By Holden Altaffer and Ann Boyd
Although the Dingle trip was planned on the syllabus, the idea was not well received by a few members of the class. The dissenters were granted a horseback riding option. I am ashamed to say that I was at first aligned with them at Milano pizza, rallying for a lazy day before the anticipated four hours to Dublin and the flight back home. I would have to say that the landscape is what converted me. The views from the bus were stunning. You have the vibrant green hills, the jagged coast, and castle ruins all sitting together in antiquity.
We stopped in a pub in Dingle to use their bathroom and to have a chat. The place was empty, save for a couple and I believe two bar-keeps. The place for some reason had an array of police department patches from all different places tacked up on the fall. The place also had paper currency mounted to the woodwork with notes from travelers. It was suggested that we post our own message below the one the dollar that came from Gonzaga. I don’t think the bill was posted because I think it is a federal offence to deface American currency.
I don’t think any of us had prior knowledge of what was going to happen on this trip, and so when the bus stopped in front of a private house overlooking the sea and Father Tom proceeded to the front door, we were puzzled. An old woman squinting from the strong sea breeze, welcomed Father Tom and he waved us off the bus. He said we have permission to look at the honeycomb houses in her yard. The structures did resemble honey comb and had a similar construction to New Grange; they were made of dry stone and the ceiling was of staggered flat stone. The houses sheltered people during the famine, but now they are storage space for the woman and two maybe more cats seem to be letting the space from the woman. The woman’s name is Mary O’Houlihan and I got a photo with her.
The other Notable figure in Dingle is Fungie the Dolphin. He is a long-time and voluntary resident of the Dingle Harbour. He is a bottle nose dolphin. He also has a bronze statue in his honor. John and I got a picture atop of it. The town offers morning tours to see him, unfortunately we arrived in Dingle towards the end of the afternoon.
We stopped at various points along the coast, taking in the breathtaking views. We saw The Sleeping Bishop, one of the islands along the coast with a silhouette that perfectly mimicked its namesake. Our group also made a stop at the site of the ruins of a 12th century Romanesque church known as Kilmalkedar. The coastline however, was the main attraction–on a clear day, we were able to see the sparkling blue water and the massive white spray against the cliff thrown up by the pounding waves. There were a few harrowing moments on the bus ride for those of us with vertigo, with the edge of the road and the edge of the cliff giving passengers a view of the sheer drop to the churning ocean below.
We stopped at John Benny’s Pub in Dingle for some much-needed lunch after a hard day of photography and walking in the sun and sea breeze. After refreshment we headed back, feeling lucky that we went when we did as the sky clouded over and the sea turned from blue to murky grey. Getting some sunlight and seeing the greens of the countryside practically glow in the light was a beautiful change from the typical winter weather we had been experiencing, and made for a truly wonderful last day out.