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Ireland’s worst kept secret: my neck of the woods!

Posted on December 7, 2011 by Patric

Now that TripAdvisor spilled the beans last year about our sleepy village, the secret is out in the open.

Back in the sixties Dingle was a little known coastal village, not unlike the one described in Under Milk Wood. Towards the end of that decade David Lean picked the Dingle Peninsula for his epic, “Ryan’s Daughter“, and the rest is, ahem, history.

Remember that long shot of Robert Mitchum walking with Sarah Miles on a seemingly endless beach (first pic above)? That’s Inch beach, home to very keen surfers and gawkers alike now. Lean’s sumptuous shots of the Dingle Peninsula – in particular his love scene where a breathless Miles commits adultery among the swaying trees and burbling brooks of a dense forest – were apparently considered overpowering by the critics. The film bombed then but is now considered Lean’s finest. Go figure.

Niall O’Brien, who played an IRA paramilitary in that film, explains:

“In Dingle then, it was all donkeys and carts. There was barely any street lighting. And there you had David Lean arriving in town in his Rolls-Royce Corniche. Robert Bolt and Sarah had their Lamborghini. I was standing in the street staring at it. I’d never seen one before. They threw money all over the place and everyone wanted a bit of it. On the first day, they went into the local garage and ordered six Land-Rovers and six Zephyrs.”

But enough of Ryan’s Daughter. I came here to Dingle straight from Los Angeles, on the heels of a broken-up relationship, and with the intention to lock myself up and write a book (which I did) as I had given myself six months before returning to California.

Little did I know. I met a green-eyed German beauty in a pub, and fifteen years and three daughters later, I ain’t moving.

There is no other landscape in western Europe with the density and variety of archaeological monuments as the Dingle Peninsula. This mountainous finger of land which juts into the Atlantic Ocean has supported various tribes and populations for almost 6,000 years. Because of the peninsula’s remote location, and lack of specialised agriculture, there is a remarkable preservation of over 2,000 monuments.

There is always something to do in Dingle. Throughout the year we have marathons, a film festival in September, a food festival in October, a music festival in May, the blessing of the Boats in September, the famed Dingle horse races in August, the Figaro yacht races also in August, and quite a few more events, some of which I’ve mentioned downthread with accompanying pics & vids. And Other Voices, a televised music event which occurs over 5 days the first week of December and brings in some of the world’s best known and unknown talent! This year was the tenth anniversary and went extraordinarily well.

Dingle is full of treasures, like the wonderful stained glass windows of Harry Clarke, an Irish artist who triggered a resurgence of Irish art last century. Clarke designed fabrics and handkerchiefs, boxes and lanterns, but primarily he designed stained glass windows and illustrated the books of such luminaries as Poe, the fairy tales of Andersen and Perrault as well as Goethe’s Faust, among others.

Ireland’s worst kept secret: my neck of the woods! Posted on December 7, 2011 by Patric

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