The Church and Graveyard of St James are situated on a two-acre site adjacent to Dingle’s Main Street. It has historic connections with Spain, Dingle port once being a point of embarkation for medieval pilgrimages to the shrine of St James at Santiago de Compostela.
The Treaty of Dingle was signed here on 28 April 1529, by the Earl of Desmond, James Fitzgerald and the envoy of the holy Roman Emperor, Charles V, King of Spain, incorporating most of southwest Ireland into the Habsburg Monarchy and giving the Irish people citizenship rights in Habsburg Spain, Austria and the Netherlands.
Over the years, most of the original church became a ruin, apart from St Mary’s side chapel. A wall plaque in this chapel commemorates John Fitzgerald, Knight of Kerry, who died in 1741.
The church was extensively renovated in 1974 and more recently the lancet windows and elaborate chancel window were repaired and restored. An archaeological survey of the graveyard took place in 2014. Alongside the restoration, repair and upgrade of the Church of St James there are plans to restore the graveyard and tell its story.
Today the church is best known as a place for spiritual and cultural gatherings and as a venue for the Other Voices Music Festival.
The Community Group:Friends of St James’
Friends of St James’ is a voluntary organisation based in Dingle, Co Kerry that is overseeing the development of the 600-year-old Church of St James to ensure it remains an integral part of this important cultural venue for the community and the many visitors it receives.