“No one realizes how beautiful it is to travel until he comes home and rests his head on his old, familiar pillow.” Lin Yutang
Four days had passed and we were now completely exhausted from the sleepless nights and family drama, which finally meant, we all seemed to settle nicely into the car. The children were now sleeping on long journeys – peacefully resting while they listened to their favorite music (Innocence Mission – Now the Day Is Over) and we were embracing the opportunity to converse and dream in silence as the miles passed us by.
The landscape of Ireland was enchanting and we were compelled on more than one occasion to pull over, jump out of the car to snap away the countryside/seaside trying desperately to capture the wild, untamed beauty that we had come to recognize as Ireland.
County Cork to County Kerry was approximately a three-hour drive. After what seemed to be endless miles, we decided to take a break and stretch our legs at Inch Beach. The moment we emerged from the car, we felt a sense of relief and wonder wash over us. The salt air and sweeping tides were exactly what we all needed. The children woke from a peaceful slumber and were beyond thrilled to witness the ocean in all of its glory. We spent an hour at the beach, though the time passed by like a minute before we headed back into the car to complete the last leg of the trip to Dingle. And as we pulled away, we saw this eloquent saying painted on the side of a building, “ Dear Inch must I leave you. I have promises to keep perhaps miles to go to my last sleep.”
Upon arrival in Dingle (population 1,500), we were immediately thrilled with our choice to hunker down and settle in for three nights and four days. Our hotel (Greenmount House) was a magnificent little retreat. The room was spacious enough to accommodate the four of us comfortably and to top our cake with a bit more luscious frosting; our room had a fabulous view. Not to mention for four days we wouldn’t have to do the suitcase shuffle; emptying and repacking each morning before we headed out to a new destination.
We were within walking distance to the quaint downtown and active harbor, both making our stay that more enjoyable. What more could we ask for – this little stretch of land was heaven!
Bags down, children in fresh clothes we made our way to a pub for some dinner and a beer. This is where we can all appreciate the Irish as skilled craftsmen. I am not the fondest beer drinker, but when in Ireland, I can truly appreciate the brew. I am not sure what they do to get the barley and hops so delicious, but trust me on this one; a beer in Ireland is a true experience to be savored and a Guinness I tell you is sheer bliss on the lips! So when in Ireland, do as the locals do and enjoy a few beers!
Dingle was not only geographically beautiful (half of the time we were certain that we were immersed in a box of crayons devoted exclusively to the most vibrant shades of green these eyes could behold), but the location was and will continue to be rather magical in our lives. Reason being, our daughter turned one on this leg of the journey and without aging ourselves; we celebrated ten years of married adventure. Both occasions were memorable to say the least.
We had high hopes to take the Eco Tour offered by Dingle Bay Charter Company, but throughout our stay, the weather was just never good enough to permit such a journey. Yeah, we were a bit disappointed (oh, I had high hopes of checking off some Bucket List items on that boat), but we made the most of the location and the surrounding area.
So, with no boat ride on the agenda, we headed out on Slea Head Drive and what a drive it was. Not too much to say here other than what a breathtaking experience with the Blasket Islands making their appearance in the distance. Cliffs, green hills, sheep, ocean waves, the drive had it all and we did what we could to soak up the experience. We frolicked in the salt and sand and absorbed all of the eye candy that was in front of us. We ponied up the two Euro toll to see the beehive huts (really not that exciting folks – save your Euros), and were grateful for the experience of what Slea Head had to offer. We discovered one of our favorite beaches in the world, yes, the world, stopped for a lazy lunch with amazing views, and stretched that drive out for hours.
With the forecast still dismal the following day, we decided to take yet another drive, this time on Conor Pass. The Pass was well worth the drive and is apparently the highest mountain pass in all of Ireland. The roads are tight (thanks for driving Robert), the views grand and once again we were pleased with the outcome. You tend to find hidden gems on long drives – small towns that otherwise would have gone undiscovered, a friendly face from a local, history looming in the unknown (Minard Castle), all making the experience that much richer.
We were a bit melancholy to leave Dingle, as this location truly captivated us. Dingle and the beauty of the surrounding shores will forever be etched in our minds as a magical location.
The next leg of the journey would be taking this family to Galway.
Time of Year: August
Duration: Three Nights and Four Days
Where We Stayed: Greenmount House (fabulous location, great inn keepers and lovely breakfasts)
Eats and Treats: Goat Café, Ashes Bar, Adam’s Bar (all serving up delicious meals- try anything with goat chees and beer…of course!)
Child Friendly? Yes!
Likes: Views, hikes, hotel, wild flowers
Dislikes: Not be able to partake in Dingle Bay Charters, not seeing Fungie the dolphin
Would we return? Yes!
Ireland – 3 of 4 – Slideshow