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One of my co-workers asked me if I was going to post more Ireland photos. Little did he know, I still have hundreds to sort through, but this will be a good start! Thanks for asking Chuck. Pull up a chair and pour a cup of tea because this might take a minute! We visited Ireland in 2009 and went back again this past November 2014. My husband, his sister-in-law Rita and I enjoyed 9 wonderful days of hiking, shopping, eating, sightseeing and taking a thousand photos … each. In 2009 we traveled in Ireland with our adult children. The four of us have great memories of the Dingle area so of course we had to show Rita. We left Cork early one rainy morning and headed to the south-western coast where we were greeted with blue sky and gorgeous weather.
We stopped at Inch Beach just outside Dingle and took a little stroll. The waves were enormous and loud, it was fantastic.
If you’re able to do so, there are several great reasons to travel during the shoulder season (in between busy seasons). The prices are much better than peak and it’s not over crowded. To me this far out-ways the negatives such as shorter daylight hours and fewer available activities. The beauty of the scenery and peaceful wide-open spaces are what appeal to me.
My husband drove while Rita and I rode along with cameras in hand begging him to stop at every little pull-off on the road. Green hills and sheep – now we’re getting close.
Dingle is the only town situated on Dingle Bay. In 2006 they had a population of about 2,000 but with a surge in tourism I’m sure it has grown well beyond that figure. Fishing, tourism and agriculture are their main industries. (Note the tower in the top right of the photos – we’ll hike to the top later in the day.)
We stopped in a local pub and made inquiries about hiking opportunities we previously researched. We had a plan but always try to get the inside scoop from a local. The Eask Tower hike was recommended so we headed across the bay to find Mrs. O’Connor’s farm house where we can park and walk through her sheep pastures and up her mountain. Okay maybe not a mountain in Irish terms, but a big hill none the less.
After a few wrong turns we finally found our way. Mrs. O’Connor is delightful and gave us all the information we needed to have a great day hiking on her farm. We had such fun talking she forgot the mackerel she was cooking for lunch! I hope we didn’t make her burn the fish!
We headed up the hill with day-packs and cameras.
Half way up the hill we saw a rainbow – it was the first of eight we enjoyed that day.
A view of Dingle across the bay.
A double rainbow – does that mean two pots of gold?
We made it to the tower and as you can see, the panoramic views are amazing.
The view toward the North Atlantic.
Dingle Harbor in the distance.
The Eask Tower was built in 1847 to help guide boats and ships to the mouth of the blind harbor from Dingle Bay.
These are not the kind of mushrooms you should eat – we were in a sheep pasture after all!
The wind was roaring and a bit cold but I never tired of the view.
More rainbows and sheep on the way down.
On our second day in Dingle we took the driving tour of Slea Head Drive and enjoyed wonderful views of the Atlantic.
We made a few friends along the way.
This looks like a one way road – well it pretty much is a single lane. The Irish encourage tourists to drive the Slea Head loop all in the same direction to prevent problems with meeting tour buses that frequent the area during peak seasons. If you’re not up to driving on the wrong side of the car, and the wrong side of the road, you can hire a car, a driver, or sign up for a bus tour.
We made frequent stops at historic sites, cliffs, beaches, hills, fields and road side attractions. Walking and exploring is my favorite way to see Ireland.
Downtown Dingle where we shopped, slept, ate and explored.
Murphy’s Pub is our favorite place to stay in Dingle Ireland. It’s not fancy but is very comfortable and clean with great rates and an amazing B&B breakfast. The people are friendly, warm and charming! The owner’s have been serving travelers for 30 years and they know what works! Owner Eileen Murphy and her dog Taz were there last time we came to Dingle and it was great to see them both again. It’s like visiting a favorite aunt or cousin – only in Ireland!
The pub is charming with a great menu and good beer of course! During the busy season they also have live traditional Irish music on the weekends. A few pubs still have music in the off season so just keep looking – there is a pub somewhere – but that’s another post.
Just around the corner from Murphy’s you’ll find the best shop for exclusive gifts and knitwear. Mr. and Mrs. Chris Quill have a beautiful store with great prices and everything you could possibly need or want. The Strand House on Strand Street is in the center of Dingle so it’s not hard to find. The shop has a cafe upstairs with amazing coffee and homemade treats from a local chef. Stop in and pick up your gifts to take home and be sure to tell them we said hi! Check out their terrific reviews on TripAdvisor.
We also had a lovely visit with this young lady in the Dingle Artworks Gallery. Her mother, June McIntryre, is the artist responsible for all these beautiful paintings. She is an artist as well and was working on paper mache penguins – be sure to stop in and enjoy her lovely stories about the area and view their wonderful artistry. Dingle Artworks on Green Street, Dingle, County Kerry, Ireland.
I’m letting you in on a little secret so don’t forget this one … Murphy’s has the best ice cream I’ve ever had. Seriously! There are three locations around Ireland but this lovely shop is the original at home in Dingle. The ice cream is handmade in Dingle using only “fresh from the farm milk, lots of local cream, free range eggs, and organic sugar.” There are no artificial flavors and they “temper their own chocolate, infuse alcohol, and scrape vanilla beans by hand. They’re so fussy, they even make their own sea salt from Dingle sea water.”
They encourage flavor combinations and I found the Dingle Sea Salt and Blissful Butterscotch combo out of this world delicious! They use milk from the rare, indigenous Kerry cow breed, one of the oldest surviving breeds in Europe. You’ve heard of KerryGold Butter right? Exactly!
More photos from Slea Head Drive.
Just outside Dingle near the mouth of the harbor to Dingle Bay is a lovely beach-front walking trail and the Scottish Tower. This is about 4 minutes from Dingle by car, or about 2 kilometers. If you walk from town it takes about 40 minutes. After eating several scoops of Murphy’s Ice Cream, I recommend walking!
There was a man digging clams in the sand with his two happy dogs.
The Scottish Tower … in Ireland 🙂
The view of Dingle Bay near the Scottish Tower along with some seriously prickly sticker bushes.
These happy Irish cows are so pretty! It’s easy to see why Irish butter tastes so good. Their animals look happy and healthy.
I wonder if she was thinking … “not another American with a camera!”
I’m not sure what she was saying – the Irish accent threw me!
Further around the bay we found another castle ruin. The castle was barricaded due to the dangerous instability of the structure.
The next day we headed out on another adventure starting with a drive through Connor Pass. The wind was brutal and I could only stay outside the car long enough to take a few photos.
We have a few more (hundreds – haha) photos to share once I get through them all. Coming up – a quick drive on the Ring of Kerry, a visit to the world famous Cliffs of Moher, Killarney and then we enjoyed some fabulous traditional Irish music on our visit to Doolin. More to come – hope you have a wonderful weekend!
Here’s a PIN for your favorite adventure board!
Check out these other posts about our recent trip to Ireland:
- Cobh, Killarney, Doolin & the Cliffs of Moher
- Cork Ireland – a visit to the English Market
- Cashel Ireland
- Dublin & Portlaoise Ireland
Also, don’t miss this great roundup of Irish Recipes and Travel Posts too!
Thanks so much for stopping by!