Travel slowly, staying in vacation rentals (villas, farms, cottages, apartments)
Report 1922: Coasting Through Ireland on Pints of Cider
By Green Dragon from FL, Spring 2011
Page 15 of 21: Wednesday, May 25th: National Irish Fish-n-Chips Day
We were up early this morning, as it was another long travel day down to Dingle. We repacked, breakfasted, and checked out to a rainy day. The route was only 3.5 hours, but we knew well that side trips and brown signs could easily double that figure.
Our first diversion was to Cormcoroe Abbey, a nearby place I had noticed the day before. I was able to get some nice architectural photos there, and then skedaddled back on the road to Dingle. We did get shots of the several different types of stone fences the Irish built, creative folk that they are.
We came across another brown sign, for Tully Holy Well and Shrine – down a narrow farm road we went. The hill took me past some very friendly, sleek brown horses, to a very odd little shrine on the hill, and then back to the main road. By the time I saw the Shannon Estuary, I realized that TomTom had ignored our request for 'no ferries' in his instructions, and going around at this point would add at least an hour and a half to the trip – so we bit the bullet and took the ferry.
It was only about €18, and a nice, easy trip in the car. The rain kept splattering, but we only had to wait about 15 minutes for the ferry to start boarding, and the trip was short. Once on the other side, we went exploring for a scenic view or two. At one point, driving along the road, I heard a huge thump on the windshield, and saw the underside of a big black bird – he hit us! Hit and run! Track down that bird!
We tried to find Glin Castle, but all we saw were a couple castle gates that looked like someone made them from paper-mache. We took the 'scenic route' back, and decided that 'scenic route' was Irish for 'crappy road with very little to see' on it.
On the way to find Ardfert Cathedral, we found Lislaughlin Abbey, and then went on to find Carrigafoyle Castle by accident. This was a well placed ruin on a lakeside, and looked like a mouth permanently open to swallow all of time within. Ardfert was worth exploring – lots of lovely architectural spaces, archways, halls, galleries of stone stretching around to ancient grave sites.
By the time we got to Camp, on the north side of the Dingle peninsula, we realized that it would be much too misty to see anything from Connor Pass – nor was I interested in braving that north road in the rain, so we took the longer, windier path across the peninsula before we got to the pass. It did switch back and forth a lot along that southern coast, but it was relatively wide throughout, and I remember going up that pass with Kim constantly in first gear the whole way up.
We got into Dingle and found our B&B along the road without any problems, The Blooming Wildflower B&B. Evidently she runs an herbal shop out of the front of the house – our entrance was in the back. There is no street parking or off-street parking – she told us we could park in the lot across the street, which was several houses in a group. The room was the Captain's room, and not huge, but the bathroom was almost larger than the room itself. Marianne, our hostess, was a tiny, soft-spoken woman from Seattle, but she reminded V of Tangina, the little old psychic woman from Poltergeist, with her little voice.
We settled in and found at least one extra plug, a fantastic view over the water, and it was a nicely decorated room, with a blue nautical theme. The rest of the house was cut off from our hallway by a brochure stand on wheels – evidently she would come fetch us for breakfast the next morning. This all felt a bit odd, but this house isn't set up as a B&B as well as some of the others, which were probably more purpose-built.
We walked into town, and passed by the Aquarium, to find a fish-n-chips place. Today was Irish National Fish-n-Chips Day, and we meant to honor that. We stopped at Harrington's, had some cod, and somehow came to the conclusion that V was the 'black hole of sin' for some reason.
We did some serious shopping then, finding odd shops like The Craic House, The Dolphin Store (which was full of hippie stuff, incense, beaded curtains, and a huge, wall-sized 3D graphic of a dolphin on one wall). It also had the only real seed-bead work I'd yet seen, though there was no clerk to help us or ask questions of. We went into another shop called Cuchulainn, which had some higher-end jewelry, and a couple other shops with lacework, knitwork and woolens, music, etc.
We settled into the very American-tourist-oriented Dingle Pub for some pints and to escape the rain. They had free WiFi, but only if you sat at one table in the pub, evidently. I had a meal of smoked salmon on brown bread, and while the bread was tasty, it was so dense it could easily give someone a head wound if properly wielded. We watched some silly commercials on the television in the pub, and wandered again once the rain stopped (for the moment).
We got the recommendation of the Courthouse pub by a local, but couldn't easily find it wandering around, so we went into Murphy's, which promised trad music. It was pretty well packed, so we moved on to John Benny Moriarty's, which had a free corner for us to curl up in. Again, this pub had trad music, and again, it had many American tourists, but seemed less commercial than The Dingle Pub. Also, there was free WiFi throughout so V could hide in her corner.
V actually engaged with another pub patron – on her very own, too! She commented on him texting on his iPhone, a common addiction. He was a tourist from Denver, named Phil, and she had a whole conversation with him before he had to leave. I was so proud!
A couple sat next to us on the other side, and ordered a couple of hot whiskeys. It looked very warming, but I'm not a fan of whiskey, so I passed and stuck with my ciders. The pub started filling up as the music session got closer, again, true session players. They were very good, but after three or four tunes, V wanted to get going, so we braved the wind and the rain and got back home – cold, wet, and very loopy.
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