I'm finally at the last post of this long series on our UK and Ireland trip! Dingle was definitely a highlight. It's a peninsula on the southwest side of Ireland. It's a wonderful combination of beautiful scenery, a charming little town and ancient ruins.
Where we stayed: Brownes B&B
Why we wanted to come: It was highly recommended by Rick Steves
Major sights: The town of Dingle, various ancient buildings along the peninsula loop
Great Discovery: Everything! :-)
This was our view as we drove toward the town of Dingle!
We loved our B&B. The hosts were so kind, the room was lovely and the breakfast was delicious!
This was the view from our room.
Most of the pictures I have from Dingle were taken during our drive around the peninsula during our full day there. Our host worked out a route for us and marked all the places we should stop along the way.
Stopping at the beach (it may have been June, but it was definitely not swimming weather!).
Our first historical stop was the Beehive Huts. Suffice it to say they are very, very old--and made simply out of stacked stones! There seemed to be more than one theory about who lived in them.
We stopped at several viewpoints and a beach as we headed down the road. It's a rugged, beautiful area.
Steep cliffs and little flowers.
The land to the left, I'm pretty sure, is Clogher Head where we took a short walk.
Christina and Amber enjoyed scrambling around Clogher Head.
Not being content with the view at the top, they kept going to the bottom. :-)
At this point we stopped at a nice little pottery shop and had coffee, hot chocolate and scones. It's funny how you could drive through a very wild-looking landscape, then come around the bend and stop at a very civilized little shop.
Next we looked at the ruins of an ancient monastery. Unfortunately I don't remember the name.
These stones are important artifacts at the monastery with ancient carvings on them.
Continuing with the ancient theme, we then stopped at the Gallarus Oratory, another rather mysterious building, but thought to be an ancient Christian church. I loved seeing remnants of such an early Christian civilization. It was amazing to stand inside the church and think about how people had probably worshiped in it well over a thousand years ago. There is something really remarkable about the sense of continuity over the centuries that it gives to see and touch an old church.
Next we visited another very old church. There were several things about it that reminded us a little of a chapel at the Rock of Cashel. I think we felt rather proud of ourselves for beginning to notice trends in old Irish church architecture. :-)
After finishing our loop around the island, we ended the day by hiking up a hill to the Eask Tower, a local landmark that used to guide ships into Dingle Harbor.
Looking down the hill to Dingle Harbor and the town of Dingle.
The view to the other side of the hill, toward the Atlantic Ocean.
An old World War II look-out post next to Eask Tower.
Our path to the tower led through sheep pastures. :-)
I didn't take very many pictures of the town of Dingle, but we did enjoy spending time there, eating at some nice little restaurants and doing some shopping. Dingle features a lot of live music at its pubs, so we got to hear some of that both nights we were there.
Sunset by the little marina at Dingle.
Musicians at the Mighty Session pub. The man on the left is playing an Irish bagpipe. You can't see it, but the air-supply is a little bag under his right arm, so it's quite different from the Scottish bagpipes we're used to.
That brings us almost to the end of our trip! On our drive back to Dublin we got to see some gorgeous countryside as we crossed over the Dingle peninsula.
This small waterfall was right next to the road.
This little lake is hidden up above the waterfall.
This is looking out from the little shelf in front of the lake out over the valley. The road over to the right is the one we were using to cross the peninsula.
We drove back to Dublin and spent our last night at a B&B near the airport. We had our last Irish meal at a nearby pub. The next morning we parted ways at the airport as Amber headed back to JFK and Christina and I headed to Boston to make our connection to Portland.
Amber left first, so we watched her plane for a while.
And that, my friends, is the end of our wonderful adventure to the UK and Ireland. Thanks for reading along! I must say that it hasn't satisfied my appetite. I find myself thinking about ways to go back. I feel like I left a little piece of my heart over there and I may always want to go back.