To the Dingle Peninsula from Cork via Macroom, Killarney, and Tralee, Ireland
Ireland was a life-changing experience for me. Part of it was the sheer beauty but most of it was the amazing people I encountered along the way. I couchsurfed, stayed in a couple of hostels, hiked around, and spent the rest of my time in pubs and had a blast along the way. I took buses the entire way – incredibly tedious, but I was a poor student on spring break. At least the views were incredible.
The name of this post is the route of one of my favourite bus rides I’ve ever taken, pictured above. Stunning weather, stunning scenery, and I’ll share a secret with you: I had almost no idea where I was going. My couchsurfing host from the night before had, very graciously, taken me to a little get together of other CSers. They gave me a list of suggestions when I asked where I should go next, telling me where go if they were on vacation. So, instead of following my original itinerary, I took their advice and headed to Dingle. I decided to do so at about 11:30am. My host, C., gave me a lift to Cork and I just barely made the last bus to Tralee at 12:30pm.
After travelling from Cork to Killarney to Tralee, my bus was finally on its way to Dingle. Outside my window I watched the sheep, the mountains, and people. Endless swaths of rolling emerald fields. It’s like footage from every movie you’ve ever seen set in Ireland, but so much better and vivid and real in person. And nothing like any scenery I’d encountered before. I love that on buses and trains you can get a brief sense of what a country is like, geographically and culturally.
I didn’t know what to expect at the end of the ride. After all, I’d hopped on the bus without much clue of where I was going. I caught a glimpse of far-off mountains the longer that the bus ride went, as more and more people emptied out. The mountains started edging closer and closer. “There’s no way that’s where I’m going,” I thought to myself. “No way. That would just be too perfect.”
Sure enough, that’s exactly where we went. But when I saw that the last stop was a tiny fishing town nestled amongst the hills, I was pretty apprehensive. The bus “stop” was a bench by the harbour. Was this what I had flown 4000 miles to experience?
It turns out it was all that and more. “Stunning” is what I texted to C. afterwards. I loved the Dingle Peninsula. I ended up biking 30 miles around it the next day, on a whim. It’s one of my favourite places I’ve ever travelled to, perhaps especially because I’d never even heard of it until I got there.
One day, I’ll go on an entire journey like this. No time constraints, just my bag and an open mind, following the suggestions and advice of whomever I meet along the way.