IRELAND – The Dingle Way

We left the small collection of buildings called Camp at noon and headed up a narrow asphalt road that soon changed to narrow dirt track. It was a splendid walk on a path lined with ripe blackberries, fuscia bushes taller than us dripping red, plus bundles of yellow, purple and red flowers I couldn’t start to catalog.

We walked straight along this track on a gently rising slope for maybe two miles until the road crested in sheep fields. At the very top we could see Tralee Bay to the north in a break in the Sleive Mountains and to the south between green hills was visible a bit of the blue Dingle Bay that separates the Dingle Peninsula from the Kerry Peninsula.

We started down the road between marshy fields filled with sheep. Half a mile further we came to a Y in the narrow track. There was a low metal shed with a sheep dog chained outside. This white and brown giant ball of fur rolled over for Barb to scratch and play with. She obliged him. When we left, he barked and begged us to return.

We stopped for lunch at a small stream that went under the track. We christened it Sheep Dip Creek in honor of the brown, oval pellets present in abundance around. Repast from the goodies we bought at the small, unfriendly store in Camp included jelly sandwiches, cheese sandwiches, orange drink and chocolate candy. Who said meals have to be healthy when you’re walking?

We walked by several sections where the ground had been neatly turned over and people had been digging out squares of peat by hand. That struck me as mighty hard work for mighty little profit. Profitable ventures must be scarce in rural Ireland.

As the road down toward Dingle Bay became steeper, my knees, especially the left one, became increasingly painful. I had to walk stiff-legged for any relief. Susan was limping with sore ankles and new blisters. Only Barb marched on unaffected.

Our road led through a planted forest of pine and hemlock, a welcome change from denuded hillsides, however green they are. The forest was orderly and well maintained like a well groomed beard on a tastefully attired gentleman. Newly cut logs about a foot in diameter and sixteen feet long were stacked on the side of the road in neat order with their large ends facing us.

Past the pine forest the road runs parallel to the Enlagh River. This is a stunning trout stream of gray boulders, bubbling water, massive clumps of orange iris, and other purple and white flowers. What a joy to vision, smell and sound.

Finally we arrived at the main road along Dingle Bay at Inch. And Foley’s Pub which stood there like a sentinel protecting the little town from any unwanted visitors. On the whole day’s walk, like yesterday, we did not meet or pass a single other hiker. Our second day in solitude.