Once upon a time on a small island on the western fringes of a once mighty continent there was a town called Dingle. It was a place treasured by all who had the good fortune to have spent time there, for it was indeed a special place, blessed by bountiful seas, magnificent mountains, unnaturally friendly people, great food and some of the best pubs anywhere. No one knew what the name Dingle meant but it suited the jaunty nature of the place.
Then one day a meddlesome Government minister (is there any other kind?) decided the name of this rare town should be permanently changed to An Daingean. The name Dingle was deleted from every signpost on every road leading to the town. Intending visitors became confused and got lost. Outraged locals threw their arms up in despair. The Government minister straightened his tie, buttoned down his unsmiling face and refused to budge.
This is a true story folks. The town once called Dingle is now officially known as An Daingean, which is the original Gaelic version of the anglicised Dingle name. The minister decreed that all town names in Irish speaking (or Gaeltacht) areas must be known only by their Gaelic names. This makes very little sense since towns everywhere else in Ireland are known by both their English and Irish names. Why can’t a town with an Irish name also be known by its English name? Especially when the town’s English name is known far and wide. Imagine if Mr Bloomberg declared that New Amsterdam was in fact the correct and only name for New York. It would take more than a few billion to save him at the next election!
But forgive me, I digress. Despite the name change Dingle thankfully remains the same as it ever was. And that means you are in for a treat. In my humble opinion Dingle, and not Killarney, should be number one on the list of places you simply must visit while in Ireland. Why? Because Dingle is real. And shhh.. whisper it – the Dingle Penisula is more beautiful than the Ring of Kerry. Only my opinion mind you, but don’t take my word for it – check it out for yourself: