Tralee and the village has fine examples of late eighteenth and early nineteenth century architecture. Following the opening of the Canal to Tralee in 1846 trade at Blennerville port went into serious decline. The remains of Blennerville quay which can still be seen west of Blennerville bridge became the embarkation point for thousands of people who left the country during and after the famine.
Nowadays Blennerville welcomes visitors from all over the world as they travel on to the Dingle Peninsula. Blennerville Visitor Centre introduces the visitor to a working windmill, an exhibition gallery, craft shop and restaurant. The famous walking trail, the Dingle Way begins in Blennerville and runs along the coast before crossing the central spine of mountains, dropping downhill and meandering west towards the port of Dingle.
In 1891 the Tralee and Dingle Light Railway opened connecting Tralee with Dingle along one of Europe's most western railway lines. A station operated at Blennerville until the line closed in 1953. Blennerville Station was located just south of the bridge. The single track railway line was often flooded by high tidal water and trains could be delayed for hours waiting for the water to subside.
in 1993 a short 3-kilometre restored section of the line was opened but this section of railway is no longer in operation. A model railway and exhibition display can be found in Blennerville Windmill visitor centre.
The famous landmark of Blennerville Windmill was built in 1800 by order of Sir Rowland Blenerhassett. The 21 m high stone built mill has five floors and sails that measure approx 18 m. It was used for milling grain, for use by local people and for export to Great Britain.
A major project during the 1980's restored Blennerville Windmill to full working order and it was opened to the public in 1990. The visitor centre next to the windmill offers guided tours of the mill and includes a craft centre, model railway, art gallery, audio-visual presentation and restaurant.
Built in Quebec Canada in 1847 the famine ship Jeanie Johnston sailed on 24th April 1848 from Blennerville, Co. Kerry to Quebec with 193 passengers on board. Over the next seven years the ship made 16 voyages to North America carrying over 2,500 emigrants safely to the New World. She sailed to Baltimore, New York and Quebec and on those voyages never lost a passenger to disease or the sea.This was in stark contrast to the “coffin ship” reputation of other vessels who lost many passengers to hunger and disease.
A replica of The Jeanie Johnston was constructed in Blennerville and sailed to Canada and the United States in 2003. It can be seen berthed on Custom House Quay in Dublin.
Directions: From Tralee take the N86 towards Dingle.
DINGLE PENINSULA TOURISM ALLIANCE – PROMOTING THE DINGLE PENINSULA TOGETHER
Do come and stay! We are very happy to help guide you to your idyllic holiday or short break on the Dingle Peninsula. Dingle Peninsula Tourism Alliance, a marketing co-operative owned and managed by its members across the peninsula, have produced this website to provide you, our visitors with the most up to date information you need to plan and enjoy your visit.
If you cannot find the information you need, or have a question you would like answered, please feel free to contact us.
+353 (0)66 915 2448
Comhaontas Turasóireachta Chorca DhuibhneAonad 4, Páirc Gnó na Coille, Daingean Uí Chúis, Contae Chiarraí, Éire