Thursday, July 14, 2011

Dingle Peninsula, The Ireland I want to find!

I left Limerick on Monday and drove the nearly 3 hours to Dingle. Once I got to Tralee, the scenery started to change. More rolling hills, rural with Sheep!! Up 'till then I hadn't seen any of Irelands famous sheep. The road out of Tralee begins to get narrower and winding. My first view of the Atlantic was from a high bluff and took my breath away. I got to my B&B (more on that later) and then walked into Dingle Town to have a look. It is a small Irish Village of the kind I was expecting. Since arriving in Ireland, I have been dealing with the tyranny of expectations. Over the years I've read a lot of Irish fiction, both historical and modern day. So I had built up some pictures in my mind of what Ireland would look like. Until I came to Dingle, nowhere had matched my mind pictures. Although I have enjoyed the places I've been so far in Ireland, it has been a little disappointing to my "expectations". Dingle has redeemed them all!
The beauty of the place is awesome and there is a "feel" in the air that is almost spiritual in nature. I took a tour of the Dingle Peninsula to Slea Head. The Peninsula is dotted with more than 2,000 monuments from the Neolithic Age (4000 B.C.). I saw several and it was awesome. The most impressive was the intact Beehive building that was a place of worship. It felt serene to step inside and feel the sense of all the souls that have passed through those walls.
The Town is Charming with many pubs and shops. It was once a walled City so the outermost street is a circle. Dingle is a region where the Irish Government subsidizes the survival of the Irish Language and culture. Your hear Irish spoken everywhere and it is taught in the schools. All the signs are written in Gaelic as well as English. The B&B I'm staying at is South of town on the sea but well within walking distance of Town. There is a working seaport. I've wanted to see the resident dolphin Fungie, who lives wild but has chosen the Dingle Harbor as his home and has become very comfortable with people. I may have missed my opportunity since the weather has turned and the rains have returned. I hope I get a break in the weather and can go out on the boat.
There is an old Church and Monastary, St. Mary's that has the Harry Clark Windows of Diseart, which were installed in 1922. There are 12 windows which portray scenes of Christ's live. They are beautiful and I saw them in the Chapel built in 1884. It was great to tour the Church and spend time in the Chapel with those inspiring windows.
Dingle is fabulous....I had planned to only spend 3 days here but decided to blow off the rest of my plan and stay here for the whole week. Turned out to be a perfect decision.