Dingle Peninsula

Trip Start Jun 27, 2010
Trip End Aug 19, 2010

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Where I stayed
Tower House

Flag of Ireland  , County Kerry,
Monday, August 2, 2010

8/2/2010 Monday
We arrived in Dingle after about 3.5 to 4 hours.  Most of the roads were decent most of the way until we got outside of Killarney and then it was a two way rural road, which makes both of us uncomfortable.   We arrived about 4:30 pm at the Tower View B&B and I rang (Sheila) the door bell - nothing happened so I used the knocker.  Mary arrived at the door and said she didn't hear the bell.  I said I was Sheila Dutton and she said that my name rang a bell and would go to see which room we were to be in.  She was very friendly and came back to take us upstairs to our room.  We asked where we could get a bite to eat because we had had a wonderful lunch and were not very hungry and she recommended the Old Dingle Hotel and O'Flaherty's for music later.  We decided to walk because we and been sitting for so long.  We found the Hotel, walked in and were given a table right away.  I had chicken wings, which were great and it was fun to have them, and Skip had a chicken Cesar salad. Both were great.  We walked to O'Flaherty's and we thought we were in strange place - the bar was at one end and  three seating areas and a piano on the other side of the room and lots of space in between.  We went to the bar and Skip ordered a Beck's N/A and I asked for a Harp - a lager.  We had been told that the music would start at 9:30 pm; well, it came and went and we decided to leave because we were tired.

8/3/2010 Tuesday
  We encountered drizzle in the morning, something new in our experience of travel.  Here are some sheep in Dingle - they were all over the hillsides.  After our breakfast we drove out towards the northern part of the peninsula and made a stop at the Gallarus Oratory.  When we arrived we were the first car in the car park.  We checked our OPW booklet for the Heritage sites and presented our cards to the attendant.  He said that they did not accept them at this site, even though in was part of our information.  We decided not to haggle, and he was the first person we encountered who was not very hospitable or cheery.  It really stood out because this had not been the case in the rest of our travels.  We walked up to the Oratory and on our way Sheila noticed a small bird along side the path that just hopped along the path and did not seem frightened by us at all.  The bird was a peculiar brown with brown and white flecked patched back.  She took a few pictures and we hope that Travis might be able help us identify the name of  this cute little bird.  We went on and found the Oratory to be impressive as a solid stone structure without any mortar.  We were impressed by the interior and after we had the opportunity to view the video and realized that the internal light was based upon its east-west direction, so the sun light the interior in the rising sun through a window at the east end and the light came through the door as the sun moved westward.  Beside the Oratory was some rubble with a standing stone marker.  The video pointed out that the rubble was actually the same type of structure.
   We got back on the main road.  I use the term "main" road with a deep sense of the absurd.  Having, now, driven almost 1300 miles in Scotland and Ireland, I have become conditioned to flinch while driving on the main roads as trucks and buses wiz by my window close enough to see the dust on their doors.  We arrived at the west coast and found the Dingle Golf Club.  Sheila and I took a look from a high point near the club house and Sheila commented that this was definitely a links course.  I smiled because over the three or four  weeks she has seen a lot golf, beginning with the British Open, Scottish Open etc. and became informed about different terms used in golf.  We left the golf course and took the coast road that goes around the southern tip of the Dingle Peninsula driving in a counter-clockwise direction.  We found that what little road existed was taken up in large part by tour buses.  At one point I stopped to allow a bus to pass.  I pulled over against a shear rock wall and quickly pulled down my window to grab my external review mirror against the car.  I could have written my name on the bus as he passed 'sooo slowly' that I was waiting for the sound of scratching metal on metal.  Much to my surprise he finally got through without pinning us against the rocks or having the bus going off the cliff on the other side.  We made it all the way back to Dingle to get some cash from one of the two banks and do a little shopping.  I (Sheila) found the experience exhausting and decided that when we got back to the B & B that I was going to find a a bus tour for the Ring of Kerry.  We went into a pub in Dingle to use the toilet and had a drink and walked to a cute shop on Green Street to buy presents for our two teenage grand-daughters.  We parked behind a Catholic church and there were these statues outside. 
We had dinner at the Out of the Blue restaurant which very good.  I had salmon and I asked her how it was cooked and she said they don't over cook it and I said good.    I had scallops for a starter.  Skip had a seafood soup as a starter and John Dory which is a white fish (maybe you know this, I didn't.)  We then went back to O'Flaherty's and decided to stay until the music started no matter how long we would have to wait.  So, we did and they did.

8/4/2010 Wednesday
We rose and left the house at 7:30 to drive to Kenmare to go on a bus tour of the Ring of Kerry.  We knew it was going to take at least two hours to get there and we allowed for more in case we got lost, which we did before leaving the Dingle Peninsula!  I (Sheila) missed the turn and thought we were alright for about 5 miles.  When we "discovered' that we were not going the right way and Gertie was right, we tried to get us to go very narrow roads which we didn't want to do!  After becoming very frustrated and worried about our time, we did venture down a slightly wider road to get back on track.  Fortunately, Gertie has an estimated arrival time on her screen and it didn't look like we lost too much time.  We proceeded to Killarney and innocently approached the Killarney National Forest.  At the beginning it seemed like a normal drive on a nice wide road.  Then, as it climbed up the mountain the road became more narrow and we started to pass buses and we both started to feel more anxious!  It was beautiful but...  We, of course, managed to arrive in Kenmare with about 10 minutes to spare, found parking and a toilet and went to meet the bus and driver at the Tourist Information center.  When we told the driver that we had driven over the mountains he was impressed.  He said he would show us another way to drive back to Dingle, thank god.  
  There were about 18 of us and we got on to the bus.  I think it was a 20 passenger bus which was great - not too big.  We took off north over the mountains we just came down!  We stopped a few places on the way and it was beautiful!  One place was called Moll's Gap and the other Ladies View.     We stopped for coffee/tea at the Red Fox Inn and Skip got to talking with a man from Utica New York, Ron, with his wife Monica.  Next, we stopped at Waterville for a toilet break and there was a statue of Charlie Chaplin.  He spent a lot of time in Waterville as you can read on the monument next to the statue.   We stopped for photos at View from the Coomakesta Pass @ approx. 1,200'.  It was soooo windy I could barely stand up!  We stopped for lunch just past Coonmakesta Pass which was good.  Ron and Monica sat with us and we found out that Ron is a sport's writer for a newspaper in Utica and his wife is a school psychologist.  The next stop was at a town called Sneem.  It was a cute town and we had an ice cream cone.    Then we drove back to Kenmare.  
We drove home a much easier way.  We decided to eat dinner at a place that Rick Steves' says the owner says, "Come in for a drink, have something to eat and stay for the music."  So, we did.  We had to sit in the bar area because it was very crowded.  After a while we started talking with the couple and their young daughter sitting next to us. They told us they were from the Lake District and he works for a nuclear power company.  The daughter said she was 11 and was very cute.  The wife, whose name I have forgotten, gave me her email address and I plan to email her to find out where is a good place to go in the Lake District.  I am not sure when we would go but Catherine and Dave said they were interested in going back there.  Here is a video of the music at Moriarty's.  It was dark in there, but if you click it you can see the drummer playing the Bordhran. 

8/5/2010 Thursday
We had breakfast and said goodbye to Mary.  She, her husband and three daughters live at the B&B and they have chickens  sheep and goats  and a pony and a dog which I didn't take photos of.  She said that we should go over Connor's Pass on the way to Tralee.  We asked her how narrow the roads are and she said that there is only about one mile that is narrow and that people move over and to just drive slowly.  We decided to chance it and it was stunning.    Have a look at the map at the top.  This pass was even higher than the one on the Ring of Kerry.
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