As Sponge Bob would say, our stay in dingle was "the-best-day-everrrrrr"! Our day started with our drive from Doolin
--which mostly consisted of winding country roads with a few express ways in between. The real great sight seeing began as we passed the town of Tralee
on our way to Dingle. We took a scenic route that followed the coast of Tralee Bay to the Atlantic Ocean. The sun truly illuminated the colors of the blue, blue, water and the bright green grass. We had to pull over several times just to stop and stare! As we approached Dingle, our route took us to the tops of the mountains and back down again until we caught our first glimpse of the charming town on the coast of Dingle Bay, in the heart of the Dingle Peninsula.
The Ring of Dingle
The Dingle Peninsula must be one of the biggest secrets in Ireland, for it is TRULY beautiful, yet you don't really hear much about it! We checked into our B&B--a townhouse in the heart of town--and immediately set out to explore. The host of our B&B suggested that we follow Slea Head Drive, also known as the Ring of Dingle, claiming that it was said to be more beautiful than the Ring of Kerry
, and so we did. He was NOT lying! Reflecting back on it, I can honestly say that our trip around the Ring of Dingle was the best day of our entire vacation. Slea Head Drive is a coastal road that follows the coast of the peninsula from Dingle Bay to the Atlantic Ocean. The drive is so wonderful because it offers 360 degrees of amazing sights.
On one side you have the Atlantic coast and the rocky cliffs of the mountains as they jut out into the water, and foggy islands made visible in the distance by the gleaming sunlight. On the other side are the climbing mountain tops, spotted with grazing sheep and cow, stone fences, and lingering limestone. The drive has a TON of places to pull off in your car and take in the sights, and, trust me, you will want to take advantage of as many as you can! The experience felt like such an adventure as you wind up and down the coast, and over a shallow creek that drops to a waterfall over the Atlantic Ocean. Defintely a MUST when you go to Ireland. We finished off the evening by walking about the town, window shopping, and then eventually stopping for dinner, drinks, and some good ol' Irish music at the pub directly accross from our B&B--we truly could have crawled home from the pub!!! The whole experience was made even better as folks began to dance, and some even began to play their own instruments, which they brought along to join in the fun, even the bartender came out and did some Irish dancing for the crowd.
The Blasket Islands
The next morning proved to be just as wonderful as we set out to explore Conor Pass before heading south to spend the day in the Ring of Kerry. Conor Pass is an awesomely, adventurous scenic drive through the highest mountains of the Dingle Peninsula. You are so high up in the mountains that it seems as if you can reach up and touch the clouds. Your ears pop and your stomach turns in excitement as you get to the top of the mountain and stand out over the edge to look out over the valley below. If you didn't know any better, you would think that you were in a airplane looking down at the Earth below! I think my pictures say it all!!! If you like, you can even get out of your car and explore the rocky hills and waterfall as you venture along the path. It was amazing!