Geography of the Dingle Peninsula

tíreolaíocht - geography

The most northerly of the major peninsulas on the southwest coast of Ireland, the Dingle Peninsula or Corca Dhuibhne stretches 30 miles (48 kilometres) into the Atlantic Ocean from Ireland's south-west coast.

The peninsula is dominated by the range of mountains that form its spine, running from the Slieve Mish range in the east to the Brandon range in the northwest and Mount Brandon Cnoc Bréanainn 952 m. On the southwest of the peninsula and connected to the Brandon range with lower hills are Mount Eagle Sliabh an Iolair 461m, the sea cliffs of Slea Head and Dunmore Head reputedly the most westerly point of Ireland and Europe. This unique landscape is primarily due to the wide diversity of geological rock formations and structures formed through 485 million years of Earth history.

The Peninsula is known for its spectacular scenery and dramatic contrasts. Rugged rock and cliff meet crashing Atlantic Waves, steep mountain passes with vertiginous cliffs rise into the mist and cloud. Sheltered coves and golden sandy beaches give way to soft rolling hills and a mosaic patchwork of irregular small fields divided by low stone walls.

cathair deargáin stone enclosures with three sisters headland in background dingle peninsula Ireland

history and landscape

The Dingle Peninsula 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 historical monuments in the landscape such as standing stones, forts and small buildings. Over the centuries small scale tillage farming involved removing the plentiful stones and rocks from the ground in order to plant crops. These stones were used to build dry stone walls dividing fields, creating small roads and homesteads.These walls,small settlements and field patterns are still in evidence in many areas across the Peninsula. The stone of the Dingle Peninsula became part of the vernacular architecture with loose rubble and dry masonry walls still a feature of buildings in West Kerry. When the population reached a peak during the 19th century higher ground was intensively tilled to supply food. In strong sunlight you can still see the lines of potato ridges - known as ‘lazy beds’ abandoned after the Great Famine of the 1840s.

fungi swimming in foreground with fishing boat and lighthouse behind Dingle Harbour Dingle Peninsula Ireland

Way of life

Traditional farming, fishing and tourism are the main industries of Corca Dhuibhne / the Dingle Peninsula. Whilst farming is made up of mostly small holdings and fishing now mostly inshore, tourism is now the Number one industry and employer on the Dingle Peninsula. It has a short peak tourist season of approx. 3 months and it is made up for the most part of small local family run businesses. There is a population of approx. 10,000 people of which 2,050 live in Daingean Uí Chúis / Dingle Town.


The population of the Dingle Peninsula is approximately 10,000 people of which 2,050 live in Daingean Uí Chúis / Dingle Town.


Click on an article below to read more about the climate, weather, geology, flora and fauna, coastlines and islands of the Dingle Peninsula.

The Dingle Peninsula