Sunday, August 9, 2009

Dingle Peninsula

This is entry is being written in the hotel bar under the influence of several Irish coffees. The bartender pointed out to us that Irishmen don't drink Irish coffee, but that hasn't stopped us yet! Marlyn, Pat, Dorothy and John are all yakking away as I write this, so the commentary will be short...

Our first stop this morning was at the Kerry Museum in Tralee. Each year the town holds the Rose of Tralee international competition celebrated among Irish communities around the world. It is a huge, televised event and is celebrating the 50th anniversary of the competition. The museum was decorated with the pictures of the past 50 winners.

The museum characters were quite realistic. You could almost believe this was someone reading the paper...

Not to be outdone, Jim chose a character not quite so believeable...

A typical day in a medieval town has been recreated in the basement. It even includes the smells of the sewer, to the chagrin of the museum workers.

A calf being taken to the butcher....

The street scene with vendors and people going about their business...

One of the market vendors...

More street activity....

The potter selling her wares....

Throwing the human waste out of the window onto the street below.

The pub which was a stopping place for all travellers...

The current special exhibition upstairs in the museum is called Spymaster, featuring William Melville who became the first head of the British Secret Service (now called M5, the M in honour of him). It also had excellent exhibits about his contributions to the beginnings of criminal profiling.

From there I ran over to the rose garden across the street. The first thing in the "rose" garden was beautiful hydrangeas.

And many species of roses...

The roses all different names to go with the colours...

Oranges and lemons...

A really interesting tree...

More hydrangeas...pink and purple on the same bush

Our bus in front of the museum...

The town is being prepared for the Rose of Tralee competition with tons of lights across the streets.

The Irish countryside on the way to the Dingle peninsula...


A statue of Tom Crean with Alaskan huskies. Crean was an Irish seaman and an Antarctic explorer. He was a member of three of the four major British expeditions to the Antarctic, two with Ernest Shackleton and one including the famous rescue of the Endurance after it became locked in the Antarctic ice.

Irish countryside....just as I imagined and hoped that Ireland would be.

One of the many Irish homes. Unlike the houses found in the small towns, some of the homes outside the towns are new with perfectly manicured gardens.

Heading through the town of Dingle on our way around the peninsula...

This whole B&B was rented by Robert Mitchum for 18 months during the filming of "Ryan's Daughter."

Low tide at Slea Head...

Getting up into the cliffs...

Part of the Devil's Elbow, a single lane road on the peninsula. You don't want to meet someone coming the other way, as someone has to back up or find a turnout spot.

Joe Nix, our bus driver making sure that we don't get run over by cars on "the wrong side of the road."

The beehive huts are primitive buildings made from a circle of stones, some dating back as far as 2000 B.C. The lady in red owns the land that the huts are on, and quickly comes out of her house to collect her 2 Euros per head to go inside them. She must be a rich lady!

The Blasket Islands, which is Norse for a "dangerous place." They were inhabited until 1953 by a completely Irish speaking population until it became too difficult to remain there and they were evacuated. Many of the descendants currently live in Springfield, Massachusetts and some former residents still live on the Dingle peninsula within sight of their original homes.

The most western point in Europe...

Trying to see something...

A great picture taken by bus mate, Mary. Thanks, Mary!


An outline of a sleeping man, if you can imagine it...

On our way back to the town of Dingle for lunch....we're all starved about now!

The Dingle peninsula is quite remote. You would have to drive about three hours to Shannon to take a flight anywhere. Delores O'Riordan, an Irish singer with the Cranberries, decided she would build a large home on the peninsula, only to find that travelling to concerts was impossible. She ending up selling the home for a fraction of its worth.

Typical Irish home on the peninsula...

Heading into the towns where signs are in Gaelic only...

Beautiful orange wildflowers in bloom everywhere in the countryside...

At last! Into the town of Dingle for lunch...at this point it started to pour.



John Benny Moriarity pub...recommended by Joe for a good lunch place and it was. Great picture catching someone throwing their cigarette butt out the door!

Inch Beach (short for peninsula) which is famous for its surfing and camping facilities.

We arrived back at the hotel around 4:30 and met again for dinner at 6:30. A group of us headed to bar in the hotel after dinner, which involved several rounds of double Irish coffees and cookies. OK, it was only me who ate the cookies!
Tomorrow, it's off to tour the Ring of Kerry...

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