From our base in Killarney, Oldest and I next headed to one of my favorite spots in Ireland: the Dingle Peninsula. While it’s definitely worthwhile to spend more time here by staying in Dingle Town, about 1/2 way out the peninsula, it would have been too many overnight destinations for us on this trip. The drive from Killarney was a surprisingly easy and uncomplicated day trip.
Just past Inch Beach on the R 561 (“R” roads are very narrow, twisty, and “interesting!”, only to be surpassed in treachery by “L” roads), we had to slow down for this lovely lady and her baby, who can barely be seen behind mama:
Since my primary goal was to show Oldest the Slea Head Drive, at the peninsula’s tip, we set our Google Maps directions straight for Dingle town, where one of the first sights we came upon was …. a dog … sitting on top of a donkey. Hey, why not?
We wandered around the busy town for a bit, enjoyed an early lunch, and downed a pint of Crean’s, the local beer. Crean’s is named after Tom Crean, an Antarctic explorer who hailed from the Dingle Peninsula.
Only one, though, because I was back to driving – and now the roads became quite narrow. While it’s possible for two cars to pass, it’s not necessarily advisable:
Slea Head marks the end of the peninsula, and, like many points on the west coast, the locals will tell you when looking east “The next stop is America!”. We continued to benefit from nice weather, so we were fairly active in our exploration of the peninsula, first walking from the parking area down to Slea Head Beach, at sea level:
Then we hiked back up, and further up, to Dunmore Head promontory. Nearby signs told us that some filming for Star Wars took place here, although it is not the more famous Skellig Michael island,which is off the coast to our south.
Walking up to the Head required climbing over an old stone fence, which didn’t work out so well for yours truly, who lost her balance and skinned my knees in a pretty gruesome way (I’ll spare you the yucky photo). It was still worthwhile, though, just for these photos, looking back at the peninsula. It was my 3rd trip to this spot, and each time I want to lie down and never leave these soft, rolling, green hills. Although I imagine I might feel differently in, say, December.
In three trips to Ireland, I have managed to make it to the Slea Head drive on the Dingle peninsula every time. It is truly one of the most peaceful places I have ever visited, and I truly enjoyed sharing it with Oldest. I have no doubt I will return again.