Ireland scenes: The Dingle Peninsula
Fungie the Dolphin is a big deal in Dingle.
For reasons unknown, the 500 pound animal has been prowling the waters of Dingle Bay for more than 30 years. He's known for following boats in and out of the harbor and he's big business in this little seaside County Kerry village.
Fungie tours are one of the most popular pastimes. For about 20 euros you set sail to see Fungie in his surroundings. The whole thing is kind of corny in a way, but the backstory is interesting since Fungie chooses to live solo and has become so popular in the area.
But there's more to Dingle and the Dingle Peninsula than Fungie. There are miles of backroads that are worth exploring. On a side trip my wife and I saw a farmer move about 30 head of cattle across the road in front of us by removing enough from a stone fence to let them pass through into the next pasture. Those scenes are quintessential Irish countryside and I don't think anyone in the cars backed up waiting for him to finish cared one bit.
The westernmost point of Ireland, and Europe can be found on the Peninsula. There are "strands" to explore along the way. If the weather is right the nearby Blasket Island is easily visible. One marker near the most picturesque portion of that coast marks the place where part of the John Wayne Film "The Quiet Man" was filmed.
Also not to be missed in Dingle: The seafood. Lobster, white fish of all kinds, scallops, prawns and oysters are in abundance and if you're from land locked Oklahoma it's worth noting the difference in freshly caught seafood.
B&B's are also in abundance. You won't find any chain hotels in this village of 1,900 and that's just fine with the locals. There are literally dozens. Some shutter at portions of the year, as our hosts Camilla and John Browne were preparing to do with their namesake B&B.
This couple have been in business for more than 20 years and know the area well. Americans sometimes struggle with warm, unexpected hospitality. But I wasn't quite prepared for Camilla to sit us down in the living room with a cup of tea and cookies while she went over some ideas for what we shouldn't miss on the peninsula. She handed us a small map and proceeded to carve out a nice 2-hour sightseeing itinerary for us. And her recommendations were spot on, the views from the coast here are as spectacular as any in Ireland in their own way. And as mentioned above, the roads that don't come with a water view are pretty amazing too.
Dingle, with its coastal scenery, and narrow country roads, is a great example of why renting a car in Ireland is well worth the expense (considerable) and taking the plunge with driving on the left. After a day it's second nature and ultimately seems like a silly thing to be afraid of.
Next stop: The Cliffs of Moher