Thursday, August 19, 2010

Ireland 2010: Dingle and Dunquin

Perhaps this blog should be titled "Casting About Planet Earth" or something more encompassing than Singapore, as many of our "casts" have been beyond the boundaries of the Lion city-state, and in fact are thousands of miles distant. Our most recent travels have been to County Kerry in Ireland in late July-- a repeated destination for us because of granddaughter Isabelle who resides in Killarney. Although I had planned to sit this particular trip out in Singapore while Elaine made the journey, she convinced me that it would be a lot more fun to be in Ireland, and I had to agree.

Rather than stay in Killarney as we have done in the past, we rented a holiday home on the Dingle peninsula-- in the very small village of Dunquin (or approximate proper Irish spelling, Du'n Chaoin), about 15 kM from Dingle (An Daingean) in County Kerry (Chiarrai'). Dingle is a popular holiday destination for both Irish citizens and foreign tourists. It is a beautiful spot, accessible only by winding two lane roads from the larger cities of Tralee (Tra' Li) or Killarney (Cill Airne). Driving to Dunquin by contrast is accessible from Dingle only by one lane roads which can elevate the stress of skilled drivers, and will completely panic drivers unaccustomed to piloting a right-hand drive vehicle. In high season for tourists (i.e. July and August) the traffic is heavy during the day with both autos and large tour coaches traveling along the coastal road. There really is only one lane in spots, and if you meet one of the coaches, you may need to reverse to resolve the impasse. If you are in the know, you know that by convention traffic goes clockwise along this road, and if you are in the know but forget (as we did), you are reminded quickly with the first tour coach you encounter. Fortunately there is a back road from Dunquin to reach Dingle-- it is no wider, but has many more turnouts facilitating passing and much less traffic.

Another aspect of the Dingle peninsula is that this region of Ireland is fiercely traditional Irish-- in most areas of Ireland road signs are printed in both English and Irish-Gaelic. However some signs in Kerry (Chiarrai) and in particular the Dingle area are only in Irish. Despite efforts of the British in the years of its rule to stamp out the Irish language, it has prevailed and its heritage preserved. A good map, a good navigator, and diligent attention to intersections and signage is recommended for successful travel on Dingle Peninsula.

The weather was relatively favorable for us-- meaning perhaps rain on four of the ten days we were there or in transit. Ireland would not be The Emerald Isle without the persistent precipitation. It was never a major hindrance, and typically only a heavy mist for a few hours of the day. From my standpoint it was a welcome relief from the 90F/80% humidity of Singapore. (The humidity was probably the same but comfortably cooler).

Picture-in-Picture-- Elaine, Nathan and photographer Isabelle

Flowers-- were in bloom everywhere-- the most colorful I've seen Ireland
The creek in Dunquin
The small village of Dunquin (Du'n Chaoin)

1 comment:

  1. Yeah!!!!!! So glad you got to see your grand-daughter and get to Ireland again! Such a beautiful place!!!