Continuing along the coast the next area was the Dingle Peninsula. I was pretty excited about this stop as I found a boat operator who would drop me off on the abandoned Blasket Island to spend the night on and pick me up the next morning. Still a little worried due to the high waves and a lack of a proper dock at Blaskets, the plan was to get as close as possible with the boat and then hop into a rubber dingy to get dropped off on the rocky shore.
He did caution me that if the waves did turn overnight there is a good chance I would not be able to be picked up until the weather subsided due to the dangerous landing that Blasket has. Not to be discouraged, I headed to Dingle to catch my boat.
The other pushing force was to see the coolest animal in the world which they have right in Dingle!
On the way to Dingle, what a name, I drove through the pleasant little town of Listowel to track down the Listowel Castle.
Listowel Castle was the last bastion against Queen Elizabeth I in the First Desmond Rebellion. It fell on November 5th 1600 after a siege that encompassed 28 days. The castle has since been restored to a portion of what it used to be. Two of the four towers have been restored and the castle is now open to the public for tours, baring you call the phone number and to have someone come down and give you said tour.
Ardfert Cathedral is a shadow of its once majestic self. Still boasting a very impressive presence, it’s a sight that cannot be passed by if you’re in the area. In time past, Ardfert was the site of a Celtic Christian monastery founded in the 6th century by Saint Brendan.
The Cathedrals grounds actually have three medieval church ruins. The roof of Ardfert cathedral was unfortunately destroyed during the Irish Rebellion of 1641. It was re-roofed at a later date in the 17th century. In 1871 when a new Church of Ireland was opened, the cathedrals roof was once again removed. It stands open to the sky to this day making for an impressive sight as the pillars of stone rise up to reach the sky around you.
With a little bit of time to burn before my boat ride I make my way over to Crag Cave. It is the seventh longest cave system in Ireland. This cave was actually the hardest to shoot. The bright lights they used with various color temperatures throughout made for some funky photos.
The show cave is about 350 long and while it doesn’t have as much geological formations as some of the other caves I’ve visited, it does have some very impressive large caverns throughout. It is hard to capture the sheer scale of some of the caverns in a photograph. At the end of the tour you can peer down a little deeper into the cavern. A plethora of bats call the cavern home.
Heading along the Dingle Peninsula, there was a nice collection of rocks that I spotted along Inch Beach. While it was still blowing rather hard, I couldn’t pass on the opportunity to capture the little less stormy side of Ireland’s coast.
As with some of the other beaches in Ireland, you can drive directly onto Inch Beach. Most of the shops were closed up due to the large swells and hard winds though.
It was at this point I got an email from the boat operator saying that he wouldn’t be able to take me to the Blasket Islands as none of the boats are leaving the harbor. Landing on the island would also be impossible if we even made it that far. So far I’m at 0 out of 2 boat trips planned on this trip thanks to the weather. Oh well… off to see the coolest animal in the world!
Being out in Dingle and my plans crushed, I swung into the Dingle Oceanworld Aquarium. They have a collection of sharks, penguins, and various reptiles. One of the rather entertaining portions was a reptile show. He was called the dancing turtle! This little guy actually lifts his bum and wiggles it when he is tickled on the rear end. Funniest thing I’ve ever seen a turtle do.
So stubborn that I couldn’t get a boat, I poked around and saw what was available. Flipping through the catalog looking at the rentable options, I’ve always liked the color red. Decided you know what… how hard can it be to pilot a boat. So I got my paddles and hoped into my bathtub of a boat instead and started rowing.
Realized it was probably a considerable amount of effort so after a bit of day dreaming I decided to just keep my feet on dry land.
Cruising along the rough sea cliffs of Slea Head, I spotted a vantage point of the sea that couldn’t be passed up.
Heading back in for the night, I found a pier with a rather interesting foamy mess piling up on the shore. I'm not overly sure what causes the foam but it was lapsing up on the shore in massive quantity.
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