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 8, 2010 –Saturday
Because of our travel clock’s battery evidently failing, Betty and I slept in until 8 a.m. at the very comfortable suite we enjoyed at the Dingle Skellig Hotel.
Betty Nolan by Celtic statues made at nearby Mulcahy Pottery on Ireland’s Dingle Peninsula
With the sun already up and bright, we were greeted by a beautiful Irish morning of blue skies, lots of sunshine and rather cool temperatures at this late Spring time of year.
We again had our usual, excellent and included breakfast at the hotel’s Coast Guard restaurant with its big tables of cold and hot morning foods. The very nice restaurant manager, Paula Monyan, gave us a cheery and smiling greeting, which we’ve come to expect from hotel employees per the posted signs formally making “promises to guests” that are faithfully observed.
I had my usual breakfast of two poached eggs, several pieces of Irish bacon, a small banana, a few slices of fresh fruit and two dried prunes, along with a slice or two of buttered, Irish brown bread and a small glass of tomato juice. Once again, I’m ready for the activities of the day.
Well fed and with wonderful weather at hand, we decided to
spend at least part of the day again retracing the scenic
We planned to follow the
Here and there were a few sandy beaches that would invite
sunbathers on the rare days when the temperature warmed to 80 degrees F or so
in this part of
In the distance was the rugged farmland in various shades of green and criss-crossed by ancient stone walls.
At one especially pretty headland washed with crashing surf, we trekked down a paved, narrow road that winded its way down to a small but pretty beach. A nearby sign said it was where scenes from the highly regarded, dramatic movie of a half-century ago, “Ryan’s Daughter,” were filmed in black and white.
Our only disappointment came when we stopped at the
government-developed and managed
I had remembered eating fairly well at a reasonable price in the museum’s cafeteria on a previous trip. However, neither the fare nor charges were reasonable on this visit. My large green salad was piled high with sliced onions and a half-can of corn kernels. It was basically inedible. Betty’s selection wasn’t much better. Making it worse, a male employee refused to place any ice in our soft drinks (saying “that’s what Americans like but we don’t.”) So we didn’t eat our $30-lunch and agreed that we would not return to the place. I think I should report our unpleasant experience there to Irish tourism authorities.
Farther down the
Leaving the beach area, we took several short detours down
narrow lanes to
We got back on the
We re-visited the very historic Gallarus
Oratory a few miles away from the now-closed hotel. It is reputedly the oldest
Christian church that is still standing in
The Oratory – an ancient name for a church – is thought to have been built in the 7th or 8th Century A.D. A relatively modern supervisory office collects a modest fee from visitors to walk inside the Oratory, buy souvenirs, use restrooms or go upstairs to a snack bar.
We enjoyed talking to a native Irishman who runs the visitor
center, a man who seemed to be educated and well read in matters of Irish
history and public policy. His name was Seamus (pronounced Sha-muss
as in old-time cop movies) Kelliher. He was quite
knowledgeable about the English mistreatment of native Irish during the great
famines of the 1840s and 1850s; he took me outside and gave me the use of his
high-powered binoculars to examine a distant hillside on
The wall had been built, he allowed, as a public works
project. It was part of the pitiful and pathetically inept attempt of the
ruling English to provide relief to the starving Irish.
Seamus also pointed out a nearby, medieval-looking stone
fortress which had been built centuries before by the conquering
It was fun talking to Seamus and an absolute delight to see a man with his deep interests and knowledge about the subject under his stewardship. Too many times, Betty and I seem to end up talking with dim-witted youths at attractions interested only in whatever money they can get for being polite to tourists. He gave us several interesting brochures dealing with interesting historic structures in the area and also ancient manuscripts.
Despite his directions and assorted maps, we had a tough
time finding again the unmarked monument to the ancient Irish Celtic settlement
Once back at the Dingle Skellig Hotel, I enjoyed a pint of Harp Lager beer and napped while Betty read for a while.
There was another blowout wedding reception at the hotel that afternoon. Betty enjoyed watching the young marrieds and their attendants from the rural area arrive in flower-bedecked cars and a Rolls-Royce limo. Some of the festive clothing of the guests was “distinctive,’ to say the least.
Betty inquired of an Irishman wearing plaid shorts and Scottish-looking accessories about when the wedding reception music would be played by a visiting group with traditional folk instruments. With a big grin, he said, “When they stop drinking.” Actually, we were told by a couple later that the wedding reception carried on until the pre-dawn hours next morning. It’s no wonder that it is sometimes difficult to check into Irish holiday accommodations until mid-afternoon.
We again hugely enjoyed another wonderful dinner in the hotel’s Coast Guard restaurant. I had freshly caught and broiled sea bass and allowed myself a few French fries served with Betty’s dinner of Fish and Chips. We split a very yummy crème brulee for dessert.