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The Dingle Peninsula


Do You Speak Gaelic?

John McKinney

A relaxing Sunday was in store for us on the Dingle Peninsula. We slept in, ate breakfast while staring out the window at our incredible view, and just took our time checking out the gorgeous Dingle Peninsula. It was amazing how life felt so much slower in much of Ireland but even more so here on the Dingle Peninsula. This slower pace made it easier to take the time to find new adventures.

Corpus Christi

It was Sunday, so our first stop was to go to St. Mary’s in Dingle for Mass. They have a very interesting tradition, the first Sunday of the month the entire Mass is in Gaelic and the other Sundays Mass is bilingual, Gaelic and English. Gaelic is rarely spoken in Ireland these days but the Dingle Peninsula is where the government has chosen to try and preserve this piece of their history. Some road signs didn’t have any English on them.

After Mass, there was a Corpus Christi procession through the town. Corpus Christi is a feast day in the Catholic Church that celebrates the belief that all Catholics hold, that the bread and wine the Priest holds up during Mass becomes the Body and Blood of the Lord, Jesus Christ. The procession that looped around this small town was filled with singing and praying. The streets were packed with this procession and many more joined in as we processed by.

Lazy Sunday Afternoons

After the procession, we headed north for the coast. We had no plans and no directions. We just started driving and knew we’d figure it out along the way. We drove westward along the northern coast and eventually found the Wine Strand where we stopped for a picnic lunch while watching the waves crash in. This beach had the smoothest and best water skipping rocks I’ve ever seen. So, for longer than a grown man will admit, I skipped rocks into the water.

Continuing on the road we were on everything began to look eerily familiar. At first, we feared Ireland was beginning to run together in our minds until we passed a small sign, “Welcome to Ballyferriter”. We had somehow made it back to our starting point while we were wandering around Dingle. This beautiful peninsula, which had so much for us to explore, was also so much smaller than we expected.

May The Force Be With You

We took another path and came to a place near a beach where we could explore on foot. Our expedition took us through fields with cows and sheep and along cliffs. While admiring the view of the Three Sisters, which are 3 coastal high points in a row, we were greeted by some locals. They saw us staring at the Three Sisters and asked if we were trying to see the Star Wars set. Apparently, the not yet released Star Wars: Episode VIII will have some scenes shot from this location and we were staring right at them. We knew Episode VII had some scenes shot on the Skellig Michael not far from here so this made sense. The locals told us that the actors were no longer in Ballyferriter but before they left some visited the local school. How cool is that? The kids there must have been freaking out, I know I would have.

Hillwalking

Driving further down the coast we stopped at a place Google Maps called Waymont, though I never saw a sign that said that. Waymont juts out into the Atlantic and provides exceptional views of the harbor from the vista point. However, as I’ve said previously if you go just a little further than the majority of people you’ll be rewarded handsomely. We decided to leave the vista and hike up onto the hill right nearby. If you find yourself at this vista, make the trek up the hill. You’ll be able to enjoy even more amazing views from the top of the hill. On the far side of that hill, you can walk right to the edge of the cliffs.

My Evil Twin!

Be prepared when you go up that hill, however. Up there I found my twin and he turned out to be evil! My wife could only snap a quick picture before the brawl began. The camera, unfortunately, was then unable to capture us due to the speed at which we fought. We were evenly matched but thankfully, I was able to best him and keep him from taking over the world. You are all welcome!

“We had somehow made it back to our starting point while we were wandering around Dingle.”

Dunquin Harbour

Sunset was fast approaching and there was one location on Dingle I wanted to find, Dunquin Harbour. I had seen many awesome shots from above this little boat path leading to the harbor while researching our trip to Ireland. I knew I needed to find it so I could capture my own shot. I didn’t realize how hard it would be to actually find though.

We drove around for nearly an hour. Maps took us to a lovely outlook but not the one we were looking for. We saw fabulous scene after fabulous scene along the coastal road but couldn’t find this one outlook point. We were beginning to think the picture I saw wasn’t really in Dunquin but was simply mislabeled as Dunquin. Just as we were ready to just give up, we made a turn into a place we hadn’t check yet but had passed 4-5 times. There it was! We couldn’t believe it was real! If you’re in Dunquin and want to find it, search Google Maps for the “Dunquin-Blasket Island Ferry”. This is the easiest way to find the vantage point.

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