The Spectacular Dingle Peninsula & Slea Head
“A captivating day tour which journeys from contemporary Ireland back more than a thousand years. This classic Irish bus tour route navigates rolling mountains & sheer coastal cliffs offering spectacular panoramas like the deserted Blasket Islands. As you explore ancient monastic sites & browse the vibrant streets of Dingle, one of Ireland's few remaining Gaeltacht towns (Irish speaking), you will soon realise this is an experience to cherish!”
This morning the tour bus departed around half nine. Our first stop was Inch Beach, a stunning sand spit jutting out from the Dingle Peninsula into the bay. It was clear to see why it was a filming location for movies such as Playboy of the Western World & David Leans “Ryan's Daughter”. There were also one or two nice places to grab a coffee.
After a short walk & a few pictures we departed driving along a rugged cliff road with captivating panoramic views of the bay. The road eventually turns in land meandering through rolling hills. We pass by the home of Ireland’s famous Antarctic explorer Tom Crean, Annascaul village. The pub he owned, The South Pole Inn, is still in operation to this day.
Continuing forward we passed by the little town Dingle, once the principal harbour in County Kerry in medieval times. The town is now a haven for artists & artisans & so has some interesting shopping. It had an array of fine restaurants & pubs, which made for a lovely lunch stop later.
Leaving Dingle we took the rugged coast road out around Slea Head. This is the most westerly point in Ireland. Dún Chaoin, is the most westerly settlement on the Dingle Peninsula. Along the road we traveled by Dun Beg Fort & Beehive Huts, an example of early settlements in Ireland dating back many hundred years. The huts were built using a similar corbelling method as we found in Gallarus later that day. At the tip of the peninsula we saw the now-deserted Blasket Islands.
Next on stop on the bus tour of Dingle was Gallarus Oratory. Thought to have been built by early Christians as part of an monastic settlement over a thousand years ago. Amazingly we saw no traces of mortar holding the structure together, it was constructed simply using corbel vaulting. Gallarus Oratory, shaped like an up-side down boat, consists of a low entrance door & a small window to the back.
We saw many other great archaeological sites & breath taking vistas as we continued our journey back Dingle via Ventry village. After a stop in Dingle for late lunch, browsing & shopping, we return and finish for the day.