Dingle: down a quiet country lane

This post was inspired this guest post from author, Felicity Hayes-McCoy, author of The House on the Irish Hillside. She lives in Corca Dhuibhne (the Dingle Peninsula) just up the road from Chaoin (Dunquin) part of the year.

Sometimes life is serendipitous. We wanted to spend a week on the Dingle Peninsula (Corca Dhuibhne) and began looking for a cottage to rent. Our budget was lean and the pickings even leaner. We lucked out; there was a cottage with an ocean view for rent in Dún Chaoin (Dunquin), the western most settlement in Ireland. We’d been down the unseen rental road before and gotten burned. Years ago, we’d rented, sight unseen, a cottage in Maine that advertised a great ocean view- it would have been if someone had taken down the oil storage tanks. That cottage wasn’t habitable and the rent had been paid in full. Loaded down with a week’s worth of groceries, we went to plan B. We weren’t going to do that again.

Dingle travel photo Steve Collins

Stone farmhouse in Dunquin, Dingle photo/Steve Collins

So, upon arrival, we drove straight through the town of Dingle (An Daingean) where we’d be doing our shopping and out Slea Head road to Dún Chaoin to check out our cottage. We weren’t buying groceries until we vetted the place. It was clean, simple and comfortable with magnificent views of the ocean and countryside. This house was a find.

Dingle: Blasket Centre photo/courtesy OPW, Ionad an Bhlascaoid

The Great Blasket Centre in Dún Chaoin, overlooking the Blasket Island photo/courtesy OPW, Ionad an Bhlascaoid

From the picture window in our dining area, we had unobstructed ocean views including the rocky and stark An Blascaod Mór (Great Blasket Island). To our right: a clear view of the neighboring Blascaod Centre (Blasket Center), where the history of these harsh islands is preserved. This unlikely rock produced some of Ireland’s most famous writers including Peig Sayers, Muiris Ó Súilleabháin and Tomás Ó Criomhthain. Our cottage, a few hundred feet from the sea, was a healthy stone’s throw northeast of Dunmore Head, the western-most place on the Irish mainland. There were a few minor glitches; no useable knife for the chef and no frying pan, but we remedied these easily at the hardware store. We had our Ireland home.

Dingle: Dunmore Head photo Steve Collins

Dunmore Head the western most place on the Irish mainland, photo/Steve Collins

We toured a lot of the Dingle Peninsula the week we were there. Historic sites, ancient archeological sites, churches and more. We went to Dingle Town to listen to music at night and shopped in local markets for our provisions. The butcher where we bought our lamb listed the farm it was sourced from that day. We purchases just caught fish from the fishmonger. It was a simple, fulfilling and very Irish existence.

Dingle: A quiet country lane photo Steve Collins

Deserted house on our country lane in Dunquin, photo /teve Collins

One of our simple joys was walking down the country lane that passed by our cottage and then taking narrow paths that led down to the sea. Here are some photos of “our” Irish country lane and around Dún Chaoin.

Dingle: The wild Irish coastline photo Steve Collins

The Atlantic Ocean with Blaskets in background, photo/Steve Collins

Dingle: quiet country lane photo Steve Collins

Another old stone farmhouse in Dunquin, photo/Steve Collins

Dingle: Another old stone farmhouse photo Steve Collins

It was a lovely lane for a late afternoon stroll, photo/Steve Collins

What were the highlights of your Ireland travel? We’d love to hear them (and see photos). We’re always looking for interesting, well-written guests posts for the blog.

Felicity Hayes-McCoy has written The House on an Irish Hillside, her reminiscences of her time living on the Dingle Peninsula. You can buy it here.

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3 Responses to “Dingle: down a quiet country lane”

  1. Felicity Hayes-McCoy
    June 15, 2012 at 1:05 am #

    What a lovely piece! You certainly took some beautiful photographs. I know that walk of yours well and I can see why you were so happy to find your house in Dún Chaoin. We’re having the Irish book launch in Murphy’s pub in Ballyferriter tonight. (The UK one was in London last week). Should be plenty of music and craic so I’ll raise a glass to your memories of Dingle. And if ever you’re feeling nostalgic for the Dingle Peninsula do checkout the Facebook page that’s been set up for The House on an Irish Hillside; I’ll be uploading more photos there from time to time. Best wishes, Felicity

    • Billie Frank
      June 18, 2012 at 5:15 pm #

      Thanks for the kind words about the post and the photos. Steve will really appreciate the latter. Bet it was a terrific do at Murphy’s. We were there in spirits or spirits with that raised glass. Can’t wait to read the book!

  2. James Byrne
    February 13, 2013 at 4:58 am #

    The Dingle Way walking trail is a great way to explore the peninsula. It circles the Dingle Peninsula, starting and ending in Tralee, the capital of Co. Kerry. Most walkers will find the diverse terrain of the Dingle Way fairly easy going; only the slopes of Mount Brandon will ask you to stretch yourself and once you see the views you’ll realize it’s decidedly worth it.

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