The Dingle Peninsula, Ireland

The day before, I had followed the recommendation from Rick Steves, and enquired locally about a tour of the island with Tim Collins, a retired police officer. I was told that if there were enough people it would be a go and to check again this morning. Thankfully, with me, there were a minimum number and so this morning, the 5 of us and Tim left at 10 am.

We headed first to an ancient burial site, which is marked by Ogham stones.

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The markings on these stones have been deciphered over time and are, thankfully, available to us. This is supposed to be the first examples of Irish writing.

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We saw a palm tree:

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And then we headed around Slea Head. The mist and fog rolled in and out, as we travelled around the peninsula.

From Dingle, we headed to Ventry.

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Then we headed to Dunquin.

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A memorial to the Spanish ship that went down here.. Here, in Blasket Sound, the Santa Maria de la Rosa of the Spanish Armada sank in 1588, yielding a single survivor.

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Sleeping Giant Island:

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Three Sisters, the small peaks along the coast that were Charles Lindbergh’s first sight of land on his trans-Atlantic flight.

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And we continued to wander around the peninsula…

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Reask Monastic Site – ruins of a 6th century monastery

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An old stone fort…

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And lots of great magnolias in full bloom…

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After a few hours, we returned back to Dingle town. I made my way to the harbour for a late lunch.

There is a fence along the way that holds a number of paintings for the public. Here are some of my favourites:

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Since the sun had come back out for awhile, I decided a late afternoon walk was in order. I wandered around the harbour…

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From there, I wandered along a path on the water, out to where Fungi, the local dolphin, likes to play.

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And stretching out the last bit of battery….

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And then the camera battery went dead. So, I took the time to go and watch the dolphins play for awhile, watch the boats and kayaks, and then headed back to the hostel for a late dinner, before heading to a local pub in search of some more trad.

And I found it. I have no pictures, and they wouldn’t help anyway.

The session I had been hoping to find, one of the reasons I had come to the West of Ireland. Met a couple from Limerick and listened to the best session I found in Ireland. Finally – it was just what I had come for! I would have been happy with a few others, but once this one got going… it had it’s own magic. Brilliant. Even if you don’t like traditional Irish music, it would still make you tap your toes and hoot and holler. And I love that all the Irish have no shame in just belting out a tune. When a sentimental favourite comes on about the home country, the whole bar just gets into it. Gives you shivers. I had hoped to come across a night like this, and I had. The owner of the bar played every instrument and just kept switching, depending on the song and what was needed. And he sang. As did his wife. They hold the session every night.

The beauty of trad sessions is that if you can play or sing, you join in. It’s very informal and that lends itself to a different session each night. It’s magic. This night, three folks from Australia and 2 folks from Austria joined in with all sorts of instruments. And they all sang well. The whole group would play songs they all knew, sometimes smaller groups would play and there were some original tunes as well. It doesn’t sound the same here on paper, but it was sheer and pure magic and I loved every minute of it. I could have sat there until the wee hours of the morning just taking it all in. But alas, every bar must eventually close and such was the case that night. I floated back to the hostel, lay my head on the pillow, and slept well after such a full day!

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