Our visit to Dingle, County Kerry

in front of the smallest music store in Ireland

The town of Dingle was added to our itinerary after seeing a travel video where they walked down Gray’s Lane and into a bakery and a cheese shop. We were given a route by our host at The Lodge in Kenmare through the Ring of Kerry so we could see the view from Molls Gap and Ladies View on the way. It was meant to be an easy day trip and I really didn’t understand the scope of the journey.

En route to Dingle via the Ring of Kerry

After a somewhat harrowing drive around narrow mountain roads, we arrived in Dingle hungry. We were able to find a spot on Green St. and made our way toward Gray’s Lane for the advertised pastries and cheese. Unfortunately, the smell of cheese in the little cheese shop was so strong I almost walked back out. We settled on a Gubbeen from County Cork to eat later. Now we’re really hungry so I gobbled down a Guinness chocolate cupcake from the bakery next door. We were about to leave to try and find some seafood down by the harbor. We crossed Green St. to head back to the car and I popped into a little art gallery to pay for a postcard I had picked up on a rack outside. The woman at the desk asked if I wanted to look around first and explained that the art work was all by her mother who was still painting well into her 80’s. I called Nancy in and we were both charmed by the local scenery come to life. We both bought a print.

The artist is June McIntyre who uses a variety of innovative techniques including ones on silk that have a luminous quality. Check out https://dingleartworks.com/collections/silk-paintings.

June’s daughter Louise was also kind enough to direct us to the best place on the harbor to eat, John Benny’s Pub on Strand St, which faces the harbor. Louise also recommended that we stop to see the stained glass from a local artist, Harry Clarke at a venerable stone chapel named An Diseart up the street. In addition to the remarkable stained glass work, Mr. Clarke had painted a mural of the Last Supper in one of the classrooms. If you look closely, you can see scenery from the Dingle Peninsula peeking through the windows behind the people, who resemble many of the local residents.

On our way there, we popped into a tiny music store to see if they had the traditional music from the Fiddle Case. The gentlemen explained that they were from County Clare and this shop specialized in music from local artists in County Kerry. He recommended that we check out Eilis Kennedy, who was married to the owner of John Benny’s Pub. So after a brief stop at the chapel, we’re off to John Benny’s with Eilis’ CD in hand.

The smallest music shop in ireland
Eilis Kennedy live at John Benny’s Pub in Dingle

Finally, we sit down to a fabulous meal of local mussels in a creamy wine sauce with mushroom risotto and an interesting salad with sweet potatoes. We share our second half pint of Guinness of the three we’re able to manage on our entire tour of Ireland. We met John Benny, but his wife was not around to sign our CD.

John Benny Moriarity himself behind the bar
Mussels at John Benny’s Pub in Dingle

We had been encouraged by Louise at the Dingle Artworks not to miss a ride around the Slea Head Drive, but we had plans to go to Crowley’s in Kenmare that evening, so we will have to save that pleasure for the next time. I do have a gorgeous print of a sheep meadow to remember the day.

I hope I’ll remember the next time I’m in a strange place to make friends with those I meet, ask questions and follow their advice if I can.

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