The Big House in Ireland

Pax House in Dingle is a fine place to stay. First things being first, there’s the tea:

And then the view:

And the neighbors:

And, especially, the hostess, who showed us to our room and never failed to provide service with a smile:

(The behavior that may here look like skulking is in fact a game of Ambush.)

Another unexpected attraction of Pax House was its unusually entertaining assortment of random books. What appeared to be a typical B&B-coffee-table tome, The Big House in Ireland, turned out to be crammed with wonderful archival material illustrating from many angles just how crazy and stupid the owners of historic Irish mansions could be. It inspired this noble portrait:

Given all the entertainments on offer at the house, Dingle town itself seemed almost irrelevant, but we did eventually venture down the hill.

We also walked out to the mouth of the harbor, past Hussey’s Folly. (Apparently the construction of architectural follies was a popular way for residents of the Big Houses to provide famine relief; employing people and land to some more obviously useful end — such as, say, food production — would have been undignified.)

Some sheep had been there before us.


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