County Kerry Stories and Tips


Dunquin Pier Photo, Dingle Peninsula, Ireland

Dunquin, or Dún Chaoin in Irish, is a small town on the Dingle Peninsula. It is on the Slea Head drive just north of Slea Head. The town is fairly spread out along the drive and includes a pub and some small cafés. The area is in the Gaeltacht, or Irish-speaking area, and is the most westerly point in Europe. The population changes with the tourist season, but there are about 150 voters registered, so it is not crowded. Dunquin is often referred to as the “next parish to America”. Dunquin is overlooked by Mount Eagle (1,659 feet), which rises to the north of Slea Head.
Kruger’s Pub in Dunquin is a great place to catch a pint and look out the windows over the ocean. There is occasional music, and it's a hangout for locals. Dunquin also has a few excellent cafes for a quick bowl of soup or sandwich. Many of these are also gift shops and or museums.
Just offshore from Dunquin are the Blasket Islands. A small boat makes a trip several times a day to carry visitors to the main island in good weather. If you have the time, this is a highly recommended excursion. See my journal for Blasket information. In 1588, when the Spanish Armada returned near Ireland, many ships sought shelter in the Blasket Sound, the area between Dunquin and the islands, and some were wrecked there. A memorial is located on the cliff overlooking the site. The Islanders did well from the salvage of wrecked ships over the years that the island was inhabited.
It is famous as the place of birth of the Irish language author, Peig Sayers. There is a small graveyard with a view of the Blasket Islands, where Sayers lived where she is buried. The Blasket Centre (see Blasket Centre journal), or Ionad an Bhlascaoid Mhóir in Irish (you might as well get used to it, as most of the signs in this area are in Irish), tells the story of the Blaskets and the myriad of island writers, including Peig Sayers, Tomás Ó Criomhthain author of The Island Man, and Muiris Ó Súilleabháin author of Twenty Years A Growing.
The Great Blasket was abandoned in 1953, after most of the population was deemed too old to safely make the passage between the island and Dunquin and Dingle. The population had dwindled to 22 people. Most of the population relocated to Dunquin.
There are a number of summer cottages and B&Bs in the area, and it is much less expensive than the Dingle area and gives you quicker access to the Slea Head area.

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