An earnestly helpful lady at the Dingle Tourism Office insisted that we should take the Dingle road clockwise, because that was the direction that all of the touring busses went. While we didn’t see any busses on the drive, it also put us on the outside of the road next to the water, which meant that we could pull off on all of the little overlooks and sight-seeing spots much more easily than if we had taken the inside track. CK did a fantastic job twisting and turning us up and around these supposedly two-way roads that were no more than one-car wide in many places.
Among the sights we saw on the peninsula were beehive huts (think “stone igloos”), Dunbeg stone fort, and the Blasket Islands. The Dunbeg stone fort is a mystery, because while the archeologists *believe* it was a fort, no one has discovered any weaponry in their digs, only animal bones. The beehive huts are interesting because of the way the houses were constructed out of rocks without any kind of keystone physics, only old fashioned rock-on-rock physics. The one farm field that we tramped through had plenty of different examples of beehive huts, including one that was three rooms together, and one that was almost square rather than round. The Blasket Islands were used as a lookout point, fishing point, and sheep raising area, and were eventually abandoned in the 1950s.
We stopped at a gift store and café that advertised pottery but actually was more of a really great bookstore on all things Ireland, and that sold luscious apple-blackberry cobbler. It was a marvelous afternoon snack, with a gorgeous view of a little village sliding into the sea. While we were reveling in warm sweet berry goodness, we watched a small group of cows decide it was dinnertime, come trotting up the field toward the road, and disappear. We have no idea if they turned and went behind a hedgerow, if they crossed the road to a barn up behind the store, or simply went Underhill. It was bemusing and fun to watch.
We also saw sheep. We saw a LOT of sheep. This was actually a good thing, because most of what we’ve been seeing across the interior of Ireland has been cattle. For all the jokes about Irish sheep, I was starting to think that it was a stereotype and no longer the truth. Ok, now I’m not so worried about it. We definitely saw sheep this time out. The neat thing was that we saw more varied topography, so we saw how the hedgerows defined the various fields, and how the checkerboard layouts march up the hills.
Despite having spent the whole day admiring the seaside, we weren’t quite done with water. On our way back to Blackwater Castle, we stopped in Killarney to admire the lakes. We drove through town and down Muckross Way to a park that hosted Ross Castle – which was closed, of course, since it was 9 PM at this point – and watched the sunset while admiring the lake and grounds. Knowing we had missed dinner at the castle, we picked up Chinese take-out in Mallow on our way through town.