From an Irish Letter Reader:
A Great Time Staying In The Dingle Area
I just returned on the 5th July from my 5th trip to Ireland in 10 years. It was the first trip where I actually rented a house and stayed in one spot the entire trip to really go in depth in one particular area. Up to this point, every trip was the typical, rent a car, and attempt to do a more than superficial discovery of 4-6 different spots in a 7-10 day total visit. This time I rented a beautiful waterfront cottage on the Dingle harbor just a few minutes walk from town and was able to settle down for the week without having to worry about a 3 hour drive the next day to the next town or getting up in time to shower and pack in someones B&B to make an 8:30 breakfast time.
In all, I have no regrets about how I traveled the first 4 times, as you have to do it that way to see an entire province, but now that I have seen virtually all 32 counties, I will now be renting houses for an entire week and really getting the feel for a particular area. In Dingle town, the extra time not only allowed me time for the typical tourist activities of a quick ride around Slea Head , a boat ride to see the Dolphin and a trip through the Connor Pass, but I had ample time to go well below the surface of the Dingle Peninsula and truly discover this wonderful part of Kerry. I also enjoyed spots such as Brandons Creek, where St. Brendan the Navigator departed for America circa 530AD, or the Reask Monastic Settlement and its very impressive Riasc stone.
Perhaps my highlight, however, was having the time to go out to Dunquin and take a ferry out to Great Blasket Island. I had a beautiful Sunny day in the high 70s and spent hours hiking among the ruins on the island and around the considerable length of the island. The magnificent views, the hidden beaches and cliffs, and picnicking at the top of the mountain with a sandwich and a few cans of Harp is pretty much an experience you will only have by spending an extended period of time in one spot.
I also found a seemingly hidden beach cove near Ballyfertter where the crystal blue water was so inviting I had to go for a 10 minute swim. If not for the patchwork fields and cottages in view, you could swear you were swimming on a hidden beach in the Caribbean.
Other highlights included romping through the water on Inch strand, kayaking in Dingle Harbor, finding a 14 piece session in a Dingle locals pub, and touring Valencia island with its many quirks and undiscovered gems.
We asked Kevin how he chose a house to rent in Ireland:
As for finding the house, a lot of google work! I used the search engines to find sites where property owners would list their cottages. Narrowed it down to 3 or 4 of the bigger ones, most of the cottages appear on all of them. After that it was a matter of figuring out where I wanted to plant down for an entire week, then finding the perfect waterfront cottage in that area.
Waterfront was a must, easy walking distance to a decent size town was a must, and I had to be in an area where there was a ton of things to do and see for a full week within a 3 hour drive or so of the cottage. We ended up settling on: http://www.emlaghcottage.com/
Once I picked the cottage, I handled the rest via email with the owner, lease and check payments through the mail. That is why its important to make sure its an established rental cottage on a legitimate website with some previous reviews, etc. The owner of this particular one lives in and runs a B&B next door so my internal fraud guards were satisfied.