IRELAND – DAY 6 – THE DINGLE COAST
After a horrible night in the worst possible “roadhouse” hotel, I had a pretty good day. The place I booked for last night was atrocious. Filthy, rundown, 10 miles out of Kilarney in the middle of nowhere and very sketchy. The few rooms they rented were an afterthought and had not seen paint, or a good cleaning, in at least ten years. So far, no bed bug bites. I slept with one ear open all night for fear someone would steal my car. No staff at night. They told me “help yourself to breakfast when you get up, no one will be here”! No one will be here for breakfast, what could that mean? Turned out to be a few cereal boxes, half empty, a quart of milk in a small fridge, a half loaf of bread and a toaster. Pass.
MY HEARTY BREAKFAST OFFERING
THE DOOR JAMB AT THE “HOTEL” ENTRANCE!
So, on the road early to find some breakfast enroute. The night had been dry, so I put the top down, and sure enough the drizzle started. I stopped for breakfast in the rain, and planned to put the top up after eating, but to my surprise, the rain had stopped, and some blue sky was showing. The weather gradually improved as I rounded the Dingle peninsula, though eventually it got wet again.
The Dingle Peninsula is called the “connoisseurs” choice, as it has it all. Great scenery, ocean views, cliffs, lots of ancient sites to explore, cute villages and a super pass over the top, the highest in Ireland. While some of this was obscured by fog and mist, it did not disappoint. Some good pix follow.
I love the ancient prehistoric sites and stopped at a few. The beehive huts below are from 2000BC! Still standing (except their thatched roofs).
The Gallarus Oratory (early Christian church) is 1300 years old, still looks like it was just built and still water tight, even without mortar, due to its amazing construction. Each layer of stone is sloped outward to allow the rain to flow out, it is totally dry inside!
A BEAUTIFUL HEDGE OF FUCHSIA ON THE WALKWAY UP TO THE ORATORY
SURROUNDING VIEWS WERE SPECTACULAR
Here is today’s route. https://tinyurl.com/y8wb5j9n
At the end of the peninsula is Slea Head, the most western point in Europe. Anascual has the South Pole Inn, previously owned Tom Crean, a member of Scott’s expedition to Antarctica. Dunquin has Kruger’s pub, the last pub before America! The Conner Pass is Ireland’s highest route at 1500 feet. Doesn’t seem so high but it is steep and narrow. Impassible in foul weather. I started up from Dingle in bright sunshine (with the best views behind me) and when I reached the top I had rain and fog. The views down the other side were great but would not make good pix due to the weather. A spectacular drive.
Eventually I got to Tralee (of the Rose of Tralee fame) and my stop, the Grand Hotel of Tralee. Now this is a real hotel, with modern rooms, a big, busy bar, semi-formal dining room (it’s Sunday night and people dress for dinner). Even have traditional Irish music later tonight (9pm ☹). See if I can stay awake.
Since I got here early I got a chance to join the locals in the pub for some Irish Rules Football. It’s kind of a blend of soccer and rugby. You can run with the ball, but you have to dribble it every ten steps of so. Passing is allowed, as is some minor violence. The goal is a soccer goal, but with two uprights like American football goal posts. You get one point for kicking the ball through the uprights and three for kicking it into the net. Lots of action and a lively crowd. I don’t know who the teams were, but it was a close game, won 16-15. Another interesting experience.
IRELAND – DAY 7 – THE CLIFFS TOUR
Today was another sketchy day weather-wise, but still top down. My drive was one of the shorter ones, at 177km, but full of coastal scenery around County Clare. This area has some of the highest ocean cliffs in Ireland and fortunately the weather cleared for both of my cliff walks.
Today’s route: https://tinyurl.com/y8uvqyxb
First stop was the seaside resort of Kilkee, where my guide book promised great views with far fewer tourists than at my second stop, the famous Cliffs of Moher. Seemed like a lot of tourist to me, I think I got the last parking spot and wandered out to the cliff edge (well as close as I will ever get to a cliff edge, about 20 feet) for some photos. No guard rails, no warning signs, lots of loose rock. Seemed like a recipe for disaster to me, especially with lots of little kids scampering around the boulders. As far as I know, no one went over the edge (that day)!
TRAFFIC JAM, COWS WIN
ON MY WAY TO THE DINGLE PENINSULA, I HAD A SHORT FERRY RIDE. THE SIGNAGE FOR THE WILD ATLANTIC WAY (WHICH RUNS UP THE WEST COAST OF IRELAND FROM TIP TO TIP, IS GREAT.
CUTE COTTAGES AT MY BREAKFAST STOP
THE TIDAL POOLS AT KILKEE MAKE GREAT SWIMMING HOLE, LOTS OF KID IN THE WATER, BUT IT MUST BE COLD!
After a couple miles of hiking, I headed back up the coast (I am travelling from South to North), to the Cliffs of Moher. This is the most visited scenic tourist site in Ireland with millions of visitors a year, most of whom were there that day. This spot reminded me a lot of the Great Wall of China. If you have been there you know that there is no beginning and no end. You just climb the stairs until you are exhausted (with either the steps or the crowds), turn around, and head back. Moher is pretty much the same. The cliffs stretch for about three miles either side of the entrance, so you can go until you can’t go anymore. Fortunately, there are a lot of good vantage points within a reasonable, though steep walk. The pictures speak for themselves. At least this place had guard rails and paved paths, no vertigo attacks here.
Between the traffic, parking and crowds, this stop took a lot longer than planned, so I was glad I booked a room just 15km down the road. The village of Ballyvaughan isn’t much more than a couple of B&B’s, a restaurant or two and a small grocery store……perfect!
MONK FISH FRITTERS AND CHIPS, A GREAT LUNCH!