Ballydavid and Historic Brandon’s Creek
May 2 – 12, 2010
- Updated June 14, 2010
Ten photos mainly
taken by Betty Nolan are posted at www.kodakgallery.com
in an album entitled “
By LEWIS NOLAN
May 6, 2010 – Thursday - Drive to Ballydavid and Historic Brandon’s Creek on Dingle Peninsula
We arose at 7:45 a.m. after a good night’s sleep in our second-floor suite at the Dingle Skellig.
Betty Nolan by traditional Irish Curragh boat of hides stretched over wood frame
Our room overlooked a nicely planted courtyard and in the
distance the fog-topped hills surrounding
We enjoyed another great buffet breakfast at the hotel’s Coast Guard Restaurant. I again had two poached eggs, several pieces of yummy Irish bacon (like a round tip of loin of Canadian bacon with a short, lean tail of American-style bacon), a bit of brown bread with Irish butter, small glass of tomato juice and fruit including a banana, two prunes and a slice of fresh cantaloupe.
After eating, I read the Irish Times, a daily oversized
newspaper published in
Our plan for the day is to wait until mid-morning (the Irish by and large are not early risers) and drive out the narrow roads of Dingle Peninsula to the tiny settlement of Ballydavid in hopes of seeing Sean and Fiona O’Connor at their locally renowned pub-fishing resort, “Tigh T.P’s.” It was named after his living father and founder, whose first time is Timothy and middle name is Paul.
We had enjoyed their hospitality at the bar and also in their seasonal restaurant on previous trips when we stayed at the old Wine Rock Inn several miles away. Now, the comfortable inn is closed under it new name of Smerwick Harbor Hotel, a victim of overbuilding a few years ago when the tourist travel market was declining.
Our rental KIA sports utility vehicle (SUV) continued to be
a frustration. It had no instruction manual on how to operate the multiple
controls mysteriously mounted on the turn-signal lever behind the steering
wheel; Hertz failed to offer us a familiarization session when we rented it at
Driving down a narrow road connecting to the slightly wider
road at the intersection with the
Regrettably, it was only late morning and the garishly painted Tigh T.P.’s pub at Ballydavid had not opened. We were told by men working on a nearby fishing boat that the pub usually didn’t open until late afternoon.
We drove around the somewhat familiar but narrow, paved
lanes in the area to a famous defile in the coastline named “
Despite several visits to the place which sees little travel
from the historically curious, I still don’t understand how the native Irish
seem to use the names “Brendan” and “Brandon” almost interchangeably. Indeed,
hundreds of religious pilgrims still climb the nearby
We took a slightly different, back roads (really way, way
back roads) route from the Ballydavid portion of the
While there, we had as expected another delicious lunch of home-made tomato-basil soup made for them by a local cook with fresh tomatoes, basil and finely chopped bits of fresh carrots. The herbs and vegetables provide a naturally sweet taste. The soup was served with slices of Irish brown bread. Unfortunately, the snack bar’s microwave oven was out of order so I had to pass on trying a home-made piece of shepherd’s pie.
Betty found a hand-made, pottery lamp in a light green color
she liked. I was pleased to purchase it for her – along with a matching,
pottery wine chiller that can double as a large container for fresh flowers
plus a reddish-and-black colored flower vase for our living room in
Mulcahy’s pottery work and that of his talented staff now attract buyers from around the world. It is on display at the homes of “rich and famous” plus many museums in the British Islands, Europe and U.S. Tall pots large enough for small adults to hide in - like in some of the stories of the Arabian Nights - sell for €1,800 Euros and up (about $2,400 U.S. at current exchange rates). Hand-crafted tea sets sell for €395 Euros and up.
The firm’s website is at http://www.louismulcahy.com. A sister business is operated by his wife, Lisbeth Mulcahy, in Dingle. She is a famed weaver and offers various fabric artworks for sale there.
Mulcahy has moved “in house” to
the pottery complex on
Being so nearby, Betty and I again drove down the narrow, now-unmarked paved lane to a small parking lot overlooking Clogher beach. It is truly one of the grandest sights of nature we’ve ever seen, with Atlantic roller waves crashing against the black cliffs and massive rocks. The ocean is framed with a sugar-white beach and offers brilliant water in shades of blue and green. The beauty of the overlook makes my ancestral Irish blood run warm. On this day the only other people we spotted was a couple sunbathing behind a cleft in the cliffs that are guarded by massive rocks.
To the inland, we could also see the distant Cheann Sibeal Golf Course and its cluster of white, vacation cottages and rental condos nestled among the rolling green hills.
Betty and I drove back on
Once back at the Dingle Skellig Hotel, I enjoyed a quick glass of Harp Lager Beer along with a snack of carry-out Irish bacon on low-carb crackers. Betty walked into Dingle to do a little shopping while I had my customary afternoon nap.
That evening, we again enjoyed another wonderful dinner in the hotel’s Coast Guard restaurant, named for the emergency station on the bay-front edge of the property. I went for the fresh fish as usual, with a heavenly plate of grilled filets of sea bass and sea trout (has pink meat like salmon). Betty had a terrific serving of pan-fried veal, paired with Irish bacon in a rich, brown sauce. We shared a small platter of steamed broccoli, carrots and a tiny, stuffed potato (we only rarely eat that high-carb, starchy vegetable), followed by a single but scrumptious serving of sticky toffee pudding with caramel sauce.
Later, we watched cable/satellite TV in our hotel suite and bathed in the huge, walk-in shower in our marble-lined bathroom. I retired at 10 p.m. I wanted to get a good night’s rest and sleep to prepare my nearly 67-year-old body to play 18 holes of golf for the first time in over 4 years of recuperation. That’s how long it took to recover from a torn rotator cuff in my right shoulder and subsequent brain aneurysm.