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Our trip to the Dingle Peninsula, Ireland
Nov 4-14, 2010

Stonemasons and Inch Strand

The dunes on Inch Strand:

Page 1: Prep and Travel to London.
Page 2: Fri – Drive from Shannon to Dingle and Cottage.
Page 3: Sat – Dingle, Michael, and John Benny's.
Page 4: Sun -Storm.
Page 5: Mon - Storm.
Page 6: Tue – Inch Strand.
Page 7: Wed – Climbing and Set Dancing.
Page 8: Thu – Glanteenassig.
Page 9: Fri – Shopping.
Page 10: Sat:Mon – Return Home via London.
Original, all-on-one-page version.
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Press here for 2009 Dingle travelogue (a new window will open)
Press here for 2008 Dingle travelogue (a new window will open)
Press here for 2007 Dingle travelogue (a new window will open)

Stonemasons and Inch Strand

Tuesday, November 9

We both slept until 11am today and woke to see that the sky had cleared and the sun was shining. You would never have guessed how bad it had been the night before.

Our list-of-things-to-do:

Gap of Dunloe in Killarney National Park
Tomies Oakwood in Killarney National Park
Inch Strand
Peddlar's Lake/Loch an Duin near Conor Pass
Ring of Kerry ( Valencia Island, Fogher Cliffs and Geokaun Mountain)
Glanteenassig Forest Park and Lakes.

It was a GLORIOUS day so we decided to tackle Inch Strand. We've gone there every year, hoping to walk to the end, and every year it's been too cold and windy. Today was beautiful, perhaps we would make it this time…Remembering how cold it had been in the past, I brought with me every piece of protective clothing I had!

Inch Strand:

On our way to the car, we saw some stone masons working on the building next to the cottage. Before we arrived, Phil had told us that the old sheep shed had fallen down and was being rebuilt. The perimeter walls had been completed and the old stone – saved from the original shed – was being applied to the outside, just as the walls of the cottage had been faced with the stone from the one which had originally stood in that place.

We asked if we could photograph the workmen and they agreed. In the process we saw how incredibly well constructed these two buildings were. The photo below is of the steel supports between the two outer walls and the roof. It also shows the steel supports within each wall.

Steel supports reinforcing brickwork:

The young men building the outer wall were supposedly some of the best in their field and were happy to explain what they were doing.

The stones saved from the original shed:

The mallet used to break them into smaller pieces:

Choosing a stone:

Seeing if it fits:

Knocking off a little bit:

Smoothing the mortar:

Laying the stone:

The other side, which was almost finished:

Giving the ponies some carrots:

It really is beautiful and we can't wait to see it finished. But, we had things to do, so we gave the ponies a few carrots and then we piled in the car and set out for Inch Strand! We were on the road a little after noon and got there just before 1:00pm.

Inch Strand
(this map was created by scanning in parts of surveyor's maps #71and #78 and stitching them together):

According to www.dingle-peninsula.ie: "The 5km long dune-covered sandy spit at Inch is one of the largest dune fields in Ireland. To walk eastward from the crashing waves of the Atlantic surf of Dingle Bay through these large active dunes to the quiet lagoons and mud-flats behind in Cromane Bay is to witness nature caught in a dynamic, yet harmonic, tension of wind, sea, and sand. Magnificent!"

When we got to the beach we were disappointed to see that Sammy's Café was closed for the season – no hot coffee and pastry after our trek – so we bundled up in the parking lot. Or, I should say, I bundled up. KC, who likes to be out in "weather" wore only jeans, a sweatshirt and windbreaker.

KC, dressed for the beach:

I, on the other hand, was wearing the following:

1. hairnet to keep my hair out of my face
2. ski goggles to keep the wind out of my eyes
3. ear mitts
4. balaclava to keep the wind off my face
5. Mongolian lamb scarf
6. a Barbour jacket to which I had sewn fur around the edge of the hood
7. fleece gloves.
8. leggings
9. waterproof Sorel boots with wool inserts

Underneath all that I was wearing a fleece jacket and a thin cotton tank top. Layers, in case I got a hot flash and needed to cool off quickly. I look like I was headed for the North Pole, don't I? LOL!

Barb, dressed for the beach:

For the very first time (and this is the third time we have attempted to walk to the end), I was warm and comfortable on this beach! I knew I would be able to walk as far as KC wanted to go without suffering. And what a glorious walk it was! The sun was shining, the wind was at our backs, and there were lots of waves which the wind whipped into spikes. We walked as close to the water as possible because the sand was harder there and easier to traverse.

Walking on the beach:

We walked and walked and walked and walked and walked. It seemed like the beach went on forever; and, the closer we got to the end, the further away it seemed. I started to peel. I flipped the neck of the balaclava over my head and unzipped the neck of my jacket. My scarf, which was attached to the back of the jacket, was flung over my shoulders, off my neck.

Getting hot:

Finally, we seemed to be nearing the end!

The end is in sight:

The end!

The dry grassy terrain near the dunes, very hard to walk on:.

Someone else was here! But we haven't seen a soul…

KC wanted to climb ONTO the dunes and when we got to the end of the strand we saw a path that seemed to go into them so up we went. We were amazed at how unique and varied the terrain was up here. Walking was difficult though. The ground was dry, in spite of all the rain we'd just had, and the sand was constantly shifting. I fell once when I misjudged the height of the floor, which was hidden by the grass, after which I tried to follow KC but I was pretty much crashing blindly along hoping nothing bad happened.

Onto (into?) the dunes:

The dunes:

Weird circles in the sand caused by the wind blowing the grass around, literally:

Slogging my way through the deep sand:

The scenery around us:

When we got back to the beach we had to decide which way we would go. I really wanted to return the way we came, on the Atlantic side, but I knew KC wanted to see the Cromane Bay side and, unaware of how far away that would put us from the car, I agreed to go along.

Inch Strand
Look how wide it is at the top, where the parking is:

I found the Cromane side to be deadly boring. The sand was rigid and hard to walk on, the wind was stronger, and there was no surf. The water was calm and uninteresting. Looking at the photos now I can see that it really was beautiful; but, at the time, it was tedious to walk along, compared to the Atlantic side.

The Cromane Bay side of Inch:

The hard deeply ridged sand on this side:

Bird footprints on the sand!

Again, we walked and walked and walked and walked and walked. About one third of the way back (or so I thought) KC wondered when the tide would come in. Although the beach was wide, it was not steep, and if the the tide came in fast I would not be able to make it back to the safety of the dunes! Did that thought ever light a fire under my tired butt! I practically ran to the dunes.

I now also realized that, when the sun went down, it would not be visible from this side of the strand but would surely be spectacular on the other side. So, we walked along the base of the dunes, looking for an easy way across them. We came upon a marsh with little white dots on it that turned out to be swans! At this point there appeared to be a path across the dunes so we started to cross but realized that we were at the widest part of the strand so we returned to the trail along the base of the dunes until we were closer to the narrowest part. Thank goodness KC had brought the topographical map.

Inch Strand
I think the dotted line is the path we were following.
and that we started to cross where it begins (at the widest point of the strand)
and then eventually made our way across about one third of the way down:

The marshes where the swans hang out:

The path along the base of the dunes:

It was 3:30 now and I was really worried that I would miss the sunset! We found a sort-of trail and made our way laboriously to the other side. I found the dunes VERY HARD TO WALK ON! The sand was constantly shifting and there were deep holes everywhere. I used my sticks A LOT to determine where it was safe to tread. I wish I hadn't been in a hurry to get to the other side because the views were stunning..

The path to the other side:

Looking back on the Cromane Bay side:

Slowly, picking my way across:

Stopping to cool off again:

A really interesting basin of sand that looked like the moon:

Barb, traversing the moon-like basin:

Always looking down to make sure I didn't fall into a hole:

I was SO tired of this…

Finally! The Atlantic side!

We finally made it over to the Atlantic side about one third of the way down the beach. Relieved, we now walked slowly back to Sammy's waiting for the sun to set. Walking was much easier on this side and the sound of the surf was so relaxing I could have walked forever. Although we were still walking along the water's edge, we were much closer to the dunes now so the tide was definitely coming in.

I love the way the sky looks at this time of day!

It was almost 5:00 when we got close to Sammy's Café and saw a CROWD of people on the beach! I guess I wasn't the only one who wanted to see the sun set here. There were also a few people surfing.

The crowd at Sammy's Café :

We retraced our steps a bit so that we could get people-free photos. In many of them you can see how the wind was whipping the tops of the waves into finger like tendrils. I could have watched them for hours.

The sun setting on Inch Beach:

When we checked the map, we realized we'd walked 8.3 miles!

I tried to get a shot of Dingle at night but it didn't come out:

There was no one on the road ahead of us all the way into Dingle so KC had fun with the curves which are better here than the ones on Slea Head. We stopped at Murphy's Pub for dinner – fish and chips for KC and Dingle Bay salmon for me – and took our dessert home with us: sticky toffee pudding for me and chocolate fudge cake for KC. The to-go version of the sticky toffee pudding isn't as good as the eat-in version…there isn't enough of that delicious sauce they serve with it.

Murphy's Pub Fish and Chips:

Murphy's Pub Dingle Bay salmon dinner:

To-go sticky toffee pudding:

To-go chocolate fudge cake:

In retrospect, I think today was the best day of this vacation. We accomplished a long-time goal, it was as rewarding as we thought it would be, and there was some excitement as well. The only thing I will do differently for next year will be to get some goggles with prescription lenses. My eyes are very dry and I need goggles if it's at all windy but I missed not seeing with the clarity I get when I wear my glasses.

KC had a conference call at 8:30 so he jumped in the shower when we got back and I updated my journal. I wanted a cup of coffee but we had forgotten to put the cream back in the fridge before we left this morning and it was too thick to pour now. I noticed that my lips were chapped, so next year I need to remember to bring a salve for them.

Around 9:00pm it started to rain but there was no wind. KC took his call and was upstairs until 11pm! The call didn't go well. He'd been doing damage control and there was more required now that the call was over. It would be another late night for him and we had hoped to get an early start tomorrow. I went to bed around 12:30. KC took two more calls and then read for a while to calm himself down. He fell asleep after 1pm and said it was still raining.

EOD cribbage score: KC=7 BH=5

Page 1: Prep and Travel to London.
Page 2: Fri – Drive from Shannon to Dingle and Cottage.
Page 3: Sat – Dingle, Michael, and John Benny's.
Page 4: Sun -Storm.
Page 5: Mon - Storm.
Page 6: Tue – Inch Strand.
Page 7: Wed – Climbing and Set Dancing.
Page 8: Thu – Glanteenassig.
Page 9: Fri – Shopping.
Page 10: Sat:Mon – Return Home via London.
Original, all-on-one-page version.
Press here to return to personal picture menu.

Press here for 2009 Dingle travelogue (a new window will open)
Press here for 2008 Dingle travelogue (a new window will open)
Press here for 2007 Dingle travelogue (a new window will open)

Most of the maps I posted here were created using screen caps from MapQuest and Adobe Photoshop. I found that MapQuest had more detail, especially in the shoreline, than Google. But, neither MapQuest nor Google was detailed enough for our nature hikes so those maps I created by scanning the Ordnance Survey maps we use when we were hiking and then photoshopping the scanned images together. Please do not rely solely on my maps if you travel to this area -- buy your own Discovery Series Ordnance Survey Maps they are invaluable.

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OOAKFolk, Inc., and artist Barbara Healy are not affiliated in any way with the original manufacturers of the dolls pictured in this site. No photograph, text or graphic on this site may be copied without written permission from Barbara Healy. Copyright © 2004 OOAKFolk, Inc.

Last Revised: January 14, 2011
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