Day 10: The Dingle Peninsula

October 12, 2010 05:20 – 05:20

On Monday, we headed out to the Dingle Peninsula from Killarney. Dingle is noted for beautiful vistas and ancient monuments. So, we spent the day seeing both. As are many places in western Ireland, roads often are narrow—sometimes too narrow for two vehicles. Yet, the speed limit is often 100k/h—on roads where most of the drivers are reluctant to do 60. As a result, whatever ETA your GPS gives you, you need to double the time needed for travel.

(Speaking of time… this is a very slow “broadband” wireless connection. So, no telling how long or if this blog will post. But, I’ll give it a try.)

Before hitting the road, I took a few pictures at Gleann Fia. Across the fence, the residents were actively having their breakfast.

On the other side, there’s a babbling brook… or river. Take your choice.

Our first stop was in Dingle. We stopped at a grocery store and picked up a beef pie, a chicken pie, and a few assorted other things to have for lunch. We couldn’t find a picnic table, but we did find a bench in a car park by the water.

Behind us was the town.

While eating, we were besieged with huge crows and yellow jackets. We weren’t able to convince the crows to eat the yellow jackets, so we settled for panic.

Back on the road in search of antiquities, we first found our way to a sandy beach. No antiquities here, but lots of beautiful sand and locals enjoying the sunny day.

Wee!

Our next stop was at an alleged iron age fort, Fort Dunbeag. I say alleged because no weapons were ever found there—just animal bones as if it’d been used for eating.

Here’s the path down to the fort.

They told us that about half the fort has crumbled into the Atlantic over the past 150 years. The fort was in use for something (they don’t know what) as recently as the ninth century CE.

On the matter of palms… I’ve seen at least two or three different kinds of palm-like trees. The bark doesn’t look like the ones I’m used to from Florida. Given how balmy it says on the Dingle Peninsula—they never get frost or freezes—however, actual palms (with seeds coming up via the Gulf Stream) are a real possibility.

At another scenic vista, we got a good look at the many stone fences—some of them having been maintained for over 1,000 years.

And another beach:

A few miles down the coast, we came upon more ruins.

The wooden doors and “modern” hardware on the doors made me wonder just how recently these houses had been occupied. There was nobody around to ask. Given the clothespins, this one might still be in use.

There were clothes hanging on some of the lines. I wonder how it must be, to live among ruins that are the focus of passing tourists (we saw a lot of other tourists taking pictures of the partially-ruined village).

Continuing around the peninsula, our next stop was at Louis Mulcahy’s Pottery. They have their own trucks!

And big vases outside.

And masks aplenty:

Next stop down the road was to see the Gallarus Oratory. I didn’t hear any oratorios there, but the building is pretty cool. From WikiPedia:

The Gallarus Oratory (Irish: Séipéilín Ghallarais, literally “The Church of the Place of the Foreigners”) is believed to be an early Christian church located on the Dingle Peninsula, County Kerry, Ireland. Though the building is believed to have been built between the 6th century and 9th century, some believe it could have been built as late as the 12th century because the east window has a rounded top made of two carved stones (not a true arch). According to local legend, if a person climbs out of the oratory via the window, their soul will be cleansed.

…which is good, because their own sign was hard to read:

And here it is… about a quarter mile from the visitor center, if you’re counting steps.

If you look through a little window on the back side, this is what you might see:

After leaving the Dingle, we set a course for Galway. Unfortunately, it was a good long way away. On the road, we set a course for a SuperMacs (related to Super Valu, apparently) for dinner. Unfortunately, it wasn’t there. At about 7:30, while looking for another Topaz for sandwiches, we found it was right next door to a McD’s. I hadn’t eaten a nonbreakfast meal from McD’s in at least 20 years—and breakfast there maybe only 4 or 5 times in the past 20 years. But, as they say, any port in a storm… So, we dined at McD’s, and then hit the road for Galway.

Galway has been an adventure so far. I’ll save my blogging about it until later tonight. Suffice to say that we didn’t get connected until this morning, and doing that was a major struggle… but not nearly as much struggle as it was to find out how to get into our apartment. More, later. (No time to proof now… I’ll proof later. We’re off to the Connemara National Park.

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