Tuesday April 5th - Dingle Pennisula, Killarney, Blarney, Cork to Kinsale

We had heard a lot about the Ring of Kerry but had also heard it was pretty touristy and that Dingle was smaller and just as pretty and less busy.  So far on the trip we hadn’t hit any tourist hotspots (had hardly seen ANYONE, actually).  Dingle is much smaller than Galway and we were along the coast right away.  We stopped once near Slea Head and Joe climbed some rocks and then stopped again at Slea Head.

Video: Dingle Cliffs

We had an enjoyable Breakfast and enjoyed talking to a family from Washington state.

There is a cross and monument here.  Look at the roads going both directions from that cross.  Very cool but scary to drive on!

We stopped by the side of a road to get some pictures of the sheep (sadly no black ones here though).  Not sure if these were neglected sheepies, but at our arrival, they rushed the gate and bleated non-stop.  Check out the video.

Video: Loud Sheep

Having left all of the sheepies in their pasture, we next went to a beach that had caught Joe’s eye as he was navigating.  The beach was long in both width and distance to the water.  Seemed it would be great in nicer weather.  Very nice rolling surf.  

We headed to the Gallaru Oratory, a REALLY old church – kind of the same stone structure vintage as the stone forts, but this thing was listed as “waterproof after a thousand years”!!  The way it worked was that they had tilted the stones of the structure so the water ran down the outside.

Video: Smerwick Beach

We had to go back through Dingle to go to the Conor Pass where both sides of the Dingle Peninsula could be seen - weather permitting, of course.  But the weather didn't permit!  The pass was at about 1300 feet elevation and we hit the clouds at about 300 feet.  When we stopped in the scenic view parking lot, the wind was blowing the rain sideways and rocking the car.  Joe went for a walk to do a bit of investigating and we got pretty worried when we couldn't see him for a long time.  The narrow roads had us worried and he said it was a bit longer coming back up than going down had been.  Joe liked the sign he saw on our way up to Conor Pass that said “ATTENTION - TURN BACK NOW” – probably intended for trucks and such, but it had added an ominous sense that the wind, rain, and tight turns didn’t alleviate.  We have included a picture that Bill got from Google maps that shows what we would have scene if we weren't thick in the clouds.  You can see it next to the picture that we took.

Video: Conor Pass

And then we had to go back through Dingle AGAIN and on through Killarney to Kinsale for the night.

We stopped at another beach, this time in Inch.  This is a sand bar that goes into the bay for 3 miles.  It was really neat and we saw people driving onto the beach, so we did also.  After several miles, Bill got worried about tides and the sand started feeling a bit squishy under the tires, so we turned and zipped back to the paved parking lot.  Joe wanted to stretch his legs and play in the sand dunes, so he headed off.  After a bit, Bill followed and although he could see him at the tops of dunes from time to time, Joe was really booking. 

We stopped in Killarney for another meal of Irish stew at a diner.  Patti Sue saw and photographed the Killarney Cathedral as Joe and Bill looked for a place to eat.  We did some shipping the Dunne store (a big department store we saw in a few of the towns).  The charger Bill had brought with him had gone sputter-pop in the Petra House in Galway when he first plugged it in.  So we bought him a new phone charger.

We were trying to get the the Blarney Castle before it closed at 6:30.  Originally kissing the Blarney stone was a "must do" for Joe wehn planning the trip.  But from what we read in guide books, it is over-touristy.  We got to Blarney Castle just after closing so took pictures of us "kissing the Blarney stone" - from a distance.

From there we drove south to Kinsale.

Kinsale has narrow streets and is tucked between the bluffs and the bay.  It is a very neat little water-front town with a huge history.  We checked into the Olde Bakery B&B and then headed out again. 

Before we had left, Bill had learned from a co-worker (actually, the head of the business group) that his Aunt and Uncle run a pub in Kinsale called The Dock.  So, we headed over and had a pint and had a great visit with Nora & Bobby.  They were wonderfully pleasant to us and made a very fun evening.  Nora told the story about when their daughter went to the larger nearby city for her driver’s test the tester said, “Oh, you’re from Kinsale?  Then you have to know how to drive since it is so hard to drive on any street there.”  Nora promised us the roads were wider from here on our trip.

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