Statistics: mileage 15.9 miles ascent 1922′ descent 1715′ 6 3/4 hours
We again passed through the town and enjoyed Dingle’s charm as we left for the next adventure. Today’s path took us out of this valley and elevation was quickly attained, revealing great views of the town and the surrounding area. At one point we were just able to make out the island of Skellig Michael which we had explored a week earlier during our rest day on the Kerry Way.
Reaching the beach town of Ventry we picked up a few interesting stones and shells as we investigated that beach area.
About the time we were beginning to think about lunch we happened upon Geoff, Kathy, and Darby, a man and two women we had met while walking the first day of our Dingle Way hike (and will meet again!). They asked us to join them for lunch, but there was a little misunderstanding as someone else (see picture below) thought that they were invited also!
On our next section of trail we had spectacular views of the irregular coastline along Dingle Bay.
We had begun to make our way up along the shoulder of Mount Eagle when the Blasket Islands came into view.
Just as we were basking in the beauty of this lovely mountainside, we were amazed to see a whole village of small, beehive shaped hut ruins or clocháns. The hillside was dotted with dozens of them!
Hacking our way through heavy vegetation along the trail, we realized that there were even more beehive remains under all the bracken.
We continued around the shoulder of Mount Eagle, where we encountered more collapsed, ancient beehive huts. Later we learned that these may be up to 1,500 years old (6th century). More stunning views presented themselves, including Coumeenoole Bay, Dunmore Head and the Blasket Islands.
A fierce, bitter-cold wind hit us as we began a steep descent down Mount Eagle. Reaching the valley floor, we still had several miles of walking on a road to reach our B&B, An Portan. During that final stretch, our New World perspective with its (relatively) short history came out as we were amazed to see many centuries of Irish history in the form of these ancient beehives and/or famine house ruins scattered as part of the landscape in some farms’ front yards.
We were most happy to finally arrive at An Portan B&B, to be warmly greeted by our host, Ronan. She was most interested to learn that we were from the San Francisco Bay Area; she had spent a summer in San Francisco as a student years ago.