N 52.17388°, W 10.35377°
The camp was a good one and the day dawned sunny and warm; an ideal accompaniment to driving round the remaining section of the Ring of Kerry.
In spite of perfect weather and a really positive feel-good factor, my initial impressions were reinforced. This peninsula is very pleasant and has much to commend it, but all the way around the 'ring' it's felt like we've been corralled in a giant tourist management exercise. The landscape is pretty, but arguably less so than the Beara peninsula, and all of the towns have a very bag-the-tourist-dollar feel to them. It feels like a representation of Ireland: not the authentic Ireland. It may just be flawed perception, but for me, the Ring of Kerry is a masterstroke of concentrated tourist management and almost a sacrificial lamb. While ever tourists are spending cash and having a positive experience, the rest of the southwest coastline isn't exposed to undesirable tourist impacts. Just a thought...
Anyway having escaped the RofK we returned to what felt like an altogether more authentic experience in exploring the Dingle peninsula. There was suddenly less traffic, less well developed infrastructure (read crazily narrow roads), and an altogether less contrived ambiance. Part of the Dingle pootlings meant a trip to Gallarus Oratory. This is not, in spite of the awesome name, a giant robot hellbent on world domination, but a genuinely impressive ancient place of monastic worship.
The building is at least a thousand years old and is in absolutely original condition, the stonework is beautifully crafted and a testament to the builders. With walls four feet thick and tolerances within the interlocking stones unfeasibly fine, the structure is very likely to stand with this exact, perfectly weatherproof integrity for at least a thousand years more, or two, or three...
They really don't build them like this anymore.
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