I allowed a day for the 30 mile drive around the Dingle Peninsula, and absolutely enjoyed the 8 1/2 hours I took taking in the sites – I plan well. Out of 73 images I took today, I am uploading 8 with another browser while I am typing here. With most I am trying to be artistic for myself, will share a few now, and some broader “travel shots.” Of the many stops I made, I most enjoyed a small grouping of buildings that were abandoned during the famine, but subsequently utilized, and essentially original. Very few are left. The interior is typical 19th century tenant farmer, but in the 1900 lean-to addition in the rear there were fantastic story boards detailing the famine, poor-laws at the time, tenant/landlord relationships, the evictions, corn-laws, etc. At the reception booth they had a book on the famine in Ireland and in West Kerry specifically which I got hoping it would have the same information. Actually this self published book is very scholarly, and greatly expands the story board details, and probably is just what I want to learn more about this tragic time and its affects (at least as a start).
I first found (off the main road, and not mentioned in Rick Steves guide, but a brochure I found) the remains of a Norman Tower House of the 15th century that was destroyed in the Cromwellian wars of 1641. Next came the Dunbeg Fort which dates to 500 BC – hanging on a cliff ready to fall into the sea (parts have). From there I walked to the Famine Cottage where I spent a great deal of time. My next stop was a group of stone beehive huts clustered within a circular wall. On the way to Dunquin there were several “scenic” stops I made, and approaching this scattered village there were some additional abandoned “Famine Houses.” In this village is a Heritage site Museum for the Blasket Islands from which the last remaining residents were removed in 1953. The museum was fascinating, and of interest are the many Irish writers who are from the island (e.g. TWENTY YEARS A GROWING by Maurice O’Sullivan). I had a late lunch there, and knowing that RYAN’S DAUGHTER was filmed in the area I asked the receptionist for the spot where the director had built the movie’s stone village. She directed me up the hill, but explained that the villagers could not decide who would “own” the buildings the director wanted to give them at the conclusion of shooting – so in disgust he torn them down. Close to the cliffs, however, I found the remains of the schoolhouse where Robert Mitchum taught in the movie (exterior scenes were shot here) . In brief, my final major stops were the Gallarus Oratory and the Kilmalkedar Church.
The ruined church of Kilmalkedar was the Norman center of worship for the far end of the peninsula. Built in the 12th century it is surrounded by a graveyard with some graves dating to the early Christianity period. I took many photos here, and spent some reflective time enjoying the site (the Tuesday, 3 years ago today)
When I got back into the village I parked and took many images there (couple shared now), and came back to my B&B to upload images and type. I had a late lunch, and considering the size of portions in Ireland would like to skip dinner, but I will head over to a pub by 9 PM so that I can maybe catch some Irish music tonight. Then it is back to post this (unless pictures are done uploading sooner) and work on tomorrow’s final plans as I head to Kinsale.
Bottom line — Dingle Peninsula is not to be missed. All for now, but I do have more notes for myself.