Statistics: 14.7 miles, ascent 1682′, descent 1752′, 6 hours.
As we left Annascaul and headed toward the coast, we walked along a minor road that hugged the base of the mountainous area named Doorah. High up on two nearby peaks we could make out isolated, 15-foot, Bronze Age “standing stones” thought to have been used for rituals or burial grounds. Imagine the huge effort require to place these monster stones! Moving along, we had a lovely valley on the right and mountains on the left.
Further down the trail we met a very chatty man, Gordon, and his dogs as he was working in his garden. We learned that Gordon was a musician who frequently performed in the various Dingle pubs. He also told us about a particularly interesting ruin, Minard Castle, which we would see as we approached the coast. This castle was a 17th century Tower House which had been attacked and destroyed by Cromwell in 1650. Also, if we asked, the owner of the castle would most likely agree to give us a tour around the forbidden ruin. Unfortunately, we were not able to locate him and only viewed it from afar. Minard Castle is situated on a beach covered with enormous stones brought in by storms; hence it is referred to as a “storm beach.”
Our first view of Lispole was of its impressive church.
Crossing the N86 roadway from the church, we stopped to resupply our candy bars (Snickers are a favorite energy food) at the Kate’s Corner café. During this brief stop we noticed, in the valley below the café, the Lispole Viaduct, which was part of the old, narrow gauge Dingle to Tralee Railway which operated from 1891 to 1953.
We could see Dingle as we descended on the trail. In a nearby field, several border collies were working a herd of sheep – always a fascinating sight, reminding me of my Border Collie, Panda, at home in California. Once in town, we easily found the bright red Lantern B&B, which added to the rainbow of building colors on the town’s High Street.
After settling into this small, cozy hotel, we began exploring the town. Our Rick Steves’ Ireland guidebook aided us with directions to local points of interest, including a small, carved, 2000 year old stone in a wall that marked the location of an ancient holy well.
A very enjoyable afternoon of exploring the charming town of Dingle was topped off by a delicious meal at Ashes Bar and Restaurant .