Alright I’m trying to play catch up with these posts but everyday that goes by is another day behind which stinks because I want to try to get caught up but that means taking away from the daily adventure. Again it’s not the writing that deters from these posts, it’s the dang uploading of media. For example yesterday’s post was written in under an hour but took about 3 hours to try to get all the media added to the website. I don’t understand how paid travel bloggers do it, they must have struck a deal with the WiFi devil to find a solid connection. Anyways let’s continue into the day!
We awoke fairly early (around 9:30) to a pretty nasty rainstorm, which is saying something for Ireland, because it rains literally everyday. It turns out there was a hurricane sweeping across the country, although it was nothing compared to ones the states and Caribbean have been seeing of late 😦 . This definitely wasn’t ideal as we were gearing up to drive to the Dingle peninsula that day, which is supposed to have some of the most incredible sights on the west coast! Checkout was at 11:00, so we promptly packed up our luggage and got ready to hit the road. For an additional 20 euro Linda (the owner) offered a home-cooked traditional Irish breakfast, much like the one we had at Valerie’s, however we couldn’t justify 1/4th of our daily budget for breakfast so we had to forego the delectable smelling breakfast for a much lighter one of granola and cliff bars. After eating, we hopped in the car and began our journey to Dingle (about a 2 hour drive). The drive there might have been a nice one however the fog and weather made it hard to focus on anything but not dying on the road.
We basically drove around Dingle bay and arrived at Inch beach around 1 o’clock. The weather had lightened up a bit by this point and was overcast with a light drizzle, so we decided to head out on the beach for a little bit and get some photos as well as look for seashells (one of my favorite things to collect). The beach itself was incredible. It was a weird landscape mixture with the sand, the bay, sharp sheer cliffs, and mountains in the background. In the states I’ve never witnessed so many colliding parts of nature in one area, needless to say I was pretty enthusiastic! We walked around the beach for a while watching numerous “Surfers” attempting to learn how to ride the small waves. There where several places on the beach that offered cheap (5 euro) hour-long surf tutorials and wetsuit rentals, but after feeling the water (which was extremely chilly) we opted to pass and just enjoyed the scenery. On our mission of collection seashells we noticed a couple mini starfish, which we thought was really cool, because neither of us had ever seen a live starfish in person. There was even one curled up in a seashell, it was a really cool spectacle (we of course placed them back in the water, so they wouldn’t dry up).
After trying to get all the sand off of shoes and clothes, we hopped back in the car and made our way to the small town of Dingle. The weather returned to being pretty dismal, so we went to a local pub and sat down to order a drink (a Guinness for me obviously). We watched some Gaelic Football for a while and enjoyed the pub’s atmosphere. Before we left we asked the bartender what he would suggest doing in town, and without hesitation he said “Ye must take the Slea Head Drive.” He explained this was about a 60 mile loop that gave astounding views with multiple pull offs. We were sold! Before we embarked we stopped by a local Centra (discount supermarket) and loaded up on some lunch. –> Side note I cannot believe how cheap healthy food is in Ireland we loaded up with olives, salads, pastas, sandwiches, and snacks normally worth at least $30 dollars in the states for roughly 12 euro (about $15)… We were in heaven!
From the Centra we set off to begin driving the loop and unfortunately the weather was even less ideal than before. The rain had picked back up, and with it, loads of thick fog. Still we were resilient and began driving. Before hitting the first view points we drove by a Prehistoric Museum (Melanie loves dinosaurs), so we had to stop in. The museum itself was just a single room and was pretty costly ($15) dollars so we just examined the gift store portion which had appeared to have just as many interesting items. We stayed for about 20 minutes sifting through different merchandise as well a looking at some of the displays and felt more than happy with our visit.
When we left the museum, we started the Slea Head Drive and even though the weather was pretty crappy we still managed to get in some sights and decent pictures. There were several stops/pull-offs from the winding, narrow, and rocky roads which was much-needed because most the roads were a single lane with almost no room for error (sharp rocks on one side and very steep cliffs on the other). At each of the stops there were different posts you could read about local history or animal life. We stopped at nearly every pull off we could and took pictures where we were able to see. At one stop there was a hiking trail that led straight up one of the mountains, we were of course intrigued so we parked the car and headed up. We followed the route for about 20 minutes until we were so surrounded by fog so thick we could only see about 10 feet in front of us, it was insane! Along with fog we were surrounded by sheep… and their droppings. There were soo many of them grazing on the hills, the crazy thing is that they would be like 5 feet from the edge of some of the cliffs, standing at like a 45 degree angle and not having a care in the world. After we got our fill of the surrounding scenery we made our way back to the car and continued our drive. The rest of the drive was fun and we continued pulling off and admiring the views.
After we finished the loop we made our way back to Dingle and were trying to decided what we wanted to do. We had the car for another 4 days but I wanted to return it to get back a large chunk of the insurance money (its was about $60 dollars a day and I had only budgeted about $40). So we made the decision to drive back to Dublin airport to return the car the next morning. Before leaving the area we stopped by a pub called O’Sullivan’s (my dad’s side of the family) and got pint while we ate our dinner that we had packed from the Centra. After dinner it was around 7 pm. We prepared for the drive to Dublin, which is basically across the entire length of Ireland. Surprisingly our GPS said it was only about a 5 1/2 hour drive (literally going from one side of the country to the other). Even though it was not that long of drive I had already been driving for the past 8 hours so I wasn’t looking forward to it. On the way, we determined that we would try to find a rest stop and crash in the car again (paying for gas put us wayyy over budget) but to our dismay there was a large amount of construction on the major highways, so we were detoured pretty far out-of-the-way. This added another hour and half to our journey as well as de-enabling us to sleep in one of the designated spots. Still we made it with some minor frustrations and arrived near the airport around 2:30 in the morning.
From here we found a local neighborhood and put the car in park, cranked the heat before shutting the car off and tried to catch some shut-eye. We were awoke again around 5 in the morning by the bitter cold (at least it wasn’t the police this time) so we drove around a bit to warm up the car and then took another nap with the car on until about 7:30 am. That will pretty much lead us into tomorrow which I will post either later today or tomorrow (hopefully). Thanks for following along with our journey!!