Dingle Pennisula

Trip Start Jun 29, 2014
Trip End Jul 22, 2014

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Where I stayed
Killarney Railway Hostel
What I did
Murphy's Ice Cream Dingle
Beehive Huts
Three Sisters and the Sleeping Giant
Dunmore Head

Flag of Ireland  , County Kerry,
Wednesday, July 16, 2014

An early start in the morning and we are off to the Dingle Peninsula for a day of adventure on the coast. We head out of Killarney on the Ring of Kerry in the opposite direction that we took yesterday. At a junction, we head north towards Tralee and Dingle. The drive to Dingle is scenic and on little narrow roads through the countryside. We plan to take the bigger green road (highway?) back to Killarney later today.

We arrive in Dingle around 10am. Parking is easy to find in a lot by the marina and TI office. We explore Dingle a bit walking around the streets. The shops are colorful and cute. We stop in a market to get some food for a picnic lunch. Then we find Murphy's Ice Cream for some more of this delicious treat. The kids play ball near the marina while Jim and I walk around the town to find a cash machine. It's up on the hill so we walk through the town centre and past a beautiful church along the way. Even as we return to the marina there are more and more people in town. We decide to head out to drive the Slea Head drive (loop) on the peninsula before there are even more people on the road. 

The Slea Head Drive is a loop that follows the coast of Dingle Peninsula. In many places there are 2 real lanes on this 2-way road but in many places the road turns into what is a glorified bike path. We are fortunate that there really aren't loads of vehicles coming and going on the road but we are hoping all the time not to encounter a tour bus coming in the opposite direction. It seems that the tour buses are wisely going all in the same direction which is the same way we are traveling. Driving is concentrated work but I do get to see the scenery along the way. We stop off to see archaeological sites and the coast along the way, to take pictures and to take a little break. 

We visit Inch Beach first... Eve and Daniel are so sad they did not bring along their swimsuits. They want to take a surfing lesson and swim but they have to be content in playing in the surf barefooted and romping on the beach. Inch Beach is a beautiful spot. There were very few people here at this time in the morning. We saw campers in the parking lot and one surfer man in the water. The waves were loud and strong, crashing high up on the beach. When we drive back in the afternoon, the tide is way out and the waves look less formidable. After the kids are done playing in the waves and on the beach we wash off their sandy feet and dry them with our new Irish towel that I bought in the beach store. 

Next on the drive is the ancient beehive huts. These are up on a steep hill where we are awarded with more spectacular views of the coast. The huts are made of stone and look like a little hive. There is work being done but one hut is open to walk into and see the inside. After visiting the huts, it's back down the hillside and back on the Slea Head Drive. 

At the very end of the Dingle Peninsula, there is Dunmore Head, which is the westernmost point of Ireland (excluding the islands). Here we park above a beach (where the kids of course wish they could swim). There is a small mountain or large hill (whichever way you want to describe it...) to climb over to get to the end of the continent. To get there we have to climb a stone wall and enter the sheep pasture. We dodge the sheep droppings the whole hike. We walk along a path that goes along the top of a sheer rolling drop down to the cliff and the sea below. I am urging everyone to be very careful and watch their step. This is a pretty dangerous hike - no running!  We get to the top and descend the other side to climb down to the point. Here we celebrate our success at getting to the westernmost point of Ireland. They say Christopher Columbus sailed past this place in 1477 when looking for a way east by going west. 

The rest of the Slea Head Drive loop takes us past more scenic views and sites. We are looking forward to perhaps some seafood lunch in Dingle at one of the cute restaurants we saw earlier today so off we go back to Dingle. Once in town, we realize that there are now a huge amount of people in Dingle. The traffic is slow and there is no parking place to be found so we hightail it out of Dingle and head back towards Killarney. We head for the bigger road we thought was a highway....nope, just a little bit wider road but still has that cow crossing sign. I don't think this area has highways. We make it back to Killarney in good time though. 

Back at the hostel we rest a bit before deciding what the kiddos want to do for dinner. They want to eat in at the hostel so Jim and I take a walk into Killareny town to buy some bread and butter for grilled cheese sandwiches (Eve's choice). Jim and I stop at Quinlan's fish and chips restaurant for some take away ... we saw a huge line yesterday at lunch time winding out of the restaurant so we think it's pretty good. Back at the hostel, we enjoy our fish and chips while the kiddos share some chips and have grilled cheese sandwiches and pasta. After dinner we rest a bit more before heading out for an evening walk around town to check out buildings and monuments. 

We have enjoyed our time in Killarney. 
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