Our trip to Graigue / Dunquin
on the tip of the Dingle Peninsula, Ireland
April 11-20, 2008
Page 3: Sybil Head
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Page 3: Sybil Head
Monday, April 14e
We slept late this morning, until almost 10 a.m.! When we went downstairs we were surprised that Rick and Colleen weren’t up. We brewed coffee and Rick appeared followed shortly by Colleen. While we were lazing around, picking at toast and oatmeal, Philomena stopped by!
I think she was surprised that we were all still in our PJs but we were obviously glad to meet her and she stayed for about ½ an hour. She told us that her husband’s pony, Leah, who had been with foal and 26 days overdue, had given birth that morning! We promised we’d stop by to see it as well as her dog Sadie.
KC, who had been asking everyone he met about climbing Brandon Mountain, asked for Phil’s input as well and was told that the eastern access is very doable, they climbed it every Easter. She also recommended the walk up to Sybil Head but advised us not to walk along the edge of the cliff.
The weather was perfect today – cool and sunny with a slight breeze so, after Phil left, we decided to give Sybil Head a try and then go into Dingle for lunch. I wanted to make good on our promises to see Sean and Michael and, since Colleen had offered to make a stew for dinner, we needed to get the ingredients.
We decided not to shower before our climb and got to the base at around 12:30. It was cool but Rick recommended that we not dress too warmly as the exertion would soon have us sweating. I insisted on wearing my jacket but agreed to leave my sweatshirt in the car.
Our goal – the fort at the top of this hill:
The hill was moderately steep until right before the top where it was almost perpendicular! Even with my new walking sticks, I still lagged far behind everyone else but I never fell or stepped in a bog and I did eventually make it to the top.
This is how steep it was (and how far behind I lagged):
I had stripped down to my tank top within 5 minutes and was glad I’d left my sweatshirt in the car:
Finally! I made it!
It was hard work but it was worth it – the view from the top was beautiful. There is an old fort at the top and Rick decided to leave his geo cache there.
KC and Colleen inside the fort (you can see how it was constructed):
View from inside the fort (taken by the Canon EOS):
View from inside the fort (taken by the Lumix):
Barb making KC nervous by standing too close to the edge:
Rick jumping? I love this shot!:
View from the ridge Rick was leaning over:
The ledge at the top was quite narrow with several precipitous crevices right down to the water. KC has a fear of heights (but never lets it prevent him from doing something) and it surprised me that he got such good pictures.
Precipitous drop :
At the edge of the drop pictured above:
Another precipitous drop:
Looking back on the peninsula, where the cottage is located:
KC hamming it up as we started our descent:
It took us 50 minutes to climb to the top but only 20 minutes to get back down. When we got to the bottom KC insisted he needed a shower and refused to stop at Philomena’s. After KC showered we drove into Dingle. Our first stop was Dingle Crystal on Green Street where we met Sean’s wife, Liz Daly – what a sweetheart she is! We had a cappuccino in their new coffee bar (which is a VERY nice space – bright and cheery and comfortable!) and shared a delicious bread and butter pudding (with toffee sauce and clotted cream).
The coffee bar in Dingle Crystal:
Bread and Butter pudding:
Sean came in and spent some time talking motorcycles with Rick and Colleen who go to Bikefest every year. He invited us to see his workshop the next morning so we agreed to meet at 10:00 a.m. and got directions. We also agreed to meet him at An Droichead Beag Tuesday evening around 10:00 p.m. Before we left, Colleen bought a crystal beehive hut which Sean signed for her. I asked him to put aside the bowl I was coveting; we took some pictures, and then went on to Siopa Ceoil an Daingin .
Rick, Liz, Barb, Sean and Colleen in front of Dingle Crystal
(I’m hoping the shot in Rick’s camera will be in focus and will add it as soon as possible)
No one was there when we arrived at Siopa Ceoil an Daingin but Caitriona (pronounced Katrina) came in shortly, followed by Michael. Caitriona recognized us instantly! Michael shared some Bushmill’s with Rick and KC. He also told them that buying liqueur in an “off license” store would be cheaper than the grocery. We asked them for restaurant recommendations and were directed to
A Global Village
for a good inexpensive meal and The Apple Tree for a good bowl for soup. We told them we’d see them at An Droichead Beag the following night, and then we went off to The Apple Tree. It was warm enough in the sun so we sat outside.
Soup at The Apple Tree:
KC and Rick had the cream of vegetable soup with smoked bacon and Colleen had the seafood chowder. The vegetable soup got a unanimous vote of delicious but the chowder was bland so Rick went in search of salt which seemed to solve the problem. I was full from the coffee we’d had at Sean’s and was reluctant to order soup in a restaurant because most prepared soup has MSG in it so I looked at the scenery and noticed that there was a butcher next door. Since we needed meat for tonight’s stew we decided to get it there. We picked up some sausages for breakfast as well. I asked the butcher if they had MSG in them and he admitted that they buy their spice mixture already mixed and that he couldn’t guarantee that it was MSG-free.
We went over to Garvey’s for the rest of the stew ingredients and KC went into an “off license” store to replenish the half-bottle of Paddy’s he bought the first night. When he compared the price to the one in Garvey’s he realized he’d saved one whole euro – Garvey’s is off license too!
We drove home via Slea Head Drive and stopped at the cross to take a few pictures.
Rick’s (great) shot of Slea Head Drive:
The view from Slea Head:
Another precipitous drop to the water:
Looking at Slea Head drive snaking along the edge of the cliff (through car window):
We got back to the cottage at around 6:00 p.m. and while the guys had their “man walk” down to Clogher Beach, Colleen and I made the stew. Or, more accurately, I chopped and diced while Colleen cooked.
Rick at Clogher Beach:
The rocks at Clogher Beach (apparently, the rough winter weather had washed away all the sand):
When the guys got back, we opened the wine that we’d found on the dining room table (it was wonderful – thank you to whoever left it for us) and poured a bit into the stew. We ate dinner at around 8pm and it was really delicious! Thank you, Colleen!
After dinner we watched the sun go down, hoping to see a green flash. We didn’t see the flash but the sunset was gorgeous. KC “did” the dishes, and then I updated my journal while everyone else played poker. We went to bed around 11:00 p.m. but couldn’t sleep until KC opened a window. That’s the nice thing about this time of year: if I get a hot flash, I just need to open a window!
The gorgeous sunset:
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