Sunday, August 29, 2010

Dingle Peninsula and the Ring of Kerry

The Dingle Peninsula, in County Kerry, is Ireland's most westerly area. And it's quite gorgeous too. From Limerick I headed towards Tralee, originally on my way to Killarney. But, as usual, I saw a sign and went off in a different direction - to Dingle. Good choice!!
The road heads up through the mountains, through the Connor Pass - parts of it are closed to large vehicles like buses and HVGs (whatever they are). I'm not surprised as it gets pretty steep, narrow and windy. There's one whole section of road, up top of the pass, that is only wide enough for one car at a time. Scary. But great scenery!!

Dingle peninsula

Dingle itself is at the western end of the peninsula. It's built around a harbour which has two functions: 1. fishing, 2. dolphin tours. 25 years ago Dingle was nothing more than a small, sleepy fishing village that no-one knew about. Then someone spotted a dolphin. 25 years later that dolphin, Fungie, is still there and Dingle has prospered. Boats leave the harbour every half hour to take people out to see the dolphin. 16 euros but if the dolphin doesn't appear there's no charge. The tour takes about an hour and was worth every penny. The scenery is worth the trip alone - ruined tower, lighthouse that's too cute to be true, cliffs with caves - and then there's Fungie. The boat cruises around where the dolphin hangs out and we didn't have to wait long. At first he appeared away from the boat, just gently surfacing every now and again, always in a completely different place. Playing with us. Then he started racing alongside the boat, surfacing only when the boat slowed down. It was like a game - race, jump, race, jump, race. Until he'd had enough and then he wandered off to rest till the next boat arrived. Awesome!

Fungie the fun guy

From Dingle I headed eastwards, along the south coast of the peninsula, to Killarney. There's lots of historical stuff around Killarney - Ross castle, cathedrals and churches, etc. But, I arrived in town at the end of a major funeral service - 4 teenagers were killed during the week (car accident) (two of them were brothers). The whole town seemed to be in mourning. I decided it wasn't appropriate to wander round playing tourist so left.
So yesterday and today I travelled the Ring of Kerry, a road that runs around the perimeter of the Iveragh Peninsula - the other half of Kerry. I got some great sunset shots at Cahersiveen last night.
There also seems to be a lot more trees in this area. I saw a thing today that said that by the 1910s Ireland has only 1.5% of its forests left. That has increased to 7% now. Still not a lot. I'm not sure where all the wood has gone as it's not used for housing - all buildings seem to be made of stone throughout the whole country. Maybe it was all just cleared for farm land? Exported? Dunno.
Tonight I'm in Kenmare and will head into Cork tomorrow.


1 comment:

Your sister Clare said...

Fungie must be Irish for Flicka