On our first full day in Dingle, and of course after breakfast we set out on a drive around the Peninsula. The drive itself is well traveled and called the Slea Head Drive which takes you out to the tip of the peninsula for a view of the Blasket Islands, around past some really old stuff, and back to Dingle town again.
I should note that at this point in our trip we were running severely low on underwear and also all other types of clothes. We had dropped a slug of laundry off at the local cleaners the night before, but it wasn’t ready yet. So, if in the course of reading through this post you happen across a picture of the little guy in his pajamas in public and in broad daylight…yes, those are his pajamas.
We started out the drive heading West from Dingle town past the Dunbeg Fort; a Celtic ruin of stone walls facing the sea. There was an annoying tour bus there so we simply drove a bit further on and got out for a few photos. After choosing the ford the river (there was water in the road running off of the cliff face we were driving under…on purpose) we turned the point of Peninsula for a view of the Blasket Islands. Pretty great scenery and all so we snapped some pics and pressed on.
We got out of the car a little further down at a place labeled on the Google Maps as Waymont. It’s a little boulder strewn hill with treacherous packed grass that allows for pretty spectavular views of the mountains, shore, and fields to the northeast. I don’t know that I’ve ever seen, in the same vista, such expanses of agriculture (villages of Ballincollas, and Ballyaglisha, et all) backed and flanked by mountains (shaped like a lower case cursive ‘s’…Farranlateeve and Brandon Peak) highlighted by a coved beach that could be plucked right out of the Carribean. Hawaii (Maui in particular) comes close, but I think this may have it beat.
After we oogled the view (the weather by the way has held up really nicely) we pressed on through Ballyferriter until we got to the Gallarus Oratory, a religious structure built in the 8th century. So old. We parked at a lot that, come to find out, some guy just built and started charging money for…you could park for free just around the corner. The thing was pretty cool though and as we let the little guy tear around the gravel grounds it was a pretty stark contrast between something so old, and someone so young. A few deep thoughts passed through the mind: How many generations of people held this place dear…How different were rituals held here versus those held today…Everything changes…Everything fades away…
So, needless to say Erin was ready to go…
Just up the road, stopped in the town of Murreagh to eat lunch. The plan was to spread out on grass at a church, but the rain the night before made the ground too wet…well not too wet, we just didnt feel like ruining the little guy’s blanket. We settled for a picnic table across the street at a convenience store.
After lunch we finished up the drive and headed back to our digs. Oh yeah. Before we did the drive we said good bye to the Browne’s and moved to our next place: Pax Guest House which is this 5 star joint on top of the hill to the east of Dingle town. They had just finished renovations and the place was immaculate; offering a panorama view of the bay.
We had a quick cup of tea and then decided to take a boat tour of the bay so we ambled back down to the pier and boarded a little boat that took us out. One of the crew members gave us some history of the area, which I won’t completely divulge, but which I found fascinating; particularly the bits about way there are so many stone walls in Ireland (hint, the English and property ownership laws!). Dingle also has a small claim to fame in that they have a lone dolphin that lives in the bay. All of the boat tours promise that you get to see the dolphin on the trips…we did…we did see it.
That evening we had dinner in an average pub on the main strip of the town called (I think) John Benny Moriarty and returned with a bittle of wine for a looong night’s sleep in our place. Long day.