It was July 7, 2015 and we were four days into our family vacation to Ireland. I was standing on a grassy hilltop, overlooking this gorgeous, shallow, green valley. Small clovers and blades of grass twitched idly in the wind, and a light rain misted the scattered group of people taking in the view.
We stopped at this viewing point to admire the Irish countryside on our way to a small town called Dingle. In this moment, I remember just being at peace. I wasn’t worried about anything, I wasn’t in a rush to get anywhere, I was just enjoying the beauty of it all. Coming from Southern California, seeing a view that was entirely green, with no sign of hot asphalt or sickly smog, (and also being in a place that was cool and rainy for more than one hour at a time) was so special for me.
Eventually, we got back in our rental car and drove the rest of the way to Dingle. Dingle is a sea-side, small town on the lower West coast of Ireland, and it was my favorite part of this trip. One of the first things we saw coming into Dingle was a street busker and his a small, colorful cart that looked like a barn from a fairytale. The cart had various Dingle street signs and posters collaged on the side, and in front, the busker was slouched on a little red wooden box playing a recorder. In front of him was a light brown, well-groomed donkey with a red plaid blanket on its back, and on either side of the busker sat two dark grey, scraggly sheep dogs. As we were driving by, we saw the man look at one of the dogs and give a command, and the dog obediently stood up and hopped up on the donkey’s back, which quickly caught the attention of the people milling about around him. We watched the dogs pop up and down off of the donkey’s back, drawing people in and earning tips from the delighted spectators. I mean, how can you not love this town already?
After we parked, we decided it was time for lunch. With the power of Yelp, we found a little restaurant called the Marina Inn, where we feasted on warm, delicious shepherd’s pie and fish n’ chips, while watching the busker and his growing audience outside.
Once we had finished eating, we decided to explore Dingle a little more. We strolled down the damp pavement, taking in all the town had to offer. Warm, cramped shops and pubs boasting local brews and handmade trinkets were concealed within a colorful rainbow of buildings that stood out vibrantly against the gray Irish sky. We found a shop called Murphy’s, an ice cream shop that can be found throughout Ireland, but was founded right here in Dingle. They prided themselves on how they handcrafted all their ice cream in Dingle, and their undying passion to make people happy one scoop at a time.
Dingle really took pride in its identity. No big international chains, just businesses unique to the town. Every inch of the town embraced a unique personality that represented its citizens and their love for where they live, a love that draws curious tourists like me into the town, and a love that makes it hard for us to leave, even after just one day. I hope to visit Dingle again in the future and stay longer, so I have more of an opportunity to experience all the unique things Dingle and its people have to offer.
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