Dingle Daingean Uí Chúis is the capital town of West Kerry; it’s the largest Gaeltacht town in the country. Dingle depends almost entirely on tourism. In March 2005, the name Dingle was officially abolished. The Government decreed that it was to be referred to solely as An Daingean. The name “Dingle” was taped over and removed from all road signs throughout the county. A lengthy dispute between the people of Dingle and the Irish Government followed. In 2011 legislation was brought in to recognise the Dingle Plebiscite and the town’s traditional historical names Dingle and Daingean Uí Chúis were reinstated.
This is a glimpse of Dingle’s history; adapted with his kind permission from Canon Jack Mc. Kenna’s wonderful book “Dingle”. In memory of Canon Jackie (RIP), it is dedicated to the people of Dingle, past and present, everywhere.
Dingle Harbour is safe and well sheltered from all sides. The surrounding land is fertile and a natural place for people to settle at any time or at any stage in the development of mankind. It offers an excellent opportunity for making a living through fishing, cultivation of the soil and trade. Even in the pre-historic period, the area was well inhabited, and to the present day ample relics, such as Ogham Stones, Promontory Forts, Megalithic Graves and Beehive cells survive from the pre-historic era.
The name of the town in the Irish language is Daingean Uí Chúis, which was widely accepted to mean The Fortress of the Husseys. The Husseys were a Norman family who arrived in Dingle shortly after the Norman invasion of 1169.
There is however, a second interpretation of the meaning Daingean Uí Chúis. The Annals of the Four Masters which were compiled by four Franciscan friars between 1632 and 1636 refer to a pre-Norman chieftain named O Cuis who ruled the area prior to the Norman invasion and had his principle fortress here, hence the name Daingean Uí Chúis.
Whatever the true meaning of the name is, earliest records show the two names of Dingle and Daingean Uí Chúis appearing side by side since the mid 13th century.