– by tower, lighthouse, beach & cliff

First light over Dingle Harbour

To begin I could only see the harbour and town lights. In that very special hour before sunrise the outline of Dingle Harbour gradually emerged. Along the low water edge several herons focussed alertly on breakfast. Seabirds foraged busily between muddy and stoney shore and water.

Hussey’s Folly guards the northern entrance to Dingle Harbour

In the twenty minutes it took to get to Hussey’s Folly the new day was fully born. Here there is a commanding view of all of the harbour. The tower told sailors to let down their sails to round the mouth of the harbour safely.

Built in 1845 during the famine to win converts to the established church. Or was it a true ‘folly’ … suggesting unattainable grandeur. A sister, Eask Tower, was built in 1847 on the southern entrance to the harbour.

Dingle Lighthouse warns sailors in bay and harbour

The cottage lighthouse was completed in 1885 at a cost of £580. It’s automated red light talks to sailors between harbour and bay.

From this point a unique panorama. The huge expanse of Dingle Bay west to Valentia Island and the Skellig Rocks and the mountain backdrop of the Luanasa peaks of Drung and Knockadobar and the distant MacGillicuddy Reeks. As well the whole of Dingle Harbour and town.

Beenbane beach at low tide

Walking along the clifftop over Dingle Bay I couldn’t believe by eyes. At 9 on the morning of Friday December 1 two women were preparing to swim. Walking by the head of the beach the car registration indicated the swimmrs were from Galway. Given more clement conditions this is the quiet place where Dingle people swim

Cliffs east of Beenbane Head

Low lying cloud-like rivers flowing into the sea give the view a sense of mystery, of magic. A very special story backdrop. Here the view south, east and west is a huge panorama of Dingle Bay.

I would have liked to walk on to Doonsheane with its beach and deep sea inlet. But between walking and taking photographs I had now been gone for more than an hour.

West from Beenbane Head – cliff, harbour and town

Now retracing my steps the sheer cliff and view of the wide harbour highlight the special location of Dingle. The distant lighthouse cottage and tower and even the town sprawl indicates our small mark on this place.

Reenbeg Point and Eask Tower

Looking west the headland on the southern entrance to Dingle Harbour looks like a rich green Treasure Island guarded from the hilltop.

Now returning by beach, lighthouse, tower and finally at water level by the harbour in two hours I was back on the edge of Dingle town. A very special trek.

– Frank Lewis

for more information or to book a stay at our self-catering holiday accommodation, Gallan Eile …

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