D is for Dingle and Darwin

This is the next instalment of my Special Moments, Magic Memories series for the 2022 A to Z Blog Challenge.

I’ve been reflecting on why travel-based memories feature so much in my stories. It’s not just that it ties into family history so often, or that I love travel, which I do. I’m wondering if it’s because when we travel, we see so much that stimulates our mind and senses. It’s also that we’re less distracted and caught up in the commitments of our daily lives of home and work. Of course there are also lots of personal and family memories and photos that are kept for family consumption not public.

The road along Slea Head with beehive huts and ruins of buildings. © Pauleen Cass 1995

DINGLE, Co Kerry, Ireland

Over the decades I’ve travelled multiple times to Ireland, mainly for family history, and in combination with different family members. Although I don’t have ancestors from Co Kerry, one of my favourite locations is Dingle and the surrounding area. It is a tourist location partly because of its traditional music culture, but the scenery is so wild and stark it speaks to my heart.One particular experience comes up in my favourite memories even though it’s quite simple. Mr Cassmob and I had had a delicious meal in a restaurant on a cold wet night. The room wasn’t busy so we were able to sit back in a semi-somnolent state, sip an Irish whiskey and watch the fire flickering in the grate. The new A Woman’s Heart CD was playing and we were enamoured by Mary Black’s singing as we have been ever since. A gentle, precious memory.

An amusing incident happened the next evening near dusk as we were driving near the Blaskets. An elderly bloke walked onto the narrow road, flagged us down and jumped into the car. In an urban area that might give you heart palpitations thinking of car jacking but this was rural Ireland so we just complied and took him to the pub in Ballyferriter as requested. Turned out he owned the pub and we were given a thank you drink before we returned to our B&B.

Image from Wikipedia. By Jim Linwood – originally posted to Flickr as Dingle Harbour, Kerry, Ireland, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=9406393

The next time in Dingle, I was with eldest daughter who’d been back-packing. I may camp in Oz but I don’t cope with hostels so we were once again in a B&B. Very late at night someone was knocking at our bedroom door and wanting to come in. The owner heard the kerfuffle and came to find out what was going on. Turns out the youngish man had been on the Guinness and had headed “home” to the wrong yellow-painted house. 


Having relocated to Darwin in what we call a moment of mid-life madness, it’s only fair to mention it in my memories. When asked by colleagues how long we were going for, I’d told them “two years, five years, ten…who knows”. Well neither did we and it ended up being 18+ years and over the years family members also settled there and now we have Territory-born grandchildren.

Darwin is unique in Australia for having twice been almost destroyed. The first was its bombing in 1942 by the Japanese. Civilians were mostly evacuated until the war ended. The second time was its destruction by Cyclone Tracey in Christmas Day 1974. Once again many women and children were evacuated, meaning that some elderly Territorians say they’ve been refugees in their own country twice.

Darwin is also a city that has close links with Asia being on Australia’s northern frontier. Back in the day I wrote another blog about life in the Territory. You can find it here if you want to learn more about the place, its features and quirks.

A typical sunset near where we lived in Darwin. © Pauleen Cass

What do I miss most about Darwin now we’re back on the east coast?

  • Obviously over the past couple of years we’ve really missed seeing more of the “children” and grandchildren and our remaining Darwin friends.
  • I miss being able to walk along the ochre cliffs beside the white sand and the vivid colour of the sky and sea.
  • I miss the massive threatening clouds of the Build Up and the Wet.
  • I miss the fierce thunderstorms that sound like the heavenly furniture is being moved.
  • I miss the jagged dramatic lightning strikes and the pounding tropical rains.
  • I miss the first rains of the season after months without a drop of rain – always good for a little rain dance in the driveway 🙂
  • I miss the Asian foods at the Parap markets and the diverse goodies at Parap Fine Foods – there simply isn’t anything to compare here.
  • I even miss the roar of fighter jets as they did circuits so close to our rooftop during Operation Pitch Black.
  • I don’t miss the disgusting humidity that enshrouds you for months through the Build Up until the rains finally start.

I enjoyed our adventure in the north and our rather lengthy “moment” of midlife madness, but I’m pleased to be in a more forgiving climate as we move into this next phase of our lives.

Do you prefer the tropical climate or the cooler weather further south?

14 thoughts on “D is for Dingle and Darwin

  1. Thank you, cassmob. I do remember the matriarch of Parap Fine Foods instructing me on the finer points of pomegranate molasses. Essentially I was being a cheapskate and should lash out for the real thing. She was right, of course.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Just give me any kind of hot weather. As long as it’s not cold I’m happy. I dread winter every year. I laughed at your Dingle experiences. I’ve never lived far away from home, bit I imagine it would have been a great experience.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. G’day Pauleen,
    Definitely a cool weather person here. Can cope for a week in hot weather but not 18+ years.

    Loved travelling in Ireland especially along the Wild Atlantic Way.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ireland sure has some magnificent scenery doesn’t it? Despite living all my life in the tropics and sub-tropics I too like cool weather – so long as I have the right clothes.


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