Dingle Peninsula & The Cliffs of Moher - May 30th, 2012
Rick Steve's tour book really loves the Dingle Peninsula, but mostly what I think is so appealing is that Dingle is not as crowded as the more famous Ring of Kerry. Since we were visiting in the spring, which is not prime tourist season, we didn't have trouble with crowds on either peninsula.
After breakfast we headed west toward the tip of the peninsula, which is called Slea Head. Slea Head drive is a narrow one way road, it winds around a couple of tight turns - I could see how it would difficult to get a tour bus around some of those corners. Also, the pullouts for scenic viewpoints are not large - no more than a couple of cars can park at each stop. So it was good idea we started early.
Dunbeg Fort was another example of ancient site from before recorded history. Ireland is full of these Bronze Age and Iron Age stone buildings, it is remarkable to see some these old ruins - some of them 3000 to 4000 years old. What of modern man's constructions will still be standing 3000 years from now?
Dingle seems to have the most vibrant green landscape - it looks especially lush and fertile there. We stopped at a couple points where they had filmed the movie Ryan's Daughter, though we didn't watch that movie until we got back home.
Gallarus Oratory is actually a free site - no admission. But we were fooled by the big parking lot and entrance sign. It turns out that the farmer next to the Gallurs Oratory put up a fancy parking lot, and then charges you 3 Euros to walk across his land to the Gallarus Oratory! But if you ignore the big fancy parking lot and sign, and drive a hundred yards beyond it, you come to a free parking where you can walk right up to the Gallarus Oratory without any tickets.
Back in Dingle we stop at the center which displays some famous Harry Clarke stained glass windows. They used to be in a convent, so only a small set of nuns using the chapel could see the stained glass, but now they are open to visitors.
Finding Minard's Castle took a little bit of map work and stopping for directions, but finally we found ourselves driving down a narrow lane that took us all the way down to the ocean. There isn't much left of Minard's Castle, just a couple of tower walls. But it looked like a nice place to picnic and admire the seashore on a beautiful day.
After checking into our Bed and Breakfast, we went out again because we still had daylight, and our B&B was conveniently located just a few miles north of the world famous Cliffs of Moher
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Harry Clarke Stained Glass
Cliffs of Moher