Statistics: 18.3 miles, ascent 845′, descent 913′, 7 hours.
After leaving Cloghane under cloudy skies and with a tail wind pushing us, we soon arrived at Fermoyle Strand known as the longest beach in Ireland, where we ran into friends we had met on the trail as well as hikers from California (Novato, CA and San Diego, CA). We all chatted for a bit before we wandered off to explore the beach, which included watching a windsurfer and a couple of kitesurfers.`
After we passed the windsurfers, oystercatcher birds became Act 2 of the entertainment as they darted up the beach into the wind, drafting each other. Soon the lead bird would drop back for the next bird to take the lead and so on.
This long strand was mostly deserted and swept by gusts of wind, giving us a little boost as we trotted along with the wind at our backs.
At the far end of this long, empty beach, it curved around to meet the village of Fahamore.
The citizens of Fahamore allowed horses to freely roam the town. The horses were clearly familiar with people, since they paid no attention to us while they munched their grass.
As we walked toward the village, a local approached us and mentioned that there was a good spot a half mile off the trail for tea and scones. Tea and scones are always a good idea; we took him up on his suggestion and had a delightful afternoon tea at the Harbour House.
Leaving Harbour House and Fahamore, we passed by the tiny village of Scraggane. Large boats, almost ships, called “Naomhógs” are made here. Legend has it that Brendan the Voyager, an Irish monk, used a Naomhóg when he successfully set sail for the Americas with 17 other monks in the mid 6th century. That vessel was 36 feet long and 8 feet wide at the beam, with leather stretched over a wooden frame. These boats are still made today in Scraggane.
Rounding the tip of this spit of land, we came full force into a fierce headwind. We battled the wind and sand in our faces for three miles. Most everyone we came upon warned of an impending rainstorm. Fortunately, we reached our cheery, antique-filled B&B, Castle House B&B, before the storm began.
The next day the storm had increased and a weather advisory warned of danger for hikers in the severe wind and rain. Unfortunately, we had to abandon that next day’s hike which was the planned, final day of our Dingle Way loop, and Castle House became our last stop on the Dingle Way. A taxi carried us forward to our original starting point in Tralee.