The west coast of Ireland has some amazing scenery and it was a nice finish to our time in the country. Unfortunately, the area is also renowned for being particularly rainy and our time there was particularly wet! Even so, it was enjoyable and we managed to see things through the rain.
|Views off the Dingle Peninsula|
We did the Dingle Peninsula as a day trip from Killarney (discussed in my last Ireland post), as it is only an hour or so to drive between the two areas. Like the Ring of Kerry from Killarney, the Dingle Peninsula provides a loop drive with scenic views and small town stops. There are also ancient ring forts and other stone ruins and churches. The peninsula is the western most point of Europe and on a clear day the views extend far into the distance.
We drove to the peninsular via Connor's Pass, a narrow winding stretch of road that curves around mountains that cross the peninsula. Mr Bite was driving, and I was rather glad, as at any point you could be confronted with a scenario like the one below.
There were areas to pull off the road to allow cars to pass, but it still had an element of danger, especially in the rain!
|Gallarus Oratory, a 1000-year-old tiny church|
|Dingle Peninsula coast line|
One of my highlights from our drive around the area was a small coastal stone fort with an accompanying cat. The cat followed us all the way around and was exceedingly friendly, doing its best to curl around our legs and get in our photos.
|Fort guarding cat|
After our day trip to the Dingle Peninsula we left Killarney to drive up the west coast, planning to visit the Cliffs of Moher and Burren National Park en route to Galway. Alas, on the morning of our drive we discovered our hire car had a flat tyre (after we had loaded it up, of course). We were extremely unimpressed with the lack of assistance from the car hire company (which rhymed with Mudget), despite their supposed break down and tyre cover. Fortunately we could get the tyre repaired for minimal cost at a garage in Killarney, but the delay left us with insufficient time to visit the Cliffs of Moher.
Instead, we visited The Burren. It is a very odd place!! The area has large expanses of limestone, giving rise to a bleak but impressive landscape. It also houses the poulnabrone dolmen, a portal tomb dated to 4200 BC to 2900 BC.
|Neolithic portal tomb|
It rained quite a lot in the Burren, so we didn't linger, but it was worth driving through. Further up the coast it continued to rain in Galway, although the brightly painted houses along the water front gave attractive balance to grey skies.
On our first night in Galway we ate at Fat Freddy's Restaurant, a place that, to me, seems poorly named! I overlooked the restaurant name because the menu listed vegan cheese as an option, either for their pizzas or for vegan quesadillas. As you may know, I'm not a cheese fan, but I like being catered to and on the day in question I decided to try vegan cheese on a whim.
I have never had vegan cheese before and it has been an awfully long time since I've had regular cheese, but I rather liked this one. It helped that it wasn't layered on the pizza too thickly. I don't know what the brand was, but wonder if vegan cheese will be another example of dairy products I like more when they are veganised. On balance, I still prefer my pizzas cheeseless, but it was nice for a change.
|Vegetarian pizza with sweetcorn and vegan cheese|
On the Saturday night, Galway seemed attractive and vibrant and there were lots of people enjoying themselves despite the rain. Unfortunately, most of our time in the city was on the Sunday morning, when the streets were deserted and the atmosphere a bit glum (it was still raining!). I'm not sure if our time there did it justice, but on balance, the other cities we visited held greater appeal for me.
There were certainly large sections of Ireland that we didn't see, but our 10 days covered quite a lot of ground and I am very glad to have had the holiday. As my food summary post will reveal in time, I also found it a very easy country to eat in and I never had trouble finding vegan food. I recommend visiting - but take an umbrella!
Past Ireland recaps: