I have a childhood memory of waking up on a family vacation in a Bavarian cottage. I awoke to the sound of cowbells as the sun struggled to fill my room with daylight. As I crept across the bed to peer through the lace draped window, I saw a meadow of dew-drenched grass blanketed in light morning fog with barely visible trees in the distance. I remember that moment like it was yesterday. For some reason that experience was etched indelibly into my mind as a place I needed to revisit. Not the place itself but the feeling I had when I was there. Come with me now to a place that helped me relive that experience. A place called the Dingle Peninsula.
The Dingle Peninsula
We arrived at our B&B in Dingle at about 3:30pm bathed in gorgeous weather. With its sheep-salted farms and freshly mowed tawny fields glowing against a sky thick with atmosphere, the Dingle peninsula emanates a sense of peace and calm. We stayed at Trip Advisor’s top-rated PAX House B&B just outside Dingle’s town center. Above, you can see the view from our room. After we checked in, our innkeeper John told us we should take advantage of the weather and drive the Dingle Peninsula Loop that afternoon. He said he could not guarantee good weather the following day and we would be wise to take advantage of the bright sun and clear blue skies. I am glad we did. The scenery was stunning and we practically had the peninsula to ourselves.
The Dingle peninsula, which is 10- by 40-miles, is home to 10,000 people, 500,000 sheep, and countless acres of stone walled farms, tiny villages and dramatic coastline. The Dingle Peninsula Loop, also known as Slea Head Drive, snakes 30 miles around the westernmost part of the peninsula and provides some of the most dramatic views the area has to offer.
The rugged natural beauty of the Dingle Peninsula is breathtaking
Dingle’s peninsula is less traveled than the Ring of Kerry, making it an ideal location to absorb the quiet charm of Ireland. There is a sleepy and untouched feel to this place as you make your way along its winding roads. The photograph at the top of this post was made on our drive near Slea Head at Coumeenole Beach. Although there were people on the beach I was captivated by the rolling waves and the cliffs they constantly attempt to wear away. In all, we spent about four hours that afternoon driving the loop before returning to the B&B to change and have dinner. Road weary but completely fulfilled by the day’s activities, we walked back from dinner and turned in for the night.
The next morning I awoke to the sound of mooing cows and cowbells. My memory of the Bavarian cottage instantly came to mind. It was overcast, misting, and the harbor was barely visible. No worries, I thought, because we came prepared for rain and our plan was to just relax and spend some time exploring Dingle town.
Dingle is an easily walkable town with a nice variety of shops, pubs and restaurants. Donna quickly grew fond of the sweater stores, which feature a wide variety of quality Irish-made wool sweaters and accessories. Yes, we ended up carrying more home in our bags than we arrived with!
Dingle’s brightly colored buildings are typical of many villages and towns in Ireland. The vibrant colors became a part of the Irish landscape beginning 35 years ago as part of Ireland’s TidyTowns initiative. The primary focus of TidyTowns was to encourage communities to improve their local environment and make their area a better place to live, work and visit. The competition aspect was an important element in developing friendly rivalry that would help boost standards across the board.
The Dingle Peninsula experience would not be complete without a few visits to the pub for a pint of Guinness and local Irish music. The photo above was taken at An Droicead Beag. It’s the bright yellow pub on the right corner of the street photo just above the interior shot. The An Droicead Beag features nightly live music that starts up at about 9:30pm. Go a little early to grab a seat because the pubs seemed to get pretty busy as the night wore on.
We will continue exploring the area surrounding the Dingle Peninsula with my next post, which will cover our day trip to Great Blasket Island. The Island has a fascinating history to go along with its rugged and stunning scenery so stay tuned!
Other posts related to this trip to Ireland
- Visit Ireland’s Gaelic Past Today
- The Beauty of Northern Ireland’s Antrim Coast
- Ireland School of Falconry – Two Weeks in Ireland
- The Galway Latin Quarter – Two Weeks in Ireland
- Ireland: Cliffs of Moher – Two Weeks in Ireland
- Dingle Ireland Fishing Boats
- Blasket Islands – Two Weeks in Ireland
- The Dingle Peninsula – Two Weeks in Ireland
- Ring of Kerry – Two Weeks in Ireland
- Muckross House – Two Weeks in Ireland
- Two Weeks in Ireland – Our Irish Holiday
- The Dark Hedges of Ireland
- A Quick Hello from Ireland