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Dingle / Daingean Uí Chúis

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Daingean Uí Chúis By Isabel Bennett

By Isabel Bennett, with thanks to the West Kerry Live

Bhí fás ag teacht ar thábhacht chuan agus bhaile an Daingin ó tháinig na Normannaigh sa 13ú aois deag. Láthair thábhachtach thrádála ab ea é faoin mbliain 1257, nuair a leag an rí Sasanach Anraoi II custam ar earraí a easpórtálfaí tríd an nDaingean. Bhí falla timpeall ar an mbaile, cé ná raibh sé le feiscint ann ag deireadh na séú aoise déag, agus ní mhaireann aon rian de inniu. Bhí séipéal na tríú aoise déag tiomnaithe do Naomh Séamas; is ar an láthair chéanna a tógadh an séipéal Protastúnach atá inniu ann, sa bhliain 1807. Tá leaca agus tuamaí suimiúla sa reilig mórthimpeall air. Calafort ab ea an Daingean a d’fhágfadh daoine agus iad ag imeacht go dtí Santiago de Compostela, an oilithreacht mhór thábhachtach sna meánaoiseanna in onóir Naomh Séamas.

Although there was a ringfort in the area of Páirc an Ásaigh, it was not until of the arrival of the Normans into the area that Dingle as a harbour and town began to grow in importance.  It was a recognised centre of trade by 1257, when King Henry III passed a law placing a customs duty on a variety of goods exported through Dingle, including wool, hides, salt meat, fish and butter.  The town was walled, but not until the end of the 16th century, and there are no definite remains of it visible today.  The town layout, particularly the long plots behind the houses on Main Street (burgage plots), is very typical of a town founded in the medieval period.

There were some tower-houses (or fortified town houses), built during the medieval period.  The several decorated stones, visible on the walls of houses mainly in Green Stree, may have come from buildings of that time.  The 13th-century parish church, dedicated to St James, was on the site of the present building, built in 1807.  The graveyard contains several interesting gravestones and tombs, as well as some cut stones from the earlier church.  Dingle was a port from which people left for Santiago de Compostela, on the great medieval pilgrimage in honour of St James, which was commemorated in recent years when a group sailed from the town to Galicia on the Jennie Johnson.

There are many important post-medieval buildings in the town, including Rice House at the junction of Green Street/Main Street, and of course the old hospital, which was built as a workhouse in 1847.  Associated with this is the burial ground Cill Mháiréid, on the hill slope behind the workhouse.  The ‘Holy Stone’, a somewhat enigmatic stone with several large depressions, is also in this part of town, on Goat Street.

This is only a very short article about a town that is full of history.  Further information about the town, as well as other monuments in the area, and a lot more besides, can be found in Músaem Chorca Dhuibhne, Baile an Fheirtéaraigh (13km/8 miles west of Dingle) www.westkerrymuseum.com.  Beidh fáilte romhat!  Tel: 066-9156333 or info@westkerrymuseum.com.  

 

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