Got away from Cashel smoothly and drove out to the Dingle Peninsula on progressively smaller roads. Once to the coast along the northern edge of the peninsula, we pulled off and down a narrow lane between pastures to a broad beach near Brandon Bay. The clouds had burned off, and the white waves broke all along the beach against the blue sky. The boys waded in, finally adding the Atlantic Ocean to their life lists.
From here, we took the scenic route, Conor (or Connor) Pass up over the spine of the peninsula, which had just broken free of the marine layer. The narrow road required frequent stops on the way up, since there was not always room for two cars between the rock wall and the rock face. It was reminiscent of an unimproved version of the Going to the Sun Road in Glacier National Park, only here our maximum elevation would be 974 feet, making it the highest pass in all of Ireland. We stopped at the viewpoint at the top, looking north back to Brandon Bay, and south to our destination, Dingle. A short drive downhill and we were there.
We made an exploratory lap through the town, up Main Street, and back along the harbor. Lots of tourists about, but also plenty of coaches to cart them away soon. We located our hotel, Alpine Guest House, easily, just on the edge of town. We took Paul O’Shea’s recommendation and headed along the harbor to John Benny Moriarity’s pub for an overdue lunch. My Irish Stew was excellent, and Murphy’s Stout is a worthy competitor to Guinness. (Photo 223)
A visit to the TI, back to the room to get settled, and we left our laundry (last one!) at a cleaners a couple doors down for a “service wash.” The timing was right, so we decided to take in the mandatory boat trip out to visit Fungi, the town dolphin. Fungi is one of fifteen dolphins in the world who has taken up residence in one particular spot, and Fungi has been at his three square miles of the Dingle Harbor for the past twenty-one years. The harbor is quite large (roughly a circle with a diameter over a mile) with an entry that is probably about a quarter mile wide. Funghi seems to enjoy following boats in and out to play in their wakes. Our first spotting was in the wake of a huge trawler, so our boat inched over alongside and matched the speed of the fishing boat. The intersecting wakes gave the dolphin a great place to play, so he surfaced several times as part of his ride.
Dinner was at Greany’s, where we played a couple hands of Hearts before our meal arrived.