In the Travel section Dec. 8, an article about Ireland's Dingle Peninsula incorrectly dated a lookout on the peninsula's northern shore. Originally a Napoleonic fort, it was restored by the British about 1900.
I didn't realize how far north Ireland is -- at 53 degrees or so, north latitude. (By contrast, the tip of the mitten of Michigan is only at 46 degrees.) So despite the warming currents of the Gulf Stream, it gets cold there, especially on the exposed and windy Dingle Peninsula. Dress for Maine, at least. It's a good excuse to buy Irish woolens, which make the chill seem bracing and fine. I got one of those Irish walking hats, which marked me immediately as a tourist.
I rented my bike at Foxy John's in the village of Dingle, and the man is undoubtedly worth meeting, but there are two or three other bike rental places in town, all with sturdy three-speeds. You'll even get a bell on the handlebars.
The country is hilly, and the riding is mildly strenuous. There's so much to see here, though -- ruins, fields, Irish kids, Irish dogs, the mountains, the sea -- that no pace is too slow.
Once you're on the road, you may want to stop at Louis Mulcahy's Pottery on the road to Ballyferriter. Mulcahy, a Dubliner transplanted to the peninsula 10 years ago, makes and ships his graceful pieces at the place, overseeing a crew of hard-working local potters.
Required for visitors to Dingle is a stop at An Cafe' Litearia, an Irish bookstore with a wide and good stock of this country's writers. I'd suggest, since you are in the Irish countyside, getting anything by Edna O'Brien, who writes perfect novels about Irish country women. The bookstore also sells good topo maps of the area.
GETTING THERE: The Dingle Peninsula is the westernmost point in Ireland and is about a two-hour drive from the airport at Shannon. Buses go to Dingle, but the Irish train system (great otherwise) runs only to Tralee, at the base of the peninsula, and still some 30 miles inland.
WHERE TO STAY: Hostelry is more than adequate, it would seem, as every bend in the road seems to have a bed-and-breakfast sign hanging there. The hotel at Dun an Oir is modern and has individual cottages for families, all within walking distance of a beautiful blue-water beach. One senses, though, that more than the water would be blue after a swim there.
WHERE TO EAT: In Dingle are two very good restaurants for seafood: I thought Doyle's exceptional, and Carl's adds variety.
Incidentally, on the Irish art of libation -- for beer, Smithwick's beats Harp's. And Guinness may be good for you, but it seems to take 40 years or so to learn to like the taste. The first 39 years, I suppose, may be spent simply admiring the way it looks, black/brown with its head of cream.