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As Far West as You Can Go in Ireland

Posted by on August 2, 2018

On the tip of the Dingle Peninsula is Dunmore Head, the most westerly point in Ireland.

We drove out to the small town of Dunquin to visit the Great Blasket Centre and Island. I had no idea what to expect, I had never heard of Blaskets. The Blasket Islands, in case you also didn’t know, are a group of small islands off the coast of the Dingle Peninsula. The largest of the six primary islands is Great Blasket. It was continually inhabited until November 17, 1953, when the government evacuated the last 22 residents because of the harsh and primitive living conditions. You can take a daily ferry to see the remains of the small community, but you need to transfer to an inflatable boat once the ferry reaches the island because there is no safe landing site. We skipped it.

Instead of the boat ride, we opted for a long walk along the Siuloid na Cille. The 5 km walk was beautiful. The views of the Blaskets and surrounding ocean were amazing. After the walk, we had afternoon tea in the visitor center. I actually had coffee, but close enough.

I really wanted to find the famous Sheep Highway. I’m not sure if it is actually famous, but I have seen pictures of it many times. We finally found it after some asking and searching. It is an old stone roadway that goes steeply up from a stone pier to the cliff top. It was used when islanders brought their sheep to the mainland for market. I wouldn’t go out of your way to find it, but we were in the area anyway.

Elijah was looking for a nice leather wallet, so we headed inland and looked for Holden Leather. Holden is the epitome of fine Irish leather work. Their leather goods are of exceptional quality and craftsmanship. We visited their shop and factory outside Dingle. The owner was very friendly and helpful. He explained the care he takes in designing and making his unique leather products. I really want one of his messenger bags now! Unfortunately, the wallets were out of Elijah’s price range. He could buy one or have money to put in a wallet, but not both.

Last stop on our trip around the Dingle Peninsula was the Gallarus Oratory. The small stone structure dates from the 12th century. What impressed me was that this tiny church has stood for almost a millennia untouched by time. It will probably be just like this a millennia from now.

Our day trip around the Dingle Peninsula was very eventful. We are equally impressed with both peninsulas. It is hard to say which one is prettier. You will have to travel both to judge for yourself. Let us know!

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