Dingle, County Kerry, Ireland
population: 1,920 people and 10,000+ sheep
In celebration of my parents' 35th wedding anniversary, my family and I hopped on a plane from Chicago to Dublin, en route to a ten day Irish excursion. The entire trip was filled with fun, food, and laughter, but for the sake of this blog series I have chosen to focus specifically on the three days we spent in Dingle.
"By the looks of ya's, you'll never make it to the Kingdom of God, but at least you made it to the Kingdom of Kerry."
These were the first words spoken by our less-than-benevolent cab driver as we approached the town of Dingle. Even after spending the last four years in Horse Country, I have never seen something so beautiful as the miles of rolling hills in County Kerry, speckled with tiny white dots that I eventually realized were just thousands of sheep. The sheep quickly became my favorite part of the whole vacation; each farmer brands their sheep with a particular spray painted color in order to keep an accurate head count, and I could not stop fantasizing about the coral and teal triangles I would hand paint onto each and every one of my fuzzy little buddies. Or perhaps I could paint my Instagram handle and hope that some wandering farmer/architect will be awestricken by the craftsmanship displayed and hire me on the spot.
Dingle is a tiny, picturesque port town along the Dingle Peninsula with only two or three main streets and the rest is Irish countryside. Small as it may be, Dingle attracts a great deal of tourism during the summer because of its oceanfront location and vintage charm. Easily navigable with dozens of creative pop up shops and boutiques, I would recommend at least twelve hours of aimless window shopping to anyone visiting Dingle. In addition to haphazard wandering, I've also compiled a list of four must-see's. Keep reading!
**My list of favorite spots is small this week, so I've added some honorable mentions in the off chance that anyone reading this actually plans to visit Dingle and is looking for more recommendations: Crinkle (gourmet grab 'n go baked goods, coffee, and Irish sea salt bath goods), La Bohéme (eclectic clothing store with vintage pieces to die for), Strand House (another cute Irish clothing store, lots of authentic wool), Dingle Record Shop ("World's Smallest Record Shop"! Weird/cool!)**
In my opinion, Lisbeth Mulcahy is Irish royalty. And my opinion is very valid: I am a distant relative of Charles Haughey, former prime minister of Ireland. An innovative weaver/fashionista, married to an incredibly talented potter, the Mulcahys have two shops along the Dingle Peninsula — Lisbeth's retail shop in the "downtown" area, and Louis's pottery shop a few miles out of town. Lisbeth's shop features a small selection of Louis's work, and Louis's shop sells a few of Lisbeth pieces as well. #Relationshipgoals. Their work is wildly popular in Dingle and throughout southern Ireland, and Lisbeth makes a point to swing by her shop quite frequently. The sweater I'm wearing in the featured image of this post is from her store and I have never been so cozy in my entire life. Click on her name at the top of this paragraph and check out her work!
My dad and brothers-in-law booked a fishing trip Saturday afternoon in hopes of catching dinner for the family, and that they did! They returned from their voyage with seven Pollock and we made our way to John Benny's, a seafood restaurant that will fry whatever you catch and serve it up beautifully. I'm not one for seafood, so this experience was purely aesthetic for me. I can say that the sirloin steak and garlic mash is amazing!
Murphys Ice Cream
Ever heard of Kerrygold butter? County Kerry is famous for their liquid-gold-producing Kerry cows, a true blessing to the Irish dairy industry. Supposedly the finest cow's milk money can buy, Kerry cow milk available for purchase throughout Ireland, but the good stuff is right here in County Kerry. Specifically, Dingle. Specifically-er, Murphys Ice Cream. The sticky toffee pudding flavor is the only sticky toffee pudding that need exist. This place was a daily stop for my family.
Upon entering the Dingle Crystal workshop, the first thing I see is a gigantic framed picture of the shop's owner and Bono. I was sold. Having the opportunity to watch a few heavily tattooed friends of Bono hand craft such intricate crystalware was so fascinating. I could not look away. I don't know enough about crystal to eloquently describe how cool this was, so I've linked his website at the top of this paragraph. The company has a warehouse about ten minutes out of town as well as a retail shop in a more central location. I am a huge "How They Make It" fan, and the chance to watch this meticulous process in the warehouse and then see the finished product in the retail store was incredibly rewarding for me.
This was the trip of a lifetime, and I am truly so fortunate for the adventurous family that I have been blessed with. I hereby vow to always make time for travel, as well as for family. To anyone who is hoping to visit Ireland: Dingle is definitely worth the trip. Also, feel free to reach out to me! I have a well-documented itinerary that I am more than willing to share with anyone interested.
That's it for this well-spent weekend! Thank you for reading, and stay tuned for more travel diaries!