A Little Bit of Heaven

Trip Start Sep 10, 2009
Trip End Oct 10, 2009

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Flag of Ireland  , County Kerry,
Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Last night’s promise of a beautiful day became a reality this morning. Gorgeous blue skies and sunshine had everyone smiling at breakfast. We chatted with some of the other guests before we all set out for our planned destinations.

We wanted to drive Connor Pass before we did anything else. It is the highest mountain pass in Ireland, but the road really isn’t that bad. We drove to the summit and got out of the car to enjoy the view for a while before starting down the other side. Just beyond the summit, the road narrows to one car width for about ¼ mile. There is mountain on one side, and cliff on the other, so aside from blowing up the mountain, there’s no way to widen it. Work was being done on that part of the road, so it was a bit tricky to maneuver the car around the big front-end loader filled with asphalt at the end of that stretch.

The rain from yesterday contributed to the flow of a mountain-side waterfall. We stopped for that, too, before continuing to the bottom of the pass and on to Brandon Point. We’re so used to being the only ones around that we were surprised to see someone had gotten to the point before we did. We met two couples from Wisconsin and talked to them for a while . I told them which pubs had music tonight, and if they’re not too tired we might see them there.

We drove along on the northern side of the peninsula until we saw a sign for Cappogh Beach. We went down to it, and had a lovely walk picking up shells and just enjoying the sea air. After a while we decided to drive back over the pass and do the Slea Head Drive in the opposite direction of yesterday’s drive. There was also a fort that we hadn’t found, so back to Dingle Town we went. On the way back, we again met the front end loader which we had to follow up to the summit.

I was so proud of myself for figuring out the directions to the fort, which I knew John would enjoy seeing. It was Fort del Oro, which was the scene of a British massacre of 700 Spanish, Italian, and Irish who rebelled against Queen Elizabeth in 1580. The road ended at a stone monument with no signs, and the fort was just couple of grass embankments. Oh well!

We stopped back at Louis Mulcahy’s pottery studio because we were hungry and they had a café. After some soup and brown bread, we drove back to our favorite beach. Today there were a few people there, but only one person had driven all the way down like we do. The tide was out, so there was a lot more beach than we’ve had any other time. Com Dhineol or the Ryan’s Daughter beach is my favorite spot, and I left a little bit of my heart there when we drove away.

We stopped at the shop at Slea Head and John picked up a few things before we went to the southern side of the peninsula. Since we were trying to see all the antiquities on our map, we had to stop at the beehive huts. We paid our 2 euro per person toll and walked up the hill to the structures that look like beehives, hence the name. They’re made of stone with no mortar to hold them together. The little settlement had five buildings and one stone in the outer wall had a cross inscribed on it.

That completed our journey around Slea Head, so we went into town. We parked near St. Mary’s Church, so we went inside. It’s a lovely church that dates back to 1860, and it’s had several refurbishments. There was a large building beside it with a sign for the Diseart Stained Glass exhibit, so I went through it while John sat and read. The building was a former convent for the Presentation Sisters, and the stained glass was in their chapel. It was amazingly beautiful. Another room depicted the life of the founder of the order in murals painted an all the walls. Quite nice!

We walked back to Dingle Crystal, and I got a small piece of Sean Daly’s work. Maybe I can start a collection! Sean’s wife Liz is a very friendly and helpful person--she tried to convince John that I needed more than one piece.

Since I got crystal, John wanted ice cream and we went down the hill to Murphy’s, home of Ireland’s most expensive frozen treat. We had eaten some in Killarney, so I got my single scoop of chocolate whiskey and John got two scoops of strawberry. The grand total was a little over $12 US.

Back at the b&b, we were reading when another couple arrived. While Angela was showing them to their room, she asked where they were from. I heard “Ohio”, so I went into the hall and met them. Jim and Kathy Swanson are from Cincinnati, and very nice. They asked for recommendations for dinner, and I told them to go to Murphy’s. I mentioned that we’d be going into town later for music, and they were interested in that, too.

We again had dinner at Murphy’s--the staff recognizes us now, and we saw other people we knew from earlier meals. While walking down the street after dinner, we met the Swansons and made plans to meet them for music at Paudie’s Pub later. We went back to the b&b to pack up and sat in the lounge.

The Swansons came back after dinner since the town was shut down except for the pubs. We talked a bit and they told us about the three years they spent in Germany. We all rode together to town and enjoyed the trad music for about an hour. They were tired from their drive and we wanted to check in with people at home, so we left.

It’s another beautiful night with the moon high in the sky--more promises of another beautiful day!
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