Dingle Shops

The Road to Dingle and the Beehives

Click here to read the first entry in this series of blogs.

I start my travels to Dingle with a hearty Irish breakfast of eggs, breads, bacon, and coffee. The road is easy to find as it follows along the bay across from the Ring of Kerry and wanders all along the Dingle peninsula. While Dingle is my final destination, getting there is more than half the fun. It is amazing.

However, if you are in need of food before lunch remember to pack a picnic. There is not much in the way of civilization or public eating areas between Castlemaine and Dingle. You will pass Inch and Lispole before Dingle. Both are lovely for scenic photos. Inch has access to the beach where young people surf in wet suits. It is an easy road to get to the beach for a long walk on a very long spit of sand.

Surfers in Ireland

The first time I was in brightly colored Dingle I started a chat with an older resident. She told me when she grew up the cottages and store fronts were whitewashed stucco. Someone had the brilliant idea to paint the town every shade of the rainbow and tourists have flocked there ever since.

There are day boat tours from Dingle, but it is the shopping that we love. The Dingle Woolen Company is a fantastic array of colors, styles and bargains. My husband and I both got half off the price of Aran thick cable sweaters of 100% Merino wool. There were caps, capes, socks, and coats.

Dingle is full of pubs. But to avoid the touristy places, ask a shopkeeper where they would go for fish and chips, the area’s specialty. With fishing boats pulling right into town, the fish is as fresh as it comes. Remember to save room for ice cream.

One of the most famous ice cream shops in Europe is right there in Dingle. Two brothers, Sean and Kieran Murphy set out to create the best ice cream in the land and they succeeded and then some. Made from local cow’s milk from County Kerry it has put Dingle on the map all over again. It is worth the wait in line.

All along the route to Dingle are ancient archeology sites. There are several stops to choose from to view the old beehive huts. (Think stacked stone igloos.)

Beehive hut in Ireland

We stopped at all three. Some even offer goat petting and feeding lambs. These old monastic villages are made from area stone and no mortar. They were hewn to fit with smaller stones filling the gaps. A grouping of these beehives were often connected with tunnels of stone. Today, most of these structures have lost their top portion, but there are still a few completely intact. As well there are a few ring forts and henges (dirt circles) with moats in the area.

On a side road off the main highway toward the ocean is Minard Castle.

Minard Castle

A mere shell of a tower these days. In 1650 it was bombed by Cromwell but still stands, albeit uninhabitable. You cannot get inside but there is an interesting path just opposite the blocked entrance that leads to an old well. The castle sits on a small hill overlooking a crescent beach where in early June we found some hearty locals actually swimming in the cold Irish Sea.

Beach in Ireland

Sally Franz and her third husband live on the Olympic Peninsula. She has two daughters, a stepson, and three grandchildren. Sally is the author of several humor books including Scrambled Leggs: A Snarky Tale of Hospital Hooey and The Baby Boomer’s Guide to MenopauseShe hosts a local radio humor segment, “Baby Boomer Humor with Sassy Sally”.

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