Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Day 12, Part II: The Dingle Peninsula

So after actually having seen Fungie, we headed back into Dingle Town for what was described as the best ice cream in Ireland: Murphy's.

I had Sea Salt and Kerry Cream. It was delicious.

Kids content, I talked everyone back into the car to take the Dingle Loop. I was interested not only in the views but of the over 2000 archeological sites that provide physical evidence from the Mesolithic Period, to the Stone age, the Bronze Age, the Iron Age, the early Christian Period, the Vikings and Medieval Period. Here's a great site that provides descriptions of some of these sites.

This can also be done by bike, and while it would be gorgeous and not too terribly long (for an adult), I cannot even imagine how stressed out one feels biking on these tight roads that cling to the cliffy coast. Whoa.

We headed west out of town to the Dun Beg Fort knowing that we had only a couple of stops in us as the kids couldn't wait to get back and swim in the pool a bit..

Dunbeg Fort, is a promontory fort on a sheer cliff that looks South onto Dingle Bay and is at the base of Mount Eagle. It was built in the Iron age and is a series of defensive ramparts and ditches around a central clochan.

The kids didn't get out of the car for this one as it cost a few Euros and I was the only one who seemed to be interested.

After indulging me, we headed on toward the Blasket Islands, skipping the beehive homes.

This was some of the most gorgeous scenery that I have ever seen in my life.

By now you'll have noticed Ten's signature trip pose. I love it, but can already see her 20 year old self cringe at picture after picture of the double-thumbs up. Or maybe she'll look back and giggle, remembering making fun of her middle-aged lesbian mom experiencing the entire Ireland trip through the camera's lens.

I had a signature pose at ten as well. It was something like an "a-okay" sign or and American Sign Language "f" with wink and perhaps even some sort of clicking sound accompanying the whole monstrosity. Ugh.

Heading around the tip of the peninsula we skipped a few more ancient archeological sites that we put on our "to do list" for next time, but stopped at the Kilmalkedar Church, a 12th century structure built by the Normans.

The ruined Romanesque church visible today dates to the first half of the 12th century, and certain features are similar to those found in Cormac's Chapel on the Rock of Cashel in County Tipperary. Also visible on the site are a sundial, large stone cross, and alphabet stone (inside the church near the chancel arch). Some fine stone carving can also be found inside the church.

The site is traditionally associated with St. Branden and there is a little path nearby called "Saint's Way" which leads to a hike up to Branden Peak (another on the "to do list").

We explored the area a bit. Big played hide and seek near this early Celtic Cross.

The Ogham stone with the inscription of "Anm Maile Inbir Maci Brocann" (which apparently is a name) is (at least according to the guidebooks) a place where locals come to "seal the deal". The upright stone is apparently a very famous, and excellent, representation of an Ogham stone from the 7th century.

We tried to "seal the deal", but apparently couples (or interested parties) need to use their thumbs. Maybe this could be viewed as a newer version for gay marriage.

And then we headed back to Dingle for a swim, a pint, and some more World Cup (as usual).

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