An October 2002 trip
to County Kerry by Carmen
Quote: County Kerry holds the jewel of the Emerald Isle - the southwestern coastline. The Dingle Penninsula was the highlight of my trip. We drove to Dingle and back up the coast on the second day of our trip.
It may sound odd for a highlight, but it truly was the first time I saw the Dingle Peninsula. Mountains on the left, ocean on the right, and rolling hills in between. Sheep grazing, cows jumping fences into the road (they say Irish traffic is livestock blocking your path. ha.). My favorite pictures from the whole Ireland trip are the ones I took here. I'm even blowing them up into 8x10s!
On one instance, we were inching along a too-narrow street trying to miss a car parked on our left, and a car trying to get past us on the right - despite a telephone poll in her path. Ugh! On the way back north, we found an angel in a taxi who let us follow him back through Tralee. However, don't be dissuaded! Keep going. Let nothing keep you from the beauty that is Dingle!!
No offense to my Murphy friend, but Murphy's Pub could've been a better impression than it was. We each ordered a "melt" - her ham and cheese and me chicken and cheese. The food was passible, but nothing Irish nor local about it -- though my friend did enjoy the clam chowder, made from local clams. We had to chase the bartender down to get our drinks. And I do mean chase. Why they didn't come when the food came I couldn't begin to tell you. No one else seemed to mind, as the place was packed full.
On a scale of 1-10, I'd rate my dining experience at Murphy's Pub around a 4. I left still feeling hungry and a little P.O'd that they didn't adjust our check - despite the fact that we got the drinks and the check at about the same time.
The best part of the dining experience was looking out the window and seeing the Dingle pier, hoping that you might catch a glimpse of the local celebrity, Fungie the dolphin (see Fungie entry). The pier really did make for a nice, sunny back drop to our less-than-stellar meal.
Member Rating 2 out of 5 on October 26, 2002
I was still hungry after our lunch at Murphy's Pub and the temperature was warming up enough (sunny and about 60) to justify a stop in at a very blue building, Murphy's Ice Cream Shop. While not fine dining, our time at Murphy's Ice Cream shop was well spent.
We walked down a Strand Street away from the pier, greeted by bright blue buildings everywhere. The bluest of the buildings was Murphy's Ice Cream.
We were suprised when we were greeted by the red-haired Irish propriator Sean Murphy, only because he was wearing a NY Yankees cap and spoke without the Irish brogue. He had moved from New York to run this shop.
We each ordered a chocolate milkshake, and were delighted when Sean asked "how chocolate do you want your chocolate milkshake?" I took mine medium chocolaty and my friend took hers very chocolaty, and we were both pleased as we strolled the streets of Dingle sipping on our shakes. Finally, my tummy was full and my sweet-tooth was satisfied to boot!
The ice cream flavors offered were very similar to those in the states -- vanilla, chocolate, butter pecan, etc. The choices of milkshakes and sundaes were also similar.
The shakes cost us each about 3 euro, and were worth every cent.
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on October 26, 2002
To the left, there were rolling mountains, to the right, the water, and in front, the greenest rolling hills I've ever seen, separated by stone walls, with sheep grazing and cattle mooing.
ucky for us, there was a pull off along the side of the road so we could capture the view on camera - though it would never do it justice.
There's a road that will take you the whole way around the penninsula, but since we were short on time, we took the direct route to Dingle Town. There, you'll find another little harbor town, with brightly painted buildings and friendly folks to welcome you.
It's your basic Irish souvenir shop, with wishing stones and Celtic crosses and t-shirts and such. What drew my attention was the Irish pottery. I wasn't aware until the moment that I saw it that the Irish were famous for their stoneware pottery. The pottery features very colorful glazes and many feature Celtic symbols - most popular from what I saw were the Celetic knots. Cois Farriage had a fabulous selection of Irish pottery -- more than I had saw elsewhere on my journey.
The shopkeeper was very pleasant, helping me find my Irish vase with the Celtic knot on the front and two more vases for my friends at home. She also walked me through step-by-step of what I needed to do to get my duty-free shopping money returned to me. (This was one of my first purchases in a duty-free shop) Irish hospitality was very evident in this shop!
My vases cost me about $12 each, and I thought most of the gifts in the shop were reasonably priced. Less than what you'd find in the bigger tourist areas or the airport.
They have a web site
, should you like to take a look.
Member Rating 3 out of 5 on October 26, 2002
In 1984, the lighthouse keeper started keeping tabs on a lone wild dolphin that frequented the Dingle harbor - rare for a dolphin in these waters. He was later declared an official resident and pilot for boats coming into the harbor, and developed from observer to playful companion to the fishermen, who named him Fungie.
There are boat tours that go to "look" for Fungie, while there are no gurantees, and you can even arrange to go diving with him. He apparantly welcomes human companionship, especially women. This web site will tell you all about him. Dingle Peninsula
Cary, North Carolina