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The Dingle

Southwestern Ireland

Entry into the Dingle harbor was welcomed with not only an abundance of sea life, but also the thousand shades of green that the Emerald Isle is known for. As we usually do after a long passage, we got our sea legs and rewarded ourselves with a dinner in town washed down with some cool beverages, this time though it was fresh Guinness. The town itself was a bit over touristed but by the end of our stay it had grown on us and we ended up staying in Dingle 5 days. We brought out the Bromptons and on our second day took a long ride out of town onto Slea Head drive and took in the scenery. We decided to take a short cut down a back road instead of doing the entire Slea Head circle.

We decided after an hour or so that the first pub we came upon we would stop in for a beer. We came across an Inn that had a Guinness sign out front. there were no cars in the parking area, just a bicycle. I figured it was closed but Jess popped her head in the door and confirmed they were open and in we went. As luck would have it, we sat down next to the owner of the pub/inn/brewery. Yup, a brewery and the eighth one in Ireland, now one of 80, The West Kerry Brewing Company. Instead of Guinness we had to have the local homemade brew. It was served from a cask, where its not pressurized and served by hand pump. A fine dark lager and wow was it good. The owner, Maryanne had just finished brewing a batch of an IPA that we stayed to have and it was amazing. She currently sells her beer mainly locally and cannot keep it in stock. She also said in passing, “hey, stop in Friday night when we have a local Criac night”.

This is basically open to any and all musicians to come and play traditional Irish music. As time is on our side, we stayed in the Dingle to go to the music night. We promptly arrived at 9:30 as the music was supposed to begin by then and were able to get a table right up front next to where we saw a couple of guys sitting with their stringed instruments. Within 30 minutes 10 more musicians were there all at a table and playing traditional music. Everything from bag pipes, accordion, harp, drum, flute, and a most I had no idea what the names were, even a traditional Irish dancer. The night was amazing, what a welcome to Ireland.

We left the Dingle with rare perfect weather to visit the Blasket Islands. We decided that if the swell was not too bad and the weather looked favorable we would try to stay the night. We first went to Great Blasket and anchored off a sandy beach. Here we went ashore and went for a short hike on the island. This is the first time Jess has been able to wear her boots and go for a walk. We spent about two hours admiring the beauty, went back to have a nice lunch and then made our way 5 miles to the next islands in the group, Innishvickillane. Here we tucked into a nook and dropped our anchor. The swell seemed manageable, at least to me. so I persuaded Jess to try and stay the night. Its a rare event to be able to spend time in this area as the swell and weather does not usually allow it. We were surrounded by a million puffins, ?????, as well as visited by some seals. The backdrop was stunning.

The swell did win out as it usually does and made for an uncomfortable night but we toughed it out and woke early in the morning to up anchor and hit the road. The last hiccup was bringing up the anchor. When setting it originally, on our 3rd attempt we finally caught. The anchor had been dragging on some rocks as I could feel it skip on the bottom. Finally it set, now I knew why. It laborious for the windlass the handle the extra load of what came up. a huge fisherman style anchor. Fortunately it had not chain attached, looked to be 100 years old and I was able to get it off. We set off on a 30 mile trip to Darrynane Harbor.

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