Saturday morning we left Kenmare and headed out toward the Ring of Kerry. First, we went into Killarney National Park. Wow. Breathtaking views! I think my favorite spot was the Ladies’ View. There is just so much of God’s majesty on display over here, it is magnificent. Further into the park, we went to the Muckross Estate. We walked the grounds and went to the Abbey, but did not view the House or the Torc Waterfall. It was another great stop!
After we were finished at Muckross, we doubled back and got on the Ring. It was gorgeous!! And not quite as scary as we had thought. The road is narrow and wind-y and there are many blind curves. But it was definitely worth it. The hills, mountains, and seascapes were incredible. We ate in a little pub near the Scariff Islands. It was terrible food, but we were hungry!
When we exited the Ring we headed straight for the Dingle Peninsula, which is next to the Iveragh Peninsula (home of the Ring of Kerry). We made our way into Dingle, which is a gaeltacht. A gaeltacht is a community that still speaks Irish. Generally, the older generations speak it more than the younger…or at least the younger generations also speak English. Almost all of the road signs were in Irish, but thankfully it didn’t really impede our navigation.
We had a difficult time finding lodging in Dingle, as it was a Saturday night and apparently they host Hen and Stag parties each weekend. That would’ve been good to know. Especially after we passed on one room assuming there were many others. There wasn’t. But after we struck out everywhere, we went back to the original room and it was still available. This, despite at least one other group of girls trying to look at it as we walked out the door. Phew!
Then we got ready and went out. Our first stop was Dick Mack’s, which was suggested to me by an Irish girl from Dingle who read my blog. It was an awesome pub. We really loved the place. I was in a bad mood, though, so I wasn’t feeling it as much as I normally would have. But even so, I can recognize that it was a truly unique pub! Then we went to Foxy John’s. Foxy John’s is famous for being a hardware store by day and a pub by night. I had heard of it, so I wanted to go. But after Dick Mack’s, we almost didn’t go. I decided to go in and that changed the course of our entire evening.
I went to the bar to get a round of drinks and by the time I was done, Loren had struck up a conversation with two guys. As I said, I was in a bad mood, so I didn’t know how I felt about having to talk to these people. I noticed that one, Aidan, was quite cute, though, so I eventually eased into a conversation with him. We hit it off. Aidan and his friend (Jamie/Shane…he initially told us his name was Jamie and later admitted he lied and that his name was Shane…not sure what his name really is!) went outside to smoke and then Aidan came back in and asked if we wanted to attend a wedding reception. Um, what? I don’t think that’s appropriate. Aidan convinced us it would be perfectly fine and no, we were not Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn by crashing the wedding. (I’m still not so sure.) To convince us, Aidan graced us with his motto: “when in doubt, accelerate.” So we did.
Apparently there had been some kind of bet with Jamie/Shane and their other friend, Tom, about whether Aidan could get us out of the pub. We all hopped into a taxi and went to the Dingle Skellig Hotel, where the reception was being held. We all had a drink in the bar before going into the reception, as the underlying circumstances of the wedding were delicate (and I am not going to get into on this blog). It was definitely uncomfortable at first, but everyone was SO welcoming. You hear about the Irish being welcoming, but this was a whole new level. Everyone we talked to said, “the more the merrier in Ireland!” When I told one guy I had met a little ways into the reception that I felt uncomfortable, he replied, “What da ya mean, has no one welcomed you yet?” And he meant it. He was upset that I didn’t feel welcome at a wedding reception to which I was not invited. That, to me, is the prime example of the Irish spirit. I reassured him that no, everyone was very welcoming. He said, “Oh you’re just paranoid?” Yep. Pretty much.
The reception was at the dance stage when we arrived. It was much like a wedding dance in the U.S. Lots of the same music, everyone talking, dancing, and mingling. But there were Irish parts to it. Some Irish music and dancing, which was fun. They played Galway Girl! The night got away from us and the next thing I knew, it was 4am. And there was nary a taxi in sight. Aidan and I found Loren and Jamie/Shane and tried, unsuccessfully, to get a taxi. One even turned us down about three times before Loren convinced him to take us to our B&B. We both said quick goodbyes to the guys and got in the taxi. We got into bed around 5am. Hands down the best night in Ireland.