growing up, beaches for me were usually narrow strips of sand eked out along occasionally weedy-looking lakes. when we went to Daytona on spring break my senior year of college, it was completely novel that people were driving out onto the sand and parking. why would anyone take up precious beach space by parking on it?! well, when you have so much of it, it’s less of a concern.
towards the end of the trip, I joked that we spent more time on beaches in Ireland than we did on our “beach vacation” last year to Key West. miles and miles of long, sandy stretches with surprisingly warm water. the water in San Diego certainly wasn’t this warm to wade in while I was there last month! (apparently the gulf stream keeps the water around Dingle peninsula warmer than elsewhere, and keeps the climate more temperate throughout the year.)
the beach is backed by a series of dunes — reminded me a bit of Coronado beach — but is on a peninsula jutting out at an angle from the Dingle peninsula. Inch Beach is popular with surfers, apparently, and we saw several surfing schools soliciting participants.
we arrived a bit early in the day for beach-goers, apparently. it was a Sunday and people hadn’t yet arrived for their afternoon lounging. we saw one hatchback get stuck in the soft sand just at the edge of the marked lane onto the beach, though by the time we headed back up the hill to return to the Dingle Way after lunch they’d managed to extricate themselves. during the course of the time we sat, enjoyed Bob Marley, half pints of Guinness, and filling meals, a fair number of cars made their way onto the beach. lots of families, some with vertical windbreaks of a style we saw a lot of during the course of our trip. maybe we’d just arrived to early for families — lifeguards supervise the beach from noon to 7:00 p.m. in July and August.
apparently part of the film “Ryan’s Daughter” was filmed at Inch Beach. as I’ve never seen it, I kept confusing it in my head with the horse race scene in “The Quiet Man,” which I know was filmed farther north in Connemara as I’ve driven through the village that claims the film. the pub we ate at in Dunquin also claimed some of the filming; part of me feels I should now watch it. (apparently it’s an adaptation of Madam Bovary?! set during the 1916 Rebellion …) the beach also served as setting for a film adaptation of “Playboy of the Western World” as well.
ultimately, Inch was the only beach at which we put our feet in the water. it was early enough in the trip that the more persistent and problematic blisters had yet to form, but far enough in that taking off boots and walking along the sand to put our feet in the water was an imminently satisfying thought. it was also the one on which we spent the least amount of time, as the Dingle Way does not actually intersect or follow along this beach. just the ones at Ventry, Smerwick Bay, Cloghane, Camp …