Let’s get the giggling out of the way right now, shall we? Say it with me: Dingle, Dingle, Dingle.
One more, just in case. I’ll wait.
Okay. It’s a relief you can’t hear me giggle every time I type it, because then there’d be no denying my inner 12-year-old.
So let’s get serious and be adults. First off, the good news: when we left Galway to head to the Dingle peninsula (*snicker* Agh! How did that get out?), we got our first correct directions of the trip. They only involved a left out of the hotel and a right onto the road, but still – thrilling.
On the way we took a ferry (18 euros at the mouth of the River Shannon), which was easy and saved us the ton of miles had we gone around. Drive on, pay, drive off. So civilized.
Touring Ireland you see how every small town is precious, and every countryside lush and soft. The sweetness was overwhelming, and I wouldn’t have been at all surprised if an adorable leprechaun had sprung from behind a tree and did a little jig just for our benefit. (Just how cute is the country? I had that vision completely sober.)
Plus there were no untidy houses anywhere – even the run-down ones were neat and clean. There weren’t any trashed singlewides or junkyards masquerading as landscaping like some places (ahem) I know.
While exploring the peninsula we stayed in Annascaul at The Old Anchor Inn. Lovely proprietors (Brian and Beata), a tiny but spotless room, plus free Wi-Fi and breakfast made to order. (Well, sort of. I asked for scrambled eggs and toast and got the eggs perched atop two pieces of buttered rye. Not how I had it pictured, but tasty nonetheless.)
Plus it was three doors down from Hanifan’s Bar with its wood-burning fireplace, framed photos of the Annascaul Walking Club, and red Christmas lights. Hanifan’s had a classic cast of characters including the bartender/owner who knew everyone’s name and what they drank, the been-around-the-block but smart and sassy single lady, the lovable drunk, and the fun and chatty lesbian couple. (Maybe that last one wasn’t so classic, but welcome regardless.)
I think we had a nightcap there every night we were in Annascaul, and I was disappointed when the bartender didn’t call us by name and start pouring our Guinness when we walked in. Probably needed a couple more nights for that.
The meals were great the entire trip, like at The Boatyard Restaurant in Dingle Town (yep, that’s what they called it, and I managed to keep a straight face every time). I had a spectacular Quattro of crab that included cakes, bisque, claws, and quiche. Also, thank God, a hearty serving of fries/chips. My potato levels had dropped since lunch, and I was in serious need of a carb injection, so – whew! – crisis averted.
Gallarus Oratory was beautiful in its simplicity:
Make sure you drive Slea (“slay”) Head. This picture doesn’t do it justice, but it’s spectacular:
There’s so much to see on the peninsula that Mom and I were sad to leave and yet, as always, we were also ready to get home. It was an easy day’s drive from Dingle across the southern half of the country and up the east coast to Dublin. Only one day to drive across Ireland! Small country but a big, big heart. Not to be missed.