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Dingle Peninsula

Late two days

rain 14 °C

Sorry about the delayed post! We haven't had internet in the last two days so I haven't been able to post. I'm attaching to this post what I wrote the evening of 8-11-09.

8-11-09

Quite a long day today. I’m pretty wiped out. I apologize for not posting this promptly, the B&B we are staying at does not have internet access. I’ll post it ASAP tomorrow.

We woke up in Ennis and I again had my warm breakfast. After that we settled the bill and we were off. We bid farewell to County Clare and made our way to County Kerry. It was a long drive and for most of the way to the city of Tralee Raquel slept and I listened to Radio DJs speak in Irish and occasionally play music.

We drove through Tralee and made our way into the Dingle Penninsula. In order to do so, however, we had to go over the mountains through the Connor Pass. This was unbelievable and a must see if you ever travel to Ireland. The mountains were covered by clouds and as we ascended them, it started to mist around us. Suddenly we were near the summit of one of the highest mountains in Ireland. It was not very steep, covered with green and rock outcroppings all around. There was a little parking area so we decided to stop. We then climbed up the summit and it leveled out a bit. Where it leveled out there was a crystal blue lake, on the far side of the lake the mountain continued up – still a vibrant green and still with rock outcroppings. The whole time there was a rolling mist coming down the mountain, over the lake and toward you with the wind. The result was a surreal image that I will never forget. Wet wind ripped at you as you took in the sight. The sun even shone through a few times making for a sunny mist over this image. It was the stuff of Irish legends. You could climb as high as you liked and the climb was not particularly challenging. My feet got soaked, but it was well worth it. I’ve never seen an image like that. The pictures do not come close to doing it justice.

We left the Connor pass and it really got foggy and genuinely started to rain. Raquel commented that most of the drive through the mountains looked like something out of the lord of the rings, and I had to agree. Narrow passes along the side of a mountain during a foggy rain. It was unbelievable.

Eventually we made our way to Dingle town. The cute but touristy center town on the Dingle peninsula. After some dumb luck found us a parking spot we had some lunch and did a bit of shopping. We then continued west out further onto the peninsula and the Slea Head Road – a loop on the western part of the peninsula. By this time the rain had started to become a bit of a nuisance as the Dingle peninsula was supposed to be one of the more picturesque parts of Ireland and we couldn’t see more than a 30 yards in any direction. Undeterred we started on our loop and saw the Dunbeg fort, an originally iron age turned middle age fort on the western cliffs of the peninsula. The fort was great, the 10 minute audiovisual presentation that accompanied it was pretty terrible, for 8 minutes all we learned was how picturesque the fort was. We pressed on.

The rain continued to fall and I would be lying if I said I was not tired of driving by this point. We swung by Dunsmore Head, the western most point of mainland Ireland. Unfortunately there was not a lot to see with the weather. We continued our loop and saw an the remains of a 6th century monastic settlement. After that we promptly got lost on the peninsula. In Ennis we learned that Ireland only has 335 roads* in the entire country. Roughly 200 of those roads had to be on this peninsula. And let me tell you, when you take a wrong turn in Ireland, its not like taking a wrong turn in Manhattan. There is no, “well I’ll just take 35th instead of 37th and still end up in the same place” sort of mentality. Nor is it like driving in the suburbs where you can make three-point turns. Instead you end up on an unfamiliar road that seems to be going in your direction before veering gradually 270 degrees from where you want to go and the whole time is entirely too narrow to make anything other than a 79 point turn. And yes – traffic still comes at you at around 100 Km/hr. Long story short I ended up asking a bunch of mean looking 12 year olds where Dingle town was. There were five of them, 3 pointed in one direction and 2 in the other. I figured I should go with the majority and it worked.

Unfortunately we still had about a 2 hour drive through the rain before we arrived at Killarney. By this time we were both exhausted. We checked in, went out for a bite to eat and walked around town for a bit. I think its fair to say we bit off a bit more than we could chew today. If we had decided to stay in Dingle instead of Killarney it would have been more manageable. Or if we had cut the loop on the western end of the peninsula. In any event we plan on taking it a bit easier tomorrow leisurely seeing the sights here in Kilarney and enjoying the puck fair in Kilorgen – just 20 minutes from here. Hopefully for my next post I’ll make lots of typos and not be very coherent. I plan on having quite a few Guinness’s tomorrow night.

--

With that said, I did drink a lot on the twelfth, but rather than type anything incoherently I just sort of outlined it incoherently. Right now Raquel and I are going for a bite to eat, then I'll come back tonight with two more posts - one for the 12th and one for today, the 13th.

Posted by JohnnyPing 12:35 Archived in Ireland

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