Today was our tour around the Dingle Peninsula. We got up fairly early for breakfast, as ISA was part of the first seating at the B&B. Breakfast was absolutely delicious. I had a Belgian waffle made with cinnamon sugar baked inside and berries on top, and it was absolutely magical. A few of my friends got the full Irish breakfast, which looked amazing. I think I’ll end up trying that tomorrow.
We boarded the bus around 9:30 and were off for the tour. We started at the beehive huts, an early settlement with buildings that look like beehives. They were made of stone, and only one that we saw still had a roof. The rest had caved in. The one we saw had 3 rooms and was rather lavish for that time.
While we were getting to explore the huts, a group of us at a time also had the chance to hold lambs. There was a fold with dozens of fluffy babies. There had been rumors about this opportunity, whispers in the NUIG community, but we weren’t sure it was a real thing. It was.
There were three lambs we got to pass around and bottle feed. Two of them were all white and fluffy to the point of chubbiness, and the other was black with white wool. I have never seen Caitlyn and Ellie so happy.
We spent a bit of time with the sheep and the huts, but soon enough it was time to move on to the beach. It was about 65° F when we made it to the beach with a cold breeze coming off the choppy Atlantic. Personally, I was awestruck by the view, with the white water crashing over outcropping of rock and the waves rolling in. While many in the group ran down the hill and directly into the water, I didn’t particularly feel like being covered in sand all day. Instead, I stayed up by one of the many stone walls, taking artsy photos and staying warm and sand-free.
We spent about an hour just enjoying the beach until it was time to move on. We made it all the way to the heritage center at the Blasket Islands and saw a presentation about life on the Great Blasket Island. Up until recently, the people on the island lived hard, traditional lives, much the same way the Amish live in the American Midwest. We got to explore the museum and see some of the artifacts from the island before it was evacuated.
We had lunch in the heritage center cafe and got to shop at the bookstore at the museum. I almost bought another book of myths and fairy tales. They really struck me, and I’m hoping to write movies and books based on these traditional stories.
After that, we headed back toward Dingle, making just a few more stops along the way. The first one was an early Christian Church as part of a ruined monastery, unique because the roof was still entirely intact despite the age of the structure.
We went inside the structure, and once our eyes adjusted to the darkness, it was absolutely amazing. They had built a window into the structure facing the East, as is tradition with most Christian Churches. There were little outcroppings of rock, possibly for hanging things like a draping or a scaffold for the altar.
The sheer craftsmanship of the building was admirable. The rocks were perfectly placed, chiseled and smoothed until the wall wasn’t rough to the touch. I was amazed that something so ancient has stood the test of time and the elements and is still standing today.
We then went to a cemetery close to the monastery to see an ancient sundial and a long beam with the alphabet chiseled onto it that was once used to teach monks to read and write.
We looped back around and headed back to the Harbor Lodge. My friends and I decided to go out on the town and see the rest of what Dingle had to offer. We wandered around the shops and got ice cream. One of the girls lost her cell phone, so we made sure she knew where we were (getting fish and chips) while she ran back to the lodge to make sure she hadn’t lost it while we were shopping. Thankfully, she hadn’t, and she even got stopped by a really nice elderly man who told her everything was going to work out. It definitely helped her calm down after the whole ordeal.
Dinner was delicious, and I went out with them for one drink at Dick Mack’s pub, a place Dolly Parton and many other famous celebrities have gone for a pint. The staff was pleasant, the place was not very crowded, and I got an excellent drink with some of my favorite people.
A bunch of them decided to head off to the next pub, but Caitlyn, Joanna, and I stayed behind and talked about everything we had accomplished, crammed in to just a few short weeks.
I walked home after that, ready to take a shower and go to sleep. It had been a crazy busy day. When I got there, two out of three of my roommates were already in and ready for sleep. I joined them soon after and did not move the rest of the night. It was an incredible day of seeing the sights.
Also, completely unrelated, but one of my favorite things about Dingle is the fact that there’s a dolphin that hangs out in the harbor just because he likes it, so people have started doing tours there. His name is Funghie, and they made a statue of him at the marina I saw on my way back to the accommodation tonight.