A Dolphin Named Fungie & the Dingle Peninsula // Ireland
The Dingle Peninsula. Sigh. Where to begin?
During our Irish getaway a few weeks ago, Dan and I fell head over heels for this cozy and beautiful peninsula. Like, “We should come here again in 3 months..I mean, next month.” and “What if we lived here?” kind of adoration.
Easy to get to: yep, easy enough
OH, so, friendly locals: ja!
A friendly dolphin that greets every visitor: you bet!
Our morning started off with a cruise around the Dingle Peninsula on the Slea Head Loop. All of 30km, it can be done in the matter of a few hours with pit stops at some of the scenic overlooks and cozy villages along the way.
We set off around 9AM.
Less touristy than the Ring of Kerry loop (though it IS spectacular) we meandered our way to to Dunquin harbor and it’s impressive, looping roadway down to the pier. Forged into the rocky cliff side, the trail cuts back and forth as it descends. We followed the muddy footprints of cattle down the path.
In the distance, the Great Blasket Islands make a mighty spectacle.
After the loop drive, we headed to the endearing little town of Dingle.
If you could dream of a little Irish town, brimming with authentic culture, traditions and beauty, Dingle is it.
The main drag is stuffed with charming watering holes, restaurants serving the freshest of fish, and adorable B&B’s.
After a pit stop at locally-made and insanely tasty Murphys Ice Cream (READ- Available flavors include: Toasted Irish Oats, Dingle Sea Salt, Irish Coffee with Whiskey, Caramel Honeycomb) we headed to the harbor for a formal introduction to the town’s dearest resident, Fungie the dolphin!
Fungie is a wild male bottlenose dolphin that calls Dingle Bay his home. Friendly, inquisitive, and perhaps a little cheeky, he was first spotted by the lighthouse keeper in 1984 and hasn’t left since. Interestingly, environmental biologists have confirmed that Fungie isn’t a hermit or outcast but simply content in the current circumstances.
We joined the folks at Dingle Dolphin for a fun Fungie meet-and-greet.
After boarding the boat, we slowly motored out to the mouth of the Dingle Bay, Fungie’s preferred hang out.
While children looked anxiously towards the horizon, I was distracted by the natural beauty of the Irish coastline. A bright blue sky, golf-course-green grass, staggering cliff faces, being on the water made for a marvelous vantage point.
As minutes ticked by the other passengers and I started to grow anxious. What if Fungie was busy? missing? Or, umm, sleeping?
But alas! Out of nowhere, we spotted Fungie swimming quickly towards the boat.
Just like that, Fungie was swimming alongside our boat, escorting us around the harbor. Staying underwater for minutes at a time, we could see is silhouette under the waves. Then, teasing us, he’d burst to the surface while our shutters went flying.
After Fungie bid us farewell we trolled back to the harbor, marveling and giddy from seeing our new flippered friend.
Kudos to the Dingle Dolphin team for a very enjoyable tour. It’s important to note that their daily tours do not include baiting or bothering Fungie, simply a harbor cruise in which Fungie always makes an appearance. In fact, if he doesn’t, then you get your money back.
With our RyanAir flight departure ticking, we swooped by Harrington’s Family Restaurant for fish and chips for our drive back to Kerry. While I drove, Dan broke off melt-in-your-mouth pieces of fresh fried Tilapia dunked in homemade tarter sauce. It was worth every last calorie.
Oh my, I love you, Ireland.