Tuesday, March 18, 2008

The Dingle Peninsula

My book, Lost Son of Ireland, takes place on the Dingle Peninsula. I decided to put some of the research I found, on this blog.

There is no other landscape in western Europe with the density and variety of archaeological monuments as the Dingle Peninsula. This mountainous finger of land which juts into the Atlantic Ocean has supported various tribes and populations for almost 6,000 years. Because of the peninsula's remote location, and lack of specialised agriculture, there is a remarkable preservation of over 2,000 monuments.
It is impossible to visit the Dingle Peninsula and not be impressed by its archaeological heritage. When one combines each site's folklore and mythology, which have been passed orally from generation to generation through the Irish language, one can begin to understand how unique and complex is the history of this peninsula.


The southwest of Ireland has traditionally been seen as having few Neolithic monuments. The recent discovery of a series of Passage Tombs outside of Tralee has reopened the debate. It is now felt that many of the hilltop cairns and possibly some of the standing stones date to the Neolithic. It is also likely that the cup and circle rock art is Stone Age rather than Bronze Age. It is during this period that the first farmers appear, living in more permanent structures, and showing a certain skill with the craft of pottery. Stone is the main material used in tool and weapon making. Large stone tombs are built to house the dead, and possibly also for ritual use. Some of the tombs of this period show incredible architectural skill in their orientation on the setting sun during the Winter Solstice.

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