Monday, April 10th–Dingle, Co Kerry

Another excellent breakfast and chat with Pat; taking the car to a tire store to have the pressure checked; parking at my usual lot near the waterfront; over to the Dingle Record Store which was closed but taking a tour of the lovely St Mary's church & the An Diseart Centre of Irish Spirituality and Culture; lunch at the Chowder Café; a lovely drive along the Slea Head Drive/Dingle Peninsula; Prehistoric & Celtic Museum; beehive huts, baby lambs, and a roadside cross where we stopped on the CIE tour eleven years ago but which I couldn't find in July; the Blasket Centre; back downtown for dinner at Paudie's Bar; a quiet night in my room back at Duinin House

Duinin House

Silver VW Jetta



It's now about 10:45 PM and once again I'm just getting around to typing my notes up from today although I've actually been back here in my room at Duinin House since about 8:30. I decided to take a bit of a break first and stretched out to watch something streaming on my Kindle Fire.

I'm having a shot of Bushmills Irish honey in a large glass of sparkling water right now and it's quite tasty. I wish I could buy it at home but I can buy an American honey bourbon or whiskey instead.

The lovely little radiator Pat & Anne put here in my room kept it quite nice and cozy all last night. I slept pretty well and woke up about 8:30 this morning. I might have been the only guest here last night because I don't think I heard anyone else last night or this morning.

For breakfast this morning I had the porridge with Bailey's Irish cream again, and Pat apologized because he made it in the microwave this time instead of on the stove as usual but I told him quite truthfully it was as delicious as usual. I also had scrambled eggs with salmon, which is one of their specialities here, and it also was very good and this time I remembered to tell Pat I didn't need toast with the eggs because I still had their wonderful brown bread.

After I had finished Pat joined me for a bit and we talked some more about Amazon and Amazon's publishing on demand. I still haven't started his book yet because I haven't taken the time in the evenings after I get back here. I've either come in late, like I did Saturday and last night, or took a bit of a break and rest this evening.

Today I did pretty much everything I had thought I might last evening. Right after I left here I found Moran's garage and tyre centre, which is in a direction I don't think I've been before, turning left away from downtown at the bottom of the hill instead of towards town. It's part of a small minimall, apparently owned by the same family, with a car wash, a service station, a large convenience store, and the large tire store and service around the corner on the side. One of the guys there very kindly helped me, and checked the tires, and afterwards told me he was pretty sure I didn't need to worry because as he'd checked their inflation he hadn't seen any problems. He also reset the low tire pressure indicator light which hasn't come back on. I told him if it did before I leave here Tuesday morning I'll go back there.

I then went back down to the parking lot beside the water near the Tourist Information office and the very popular statue of Fungie the Dingle dolphin to make the short uphill stretch to Mazz O'Flaherty's small but amazing record store. I had wondered if she'd be there, since she'd told me on a previous visit back last July that she'd been having some sem-serious health problems, and her shop was closed again today but someone had stuck a small handwritten note in the window of the door that said "Open next week–sorry!"or something like that.

I didn't mind, though, since this time I went across the street to St Mary's church (which apparently doesn't have its own web site) to visit the An Diseart Centre of Irish Spirituality and Culture which I hadn't done this past summer. This place offers an interesting arrange of courses and degree programs ( and is housed in an old convent which belonged to the Sisters of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, which was founded in Cork by an Irish woman in 1775. The Presentation Sisters have always been devoted to Catholic education. Their old home here in Dingle is a lovely building that needs a bit of upkeep and is worth visiting for the fresco in the entry hallway, an even nicer one of the Last Supper in the former nun's dining hall which was painted using local models, and a lovely old, neo-Gothic chapel upstairs that has three beautiful, factory made stained glass windows around the altar but is world famous for the six handmade stained glass windows on either side of the chapel.

I had just typed "I'm pretty sure that before I left Dingle for my tour around the Peninsula/Slea Head Drive I had lunch somewhere but at the moment can't remember where" when I did indeed remember where, and what I had. I had a very good lunch at the Chowder Café, a nice, pretty, small café (which also doesn't seem to have their own web page) just down the street from the church and Mazz's record store. I had their café platter, which had a mini open faced smoked salmon sandwich, a cup of their excellent seafood chowder, a piece of their very good battered, fried fish and some of the best tartare sauce I've had since Mom used to make her own. I also had their wonderful apple crumble for dessert.

By then the weather had turned quite lovely, mostly sunny with light, wispy, atmospheric clouds and was perfect for touring the Dingle Peninsula. I think that when I was here in July around it counter clockwise which is why I missed the place with the beehive huts we'd been to on the CIE tour eleven years ago but recognized the roadside cross when I drove past it. This time I didn't stop off at all the places I'd done last summer, or could have, such as the Dingle distillery which was open today, or the lovely small town of Ventry with its tiny harbor.

Instead I carried straight on to the small but wonderful and enjoyable private Prehistoric & Celtic museum, which doesn't seem to have its own web page, but which I had enjoyed quite a bit when I was there last summer as much for the building itself as for its small but well done exhibits.

I didn't stop to see the famine cottages, or at the megalithic promontory fort of Dunbeg/Dun Beag as I did last summer to see if the donkeys were hanging out down by the fort again. I saw the first group of beehive huts but skipped them as Rick Steves advises, but also because I recognized they weren't the same as the ones we'd stopped at before on my CIE tour eleven years ago but kept on going. This time, going clockwise, I recognized the house and the huts and took a picture from much the same spot as I'd taken the one that's been hanging on the wall at work or home since I was there last. The place was even busier than usual, because not only was it a lovely day but the guy now running the place had cleverly put out a sign saying people could hold or pet baby lambs which lots of people were gladly paying the 3 Euro per person admission charge. They were cute (OK, the lambs and all the people wanting to pet or hold them as well) but I didn't need a picture of me holding one. Instead I just wandered around looking at the beehive huts and taking pictures. When I told the guy who was working that I'd had a picture of the huts and the house on my wall since I'd been there on the CIE tour eleven years ago, he told me that it was his grandmother who had been working then and that bus tour traffic had pretty much stopped coming there.

A short way along was the stop with the roadside cross where we'd stopped on the CIE tour. When I got there, there was a young couple with one of the local van tour operators, and just before I left a couple who got there after I did asked me to take their picture which I did. I also told them about the Blasket Centre not too far up the road.

When I was driving around Slea Head Drive in the counterclockwise direction back in July I'm pretty sure I didn't even see any of the signs for the Centre, but did today while traveling in the clockwise direction. When I was there with the CIE tour eleven years ago, I'm pretty sure that everyone else headed into the Centre to spend as much time seeing the exhibits as possible while I first went around the entire perimeter of the place, checking out and taking pictures of the incredible scenery around where the place is set. The views through the picture windows in the museum are excellent and worth taking pictures but don't match the views from outside. Besides the lambs in the field next door were quite funny and cute and one of them was black.

The Blasket Centre is a very well done museum in a lovely, modern building with very interesting and attractive architecture. This time I watched the introductory 20 minute video, which I'm sure I hadn't had time to do eleven years ago, before wandering around the rest of the exhibits. I must admit that as usual I didn't spend a lot of time reading the very well done accompanying informative signs.

This time I also didn't stop off at the incredible Gallarus Oratory which I'd done back in July but kept on following Google Maps directions back to the waterfront in town near the aquarium. I got back there around 5 PM and paid the 1 Euro per hour to park there until the lot is free after 6 PM. I walked up the street a bit checking out possible places to have dinner, and decided I'd go back to Paudie's Bar at the Dingle Bay hotel because I saw lasagna on their menu outside. I've had seafood several times the last couple of days, including lunch today, and will probably have some more tomorrow but wanted something different tonight for the main course. (I had their seafood chowder to start with, though.)

Since it was still too early for dinner, I walked around to the marina superintendent's office for the view of the bay from there, then sat on a bench near the Visitors Centre and the much loved statue of Fungie the Dingle Bay dolphin and read on one of my iPhones (I'm glad I had brought both of them because the battery on each was dying) until 6:30. I then went back across the street to Paudie's Bar, which is a very nice, lovely older place, and had an excellent soup, dinner and dessert there.

As I said earlier, it was shortly past 8 PM when I got back here. Pat, one of our hosts, was having fun playing taxi and ferrying some of the guests who had arrived while I was out downtown–and I know he was having fun because I know he loves his town and area and showing it off to his guests.

I was thinking of taking my laptop and headphones down to the conservatory to watch something on it there but stretched out for a bit instead and haven't left my room since I got back to it.

I'm planning on a similar day tomorrow, but I'll probably be busy only from 10 AM to after lunch when I'll come back here to hang out for a few hours before heading back downhill for dinner around 7:30 PM and finally music at O'Flaherty's after 9. When I was downtown this morning I asked at both of the dolphin watching boat trips if they're running the harbor tours yet but all either of them have are the dolphin trips, both of which leave about 11 AM. After that I'll probably have lunch somewhere then walk up the street to the aquarium and then take the afternoon off.

I also want to reread the sections about Killarney in each of the three Ireland guide books I have on my Kindles since I'll be heading there on Tuesday for a week.

Return to journal