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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.