Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Driving the Dingle Peninsula

August in the west counties of Ireland was a tad damp and cool.  We all wore rainjackets and the husband even put on a cap in the mornings to ward off the mist.  Our first full day in County Kerry, we drove the Dingle Peninsula in our low slung Audi that almost required a winch for the husband and I to get out at every scenic vista and local bit of history along the narrow little country road about wide enough for 1.5 cars.

Lovely views... in the mist.

Plus some sheep as well as a seagull.

And puppies... collie puppies for sale.  We saw some of the adults working sheep in the fields and it was fun to watch.  

We stopped to take a look at Dunbeg Fort, a relic of the Iron Age from 500 BC to 500 AD. 

We had to walk from the car down a path to see the fort and there was a hoofed critter in the field adjoining the property, just hanging out next to the fence letting me take its pic.

We parked the car in the lot of this pub with a really cool stone roof.

Over to the side of this building, up against the hedge, was a permanently dry docked currach boat.  These are the traditional fishing boats of the west coast, lightweight and easy to haul.  It's just a wooden frame covered with cowhide and painted with tar, hence the black color.

The thatched roof cottages below were abandoned by a family 150 years ago during the potato famine and we paid a couple euro to walk through and see what life was like in those hardscrabble days.

The cottages adjacent to this one were definitely not fixed up and tourable, but I thought they were equally evocative.

In the famine cottage, I 'bout peed my pants when I caught a glimpse of the mannequin child in the top left corner of the pic.  Serious scary movie potential because I was totally creeped out.

Of course, I immediately noticed the slug on the rim of another mannequin's bowl, a poor starving teenage boy looking for food.  I imagine those pitiful souls would have probably made a meal out of the slimy fellow. A juicy morsel, but I don't know that it would be particularly tasty even if they toasted or roasted or stewed him for a long while.

I was intrigued by the clochans along our route, also known as beehive huts.  Archaeologists believe they date from the middle ages and were used by monks.  Here is the husband peeping out of one that was built as part of a small ring fort.

I took the pic above because I like the juxtaposition of the middle age stone structure with the modern telephone pole behind it.  Plus the mist further up the hill is a nice touch.  Down the field and across the road from this hut is where Nicole Kidman and Tom Cruise filmed parts of "Far and Away".  

We pulled over to take a pic at Slea Head of the crucifix because it was a stark contrast to the rocks behind it.  Thanks to the foggy mist, we weren't able to look across the water and see the Blasket Islands.  

One of our final stops on the Dingle loop was a place where boats could be put into the water.  It was wet and slimy and slippery and so the three goats gave it a go while I enjoyed the view and took some more photos.

Below is a pic the teen took of the tidal pools.  And beneath that is a shot of the sea glass and a couple rocks they picked up down on the beach.  I didn't get around to taking this until we had returned to the B&B later that day.

The final pic sums up how the girls spend a lot of their holiday time - the little sister taking pics of her big sister.  Holland via Texas friend Tammie suggested the younger daughter take the teen's senior pics.  At least I could afford her rates.

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