Our Day in Dingle
August 12, 2010
Sorry for the late post guys. We went our for Naomi’s 21st birthday and since I got back to the B&B later, I was too exhausted to write anything coherent.
Dingle and the Blaskett Islands
Yesterday, the focus of our trip was heading to Dingle, where we saw some amazing views of the beach, some mountains and the Blaskett Islands. We made a stop at the interpretative center there, where we saw a film about the islands, which were abandoned by 1953. During WWII, about 200 people lived on the island and maintained their own culture. When the film opened with the line “Mar na beidh an leit beidi aris ann” our tour guide Michael’s brother, Dan, explained to me that it meant “Our lives will not be there again,” which is essentially used to mean that at any given moment of time, life will never be like it is at that moment, in that place, with those people, again.
The place of worship for early Christian farmers of the area. Shaped like an upside-down boat, the simple dry-stone structure has remained waterproof and in near-perfect condition to the present day.
The Gallarus Oratory was built and used by local farmers of the area at an early date, estimates of which generally range from the 6th century to the 9th century. But some scholars date it to the 12th century, based on the shape of the east window. The Gallarus Vistor Centre brochure gives a date of c.700 AD.
A few of us also made use of a stop at a jewelry store in Dingle that custom makes “Ogham Stone” jewelry that makes use of Ireland’s ancient linear script found inscribed on burial stones and commemorative markers. Ogham is the first known written language of this country and some Irish names make their first and sometimes only appearance in Ogham stones. The letters of the alphabet are written out using hash marks. A certain number in a grouping denotes a certain letter. Letters that don’t exist in the language, like “y” are substituted with more phonetic letters. In my case, “Daylina” was, if roughly translated, spelled out “Dailina.” The letters are also read from the bottom up on the stones and therefore on the jewelry.
On the way there, we made a side trip to Inch, where we saw a beautiful beach. If Florida beaches were like this, I’d be more inclined to actually go. The breeze was cool and wafted the scent of saltwater up over the sand. The water was clear, shades of blue and green streaked alongside one another, and it looked like a scene off a postcard. I was intrigued by how many people donned wet suits and ventured into the freezing waters. There was even a portable surf school there, loaning out wet suits and surfboards for 10 Euros. I was perfectly content to enjoy the overcast weather, the sound of the waves pounding against the shore and just a slight dip of my toes into the surf’s edge. Mark and Mary showed off cartwheels and flips across the sand, laughing and clearly enjoying the fact that they could horse play on the beach without dying of heat exhaustion.
Yesterday was Naomi Prioleau’s birthday so in celebration of the anniversary of her birth, Mike treated us to a round of our drink of choice at Hussey’s Pub, a very small, but very cool, pub just a few minutes walk from our B&B. What was nice about this place was it’s seeming lack of tourists, other than ourselves. Mike’s nephew was bartending and everyone seemed to know each other. We finally got a chance to hang out in a place with more locals than visitors. In the spirit of an Ireland birthday, Laura made a list of things Naomi was to accomplish before the night’s end. One of them was to be serenaded by an Irishman. So Mike sang her a fabulous rendition of “Black Velvet Band” and we all joined in on the chorus .
All in all, a good day. When we get back from dinner tonight, I’ll tell you guys all about our horseback and cart/bicycling adventures through the Gap of Dunloe, our boat ride across the three lakes in Killarney National Park and our visit to Torc waterfall.