Apr 9 1000am
I spent another two days in Dingle, but I did absolutely nothing. I took what I’m calling ‘a vacation from my vacation’. Since I landed in Dublin on the 25th, I’ve done nothing but go go go and I was wearing thin. I felt very much at home in Dingle, it’s just that kind of place.
So on my second day, I did manage to walk to the mouth of the harbor. I got only a glimpse of the lighthouse, and then couldn’t find a pathway to reach it, and I also saw Hussey’s Folly. It’s a small stone tower built during the famine, I think for use as a hospital/shelter. The view beyond the harbor would have been amazing, I’m sure, but the rain clouds were rolling in balls to the wall. I saw dark silhouettes of the mountains, flanked by gray open sea, and then the rain began to fall.
To keep myself inside, I did a little bit of shopping and got a souvenir for my eldest little sister, plus a couple souvenirs for myself. By noon, my umbrella couldn’t withstand the wind and I was getting soaked, so I went back to my hostel. I spent the entire rest of the day lounging in an armchair before a roaring fire in the common room fireplace. I finished reading ‘Jane Eyre’ (Charlotte Bronte), which by the way I recommend to every female in the world. I left long enough to pick up another couple of books at a bookshop one street over, then proceeded to read and finish one of them! It was so restful, the hostel was mostly empty, and so very peaceful. I went to bed that night and woke up the next morning utterly rejuvenated.
I had planned on trying to do two day tours on my third day in Dingle. There are only a few ways to see the peninsula; by car, by bicycle, or by minibus tour. Obviously I don’t have a car, and putting me behind the wheel in the WRONG side of the car, to drive on the WRONG side of the road is a dastardly and probably devastating idea. To do the peninsula by bike (and thus see each sight I wanted to see) would be well over thirty miles of up and down motion due to the mountains and hills. My thighs, still quivering from the terror of bicycling Killarney, screamed frantic requests in the negative, so a bike was simply out of the question. Unfortunately, when I stopped by that day at ten, I felt yet another sting of the off season–there weren’t enough people to do the tour, and it was therefore cancelled. The second tour I wished to do, a boat tour of the peninsula, didn’t open as planned on Wednesday due to the inclement weather the day before, so it wouldn’t open for the season for another couple days.
I am bummed that I didn’t get to see the peninsula–forts, churches, castles; a number of historical sights I really wanted to see. To be honest though, I’m certain I am going to return to this fantastic country, and when I do I’ll rent a car for my stay and see everything I wasn’t able to see this go round. So with that in mind, and the fact that I’ve fallen absolutely head over heels in love with Dingle Town, I can’t force myself to worry about what I didn’t see.
I managed to miss the first bus to Tralee, and it was another four hours until the next bus. I spent an hour in an internet cafe drinking coffee and emailing everyone. The lady behind the counter, who was aware I was stranded for four hours (when you travel alone, you find reasons to have conversations with everyone in the vicinity because you’re just that starved for human attention), offered to put my backpack behind the counter so I could take a walk.
It was another beautiful sunny day that made me decide Mother Nature, Ireland version, is completley bi polar and should be on meds. I did a circular walk about the town, getting some pictures of buildings and such that I hadn’t gotten yet. I returned to the internet cafe and wasted another hour before catching my bus.
The bus ride back to Tralee was just as beautiful as it had been on the ride in to Dingle. The difference this time is I strategically seated myself and managed to get some pretty decent pictures of the ride out the bus window. I’m proud of my little camera, it was worth the money I spent on it before my trip, because it takes great motion pictures.
I had a total travel time of about seven hours to Galway (a one hour layover in one city, and another bus change plus all the stops in between, it just adds up). Over the course of the drive, I saw a few great things. Before leaving the mountains of Dingle, we passed through the little villages of Anascaul and Camp. I don’t remember which village it was, but on the side of the road was a pub. It was bright red and Irish green, painted with huge, leering leprechaun faces and forms, and it was named…wait for it…The Randy Leprechaun. Yeah, that exists.
Upon leaving Tralee, we slowly left the mountains behind in favor of sweeping plains broken only so often by rolling hills (quite dwarf-like in the aftermath of the tallest mountains in Ireland). One scene I remember vividly from this countryside (besides the fact you could see for miles and miles and miles) was of a small farm. A young girl, maybe ten or eleven was walking with her father through a field on their land. Both were wearing the high rain boots commonly used in farm work (I’ve learned on this trip just how much cows shit), and following behind them were three young foals, at which the little girl was glancing back at as we passed, her hands clasped behind her back. It was such a touching scene, the farmer and his daughter, beneath the sun on a warm Irish day, surrounded by the beautiful green with which I’ve become so accustomed. Another day in the life for them, just a snapshot in time for me.
Quick side note–there’s a stone wall currently in front of me covered with graffiti. In big, black letters it says, ‘At least it’s not raining’. It’s currently raining. It never not rains in Ireland. Talk about irony in art.
Back to the bus ride. It’s funny, a lot of the castles I wished to see but had to cut out of my trip due to time, we passed on that bus! I may not have gotten pictures or seen the insides, but I can still say I’ve seen them! I saw Adare Castle, Listowel Castle, and Bunratty Castle. I was also eyeing the scenery like a wild eyed child, because it seemed every time I turned we’d pass the ruins of some old church, castle, or tower house. There was also a hillside full of those industrial windmills, slowly spinning against the bright blue sky, and it reminded me of Palm Springs, CA (right outside town, the desert is rife with them) which led me to thoughts of Cory. I was in Palm Springs with my mom while Cory was stationed nearby…the name of the base escapes me now. Twenty-nine Palms, maybe? Then again, it only takes little things to remind me of him.
We passed through Limerick, which turns out to be a pretty cool looking city. If I didn’t know it to be the city with the worst crime rate in Ireland, I’d be upset I’m missing it. It’s been put on the list for my next trip to Ireland, of which I won’t be alone (hopefully) and will be able to do a lot of things without fearing for myself lol. After Limerick, it was nothing but farm land until Galway, and as it was dark by the time we reached city limits, I didn’t have an initial impression of Galway. I’ve just spent my first day here, and I haven’t journalled it yet, so stand by until tomorrow for that.