The Murphys are the proprietors of the Ard na Mara B&B, located about two miles beyond and outside of Dingle on the road to Ceann Tra, aka Ventry. We had thought, before arriving, that we would stay in Dingle, based on its reputation for music, beauty, etc. However, not only was Dingle nearly booked, but it came across as so overly touristy and pricey that after doing our usual split-up-run-around-and-search-for-a-triple-room-meet-back-at-the-car-and-decide routine. My wife and my adult daughter said firmly, "We're not staying here." Between us we had located a couple of triple rooms, but they were at least 120 Euro. So, we decided to push on past Dingle and see what could be found. (As a sidelight, I relayed the touristy aspect of Dingle to my buddy, who was about one week behind us and headed to Dingle. He had a lovely time there and enjoyed D-Town. For us though, the heavy touristy feel combined with signs outside pubs saying, "Trad Irish Music Tonight!" [look for them] felt like singalongs of Wild Rover, Whiskey in the Jar, and Black Velvet Band were gonna be springing across the streets and alleys on the voices of drunken visitors. But some people like that.) Several B&Bs can be found within a few miles of Dingle headed out of town in the direction you would normally circle the Dingle Peninsula. Off a small side road to the left, and marked with a sign pointing the direction, we found Ard na Mara. Better price than Dingle, and literally five minutes drive from the bridge leading back into Dingle town. Mr. Murphy greeted us warmly, ushered us into the parlor and brought us a pot of tea and some cookies. Everyone knows the reputation for loquaciousness of the Irish, so we began to converse about every imaginable thing. The Famine and the disastrous impact on the Dingle Peninsula, Gaelic Football and Hurling, the Gaelic language (later we heard him on the phone speaking to someone for 20 minutes in Gaelic), Irish music, fishing, America, business in Dingle, tourism. It was great! Those are the moments you travel for. Our room was cozy, complete, clean and comfortable. Breakfast was of the classic Irish variety and delicious. Internet is available in the parlor, and perhaps other parts of the house. When we started talking about scones, Mrs. Murphy went into the kitchen and made some for us!!! What amazing kindness and generosity!!! So, it being Saturday we wanted to go to Mass and then catch some dinner. Mr. Murphy directed us to a small church a few miles away in the village of Ceann Tra. And suggested a pub to eat at. In one of the great manifestations of the brilliance of the Irish, when we arrived in Ceann Tra we discovered that the pub was right next to the church. So, we go in before Mass and have a pint, and as we walk in, the very thing that nearly everyone goes to Ireland to find is happening... live Irish music being played by a couple of guys with a guitar and a button accordion, bar packed with people, some dancing, and we being the only touristy types. No Whiskey in the Jar, no Black Velvet Band, no singing period. Irish music for Irish revelers. Mass was in Gaelic and 45 minutes long start to finish (Just as we Catholics like it). Back to the pub for dinner of outstanding seafood chowder and fish and chips, more beer, more music, more people. The pub is Paidi O Se's. Great sleep afterwards at Ard na Mara. We would go straight there if we returned to the Dingle area and make Ard na Mara our base. Lovely, lovely people and experience. THIS is the experience that almost everyone wants when they come to Ireland, but it gets searched for in all the wrong places.
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