Ring Around Dingle
We can see the rain sweeping in towards our exposed hilltop position. There is a stand of small slanting rocks a 100 metres away. We get there, just in time, just before the sheep! The first burst of the rain is fierce but it rapidly eases off. Soon we are able to stand from our crouched position and take in the fabulous views out towards the Blasket Islands.
The Food Festival, including the Blas na hEireann Awards, is on in Dingle but Friday is a slack day and so we’ve headed out the peninsula. First stop is the long beach at Ventry and a long walk in the sun, always with an eye to the odd marauding black cloud, clears the cobwebs. Great views all around and this time, we just make it back to the car as that shower tries an ambush.
West along the road then, heading for the famous Slea Head but enjoying the many great views in between and, of course, those large tourist-friendly seagulls who come very close indeed, probably looking for a little food (which we don't have!).
|View from Ventry beach|
You rise rapidly, walking among the many sheep, great views behind you to the beach and indeed to another inlet further up. As you rise, more and more of the islands come into view, including lots of sheep, a few white houses and a beach. After that first shower clears, we continue our walk, comforted by the fact that we were now within reach of a concrete shelter on the top of the hill. We are there, standing on layers of old sheep shit, when another shower comes, so brief it is hardly worth mentioning.
|The Blaskets, from Dunmore|
A few minutes after leaving the centre we arrive at another great viewing point. This is Clogher Head and the walk is enhanced by taking the muddy wet path up to the high point. We use our sticks here! The path is pretty good - probably better in summer - and leads you though jumbles of mostly huge rocks until you reach the summit which gives us a 360 degree view, the sea, including the Blaskets again, accounting for most of it.
Amazing it is not signposted from the main road as this is a historical site. It was the scene of a horrible massacre in 1580 of some 600 people, mainly Spanish and Italian soldiers of the Papal army which had surrendered to the British forces (who included Walter Raleigh). The memorial features heads and no bodies, a reminder that the prisoners, including women and children, were beheaded. You may read more of the details here.
|One of these large rocks on Clogher reminds me of a large reptile|
The Dingle peninsula is full of marvellous sights and we saw another one at its best on the following day. On that Saturday evening, with the sun shining, we drove up to the famous Conor Pass and enjoyed the views down to Dingle on one side and towards Brandon mountain and Brandon Bay on the other side. Fabulous.
|Silent reminder of a merciless massacre in 1580|