An excerpt from Samuel Lewis Dingle – A Topographical Dictionary of Ireland 1837:
Dingle is the most westerly town in Ireland; it is situated in lat. 52o 10‘ 30″ and lon. 10o 15′ 45″, on the northern coast of the bay of the same name, an inlet from which forms the harbour; and may be called the capital of the extensive peninsula which comprises the entire barony of Corkaguiney [Corca duibhne]. This district is generally supposed to have been colonised by the Spaniards, who formerly carried on an extensive fishery off the coast, and traded with the inhabitants, who still retain strong indications of the Spanish origin, and some of the old houses are evidently built in the Spanish fashion. The town occupies a hilly slope, and is surrounded by mountains on all sides except that towards the harbour, which here presents the appearance of a lake; the outlet being concealed by a projecting headland. The streets are irregularly disposed, but as there are more than the usual proportion of respectable slated houses, with gardens attached, the town has from a short distance, a very pleasing appearance.
The number of houses in 1831 was 699, since which several others have been erected; the inhabitants are well supplied with excellent water; though not lighted, and but partially paved, it has been much improved within the last 20 years, is generally considered a very healthy place of residence, and has an excellent bathing strand. The manufacture of linen was formerly carried on to a considerable extent, and at one time exported to the amount of £60,000 annually … but is now nearly extinct. The present export trade, though not considerable, is increasing: it consists chiefly in corn and butter, of which about 10 cargoes, averaging 200 tons each, are annually sent to England, chiefly to Liverpool. The principal imports are iron, coal, salt, and earthenware.
The market is on Saturday, and is well supplied with stock and provisions of every description; there are no fairs, the market being considered a sort of weekly fair for cattle and pigs: about 800 of the latter are sent annually to Cork. There are two flour-mills, and an ale and porter brewery in the town, and branches of the National and Agricultural Banks have been lately established. Here are chief stations of the constabulary police and coast guard; the latter being the head of the district, extending along the coast from the bay of Dingle to Brandon Head, and comprising the stations of Minard, Dingle, Ventry, Ferriter’s Cove, Ballydavid and Brandon.
The principal seat in the vicinity is Burnham House, the property of Lord Ventry, and now the residence of his agent, D.P. Thompson Esq., who has much improved the house and demesne. The other seats are the Grove, the former residence of the Knights of Kerry, now of J. Hickson Esq., situated in a finely wooded demesne immediately adjoining the town; Monaree, of the Hon. R. Mullins, Farrankilla, the modern mansion of P.B. Hussey, Esq., and Ballintagart, of S. Murray Hickson, Esq.
Lord Ventry maintains a chaplain at a salary of £150 per annum, who is resident in the town and assists in the performance of the clerical duties. The old church which was dedicated to St. James, is said to have been built by the Spaniards: it was originally a very large structure. The present church, on the site of the ancient edifice [was built] in 1807, it is a plain structure, and having become too small for the increasing congregation is about to be enlarged.
In the R.C divisions the parish is the head of a union or district, which also comprises the parishes of Ventry, Kildrum, Garfinagh, the south part of Cloghane, Kinard and the greater part of Minard. The chapel of Dingle is a handsome and spacious modern edifice, and there are chapels at Ventry and Lispole. Adjoining the chapel at Dingle is a convent for nuns of the order of the Presentation, a branch from that of Tralee, established here in 1829.
The parochial school is supported by subscription and is under the superintendence of the curate. A school for boys and a school at the convent for girls, have been hitherto chiefly supported by the parish priest; the girls are gratuitously instructed by the nuns, and are also taught plain and ornamental needlework. A new schoolhouse for the accommodation of about 500 boys has been lately erected in connection with the National Board.
Attached to Burnham House is a school for Protestant female orphans, originally established by Mrs. D. P. Thompson at Tralee, during the cholera and recently removed to Burnham House. They are received on the recommendation of respectable parties, who guarantee the payment of £5 per annum for each towards the expense of their board, the deficiency being made up by the patrons; the number is at present limited to 16.
The late Matthew Moriarty Esq., left house in Dingle as a dwelling, rent free for eight poor widows; it is kept in repair by his representatives, but the inmates have no pecuniary allowance. Here is a dispensary. In the churchyard is a tomb of the Fitzgerald family, with an inscription in Gothic characters, bearing the date 1504.
From Connor Hill to the north-east of Dingle on the road to Castle Gregory, a splendid view embracing both sides of the peninsula, is obtained. On one side is seen the bay of Dingle, as far as the island of Valentia, with the great Skellig rock in the distance, and the town and harbour of Dingle lying immediately beneath; and on the other side, Brandon Bay and several bold headlands. On each side are mountains, with wide and deep valleys intervening and numerous tarns or small lakes lying the hollows of the hills.
 St.Mary’s Catholic Church.
Above is an excerpt from Dingle – A Topographical Dictionary of Ireland 1837. See the full article here on Library Ireland