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Dingle Tour

by

David Tocher

I got interested in diving some years back and used to go diving every winter in Egypt. We usually went as a group on a live-aboard which is a great way to get a lot of very pleasant diving with a week in the sun. On our last trip the sea turned quite rough and to cut a long story short one of our party got her fingers crushed by a sliding marble topped table. As a result she lost a finger and we lost interest in diving! I decided that I'd get back into diving after the five or so years break. The dive centre where I learned to dive is based in Castlegrgory in Co. Kerry. I organised a couple of dive sessions and decided to drive down in Quicksilver as the weather was forecast to be good.

Connor Pass
Dingle town

After the dives were over I decided to drive round the Dingle peninsular which I think has some of the best scenic routes in the west. Of course once I set off the weather turned and the clouds came down. I went over the Connor Pass which on the north side is a single track road cut into the steep hillside rising to about 1500'. One thing about the Dingle penisular is the the weather can be dramatically different as one crosses over fromone side to the other. True to form the south side was blue skies and warm.

Dingle Bay
Blaskets
Blaskets

The run down into Dingle town or as it's now officially called An Daingean was uneventful but the town was seething with tourists, mainly Japanese and Chinese, who enjoyed taking pictures of quicksilver! After that I was on the road towards Slea Head. There is a small ford to traverse but the real treat is the viewing point at Slea Head which is one of the most westerly point on mainland Ireland. Again as soon as I stopped out came the cameras for pictures of the car and then as an afterthought the view across the Blasket Sound towards the islands. The Blaskets are a group of, now uninhabited, islands set in a very wild seascape. They were evacuated in the 1950s but a few people spend the summer in the few remaining habitable dwellings. Life was very tough but there was a literary tradition, written in Irish, which is the basis for keeping the language alive.

Sybil Head
Smerwick harbour

After that I continued along towards the Blasket heritage Centre (everywhere seems to need some sort of interpretive centre these days) for a well deserved cuppa. Ireland, being a small country, I of course met someone I knew, an ex-work colleague, who was on holiday in the area. I continued the loop to Sybil Head and Smerwick Harbour back towards Dingle, the return run back over the Connor Pass and then on towards Limerick. As I approached Limerick the skies got black and it heaved it down. It was so bad I sheltered under a bridge until the worst was over. All in all it was a great day out despite the change in the weather.

Rain in Rathkeale

He ho that's the please of driving an open topped car!

David


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