Ireland 2015: Day 10 – The Dingle Peninsula

“When life gives you lemons….”  Once again, I woke up to cloudy skies and the threat of rain.  I determined to make the best of what is becoming a common theme the last few days.  I set off from Killarney after breakfast heading toward the Dingle Peninsula.  Known as another lesser-visited area, the Dingle Peninsula is the northernmost of the southwest peninsulas heading up the west coast of Ireland.  It wasn’t long before I hit Inch Beach.  I was determined to put my feet in this side of the Atlantic Ocean, and this seemed like as good a place as any to do it.  You might expect the Irish waters to be cold, but compared to Massachusetts, it wasn’t shocking.  I met a gentleman walking his dog on the beach and he said this weather is not what summer in Ireland is typically like.

Dingle Peninsula
Dingle Peninsula

After Inch Beach, my next stop was the seaside town of Dingle.  I am staying in Dingle tonight, and my first thought was to pass through and explore later.  But I decided I was ready for a snack and sought out a scone and hot chocolate at a little cafe named Pie.  Afterwards, I walked around the town and bought a few gifts and souvenirs in the local shops.  I’m not typically a souvenir type of person; rather I like to find something unique that will remind me of my vacation.  This time, I found a piece of driftwood inscribed with a quote at a small sea glass shop and a “Dingle Rain” scented candle.  I’ve also been on the lookout for a small oval metal plaque common in Ireland which says “céad míle fáilte” on it.  It means “a hundred thousand welcomes” and it’s a feeling I’ve had everywhere I’ve gone in Ireland.

Slea Head Drive
Slea Head Drive

I set out for the Slea Head Drive after my stop. Slea Head is another iconic driving route around the tip of the Dingle Peninsula.  Sadly, the weather was deteriorating.  Instead of beautiful cloud-dappled skies, I ended up with moody, mist-laden mountain tops and foggy coastline pictures.  It was every bit as wild and scenic as Ireland can be.  The wind was literally so strong in places that I had to brace myself to stand against it.  My hood proved useless, and I gave up on trying to keep my camera lens dry.  I stopped to visit the Dunbeg Fort and the Gallarus Oratory along the way.  The fort sits high on a promontory jutting out into the sea, but the winds were howling and I didn’t stay long.  The oratory was built around the 7th or 8th century as an early Christian church.  You can also visit Gallarus Castle right down the path, but the castle is closed to the public.

Gallarus Oratory
Gallarus Oratory

By that time, I was tired and drenched from being out in the rain all day. I checked into my hotel and spent some time relaxing and editing pictures before going out for pizza.  Once again, the cheese on the pizza was incredible!  I was hoping to find some music tonight, but most sessions don’t start until 9:30 or 10:00.  Instead, I walked along the waterfront by the harbor and then called it a night.

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