Thursday, August 23, 2012


Earlier this month, we traveled to an area of Ireland that sounds like toddler speak for a part of the male anatomy.  We flew from Heathrow into Cork and then rented a car because I wanted to drive the 2+ hours to our B&B in Dingle on the Dingle Peninsula so we could see the Irish countryside.

After arriving at the Cork airport, we picked up our rental car and I was pleased we received an upgrade from a Mazda to Audi.  We had brought our Tomtom GPS that we use here in England, so we were all set to explore.  We trekked out to load up the Audi with our luggage and were disappointed to discover it was an A5 Sportback.

If the husband was about 6 inches shorter and we were both about 15 years younger, we would have been tickled pink to motor around in this low slung sports model. Even the girls weren't thrilled with our ride and groused about how we needed to march back to the rental car desk in the terminal to ask if the Land Rover parked next to our assigned torture device was available.

It was downright annoying to get in and out of the car, having to duck and bend and twist.  I don't like riding low to the ground, having driven SUVs for the past dozen years, and the lack of visibility due to the tiny little windows made me crazy.  The car had one of those newfangled key/starter thingies...

...where you just push it into the slot and it cranks to life.  And then you push in the little thingie again to turn it off.  I'm becoming my grandmother in regards to how I feel about all of these gadgets I don't recognize or immediately understand how to use.  Keys are so 20th century.

After two college educated folks took several minutes to figure out how to start the engine, we cranked up the sat nav and headed for Dingle.  It was no big deal for me to be behind the wheel since I've been driving on the "wrong" side of the road with a UK license for almost a year.  As we headed north through County Cork towards County Kerry, the roads changed - four lane divided, then down to one lane in each direction, then no shoulder on the single lane and finally a one-and-a-half paved sheep path bordered by low rock walls and vegetation creeping onto the road.  And bridges where only one car can cross at a time.  Plus some of those narrow, winding roads were along the coast - stunning views but I didn't dare look for fear of accidentally getting airborne a la Thelma and Louise.

We drove straight to our B&B in the town of Dingle.  Rick Steves, the husband's travel god, had suggested this place as nice, but no frills and he was spot on.  The free wifi was nice, but it was telling that our girls called it ghetto because we didn't have any gratis shampoo or body lotion.  Below is the view from our room on the third floor looking towards Dingle's harbor.  See that spot of rain on the left in the clouds - foreshadowing the weather for our trip so that we wore raincoats and carried umbrellas the entire time.

Our B&B was located right on the edge of town, so we walked everywhere.  It seems tourists from lots of other places also thought this would be a good time of year to visit Ireland.  There were lots of families, and cyclists were also a common sight.  

I loved all of the buildings and signs with Gaelic Irish on them.

We had lupper (too late to be called lunch and still a bit early for supper) at a nice pub right there on the high street across from boats docked at the harbor.

The girls had fun entertaining themselves, taking pics down by the water.

On some of the rooftops and chimneys across from the harbor, we noticed seagulls nesting or just hanging out.  Say cheese, Jonathan Livingston.

Always charmed by a dog, the teen snapped this one of a man and man's best friend.  Below that is the Fungi statue, Dingle's dolphin.  In 1984, a bottlenose dolphin began to hang around the Dingle harbor area.  He was given the name Fungi and regularly shows up when tour boats go out to meet him.  

We spent the remainder of the day strolling around Dingle to get a feel for the place.  Thanks to recent rainfall, there was some swift flowing water coming down from the nearby slopes.  This section running through a residential area right off the high street had been beautifully landscaped.  Not at all like the drainage ditches back in southeast Texas where we would tie some bacon with a piece of string and catch crawfish.

And I thought the fire hydrant located in that same area was precious, with its flaking red paint and spigot on the side.

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