Overseas and Off-Campus Programs Blog
The Dingle Peninsula
Program Semester and Year
This Friday I hopped on a train to explore a corner of Ireland I’ve been dreaming of for over a year–The Dingle Peninsula. I brought two friends with me, to share the weekend adventures. We arrived in the quaint town (population 2,050) after 11:00 pm and I fell asleep that evening beyond excited for the outside dark to lift so that I could actually see my surroundings.
There was no disappointment.
The town of Dingle is located on the Western coast of the island, about a 5 hour trip from Dublin, and nestled between the rolling hills you imagine when someone says “Ireland”. The houses are painted in bright colors, making the town adorable and toylike, as though you accidentally stumbled onto a movie set or into a corner of Disneyland. Green hills rose all around us, creating a valley holding the town just on the edge of the ocean.
We woke up early on Saturday morning with the hopes of eating breakfast in Dingle before we planning our journey to the tip of the peninsula. When we walked into town however, it was, almost comically, deserted. Nearly every store front had a sign in the window stating that it would be reopening after the season break in March. After some searching we resigned to making our own breakfast back at the Airbnb before walking again into town to rent our transportation for the day; bicycles.
Our journey took us on a 22 mile route from Dingle to Dunquin Harbour. We planned to ride along the coast, over several hills and then back into the valley and Dingle town.
The weather, in typical Irish fashion, did not appear to be on our side. About twenty minutes after pedaling out of town, the wind picked up and it began to rain. My mood however, couldn’t be dampened, even by this minor hurricane. We wound along narrow roads where dramatic cliffs met milky blue ocean on our left and large misty green pastures hugged our right side. Being on a bicycle felt strangely elating, my face was stretched in an almost permanent smile.
After a couple hours of stinging raindrops and wind so intense I had to account for it in my steering, I was completely soaked through. Despite the cold however, my overall feeling of glee could not be erased.
That evening, we all sat around a fire at “Dingle Pub” and laughed about the crazy conditions we had been out in all day. In some ways it felt ridiculous that we had chosen to stay outside as long as we had, but mostly we reflected on our gratitude: to our bodies for allowing us to pedal such a distance and up so many hills, to this world for continually awing us with her beauty, and for the warmth of the fire we were gathered around.