A Dolphin Named Fungie & the Dingle Peninsula // Ireland

A Dolphin Named Fungie & the Dingle Peninsula // Ireland

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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.

 Scenic: yes

Culture: si

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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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As minutes ticked by the other passengers and I started to grow anxious. What if Fungie was busy? missing? Or, umm, sleeping?

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But alas! Out of nowhere, we spotted Fungie swimming quickly towards the boat.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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  • Beautiful pictures! You were so lucky with the weather! That sky was bright blue!
    xx,
    E.
    http://www.theslowpace.com

  • That’s such a beautiful part of Ireland! I studied in Tralee which isn’t far from there…those photos brought back lots of good memories!! 🙂

  • Your photos are just incredible! x

  • You guys have to do Northern Ireland sometime, and do the Giant’s Causeway, Bushmills, etc… it is so stunning up there too and not very touristy!!! You’d love it 🙂

  • I love the shots of those cliffs and, of course it goes without saying, the friendly neighborhood dolphin!

  • I am dying to visit Ireland! It’s just too close to NOT visit and I am so disappointed that I didn’t when I still lived in England. How can your pictures look so gorgeous Margo?! It makes me so jealous ;).

  • My brother and sister went to Ireland for their honeymoon and Fungie was one of their highlights! They still talk about him all.the.time. So cute 🙂

  • This was my favourite part of Ireland! We were around here on Christmas Day last year and you wouldn’t believe it, but the weather was amazing. I had heard all about Fungie, but we didn’t get to see him. I’m so glad you did!

  • Oh wow, Christmas in Dingle – I can’t imagine a more charming little town! Next time you’ll have to link up with Fungie, he’s the… dolphin! (I’m so cheesy.)

    Thanks for the tweet!

  • Haha! I love that! Fungie sure does make quite an impression doesn’t he?

  • Here’s the great news – my RyanAir flight from Hahn was 60E roundtrip. You’ve gotta make it happen! As for my pictures, you’re making me blush!

  • Ha -“The Neighborhood Dolphin” reminds me of Applebee’s. If only we all had a neighborhood dolphin life would be great, wouldn’t it?! 😀

  • Sigh. Yes, we definitely do. We debated a ton on where to go in IRL but resolve with Co Kerry because of the the cheap flights. Next time Dublin and Giant’s Causeway will certainly have to happen. 🙂

  • Thanks so much sweetie! 🙂

  • Aww, that’s wonderful to hear. Glad my pictures could bring back some good memories. I remember seeing Tralee on a map – what a beautiful region to call home for a period of time! 🙂

  • Seriously! Every last person we talked to, even the guy at the gas station, commented about our beautiful weather. We definitely counted ourselves lucky. 🙂

  • Ireland looks so incredibly beautiful! And it looks like you had amazing weather! They just started some direct flights to Ireland from Iceland and I am thinking a trip there soon is necessary.

  • Beautiful post! I’m Australian, and really want to see more of the UK but I find it’s so hard to find good blog posts about it – everyone seems to overlook it! Thanks for inspiring a bit more wanderlust 🙂

    Genevieve, http://www.thewanderbug.com

  • WE LOVED Dingle so much!!! It is so quaint and breathtaking!! xoxo

  • Your pictures made me being there myself, admiring the coastline and seeing Fungie. Lovely post!

  • ireland has such stunning, stunning country side. lovely photos :).
    xo, cheyenne

  • First, what amazing weather you had!! And sweet Fungie, omg he’s like the coastal water puppy…coming to great everyone and make them smile. So super cute!

  • I wanted to go to Ireland before, but now Dingle is on the List. Thank you so much for educating me about this gorgeous, windswept place!

  • Yea I get it 🙂 By the way, which airport did you fly into for this trip? We’re looking at checking out this area next year and am curious!

  • I’ve seen so many lovely photos of Ireland, and I hear lots of good things about there from my landlord too. Definitely a place I’d love to go.
    I love that the Dolphin is just happy to hang about there, I guess all the people keep him company.

  • Haha! He’s so cute! I love the friendliness of dolphins!

    When we were staying in Doolin in County Clare, a couple that were at our B&B with us had just come from Dingle. They had so many wonderful things to say about it that I knew I had to get there myself one day. What a gorgeous place!

  • Thanks, Genevieve! It really was SUCH an enjoyable visit. I adore the UK and I’m sure you would (or already do!) too!

    PS. You have a BEAUTIFUL name. One of my dear friends just named her baby girl Genevieve and I’m bummed because now I can’t use it. (I’m not pregnant by the way, I just love day dreaming about baby names..hopefully you understand) 😀

  • Oh really? Perfect. Looking at a map I guess it’s not all that far away is it? You and your viking would certainly love all the beautiful scenary/hiking there!

  • I can’t speak high enough about flying Ryan Air into the teeny-tiny Kerry airport. It was incredibly convenient and quick in and out!

  • Agreed, what a perfect little place! I feel like you and your hubs and me and mine are verrrry similar in where we like to travel!

  • Sonja, your comment is precisely what my goal is – I’m so happy I accomplished that quick escape to Dingle for you. 🙂 Really!

  • Thanks so much Cheyenne! I agree, it’s a stunning place!

  • hahaha, I read your comment on my phone yesterday about him being a ‘coastal water puppy’ and literally LOL’d. So funny! Fungie is a doll, right?!

  • You are MORE than welcome Beth! I’m so happy you enjoyed the post! When you make it to Dingle shoot me a message, I stayed at the sweetest little B&B imaginable, you’d love it. 🙂

  • Safe to say the lovely photos and your proud landlord are right – it’s a really lovely country! I hope you get a chance to see it one day. 🙂

  • Oh boy, I can say the exact same thing about Doolin! A couple we met down in Co Kerry said it’s really wonderful up there. Another great reason for both of us to go back, right? 😀

  • Aw thank you Margo! Endless nickname options too. Haha, yes I totally get it – a few of my friends and my younger sister all like the same baby names so it’s an unofficial race to who gets the baby first – about a ten year race haha because none of us are anywhere near that stage in our life!

  • Good to know!

  • Ah, this makes me miss Dingle so much! I have a friend from there, and I got to visit a little over a year ago. What a beautiful place! He tells me good ‘ole Fungie is getting up there in age, so you’re lucky you got to see him pop up! (Apparently he doesn’t surface quite as frequently as he used do, or so I’m told.)

  • Ha! What are your names? I adore the name Olivia and Hillary but I’m still trying to sell Dan on it! Ha

  • So fun! You are just making the trip to Ireland and necessity for us! Come on Spring!!

  • Wow! That is so cool that you got to see a dolphin! And I can’t believe he is so old. I’ve got to get to Ireland.

  • Margo I love the article .. would it be possible to reblog your Fungi boat onto my website http://www.dinglepost.com
    Regards
    Ger Horgan
    Dingle

  • Elizabeth take a look at this video of Fungi 🙂

  • No need and many thanks 🙂

    I have already posted a link to my Facebook Page

    https://www.facebook.com/TheDinglePeninsula

  • Amazing trip and (as always) pictures!! Glad you got to see the dolphin! I’m wanting to do the whale watching trip here when they start in December. Your trip to Ireland seemed SO special!