The paradox about me is that I support and love England for any kind of manifestations (sports, arts, etc.) but I truly fell for Ireland and Irish people years ago.
Thanks to the Murphy Family (at least 20 people around the table, parents, children, grandpa and closest relatives during regular days), I discovered a lovely place in the Kerry county : Dingle. They’ve been going there yearly (and quite often) to spend time altogether.
After landing or sailing to Cork (so gorgeous city, indeed), the road up (N22) to Dingle is quite delirious with them all : Volkswagen minibus, Irish music, Irish legends, Guinness and Whiskey in the truck. Should I mention the cat, Connolly, on Grandpa Francis’ knees ?
Generally the first stopping is Killarney (Cill Airne) : Grandpa Francis is the one who sings along and starts telling jokes in Gaelic to his “gang”… Of course, I never got them as I don’t even understand a damn word. I just learnt a couple of sentences and the Gaelic names of Dingle (An Daingean), Killarney (Cill Airne), Cork (Corcaigh) and Galway (Gaillimh).
Dingle is on the southern west coast of Ireland, in the Dingle Peninsula (less touristic, but breathless beauty) ; Main city of the county, close to Blasket Islands and Slea Head (surfing spot). It is also lovely harbor with a famous dolphin called Fungie. Years ago, it was quite a quiet place and harbor hosted fishermen and boats ; Nowadays, touristic matters emerges and it is more popular and crowded. Some sailing competitions cross around on spring and summer.
To have the best view over harbor and bay, you have to take the road to Tralee for about 1,5 km and walk to the ancient tower and you will reach the entrance of the harbor. It is absolutely gorgeous and rather wild.
Some places have to be seen in Dingle : Dingle Oceanworld (turtles, sharks) –rather expensive to my opinion-, Trinity Tree with the biblical characters engraved on, and St Mary’s Church (Green St).
I’ve liked having lunch at the Mystic Celt or Armada. Sometimes, a stopping is needed at An Café Liteártha, nice tiny place at the bottom of a bookshop. Whenever we need music and entertaining, Maire de Barra is the place to be.
Leaving Dingle is not easy because it is just a marvelous and extraordinary quiet place. But the touristic places in the area worth the leaving. For instance, Cloghane (An Clochán), south west from Brandon Bay, has a wonderful beach and the major point of departure to Mt Brandon. Drive to Brandon Creek, then Dún An óir Fort, Ballyferriter, Dunquin (Dún Chaion), Dunmore Head (where 2 Spanish Armada boats sunk in 1588), Slea Head, Dunbeg Fort, Ventry and back to Dingle.
Wherever the weather is nice and sunny (and warm, do not except hot temperatures !), go and lay on Inch (Inse) Beach. It’s also a surfing spot and it is a beautiful.
If you ever want to visit the most occidental islands of Europe, go and sail to Blasket Islands (Na Blascaodaí). You can have great walking (Read “Kerry Walks” by Kevin Corcoran, to convince yourself to go there) ; Of course, it depends on the weather, but from Easter time to September, it takes about 20 minutes by boat to reach the Islands from Dunquin, 10 am to 3 pm.
Dingle is a little part of paradise for me and I can feel my heart beat a bit faster whenever someone points out its name.
But Ireland is just a treasure to share… it is splendid, wild, quiet and the colors, lights and people are definitely wonders.
Some counties deserve to be visited too, such as Mayo (Moyne & Rosserk Abbeys), Connemara & Clare (Cliffs of Moher) ; Not to mention, Northern Ireland and its magnificent areas (Belfast –Beál Feirste-, Hillborough, Legananny Dolmen, Killevy Churches, Navan Fort, Dungannon, Dunseverick Castle, Giant’s Causeway, Magilligan Point, Rathlin Island, Carrick-a-rede & Derry – Doire-).
One of my favorites places to reside : Currarevagh House in Oughterard (Uachtar árd), close to Galway. It’s a lovely country mansion beside Lough Corrib with private woodlands.
Slán agat ! Erin go Bragh !