June 11-14, 2017: Dingle, Ireland
We were really looking forward to our three-night stay in this small town on the western coast of Ireland, known primarily for its multitude of pubs and live music. We stayed in an AirBnb, in the master bedroom with ensuite of a 4 bedroom house, just a few blocks from the action. We shared a kitchen with other guests and were able to make meals, in addition to the breakfast food provided.
Our drive from Kenmare went through more beautiful countryside, and we made several photo stops along the way, and then visited Muckross House, on the edge of Killarney National Park. We enjoyed a guided tour of the stately Victorian mansion, as well as the beautiful grounds (€9 for adult ticket), and bought a small Pocket History of Ireland and a couple of CDs at the gift shop. There was also a traditional 1930’s outdoor farm museum for an additional €9 (or €15 for the combined ticket) but we skipped it because we’d already done the Highland Folk Museum in Scotland.
We arrived in Dingle in the late afternoon and then had an early supper at The Anchor Down restaurant, a 1km walk from our accommodation. The next day, we drove part of the Ring of Dingle – via Slea Head Drive – which took us for a one hour drive (over four hours with all the stops we made), through Ventry, Slea Head, Dunquin, and north up to Brandon Creek. I’ve run out of superlatives to describe the Irish countryside – suffice to say, we absolutely loved the drive.
We stopped at a little cafe that looked down on the gorgeous Coomenoole Beach, then stopped by the Blasket Ferry terminal at Dunquin Harbour with its unique steep winding walkway down to the dock. In the evening, we went to O’Sullivan’s Courthouse Pub to listen to live Irish music led by owner and musician, Tommy O’Sullivan.
On the second day, we did another loop on the peninsula, beginning with a drive over Conor Pass up in the misty clouds with a strong wind blowing us off our feet, and then down the other side to the wide empty beaches just west of Castelgregory, and then out to the farthest point at Ballycurrane, where we watched 10 horses wandering along the road and down onto the beach. This drive was much shorter than the previous day and we only spent about 2 hours in total, eventually heading back over the same road to return to Dingle. Again, we had dinner at home and then went to Foxy John’s for more live music. This cool pub is a hardware store during the day, and a pub at night. We had a great seat, right beside the slug bait, and a prime view of the three musicians who were playing that evening. Such fun!
We thoroughly enjoyed our three nights in Dingle, and could easily have stayed longer as there were many more live music venues and lovely drives to explore. Next time!
Next up: Galway, Ireland