Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Breathtaking Beauty

"We had driven to that coast
Through flowers and limestone
And there we were, toasting friendship,
Laying down a perfect memory
In the cool of thatch and crockery"
Seamus Heany
   Dingle town is a sensory feast. It is at the heart of a peninsula that steals hearts.
   Settlement began here in the 12th Century.  Eight centuries later it was one of the stars of a film. After seeing Ryan's Daughter, film maker Ron Howard shot Far and Away on the peninsula.
  Dingle has its own version of Irish rhythm and voice.

  Here is where we "laid down" some of that "perfect memory," Out of the Blue Seafood.
   Kay and Jack know this trail well. It was as they promised, a dinner that resides now on the all time great lists.

   Population of this port town on the Atlantic in the south west of Ireland is just a tick above 2,000, but as they say in sport, it plays much larger than that.

  Dingle is picturesque and authentic.
   Our hotel exuded that sweet and unique fragrance of a peat log fire to warm the morning chill.

   And thanks again to Kay and Jack's driving and navigation we were treated to the stunning optics of the peninsula. The greenest green I've beheld, running to the craggy or sand beaches of the bold Atlantic.  
   The Blasket and Skellig Michael Islands on the horizons and the coast that bears a bit of home.  
  Life on the Dingle peninsula is about the ocean. 

   Kay and Jack opted for a pre-famine cabin in the heart of Irish (Gaelic) speaking country.

   The Gallarus Oratory is an Irish story of its own. 1300 years old it sits near Smerwick Harbour.  It is dry rubble masonry, wherein the roof is a continuation of the rise of the sidewalls. 
  Vikings and Normans invaded this area and destroyed other buildings. There are several theories as to the purpose of this Oratory; marking a burial site, a chapel or contemplation setting, a place of hospitality, or something else?

   The twin craggy peaks of Skellig Michael are familiar to Star Wars fans, as filming was done here.
   Named for the archangel Michael, the island contains monastic remains including other Oratory meditation buildings dating from the 6th Century. There is a monk's grave yard on Skellig Michael. Irish myth holds that a superior race inhabited the island in pre-Christian times.

  Eask Tower atop Carhoo hill was built in 1847 to guide ships. 
   The Ring of Kerry, Slea Head and the entire peninsula offer a beauty that is almost beyond belief. 

   Charlie Chaplin used to holiday on the Peninsula near the town of Waterville which put up a statue.

    There is a particular stirring in the heart that we felt as we absorbed Dingle Peninsula. It is history, beauty, the culture, music and above all, the heart of the people. It became our Irish love story.
   As we planned our trip to Scotland we thought it wise to visit Ireland and catch up with Kay, Willie, Kay and Jack. What was to be a "brief" visit, extended a bit and allowed for  more. In fishing parlance, the hook was set. 
   As my life long friend Jim, who put us onto Dingle, said,
he's "ready to go back anytime."  Understood.

   Down the trail are a few more stops, including, Walking into another Pub--this one is unique in all the world!

    See you down the trail.