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Our trip to Graigue / Dunquin
on the tip of the Dingle Peninsula, Ireland
April 11-20, 2008

Page 2: Connor Pass / An Droichead Beag



Page 0: Preparing for the trip.
Page 1: Graigue Cottage.
Page 2: Connor Pass / An Droichead Beag.
Page 3: Sybil Head.
Page 4: The Blasket Islands / An Droichead Beag.
Page 5: Cork.
Page 6: Inch Beach / The South Pole Inn.
Page 7: Shopping / Brandon Mt. / John Benny Moriarty’s.
Page 8: Return Home.
Original, all-on-one-page version.

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Page 2: Connor Pass / An Droichead Beag

Sunday, April 13


We slept well – the bed was very comfortable – and got up around 8. Rick saw a rainbow so we all trouped outside to take pictures. It was cool but not cold and the morning’s clouds had blown away.

Rainbow!:






This morning there were sheep in the pasture closest to the house and some of them had wandered over the fence into the cottage’s yard. Rick got this great shot of a lamb and its mother checking us out before they ran back over the fence:

Awww, baby lamb:




KC and Rick made a delicious breakfast for us – scrambled eggs, sautéed potatoes, sausage and toast. Sue, the woman from the ferry, had returned my call so I called her back and was told that, yes, the ferry would be running on Tuesday so I made a tentative reservation for 3 people. Only 3 as I was planning to spend that day in Dingle, having been to the Blaskets last year.


Corralougha Strand on Brandon Bay:


After breakfast we showered (wonderful strong hot showers) bundled up (it was very windy) and piled in the car for our drive to Corralougha Strand. Connor Pass is a very narrow half-lane road that snakes along the side of a mountain with gorgeous views of the valley below. Because you have the mountain on one side, and a precipitous drop on the other, passing is difficult and dangerous. It was Sunday and there were quite a few people on the road on our way out.

Negotiating the road, and the cars, on Connor Pass:




We got out of the car at the lookout point at Connor Pass but it was so windy we didn’t stay long. There is supposed to be a waterfall there but we couldn’t see it. The landscape was almost surreal.

Lookout Point on Connor Pass:




This shot looks like a painting, doesn’t it:




From here, we drove out to Scraggane Bay, looking for the dive shop, but found nothing, so we backtracked and found a pathway down to the beach. It was still windy here, though not as bad as it had been on the pass, so KC walked down to the beach alone while I took pictures. The shoes he was wearing were new and he didn’t know whether they were waterproof which resulted in some amusing shots of him trying to avoid the waves:

Corralougha Strand:




KC trying to avoid getting his shoes wet:









On our way back we saw a sign for a dive shop. The woman in the shop told us that they sold dive clothing but did not operate dive trips. She directed us up the road a bit to Waterworld, a fairly large inn. We found Waterworld easily and, yes, they DID have a diving operation, a large one, so Rick and Colleen chatted with Sandra at the front desk about all the places they’d been while KC and I wandered into the bar and listened to the owner, Ronnie, regale us with fascinating stories about the area, about diving, and about his life.

For instance, the trailer parks we’d seen on the way in are summer homes and must be well maintained or they will be shut down. Most farmers used to own a pig that they fed their table scraps to, but that is now illegal (since they might be eating pork) so most pigs are raised on specialized farms, out of view. The Irish used to go to the US and return after 60 as though they’d never left. Now, they go for 4 weeks and return with an American accent. They’re called “yanks” as are all Americans.

Ronnie also told us that the eastern access up Brandon Mountain is easier, unless it’s windy, and is nice because you can look back on the bay. The western access is normally harder but is better on windy days. When KC asked him how difficult the climb was, trying to determine whether I’d be able to manage it, Ronnie told us that *I* would definitely make it to the top but that KC might have trouble (wink, wink)!

Ronnie Fitzgibbon, of Waterworld:




Rick and Colleen joined us and the talk turned to diving. Ronnie started the dive business in 1963 and moved to the present building in 1994. In addition to the hotel they have an indoor dive pool, a gym, and a sauna. In the summer they have 12 instructors, from all over the world, and 5 at all other times. His daughter, Sandy, was one of the instructors. If you dive with seals, they will play with you! They have seen several basking sharks in the area and an occasional orca.






We spent about an hour at Waterworld, used the facilites (they were nice and warm, unlike the ones at Timmy Macs), and left to see if we could find the entrance to the eastern path up Brandon mountain. As we were getting into our car we noticed some horses in the adjacent field. They were ‘relaxing’ and I’d never seen horses in that position so I snapped a picture:




After driving around for quite some time, in some incredibly beautiful areas, we realized that we were VERY low on gas, and headed back to Dingle. The information display on the car was set to German and we couldn’t figure out how to change it. Fortunately, KC speaks German, and was able to tell us that “reichweite” mean range and that we had fuel for 45 km. The route back was mostly downhill and we made it but from then on we kept a closer eye on the fuel tank.

Mount Brandon, KC’s holy grail for this trip:




Gorgeous country roads:




The return route through Connor Pass:




Precipitous drop on the right:




After fueling up in Dingle, we had dinner in Murphy’s Pub. KC, Colleen and I had fish and chips (breaded), and Rick had a chicken wrap. For dessert I had sticky toffee pudding and it was as good as I remembered it.

Murphy’s Pub:



The world’s best sticky toffee pudding:




Press here for more pictures of the food on this trip (a new window will open).


When we got back to the cottage KC and Rick walked up to Clogher Head to share a nip of Paddy’s whiskey from KC’s flask. I would have gone along but they wanted to be alone and referred to this as a “man walk”.

Rick’s shot of KC at Clogher Head
this is one of the best pictures of KC I’ve seen:




The view from Clogher Head:




Drop to the sea from Clogher Head:




The sun setting over Clogher Head (and view of the Blaskets):




Sharon, Phil’s daughter, had told us that while Krueger’s Pub was open again (now managed by two of her brothers) they did not have music this early in the year so KC agreed to drive me into Dingle to An Droichead Beag. I had written to both Sean and Michael, telling them we were coming back, and was anxious to see them. Colleen and Rick decided to stay at the cottage.

KC and I left at 8:30 and took the route through Ballyferriter. KC was in heaven, whipping around the curves as fast as the car would let him! Having a bigger car did limit what he was able to do but it was fun anyway. We got there early enough to snag my favorite table, right in front. John Brown came in first, followed by Michael and then Eric. None of them recognized us – it was dark and my hair was now dark brown whereas last year it had been blonde -- so I cornered Michael on his break and re-introduced myself. On a bathroom break I ran into Sean at the back bar (he did recognize me) and arranged to meet him after the music ended.

The music finally started at around 9:45 and was as good as I’d remembered it! They played several songs I’d never heard before so I made a mental list of what I needed to get. There was a Scotsman there (I think he was Scotch) playing the ukulele.

Eric, Michael:



Press here for clip of music in An Droichead Beag (a new window will open).


When the music stopped, KC and I went back to hook up with Sean. We found him, but the bar was closing, so we told him we’d meet him in his store, Dingle Crystal, the next day. We hoped to arrange a time to get together with him in the evening. Michael came over and we told him we’d stop by his store, Siopa Ceoil an Daingin, the next day as well.

When we got home Rick and Colleen were already in bed. We had a small snack and KC tried to call his daughter, Leah, but didn’t get through. Around 12:30, we went to bed.

Page 0: Preparing for the trip.
Page 1: Graigue Cottage.
Page 2: Connor Pass / An Droichead Beag.
Page 3: Sybil Head.
Page 4: The Blasket Islands / An Droichead Beag.
Page 5: Cork.
Page 6: Inch Beach / The South Pole Inn.
Page 7: Shopping / Brandon Mt. / John Benny Moriarty’s.
Page 8: Return Home.
Original, all-on-one-page version.

Press here to return to personal picture menu.



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