Cue the Beach Boys soundtrack for this segment of the Dingle Way. If you’ve been following along, you’ve probably noticed that Chris and I have walked a bunch of different beaches over this last month in Ireland. It makes sense: we’re on an island; we visited 4 small islands off the coast of this big island; islands have beaches. Still, when I think of Ireland I don’t immediately think “beach”. Castles and pubs and green rolling hills and sheep and cliffs and ocean. Not beach.
Not only did we have beach today, we walked 7 solid miles of it. Brandon Bay boasts the longest beach in Ireland and we hiked it from Cloghane to Scraggane Point. It was a complete change from yesterday’s 2100-foot elevation gain and then loss coming over a saddle on Brandon Mountain. Today was flat as a pancake and our shoes remained blessedly dry and muck-free. Chris even doffed his shoes and gave his feet a glorious sand and water massage for a few miles.
The scenery changed little, but the sun and clouds gave us a little show as they capriciously decided who to spotlight throughout the day. We saw no antiquities, but enjoyed myriad shorebirds, the Magharee Islands to the north, and surfers riding small breakers in the bay.
We even came upon a couple families with a passel of kids playing in the ocean. In the ocean…in Ireland…in September. These are hardy folk! Even their dog got in on the fun, riding around on a boogie board.
Tomorrow will be our eighth and final day hiking the Dingle Way. We hope to hit Camp by about 2pm so we can be cleaned up and at the pub by 3:30 for the start of the all-Ireland senior football final. Preferably with a Guinness in hand. Go Kerry!