Dingle Penninsula

Dingle Travel Blog

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Street scene in Galway.

Geez, has it only been 5 days since I wrote?  We've been busy busy busy little tourists.

 

I ended up taking both Friday and Saturday as 'lay low' days.  Friday, I walked around Galway a bit.  It's a college town and known for traditional (called 'trad') music.  It's a sweet little town, right on the bay, with a great pedestrian shopping area (what a civilized thing to have!). 

 

The Protestant church was full of historic bits.  I enjoyed that.  Found it interesting that when Cromwell marauded through Ireland (he is to the Irish what Sherman is to the South), he tended to really run amuck in Catholic churches.

Regimental flag in Galway church.
  Cutting the noses off the statues of Jesus and the saints.  Decapitating statues of angels. 

 

All in the name of Christianity (OK, in the name of Protestant-ism).  Nice guy.  And we wonder why there's just a bit of animosity still.  Those statues still don't have their noses, y'know.

 

Then I went to the big Catholic church on the river.  Really really really lovely inside.  Old-style building with modern insides.  The stained glass windows were GORGEOUS.  I only popped in, really, to find a bathroom but saw the windows and decided it was worth it to just cross my legs long enough to really enjoy the windows and the rest of the design.

 

Then I RAN to the loo.  <phew>

 

On Saturday, Jeff and Tina (our other traveling companion, Denise, headed back to the States on Friday) took a boat out to the Aran Islands  These are sparsely inhabited islands that retain a very traditional lifestyle (and still have Gaelic as their first language).

Aran Islands.
  They also have (as so much of Ireland does) some really cool historic sites from the Stone Age up to the 6th century AD. 

 

I gave it a miss because I still needed a lay-low day, so you'll have to ask Jeff and Tina for any more details than that.

 

In Galway, we also spent our evenings in the pubs listening to music.  We had some wonderful experiences.  The best was on our last night, when we wandered into a lesser-traveled part of town (we understand from our cabbie that it's the gay part of town but it sure ain't Dupont Circle!).  One pub recommended (by a different cabbie) had the drinking downstairs and the music upstairs. 

 

The music was really a jam session.

Aran Islands.
  About 8 chairs in a circle.  Whenever a musician showed up and a chair was empty, he joined in.  What fun!  And the crowd, smaller and quieter (all ages), got quiet *immediately* as soon as someone started singing (as opposed to just playing instrumental tunes).  A very pro-music crowd.  Great stuff.

 

Sunday, I went to the local Catholic church for worship (got about 200 people in and out in 40 minutes.  How do they do that?  My church takes 1:15 with half that many people!).  Then we headed south.

 

We swung through the next peninsula to see the Burren and the Cliffs of Mohr.  The Burren is a strange geologic area with arctic like features in the land and vegetation.  The Cliffs are a stunning 6-mile line of Atlantic cliffs.  The winds are terrific up the cliff faces.  We watched flocks of birds 'hang-glide'.  That is, the spread their wings and floated on the air currents, never having to flap.  They looked like they were having a grand time.  Made me wish I was a bird.

Cliffs of Mohr
 

 

Anything you threw into the wind off the cliff floated around for a while and then was likely to come whizzing back to you.  Dangerous if what you pitched was a rock or a clump of mud....

 

We got driven off by a fierce wind in advance of a rain cloud.  Lots of that on this trip.  The rain is definitely an on and off thing, often not lasting more than about 5 minutes.  But it can be off and on all day.  You take your rain jacket or umbrella with you everywhere if you have any sense.

 

That night, we met my in-laws (who are also part of this loosely aligned caravan of travelers) at a castle and had a medieval banquet.  Had mead (eh), salmon (yum), and a regular dinner (chicken breasts, it turns out, are banquet food everywhere).

Jeff falling off the Cliffs of Mohr
  We were entertained with Irish singing and poetry.  Quite nice. 

 

The room was full of bus-loads of Americans and about a dozen people (again, often Americans) who are audacious enough to plan their own trips.

 

The next day (Monday, yesterday), off to Tralee, further south.  Tralee (yes, as in 'The Rose of Tralee') was our target because it sits at the juncture of both the Ivergeah (sp?) peninsula and the Dingle peninsula, both beautiful with lots of sites.

 

Our B&B hostess, Helen, is quite the Irish chatterbox.  I've learned more in the last 24 hours about Irish football, tourists, her children, her travels, and Tralee than I ever expected to.  I've enjoyed her enormously.  :) 

 

Last night, on Helen's advice, we went to the Siamsa Tire (sp?), the national folklore theater.  We caught last-minute tickets to a show about the cycle of country life in the 19th century.  All in Gaelic.  Lots of singing, lots of music, lots of dancing.  We really enjoyed it.

 

Today, we're down in Dingle.  A very picturesque town.  I'll tell you more about that before we come home (on Friday).

 

I've really enjoyed this trip.  I'm still enjoying it.  Irish life is...nice.  There's lots going on here.  As someone said, it's a small island but a big country.  We haven't really been disappointed in anything we've tried.  We are working with 2 or 3 guidebooks for accommodations and ideas and getting decent advice (though we can't get a realistic weather forecast to save our lives). 

 

With the Euro as strong against the dollar as it is, it hasn't been as cheap as some of our other overseas travel but, hey, I'm still traveling!  I really would encourage anyone to come and enjoy Ireland.

 

Just make sure you bring warm sweaters and a raincoat!!

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Street scene in Galway.
Street scene in Galway.
Regimental flag in Galway church.
Regimental flag in Galway church.
Aran Islands.
Aran Islands.
Aran Islands.
Aran Islands.
Cliffs of Mohr
Cliffs of Mohr
Jeff falling off the Cliffs of Mohr
Jeff falling off the Cliffs of Mohr
Dingle
photo by: Nzelvis