The weather had been good going into mid-September so we decided on a last-minute holiday to the Dingle peninsula. The Dingle Peninsula, on Ireland’s southwest Atlantic coast, is ringed by sandy beaches and craggy cliffs. Inland are rolling hills and mountains, including 952m Mount Brandon. The region is an officially recognised bastion of Irish language and culture. Dunmore Head, mainland Ireland’s westernmost point, has views of the Blasket Islands, famous for Irish-language memoirs documenting rural life in the 1800s and 1900s (description from Google).
Dingle is a little over 4 hours drive from Dublin so we decided to leave home Friday evening and spend the night somewhere along the way. Looking at the map, Limerick seemed to be a good place distance-wise so we found a nice hotel for the night there (South Court Hotel). The hotel was very nice with large rooms, but as we drove towards Dingle the next morning, we passed the village of Adare only a few minutes away which seemed like a more charming place to stay, and visit a local pub. As it turns out, Adare is renowned as one of Ireland’s prettiest towns, and is designated as a heritage town by the Irish government.
On Saturday, we drove to Dingle Town via Conor Pass. Did some shopping (Dingle Gin), ate some ice-cream (yummy!) and fish and chips (mediocre) there. Then we drove around the Dingle Peninsula along the western coast visiting some of the prominent sites. We had booked a B&B at Inch Beach, around a 20 min drive away from Dingle and wanted to reach there by 5/5:30pm so we could watch the All-Ireland Football Finals (Gaelic Football) at a nearby pub. Dublin was playing Kerry (Dingle is in County Kerry) and we didn’t want to miss the game.
Conor Pass is one of Ireland’s highest mountain passes. While it is not very high, altitude-wise, at an elevation of 456m, the views along the way are gorgeous, and an ice-cream/coffee/snack truck at the parking area at the top is a nice place to take a break. The ice-cream truck driver turned out to be a very interesting chap who spends winters in Thailand and has travelled to many countries in the world.
In Dingle town, we visited the very famous Murphys Ice-Cream Shop. They have yummy ice creams and I recommend the Dingle Sea Salt and the Dingle Gin flavors. After the ice-cream I popped over to MT Moriarty’s a few shops down to buy a bottle of Dingle Gin. We browsed around the many souvenir shops and then had some fish and chips, which was not too great.
Our next stop was to a Beehive Hut, (clochán in Irish), which is a dry-stone hut with a corbelled roof, commonly associated with the south-western Irish seaboard. The precise construction date of most of these structures is unknown with any degree of certainty but they are believed to be up to 1,500 years old.
We continued driving along the coast to some beautiful views and a short while later arrived at the Clogher Head Car Park from where one can see views of some Star Wars filming locations. I’m not a fan so don’t really know much about what was filmed there but the views were stunning.
We then continued on to Gallarus Oratory, which is a stone church built between the seventh and eighth century and is the best-preserved early Christian church in Ireland. It represents the apogee of dry-stone corbelling, using techniques first developed by Neolithic tomb makers. The stones were laid at a slight angle, lower on the outside then the inside to allow water to run off (from Wikipedia).
It was a little past 5pm now and it had been a long day so we headed towards our B&B (Inch Beach House). It is a beautiful cliff-side property with views of the sea, very comfortable and bright rooms, and super hospitable hosts. Highly recommend staying here.
After checking-in, we walked over to Foleys Bar to watch the football game. It was fun watching the Dublin/Kerry game in the heart of Kerry, coming from Dublin. The place was full of Kerry supporters as one would expect, but also a couple of Dublin supporters who were ribbed quite good-naturedly by the others but who had the last laugh as Dublin won the game by a comfortable margin.
Came back to the B&B and enjoyed a few glasses of Dingle Gin while enjoying the view from the large sun-roof in our room before calling it a night. Next morning we had a delicious breakfast of fresh eggs, bacon, sausages, and the best white pudding I have ever eaten, before setting off for Dublin, filled with happy memories of the Dingle Peninsula.