Sunday, November 20, 2011

In Search of Roots: A Trip Through Ireland and Great Britain
Part 7: Dingle and the Dingle Peninsula

Dingle Loop Drive - Starting and Ending at Castlewood House
Castlewood House
Our trip on the Ring of Kerry ended on the Dingle Peninsula in the town of Dingle. After a little searching, we found Castlewood House, located outside of town overlooking Dingle Bay. Castlewood House is arguably the nicest B&B that we stayed in during the trip. After settling in we went for dinner at Out of the Blue Seafood, an outstanding restaurant on the harbor just outside of the main town. It was busy and we had some libation and listened to the music while we waited for our dinner.  This time, I had the almond sole, which was perfect and Pat had Dory, which was a little rubbery. I'm sure she wishes that she had Sole.
Out of the Blue - Excellent Seafood
Almond Sole at Out of the Blue

We really had quite a bit of good food on this trip, which gave the lie to our expectations of English/Irish cooking.

Eggs Benedict Supreme, with Smoked Salmon
The crowning touch came at breakfast the next morning when I had the Castlewood House's version of Eggs Benedict, called Eggs Benedict Supreme.  It really was. Instead of the usual ham, the meat was local organic smoked salmon.

Well fortified, we started out on the Dingle Loop. One of the first sights is directly across the Bay from Castlewood House. It's called Milltown House B&B. Robert Mitchum stayed there for a year while he was in Dingle, making the movie, Ryan's Daughter.  Staying in that area for a year could not be considered tough duty.
Miltown House, where Robert Mitchum stayed
Because of this trip, we recently rented Ryan's Daughter from Netflix. It's a long movie on two DVDs. We spent two hours on the first one and then the second one wouldn't play and Netflix has no more copies. The scenery is spectacular, but I wish we could have found out how the story ends.

Moving on, we came soon to Ventry Beach, an almost deserted strand as late June is still too early for beaching here.  On the whole beach, there was one family, a mother and two small children with plastic table and chairs having their own tea party.
Tea Party on the Beach
Kavanaugh Family Cottage, abandoned during the famine
Further on we come to a thatched cottage, typical of those inhabited by the Irish in the 1840's and then abandoned by them when they left Ireland for the United States and Canada during the Irish Potato Famine.

The Walls of Dunbeg Fort, overlooking the Atlantic Ocean
Next along the road is the Dunbeg Fort dating from roughly 500 CE. Forts like this are the most important relics left from Ireland's Iron Age (500 BCE - 500 CE).

As I spent some time exploring the fort, the sun came out and the skies turned blue. This became one of the better days, weatherwise, on the trip. Looking out to sea, I could see the Skelig Islands.
Skelig Islands from the Dunbeg Fort
This loop has many outstanding views and historic sites.  I am placing pictures of some of the more important ones below. And there are many more pictures at my SmugMug Gallery "Dingle and the Dingle Loop".  At the end of the day, we returned for another peaceful night and wonderful breakfast at Castlewood House and made ready to start our all day trip to Dun Laoghaire for our last three days in Ireland.

Blasket Islands
Gallus Oratory - About 1300 years old

Dingle Harbor

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