Slea Head Drive

Trip Start Jul 16, 2011
Trip End Jul 31, 2011

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Flag of Ireland  , County Kerry,
Friday, July 22, 2011

We slept in and didn't have breakfast until 8:15. We both had omelets, toast, fruit, juice and tea.  We called and made reservations for the Archeology Tour tomorrow.  We stuck around Pax House for a little bit and left about 10:00.  There is a road that goes out to the end of the peninsula and circles back to Dingle, so we took it.  Rick Steves had another play by play for our route today.  Before leaving Dingle we went to the supermarket and got our lunch and snacks: sandwiches, apples and scones.  We also got some more McVitty’s Biscuits (cookies).  There were several things in Rick Steves about locations where "Ryan’s Daughter," starring Robert Mitchum was filmed.  We skipped all of that as it didn’t interest either of us. 

We stopped at Dunbeg (dun = fort, beg = small).  It is a small ring fort constructed on the edge of a cliff, ready to fall into the sea.  It was a fort with lower stone walls and several earthen walls surrounding it for fortification.  On the walk down to the fort we saw a horse and a burro/donkey that allowed us to pet them.  Across Dingle Bay from the fort we could see Skellig Michael and Little Skellig.  The house that served as a restaurant and visitor was a completely stone house.  The walls and roof were made of stone fitted together to make a waterproof shell.  It looks like it has been there for a very long time.

We saw two sets of Beehive Huts.  The first set of huts were constructed inside a very low ring of stone.  A couple of the huts were right next to each other with a doorway between the two.  At the second set of huts we met the owner of the private property where they were.  She was an older woman named Mary and she was very grateful that we would pay the 2 EUR to see them.  We were glad to pay.  The beehive huts on her property were different.  There were two close to the house, a large one that has obviously been used recently as it had a cement floor and the top had been cemented as well and a smaller one. The larger one had longer stones sticking out at intervals which gave it a different look.   Up the hill was another one which was shaped slightly differently.  It had a little ledge around the base.  Down near the house through a different gate there were three more huts which were all next to one another so that you could go into one and go through all three.  We talked to Mary some more before we left and she told us her grandson was flying in today from the U.S. for a visit.

As we were driving on the next stretch we came to a place where we forded a stream coming down the hill.  There has never been a bridge there and the nickname for the place is the “upside-down bridge.”  It reminded me of where you drive through the Sandusky River at Aumiller Park where I grew up in Bucyrus, only this crossing was much smaller. 

As the Blasket Islands came into view, we stopped at several scenic pullovers.  At the last one there was a man selling Ogham Stones, pronounced 'Ohm.’    Ogham writing is an ancient linear script which is the first  form of writing used in the Irish language.  Each letter of the Ogham Alphabet is a stroke or series of strokes positioned along a central line and is read from the bottom upwards.  The ancient Celts based the Ogham Alphabet on a seasonal cycle of trees.  Each letter is represented by a tree which corresponds with a month of the Ogham Tree Calendar.  The Rowan tree corresponds to the month I was born.  This is the fourth month of the calendar and actually begins on my birthday, January 24th.  New Year’s Day on this calendar is October 31, Halloween.  The Rowan Tree represents protection from harm, insight and intuition.  Erin bought two slate wall hangings on which Happiness and Slainte (Slon-cha, like cheers or prost, when you have a drink) are written in Ogham writing.  We stayed at this pullover and had our sandwiches and apples.  There was a craft store across the road where we used the facilities and Erin bought two more CDs.  I think she has six now, I have two. 

Our next stop was at Slea Head, the westernmost point in Europe.  We hiked to the top of the head where there was a standing stone with Ogham writing.  The view was spectacular as we could see the south side and north side of the Dingle Peninsula, the Skelligs and the Blasket Islands.  We had to cross a stone wall to get over the fence and that was a challenge but I made it.  We followed the loop road looking for the Reasc Monastery but we missed it.  We came to the Galllarus Oratory a stone building in the shape of an overturned boat.  It was one of Ireland’s earliest Christian churches and had a little cemetery.  Next we doubled back to the monastery which looked like a ring fort with very low walls.  We continued on to the ruined church of Kilmalkedar which had only the walls standing but the church yard is still used as a cemetery.  There was a very old Celtic cross and another Ogham stone.  When we left the church we crested a hill and coasted the 3 miles back into Dingle.  We stopped at the Aquarium to visit the gift shop to get turtles for a special group of women back home, you know who you are.

We came back to Pax House and had our scones.  We went out to the veranda to work on blogs etc. but it was too bright to see my screen and I wanted to be out of  the sun.  So I went into the sunroom.  One of the women brought a tray of decaf tea to each of us with little biscuits.  We are so spoiled here.  I highly recommend Pax House.  It is our one splurge on accommodations. 

We went into Dingle and did a little shopping.  Erin and I each bought a claddaugh ring and they are identical.  We chose the ones we did because they are pretty plain and because the band is a Celtic knot. I wear mine with the heart facing me to show that my heart if closed because I am married.  Erin wears her with the heart facing away to show that her heart is open because she is not married. 

We went to Moriarity’s for supper.  It was just down the street from Murphy’s Bar.  Erin had fish and chips and I had shepherd’s pie.  Erin had Guiness again and I had a shandy.  We stayed for the beginning of the music a man who played guitar and a woman who played fiddle and flute.  We didn’t stay long enough to hear the flute as we wanted to move on.  We stopped at Murphy’s and Erin had another guiness but we didn’t stay long there either.  We got back to Pax House about 11:00.
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Janet on

Sharing your trip through your blog is wonderful! I've never been to Ireland and probably will not have that on my list of travels so your detailed journey and pictures are a great gift! Thanks! Keep having a safe and joyfilled time in Ireland!!!

Josie on

What super photos - looks like you're having a great time and you haven't mentioned any rain - are you sure you're in Ireland?!

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