We explored the Dingle Peninsula.
Before we went to far up the coast, we stopped at a town by the ocean to pick up our guide for the day. While we waited Libby and I walked out by the dock and looked at the sail boats. We saw a dolphin statue our bus driver had told us about. He said this dolphin comes up in to the bay every year and is quite friendly with people. Its been coming there for many years.
On our way up the coast we stopped by a farmers field and saw what they called a ring fort. Our guide told us they were built when the first people came to Ireland. Its called dry build because they stacked the rocks so closely that the rain can’t get in but there is no mortar. There was a hole in the top to let the smoke from a fire out but is was built in such a way that the rain couldn’t come in. When you look at the doors you can see they were very little people. Chieftain’s were heads of the family unites. Consisting of three or four families related to each other.
Our guide told us how the stories of the little people got started was, that the people dug tunnels under the ground starting in the ring fort then going out into the hillside quite a ways. When the conqueror’s from other country’s came looking for them they crawled out and disappeared in to the countryside, never to be found, hence the story’s of the magical disappearance of the little people. We saw an opening of a tunnel in the floor of the ring fort, it was really small. There were a lot of sheep on the hillsides. and rock fences everywhere you look. It was very important to them to feel ownership of their little piece of land. You could see the fences were very old.
We continued up the peninsula and came to a historical site, a church dry built and very old. Our guide told us that this church was the only one still intact. The roofs and walls have fallen in on other churches like it. They asked us not to touch the sides of the walls. I would say it was about two story’s high. Amazing. We went to the gift shop in the parking lot were we had soup and bread in the little eatery above the gift shop. That was the first time I had real Irish soda bread. Yum yum!
On our way back down the coast we stopped at a beautiful old cemetery. Our guide showed us a stone stuck up right in the ground that they used to tell the time on. It was so old that the lines had worn off of it. there was a rock figurine of the Mother Mary. She is a very important figure in Irish culture. There were burial boxes above ground that had such thick slabs of rock for lids that I wondered how they were put on the boxes. The roof and the back wall had fallen down on the church there, but you could still see some of the carvings on the wall inside the front door. The path ways had been laid with round stones. Usually the churches and grave yards have rock walls around them but most of these had been torn down. The feeling in that place was really really amazing.
We stayed at the Killarney Oaks Hotel again and I went down to the lake with with Libby where the ruined guard tower was and read my book of Irish poems I had picked up in a little town we passed though. It was a beautiful place.