Dingle lyfts our spirits

Amy and I decided to forego the traditional Irish breakfast this morning so we could get an earlier start to Dingle. We got a reprieve from the rain yesterday and only got a few droplets today which led thankfully to more photo opportunities. 

Yesterday's element was water. Today's was air. Coming from California we really expected to be cold here and it has been very warm by Ireland's standards and even more surprising very humid. More than one local has mentioned how humid it is. I walked in a short sleeve shirt the entire day. 

The trail today consisted of minor tarmac roads and farmlands. So that meant more mud (a LOT of mud), more stiles and more cow dung. Sounds lovely doesn't it? In actuality it was beautiful. It was a series of ups and downs that at the low point took us to "Stony Beach" which was the closest we have been to the sea yet. There were green hills to the left. The sea and distant mountains ahead of us and to top it off the ancient ruins Minard Castle to the right.  

Stony Beach and Minard Castle  

Stony Beach and Minard Castle  

At the high point we used a series of stiles to take us between multiple farmlands. Today we actually walked through a farm. We approached one gate and posted was a sign that said "Beware of Bull". Huh??? We proceeded over the stile and saw several gentile cows grazing. Mind you we were about 15 feet from these cows. I look a left and saw a calf and slowed down to take a closer look. Unbeknownst to me papa bull was right behind the calf with its little white horns. And then I feel a firm push from behind. It was Amy using her nonverbal cue telling me to "keep moving!".

image.jpg

When we approached Dingle our friend Tom Crean showed up again. This time in the form of a lager named after him and brewed at the Dingle Brewery. I will let the picture speak for itself. 

image.jpg

Most of our B&B's have been small but have multiple stories so we have carried our luggage up 2 and 3 flights. The host at The Emlagh in Dingle greeted us warmly as all the hosts have. She wanted to show us our room and we got ready to carry our luggage again until she told us they had a lyft. What a perfect way to end the walk!

After cleaning up Amy and I ate at a wonderful dinner at the Chart House and then walked to a pub that was playing traditional Irish music. We stayed for a few songs and then turned in for the night. 

Irish pub with traditional music

Irish pub with traditional music

Stats: 

  1. Miles: 16 miles
  2. Steps: 34,000
  3. Floors climbed: 73
  4. Stiles: 12

 

 

Washed Out to Sea

This morning we left from Camp which is inland on the peninsula and took the path straight to the sea. Our destination was Annascaul, home and birthplace of Irish icon Tom Crean, famous South Pole explorer. This will be significant later.

Yesterday's element was wind. Today's element was water and boy did the rain come. We started out at about 9 a.m. and we walked in rain for 3 hours. At times it was a complete downpour for several minutes, hence the title. The terrain was like a grassy gravel road which allowed us to keep a pretty fast pace. Our intent was to reach Inch Strand beach which made a good stopping point because it had a cafe .

Typical Irish Countryside  

Typical Irish Countryside  

The rain broke just shortly before we approached Inch Strand and we got our first glimpse of the sea that we will follow for the next several days. Off and on we have been walking alongside a solo hiker named Kirsten from Germany. We have been somewhat envious of this ginormous red poncho like thing she has that fits over her body and her backpack so she doesn't need a separate cover for her each. We call her "Little Red Riding Hood". We ate lunch with her at the Inch Strand Cafe and exchanged stories about other travels.

Inch Strand Beach

Inch Strand Beach

After lunch we made our final approach to Annascaul. If I had choose another prevalent element earth would have been a close second. I have never stepped in so much mud in my life. Squish squash. We reached Annascaul which is a small charming village. We are usually so tired that we opt to eat first and shower later. We ate at "The South Pole" which is the bar formerly owned by none other than the famous Tom Crean. The bar is a wonderful tribute to his life with old pictures and written stories everywhere. They even have the timeline of his life painted on the ceiling. I enjoyed some Jameson Gold and Amy has been enjoying the recent award winning Dingle Gin.

The trip is just the right amount of challenge for us. Ireland is a truly beautiful country and the Irish people are so welcoming.

Kimmie T. 

Kimmie T. 

Stats

  1. Miles: 11.5
  2. Steps: 29,000
  3. Floors climbed: 51
  4. Raindrops: Bazillion
  5. Soaked muddy boots: 4
  6. Number of hikers we saw: 5
  7. Number of sheep and cattle:  lost count

Going to Camp in Stile

After spending the night in Tralee the start of our walk began today. Today's path was from Tralee to Camp. Amy and I ate a traditional Irish breakfast and our hosts Joe and Antoinette sent us on our way with a sack lunch. We took the obligatory selfie in front of the official start sign and off we went. 

Day One

Day One

The terrain started off easy on the road until we got to the part of the trail that traverses the lower slopes of the Slieve Mish mountains. We were completely exposed and it was incredibly windy. Every other step moved our bodies a few inches and sometimes a whole foot to the right. The view was spectacular with large grassy hills and brown mountains to the left and the Tralee Bay to the right.  Clouds rolled in and onward exposing the sun sporadically beautifully lighting the terrain. 

The trail was very rocky, boggy and muddy and required crossing several streams and a few rivers via metal footbridges. There were several fences and gates separating property lines and in order to get through them you use something called a stile. It is essentially a ladder made of metal or wood of varying heights to allow you to climb over the fence. 

Climbing a stile

Climbing a stile

Roadblock! 

Roadblock! 

The terrain changed for the last three miles into mostly a boggy grassy path or a gravel road. This is where we pulled out our raincoats for the first time. We got fairly wet but thankfully were never cold as we learned later from a local that today was unseasonably warm. Our last turn of the trail led right to Ashe's Pub for an Irish coffee, hot beef and lamb stew and warm apple tart and ice cream for dessert. I'm sure you can imagine how satisfying the meal was. 

I close with some stats:

  1. Miles: 12.5
  2. Steps: 35,000
  3. Floors climbed: 75
  4. Stiles: 12
  5. River & Stream Crossings: 4 rivers and too many streams to count 
  6. Number of other hikers we saw:  1
  7. Number of sheep and cattle:  lost count

Arrived!

Our trip went off with out a hitch and I'm happy to report we are in Shannon, Ireland. Just before we landed Ireland welcomed us with this beautiful rainbow.

Luck of the Irish! 

Luck of the Irish! 

First impressions....

  1. Close your eyes and imagine how green Ireland is. It's greener than that...
  2. I'm really glad we are walking and not driving.  
  3. Is that English they are speaking? 
First Guinness and Cider

First Guinness and Cider

T-Minus 24 hours

In 24 hours, Amy and I will be on a plane to Europe. It's our first time back in 5 years. When researching this trip we really wanted return to the lodge to lodge style of travel. For us it is the best of both worlds.  We get to exhaust ourselves with a long trek during the day and then are rewarded at days end with a hot meal prepared for us and a comfy bed. We discovered that Ireland has multiple choices for this kind of travel and decided to hike the entire Dingle Peninsula on the west coast.

image.jpg

Our flight pattern is LA to London with a short layover and then to Shannon, Ireland where we will rest our weary heads for one night before our journey begins. 

This is my first time doing a travel blog and I'm very excited to share our experiences with you along The Dingle Way.