one thing we kept realizing during the course of our hike was how much more spectacular the terrain proved on a daily basis, compared to Spain. we certainly saw some incredible, remarkable, breathtaking things in Spain, but there were also a lot of long, dull, unremarkable days. the route of the Camino was about getting from point a to b to c to d to z, more with a mind to the least arduous and most expeditious route. even if you set out on a pilgrimage with an eye to commune with a higher power or to explore and express your faith in religion, you don’t necessarily want that to take longer than it absolutely has to.
hiking the Dingle Way was completely different. the point of the hike is to enjoy it, to see the views, to take it all in. you’re walking in a loop! starting out you know you’ll end up in precisely the same place (quite literally, in our case). that makes the unexpected discoveries that pop up along the route all the more exciting — you’re supposed to be finding, seeing, and enjoying these things and when there’s no pressure to get to your destination at a certain time (*ahem* securing a bed in an albergue), you can take longer to enjoy them.
one of those places was Minard Castle, perched on a hill a few kilometers outside of Anascaul on an inlet overlooking the Iveragh peninsula
a and a remarkable large-stone beach. it was built during the 16th century by the Fitzgeralds, merchants and traders who controlled much of the region beginning in the fourteenth century, of sandstone and mortar. remains of three stories remain today, though a fourth story or attic space likely existed at one point. in the 17th century, Cromwellian forces detonated charges at the base of a corner, damaging but not destroying the building. subsequently, all the residents were killed in skirmishes with Cromwellian forces and that, coupled with the damage done by the explosion, meant no one made an effort to rehabilitate the structure. today it’s stands, technically out-of-bounds and unstable, though next to such a picturesque beach, it’s hard to imagine that everyone stays out.