The best weekends are always the ones that you dont plan in advance.
By 4 o'clock on Friday afternoon, I was so bored at work that my head had gone numb and I was contemplating saying a number of very rude and expletive things to my boss. Just in time, my brother rang to tell me he'd made a snap decision to pack up the car and head to Dingle for the weekend. Was I up for it???
All that was left of me in the office car park at 5:30 were some big black skid-marks! :D
Got home, threw some essentials in my pack and we hit the road. The weather forecast for the wknd was promising blue skies and lots of sun, and it was certainly shaping up that way. Apart from a pitstop in Tralee for petrol and some Mars bars, we made Dingle in just over two hours. Even though we'd packed the tent and camping gear in the boot of the car, we rang ahead to the Rainbow Hostel and, as luck would have it, they had one twin room left! Rainbow Hostel is a great spot! A spotlessly clean hostel with good facilities and about 10 mins walk from Dingle. (meant to take a photo but forgot )
Headed straight into town to Conaire's pub to meet up with my brother's friends. One of them is jsut back from a few months in India, so I was happy to spend a few hours picking her brains and listening to all her travel stories. Conaire's was quite a lively spot - there was a trad band in the for the night and the walls of the pub were pratically heaving with ppl up dancing and singing. We fancied somewhere a bit more chilled out after a few hrs, so we decided to check out the wine bar up the street. This place was really nice - you would not expect to find it in Dingle. It serves quite late, and has some of the best pizza Ive ever tasted! Yum. After a few glasses of wine, we all meandered homewards emjoying the warmth of the night.
10:30 a.m. Saturday. Woken by LOUD knocking at our door telling us we had to get up. Groan. Pain in head. Meant to drink at least two glasses of water before bed last night....We had to get up and get dressed, get our thing together pretty quickly. Initially, we were told that Sat night was booked out at the hostel, but when we went downstairs to pay, the girl in charge told us she had just had a cancellation and asked if we'd liek to stay another night. We could have stayed in bed after all....LOL. Oh well, it was good to be up anyway. After dumping our gear back upstairs, getting on some new clothes and washing up, we decided breakfast sounded good. We walked into town to wake ourselves up. I love the smell of the sea air! And what an amazing morning - blue sky, sun sparking on the water and on the boats - it was good to be alive.
This is where we had breakast - Darcy's. I had scrambled eggs with smoked salmon, lots of fresh coffee, orange juice and toast. Pain in the head was gone within a few mins and I was right as rain.!
The day was stretching out ahead of us with lots of possibilities - we could go swimming, we could sit outside in the sun and read, we could explore the town....in the end we decided to go for a hike. At the mouth of the bay, there was a hill with a look-out tower at the top which looked interesting, so we piled into the car and drove out along the bay to the foot of this.
The heat was really starting to build up by now, and I wasnt relishing the thought of encasing my feet in my big hiking boots, so i opted to leave on my sandals. Mistake! Half-way up the hill we came upon what seemed like oceans of gorse!! I had to trudge through this for at least 15 mins. Ow! Ow! Ow!
But the pain was definitely worth it. The views of Dingle from the top were spectacular. YOu really wouldn't think you were in Ireland.It was more like Croatia or the South of France or something.
We spent a couple of hours lying in the sun and chatting, and soaking it all up. This is Ireland at its best. We dont often get weather like this.
Eventually, when we all started to feel hungry and thirsty, we made our way back down. We arranged to meet a friend out in Ballyferriter, so we took the Slea Head drive out past DunChaoin and the Blaskets. It was funny to see the confused tourists standing out with their English language maps looking at the Irish roadsigns. Lol!!
This is a beehive hut that we spotted at along the way.
We spent the rest of the day out in Ballyferriter drinking in the sun. When the sun eventually went down heaeded back into Dingle for something to eat. Spent the rest of the night crawling the pubs and listening to the Irish lads winding up the American tourists. It was hilarious!! LOL. Ended up back in the wine bar to finish off the night. Didnt crawl into bed until well after four.
Sunday More knocking at 10:30a.m. Up, shower, pack, back into Darcy's for brekkie. Everyone feeling very tired this morning. Decided on a short walk around the headland at the mouth of the bay to wake us up. Found a secluded little beach and spent the next few hours watching Fungi the Dolphin in the water. He followed some jet-skiers right up to where we were, and jumped out of the water metres away. I'm a big kid, so this was the highlight of my day! I got pretty sunburned even though the weather was cloudy in the morning, so eventually I had to reluctantly leave the beach and head back.
In the afternoon, one of my brother's friends was having a barbeque to celebrate her birthday, so we picked up food, beer and a present. The bbq was great, and I ended up being head chef. Lol! I'm still waiting for the phone calls to say taht they are all dying with food-poisoning. We ate until we couldnt eat anymore, and then the weather turned and the mist started to move in from the sea. At about 8 o'clock we packed up the car, and headed back to Limerick, relaxed, full and very tired.
I fell in love with DIngle this weekend. Its a really vibrant town but its not overrun with tourists, and there's so much to see and do down there. I'll definitely be going back for a long weekend very very soon.