The Dingle Way

Well, we are alive and travelling around southwestern Ireland.  Since our other backpacking trips were cancelled, we will be on vacation for the next few weeks.  Currently we are in Kenmare, Ireland enjoying the quainte town, which in some ways reminds us of Aspen.  Tomorrow we fly to London and the next day to Switzerland.  Yesterday we got to drive around the Ring of Kerry, which was really beautiful!  James had fun getting used to driving on the left side of the road…no accidents yet.  Since you may want to know about our backbacking trip around the Dingle Penninsula, we will give you an overview:
Day One
We left the grapevine hostel and drove to Brandon Bay on the north side of the Dingle Penninsula.  We started hiking up over a pass near Brandon Mountain in the rain.  We hiked, it rained, we hiked more and it rained more.  The further up we went the harder it rained.  When it finally stopped a bit, we decided we should eat some lunch, but after setting up one of the rain flies, it started to pour along with crazy wind.  That was probably the worst part of the trip.  We cooked outside and handed tomato soup to the freezing campers who hudled in the tent.  We think we were all experiencing the first stage of hypothermia.  However, once we reached the top of the pass, the bad memories were behind us and we had an incredible view of the sea, rolling hills, and cliffs.  We hiked down and eventually reached a little pub.  James went in to see if they might be watching the Czech vs. Greece game that night, and fortunately they invited us to join them and camp next door on their lawn (for free even).  People here are extremely nice!  So, while some drank a guiness, we watched Czech lose on a big screen tv.  The Czech students were disappointed, but promised it wouldn’t affect their attitudes for the rest of the trip.
Day Two
We woke up to lots of rain, but had to continue hiking anyway.  By now we were all getting used to being wet all the time.  As we neared the coast, the weather cleared up a little bit – enough for us to have a nice lunch on a pier while we watched the waves crash against the rocks.  After lunch was everyone’s favorite section of the trail.  To our right were cliffs that dropped to the ocean and for the next two or so hours we admired the amazing views.  Along the way, we stopped and layed on our stomachs to look over the cliffs and watch the waves hit the really beautiful black rocks.  The wind was blowing pretty hard and sometimes foam from the sea would blow up over the cliffs.  It was pretty incredible. 
Day Three
We woke up to rain, but it turned out to be a nice day and we could finally take off our jackets.  We hiked from the north side of the pennisula to the south side.  Along the way we got to see some of the ruins on the penninsula.  The coolest was a very old oratory (we don’t know what that means) that looks like a stone hut, which was built by monks.  It was made  completely of rocks with no mortar and is still water tight.  Once we get our pictures on here, you’ll get to see it.  We ended up on a small beach.  Since the weather was nice, we played for a while.  Some of us built a sand castle/fort thing.  We set up camp on the dunes near the beach, our best campsite of the trip.
Day Four
We hiked through lots of vegetation over a small pass and reached the outskirts of Dingle, where we camped at the Rainbow Hostel.  The Czech students wanted to hike a bit more, so they climbed a hill near the hostel that overlooks the town of Dingle.  We had our first night without rain there, which was great!
Day Five
James and I walked into town to get breakfast for everyone, and when we had finished eating, we packed up and walked back to the Grapevine Hostel.  It was great to take a shower and walk around town a bit.  We all had dinner together that night and stayed up late talking.  The next day we went to the airport with Barb and the students, said goodbye, got our rental car, and went back to Dingle where we got to walk around town really for the first time since all our time there before was filled with trip preparation.
Trip Reflections:  Overall, it was a very different trip than what we are used to doing in Colorado.  Czech students are much different than American students in how they relate to us as guides.  Another difference was that they wanted to hike much farther each day than we had planned, but we weren’t able to go as far as they probably wanted to because of the content we had to fit in (life stories and reading the Bible).  We enjoyed getting to know each of them…they are all very unique and really great to be with.  We also enjoyed getting to know Barb, their leader.  She is an amazing person!  We hope this trip had a lasting impact on them and we look forward to following up with Barb to see what happens in the future.

5 thoughts on “The Dingle Way

  1. Philly

    Sounds like a sweet trip. I would love to see the route you guys took when you return. Got a real kick out of you guys camping on the lawn of the pub. He he.
    I believe you are heading/arriving in Switzerland today and meeting with Greg. I’m sure that will be fun to see him and his family. You will love the countryside there. I fact I believe that Greg lives in the same town as my cousins in Germany, Kandern. They work at the Black Forest Academy (Missionary Kid school/home). There names are Tony and Melody Olson. I am sure the chances of you meeting them are slim to none but I figured might as well let you know.
    Look forward to seeing those pictures of yours. Thought James bought that camera so they could all be uploaded? Oh well.

  2. Ben C

    The adventures of Jenny and James continue! It’s awesome to see what you guys are doing. I pray for your well being and safety, and James better be doing mushy romantic things for Jenny whilst you are gallavanting (sp?) around europe. Go team!

  3. Heather

    Jenny and James. I am so jealous. I wish I was with you both. I can picture all the places in my mind and am excited that you are able to experience a piece of my world. Life in Texas is crazy. Its so different, calm, relaxing…I’m engaged officially!!! As of July 4…it’s great. And Tiffany…well…she’s heading off on a trek of her own to a foreign land that we have already visited. That Leakey really has a way… Anyhow…can’t wait to see your pics and hear about Cinque Terra and everywhere else.
    Love you guys!

  4. damama

    Hi Sweethearts,
    Check in on you every day. Sounds like Dingle was a challenge. Praying for your safety. Missed you over the 4th. We all here wished we were up at the Ranch. Travel safe and watch your backside. Love Mom


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