Saturday, June 20, 2015

Ireland 2015: Dingle Peninsula

On the morning of May 27th, we sadly packed our bags and left Galley Head, headed toward more adventures on the Dingle Peninsula. As we left town, we swung by Drombeg stone circle. Since I’m a big fan of Diana Gabaldon’s series Outlander (which is centered around historical stone circles), we stopped here in 2007 and had to show HG this time. Last time, we were the only people there and had to stop a farmer to even find it. This time, it was covered in foreign tourists and now has its own parking lot!

We spent a chunk of the day driving through spitting rain and stopped for lunch in one of the many adorable little villages. After a few one-way tunnels (in the rain) and a run in/stand off with a trucker, we finally made it to Dingle. We checked into the Dingle Bay Hotel, explored the harbor, and managed not to get blown off the jetty, and then before a meltdown ensued, we grabbed dinner at the great pub downstairs in our hotel.

After a good night’s sleep (for some of us) on the morning of the 28th, we met Rory, a local who drives tourists around the peninsula. For once, Granddaddy was able to relax and look around instead of driving white-knuckled. We set out to explore Slea Head Drive and stopped at the bee hive huts, Louis Mulcahy pottery (a required stop), all kinds of secret (not even on Google Maps) beaches, ancient ruins, and a great lunch at a local pub. Rory was a wonderful guide since he and his wife grew up in the area and he knew every single person we met. We heard all kinds of local stories, and he could adjust our tour as we mentioned things we wanted to see. A great afternoon spent exploring!

Rory dropped us off at the Dingle Oceanworld Aquarium so that we could see the penguins and the walk-through tunnel, and then we loaded up again and steeled ourselves to cross Conor’s Pass to make it to our favorite Irish B&B, the Shores Country House. Last time we crossed it, it was foggy and rainy and amazingly beautiful but frightening. This year with better weather, we really enjoyed the views! We stopped at the top to see the waterfall and find the ‘secret lake,’ Peddlars Lake, that Rory had told us about. Of course, John set off to climb the steep mountainside with his camera, and with a lot of prodding, I finally convinced HG to get out of the car and explore a bit around the bottom of the rocks. Within a few minutes, she was begging to go to the top with daddy. I had chickened out of the climb to the top so I made her wait for John to come back down, and then she and her daddy made the trek back up to the lake. HG did SUCH a good job and climbed almost all of it on her own. She came down with the biggest smile on her face!

After we came down out of the pass, we chased down the Cloghane Cemetery (and found two great locals who told us the history of the cemetery and town) and then checked into the Shores Country House late afternoon. Once HG put herself in the twin bed in our room, we knew we had to move fast to dinner or we might never make it! We piled back in the van and headed down the street to Castlegregory with the recommendations of the B&B owner. We got a little turned around and stopped to ask directions of a cute, old Irishman who gladly told us how to get there and then added he wouldn’t go to either of those places. We erupted with laughter and then asked where he would go- Spillane’s it was! It turned out to be the best suggestion- great atmosphere, service, and food and RIGHT on the beach. We climbed over the rock wall after dinner and had a quick frolic on the very cold and windy beach. Needless to say, we all slept very well that night- and in a king sized bed too!! Whoohooo!

The morning of the 29th provided what John has been waiting for since 2007…another delicious breakfast spread at the Shores Country House. It is amazing, and you have to waddle out of there. HG enjoyed her cup of tea, as she had been accustomed to during our trip. Great way to start the morning. On to Dublin!

Drombeg Circle2015-05-27 10.58.582015-05-27 10.46.052015-05-27 10.49.002015-05-27 10.50.022015-05-27 10.52.07CF6C11672015-05-27 10.54.02P1070594We stopped for lunch at the Perrin Inn in Glengarriff2015-05-27 13.34.57Just a one-laned tunnel in the rain…no biggie…2015-05-27 13.50.53Ladies’ View2015-05-27 14.36.202015-05-27 14.37.552015-05-27 16.26.272015-05-27 16.26.34Dingle Bay Hotel2015-05-27 17.25.42Dingle Bay has a resident dolphin, FungieCF6C1193CF6C1195CF6C1211CF6C1220CF6C1224CF6C12342015-05-27 18.00.11-1Eating brown bread for Grandma at Paudie’s Bar in the lobby of the Dingle Bay Hotel2015-05-30 14.45.05Slea Head Drive tourCF6C1280CF6C1290CF6C1295Bee hive hutsCF6C1307CF6C1321CF6C13412015-05-28 10.43.11 HDR2015-05-28 10.45.47
2015-05-28 10.51.50
CF6C1354CF6C1360CF6C13622015-05-28 11.07.402015-05-28 11.07.50{2007}CIMG0187Back to 2015- this is the beach where our driver Rory swims every night, despite several ‘no swimming’ signs. Stubborn Irishmen!CF6C13782015-05-28 11.15.19 HDRCF6C13902015-05-28 11.30.33Outside Louis Mulcahy’s studio2015-05-28 12.06.01Stunning beach that will have to remain nameless. “Far and Away” was filmed here though.20150528_1214172015-05-28 12.13.38CF6C14132015-05-28 12.15.00Lunch at Bar an Bhuailtin in Ballyferriter2015-05-28 12.33.512015-05-28 13.15.12Gallarus OratoryCF6C1452CF6C1461Dingle Oceanworld AquariumCF6C14722015-05-28 14.01.222015-05-28 14.18.49Climbing up toward Conor Pass2015-05-28 15.04.58CF6C1476Those little white dots on the hill are SHEEP!CF6C1486And around the next corner, we got to see one up close and personal.CF6C1489Conor PassCF6C15142015-05-28 15.15.10{2007}
CIMG0132{2015}P1070780Waiting on daddy to come back down2015-05-28 15.18.48 HDRMade it to the top with her daddy! View of the pass from the lake2015-05-28 15.35.06 HDRPeddlers Lake2015-05-28 15.35.22See those arms raised in success way up there on the hill??CF6C1540CF6C1546CF6C1549CF6C1554Cloghane CemeteryCF6C1556CF6C1558CF6C1575CF6C1587CF6C1590Settling in at Shores Country House2015-05-28 16.47.492015-05-28 16.49.10-1Spillane’s in Castlegregory2015-05-28 17.42.372015-05-28 18.51.492015-05-28 18.51.552015-05-28 19.21.192015-05-28 19.23.00CF6C1620CF6C1640View from our room of the sea2015-05-29 08.50.33Breakfast at the Shores Country House is legendary and the main reason John wanted to go back.2015-05-29 09.21.282015-05-29 09.25.09CF6C1644CF6C1645CF6C1648Packing up and sad to go2015-05-29 10.04.24Of course, HG found a kitty.2015-05-29 10.06.01

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