Dún Chaoin is the western most village in Ireland (the parish, which includes the Blasket Islands, is sometimes referred to as the next parish to America) and afforded us with a welcome opportunity to take a break from hiking the Dingle Way. compared with many of the towns on the outward portion of our hike, the town didn’t offer much in the way of conveniences; it was a good prelude for the next several days of hiking inland.
options for dinner when we arrived after a long and physically demanding (and breathtakingly beautiful) day of hiking we limited to: purchasing & cooking pasta in the hostel kitchen; hiking to the next town, some 30 minutes further along the road; or hoping the only pub in town still had makings for white-bread sandwiches. we opted for choice number three and stumbled down the hill to Kruger’s Bar, which was a nice change from the crowded and touristy a pubs in Dingle town. a younger woman was tending bar, chatting with a couple of regulars and a grandmotherly proprietor type, who contributed to the conversation exclusively in Gaelic. she may have even been on hand the evening in 1971 when the Campaign for the Revitalization of Ale (promoting real ale, real cider, and the traditional pub) was founded in the same room (now known as the Campaign for Real Ale, the largest single-issue consumer group in the UK).
we ordered our pints and white-bread sandwiches — ham & cheese for Andy, cheese & tomatoes for me — and settled down by a corner window with views of the water. not a lot of competition for seating (all those people who just drive around the Dingle Peninsula, me of several years ago included, don’t know what they’re missing). the grandmotherly woman got up and shuffled back into the kitchen to make our sandwiches which, frankly, were the the best white-bread sandwiches you could ever eat not just because we were hungry but because such a character prepared them for us.
while we waited, I considered the portraits tacked up along the walls — snaps from when film crews for “Ryan’s Daughter” and “Far & Away” visited Dunquin in the late 1960s and early 1990s, respectively. not much of a draw from them now, but certainly potent in their day. plan to watch both to see if anything looks familiar, or if it’s all been made into generic “Ireland” with a coastal flavor.