Friday, 25 September 2015

Ireland Part Three - A Little More from the Dingle

Please bear with me.  I’ve got a few more pictures to share with you from the Dingle Peninsula and you don't want to miss these.  

I know I’ve already shared quite a few but I can’t seem to help myself because it was there on the Dingle that I fell in love with Ireland.  It’s just an absolutely amazing place – such spectacular beauty yet it’s so rural and peaceful, with houses and farms dotting the patchwork countryside here and there reminding you that regular people get to live wrapped in the beauty of this environment.   

Life seems to move at a slow pace out on the Dingle.  Even the yawning sea gulls seem to be affected by the laid back attitude here.  

In fact, it almost seems as if time has stood still here, with the buildings and sometimes the roads looking like they haven't changed in many many years.  There is a quaintness about it that is very appealing.

This is a big piece of land, yet if you gathered all the residence living on the peninsula together, their numbers would be small.  It’s no wonder really though because with as gorgeous as this land is, it is also a hard and rugged place to make a living.   

What are the main sources of income?   

Well, there is tourism and it is quite obvious why this land attracts so many visitors just like us, but this is Ireland after all and the window of opportunity for tourism each year is short-lived and reserved mainly for the warmest months of the year which hopefully also brings drier weather.   But such a short window probably means not many are getting rich off the tourists.

Then there is fishing and again, it’s obvious why as this is a peninsula after all sitting on the Atlantic ocean.  But I don’t think anyone is under the false impression that fishing is an easy business to make a living at either.   

And then there is agriculture and with plenty of rolling green hills, that seems to make sense.  But this is a beautiful yet rugged landscape and I doubt that it is vegetables or fruit that are the main items farmed here.  It’s likely livestock as we saw cows and lots and lots of sheep dotting the countryside. 

And it was into a sheep field sitting in one of the most beautiful spots on the entire Dingle Peninsula that I bring you now.  On our third day in Ireland, we headed back to the end of the Dingle to take a hike along the coast overlooking the Blasket Islands.  

We parked on the little road leading down to the tiny yet fierce Cuomeenole beach that we had visited a couple days before, but this time we hiked in the other direction away from the wave crashing beach, going up along a cliff hanging over the Atlantic Ocean, getting higher and higher as we went.  

The adventurer in me found this dramatic setting simply exhilarating to hike through.  But the mother in me found it absolutely terrifying.  This hike was amazingly beautiful, beyond words really, but at the same time, there was nothing between us and a sheer drop off.   

Watching your 10 and 7 year old climb along a precarious perch like this puts your heart in your throat and yes, I will readily admit that I became nagging mom.  “Leah, stop talking and watch where you are going.”  “Ellie, stop flitting around and just walk normally so you don’t fall over the ledge.”   

They don’t seem to perceive the danger like adults do.  Is that a good thing or a bad thing?  I don’t know. 

What I do know is that the view we had as we walked along the edge of Ireland on the Dingle Peninsula was spectacular, amazing, breathtaking, dramatic, awe-inspiring… the seeming endless ocean surrounding the green hills of the Blasket Islands with a brilliant blue sky overhead... I think you get the picture.

And speaking of pictures, as we walked I couldn’t help but to shoot some of my own photos with my weeny little camera phone.  I often stand in awe watching Eric take photos and seeing him and his camera silhouetted against the very extraordinary landscapes he is trying to capture on film.  

I’ve started taking photos of him in these instances.  I’m calling it the “Photographing the Photographer” series. 

The Dingle is full of raw beauty.  Maybe that is the best way to describe it.  We saw it everywhere we went, and the very last night we spent there, the Dingle seemed to give us one last taste of this raw beauty as a little parting gift...

a picnic on a beautiful deserted beach under a blue sky as the sun sank slowly towards the horizon.  Does it get any better than this? 

Late in the afternoon we had stumbled around this rural countryside for awhile trying to find a store that was open where we could pick up some provisions for a picnic on the beach - some crackers to go with the cheese we had brought along, a bottle of wine with a screw top as we had no corkscrew, some drinks for the girls.  Once we had what we needed, we went in search of the perfect beach and the perfect beach we did find.   

This is a place called Wine Strand... 

and it was here that we had the perfect end to a perfect visit to a seemingly perfect and peaceful place called the Dingle Peninsula.  

We had the beach to ourselves.

The girls skipped along the waters edge as the cold waters of the Atlantic Ocean tickled their feet.

They explored the many tidal pools in search of strange sea creatures...

and they scrambled around on the rocks jutting out into the surf, trying not to slip and get their shoes full of water.

An empty beach - nature's playground.   

We had a wonderful visit to the Dingle Peninsula.  When you are planning your travels to a new country with so very many places to visit, it is often times overwhelming to try and decide which of the few places you will actually visit with your limited time.  You don't want to choose wrong and be disappointed.  With the Dingle Peninsula, we chose well.  

I didn't want to leave.  There was more of Ireland to see, but the Dingle Peninsula captured my heart.  We stayed out on the Peninsula and watched the sun sink into the Atlantic Ocean, a fitting end to our visit.  We only left when we couldn't see anymore.  Goodbye Dingle...

I hope we meet again.


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