Tribe of the Ring Fort

Thursday, February 09, 2006

A Day in Dingle (Sarah)

Lucky us! We live within an easy drive of the Dingle Peninsula, which despite its unlikely name, is one of the most beautiful spots in Ireland even in January. January is probably one of the best times to go, actually, because the area's beauty has most definitely been discovered and is overrun with tourists in summer.

To reach the village of Dingle, you either drive around the peninsula on the southern shore, or you can take the dramatic drive over the Connor Pass. The road has been widened since our first trip here in 2000, which makes it even easier to get there. I miss the old road, unpleasant as it was to meet with a bus or truck on what was essentially a one lane, steeply inclined, switchbacked, on the edge of cliff drive. Much of the old road, and some of the new, was bordered by waist high stone stiles. On that first trip, sheep were using the flat topped stile as a comfortable resting place. The road was so narrow, that I was able to stick my arm out our open car window and touch the sheep as we drove past. At one point, a small waterfall came down over the road, sort of like a natural car wash. That's gone, too. But the two areas where you can pull off and park are as dramatic as ever.

Below, the first 2 pictures are at the first pull off, where you can hike around the steep hill and discover a still, deep (some say bottomless) mountain pond. The second pull off is mostly for the scenic landscape. On that first trip, the clouds were low enough that we were driving through them, and didn't see much of the far landscape. On this trip, it was a lovely sunny day, perfect for scrambling around on the hill & then taking a boat ride into Dingle Harbour.

When we got into town, we grabbed a great fish & chips lunch. Then we walked across the street to the docks, and joined a tour of the harbour. The big selling point is Fungi the dolphin, who has been living here for 23 years. If Fungi doesn't appear, no payment is taken. In fact you don't pay until AFTER Fungi shows up. We were out for about an hour, and it would be worth paying even without seeing the dolphin. There were only 7 other people along for the ride. Those boats must be packed in the summer. I'd love to go back in summer to take out a kayak. After the boat ride, we repaired to a pub for a pint & a snack, then home. There's a lot more to explore around Dingle, including a drive around the head of the peninsula that features a lot of very cool archeological sites.

At the Connor Pass

Top of the Connor Pass

Statue of Fungi in Dingle

Dingle Harbor

This is the best picture I have of that damn dolphin. For a few more pictures, NOT taken by me, check this link:


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