After completing seven days of walking the Wicklow Way (approximately 130 kilometers & the last two days did not make this blog), I made my way by bus and train to Tralee, the starting point for walking the Dingle Way. After such a long trek through rural landscapes, it was a pleasure to get to the colorful town of Tralee with its huge public gardens and colorful architecture. I stayed in a Victorian home turned hostel & tearoom and explored the town on foot. The first evening, I attended a completely mesmerizing performance at the Siasma Tíre, the National Folk Theater of Ireland. I had not heard anything about this group but serendipitously stumbled upon it because they were playing haunting Celtic music. Unlike some folk performances for outsiders, there was nothing kitschy about this one. It was titled "Turas: A Breathtaking Journey of Music, Dance and Song'" and it was indeed fabulous. In fact, the combination of music, dance and visuals reminded me of the first time I saw Cirque de Soleil doing their performance "O." The first half of the show was five musicians accompanying three amazing Irish dancers (not one bit like "Riverdance") altering between high energy rigs and haunting Gaelic songs. My favorite moment in the second half of the performance was a fairy-like girl (where did they find these incredibly talented young women with long golden hair who looked exactly like the mythical fairies?) singing a beautiful song in Irish while old black and white film clips of Irish dancers of the early 20th century played in the background. Nothing could have communicated more clearly the importance of this dance in Irish culture. At one point the dancers performed to some Irish tunes that resembled a lending of traditional music with jazz. Amazing. Unfortunately no photos permitted.
I woke up the next day really acknowledging how painful my blisters were, and decided that I had to rethink walking the Dingle Way. Consultation with tourist office and some phone calls later, I had a plan to bus/day walk through Dingle. I spent the rest of the day at the Kerry County History Museum which had great exhibits on both the history of County Kerry, and the Republic of Ireland as well as a an exhibit called "The Medieval Experience," which was an effort to allow the visitor to be immersed in the medieval town of Tralee.
The Museum Gallery covered the history of the earliest settlers (8000-4000 B CE), beginning of agriculture around 4000 CE, and moving forward to the arrival of the Celts who were the earliest users of iron.