Posts Tagged With: Dingle Peninsular

Dingle Peninsula. The Irish Alps

I have blogged about Dingle quite a few times and posted many photos. Even the name has a delightful ringle to it.  So what else could I possibly say about it?  But. There’s the thing about Ireland. There are always surprises and you can go back time after time and each time it’s like you’re there for the first time.

It was the end of February and my annual pilgrimage to Ballyferriter was completed (I have written about this Festival in previous years and it delivered yet again). It was time to go home. I’d been up that night until 4am playing tunes with wonderful people whose friendship is renewed every year.  That’s what’s great about Festivals.  It’s not just the music.

Anyway, during my short time in bed I lay awake listening to the wind lashing and the hail thrashing. A wild night.  Next morning it was calm and there were patches of sun, so I decided to head around the Slea Road back to Dingle, one of my favourite drives. I’d had Aidan Connolly in the cd player all weekend so it was time for a change. I stopped to retrieve a new CD and something made me look back towards Mt Brandon. I was stunned by the view. Completely shrouded in snow with Ballyferriter nestled at the bottom. This is what I saw.


Mt Brandon, the third highest mountain in Ireland looms over Ballyerriter.

A quick change of plans and I headed the other way making the instant decision to return via Conor Pass.

Perhaps a little foolhardy but the weather looked ok and I doubted I would get another opportunity like this. It turned out to be an inspired decision. As I got closer to the pass the patchwork of paddocks gave way to a carpet of white.  The weather came and went in waves as I headed up the hill.   I was greeted at the top by another snowfall. But also enough sun to revel in the alpine glory. I was in the heart of the Kingdom and I had been granted admission to the Palace. I was lost for words and I really can’t describe the feeling I had immersed in this wilderness.

On this occasion I will let the camera talk. And talk it will. Loudly. Driving over the top and down Conor Pass, there were surprises with every turn in the road . I headed to the villages of Cloghane and Brandon and out to Brandon Point and then returned along the coast to Aughacasla. All the time snow clad ranges framed the views.

Please enjoy these photos of an Ireland rarely seen.


The green fields of Kerry on the road up the Conor Pass, from Dingle, turned progressively whiter,


and whiter,


and whiter,


and whiter.


The view from the top.


Heading down the mountain


Corrie lakes in the glacial valley


The start of the steep bit! Or the end if you’re coming down.



And then…..


It started to snow.


It’s not easy to photograph snow.


At the bottom of the pass is this view towards Mt Brandon.


And the light kept changing.


This is still Ireland.


The Irish Alps


Slieveanea from the base of the Pass


Approaching Cloghane


A view of Mt Brandon near Cloghane


Cloghane with Mt Brandon.


Mt Brandon looms above Cloghane Church


Mt Brandon


The sun shone


The road from Cloghane to Brandon


looking across the bay to Beenoskee


And then it was raining


Fenced in


The mountain disappears in the mist


View from the pier at Brandon


The pier at Brandon



Another view across the bay towards Beenoskee


Incongruity.  Surfers in the bay.




The village of Brandon



Cappagh Strand near Brandon village


View across Brandon Bay and Cappagh Strand


Cappagh Strand


View from Cappagh Strand back towards Mt Brandon


The village of Cloghane


Cloghane or have I been teleported to Switzerland?


The hills are alive with the sound of……


A last view of Mt Brandon.

Categories: My Journey, Wild Ireland | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Trip to Ballyferriter. Over the Conor Pass.

I had  been to the Dingle Peninsular three times before and each time the weather was so bad I was warned off crossing Conor Pass.  Not this time.  I am off to a music festival in Ballyferriter and as I crossed the water to Kerry via the ferry from Kilimer there was glorious sunshine.  And then there was rain.  And then sunshine.

I could see the Slieve Mish mountains and they were snow-capped and so enticing I decided to risk the Conor Pass.   I pulled into a garage to fuel up and the guy behind the counter in a rich Kerry brogue says,  “So where are you headed?”  “Dingle”.  “Ahh.  You’ll be going over the mountain then.” I could only agree.


The Pass is the highest in Ireland.  It is a winding,  often single lane road and  buses are banned.  At one point the road climbs continuously for over five kilometres.

It didn’t take long for the cloud to descend and by the time I reached the Pass it was snowing.  Just light wonderful flakes drifting hither (and thither).  Not enough to settle.  My fingers were numb but I clicked away furiously.  It was around 1oC but I was charmed by the beauty.    The landscape had been scoured by glaciers in the most recent Ice Age and all the features I had learnt about at Rock School were there.  U-shaped valleys, tarns (or as they are known here corrie lochs), a string of them in fact (called a paternoster) and moraines and deposits of glacial till.  One corrie sits well above the valley floor in a perched valley (cirque).  There was a perfect glacial pavement with striations caused by the scraping of rocks carried along the bottom of the glacier.   Check the photos. Aside from being a geological wonderland it was a place of extraordinary beauty.  The one lane road crept up the mountain to the top of the pass where to the north I could see Castlegregory and across to the Blaskets and to the south Dingle stretched before me.


Conor Pass.  Glacial moraine in the foreground.



Glacial pavement with striations, Conor Pass


Corrie lakes, U shaped valley, cirques.  Conor Pass


Top of Conor Pass


How hard is it to build a straight wall?


View towards Dingle from the top of the Conor Pass



On to Ballyferriter and I was greeted by an intense hailstorm .  Just a couple of minutes but enough to create a temporary whiteout.  Four seasons in one day.  Was I in Melbourne?

I will talk about the music festival that took me to Ballyferriter in my next blog.

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Wild Dingle, Co. Kerry

With all the festivals of late I haven’t had any time to post any pictures from the various road trips I have made in the last few weeks. So I will try and catch up slowly. This post is about the beautiful Dingle Peninsular. When at Ballyferriter ( I had a couple of opportunities, with breaks in the weather, to get out and have a look at the countryside between Slea Head and Mount Brandon. I was pretty lucky but it was frustrating as well as I couldn’t help thinking she was like a heavily-veiled Turkish dancer shyly lifting her shroud to reveal the beauty within and then quickly covering up again. Tantalising me with fleeting glimpses, just as the sun peeks out before another squall or hailstorm swept in. You had to be quick with the camera to catch it. There was a snowfall the day before I arrived and another while I was there so Mt Brandon had a good dusting which, when the mist lifted, contributed to an Alpine feel.

The west Kerry landscape is so beautiful. A little more ordered than Clare (without the wildness of the Burren) but a patchwork of stone-walled verdant fields dotted with quaint villages – almost the archetypal Ireland. It has a rugged Atlantic coastline in common with West Clare and some spectacular beaches, which on this particular weekend were being pounded by some mighty waves. It is no wonder the area attracts tourists in droves along with artists, filmmakers, musicians and people seeking the ‘real’ Ireland.

Here are some photos which I think will give a taste of the extraordinary beauty of this part of Ireland.  But it is only a taste and I will return to have another look and explore further when the weather is kinder.  So expect more.

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