See what I did there?
Thursday 7 Jul 11 - Thursday 7 Jul 11 14 °C
We got up very early on Thursday morning, still weary from the previous night’s antics, and packed up the car in preparation for our drive around the picturesque Ring of Kerry.
There were a couple of reasons for setting off early. One was that we had a considerable amount to see in one day, and another was that we wanted to beat the tourist buses that block the narrow roads and make driving even more treacherous.
The weather was rubbish, unfortunately. Wet, windy, cold and pretty miserable, but we didn’t have another option – we had to push on. It probably meant that the roads were less crowded than they might have been otherwise.
Our first stop was Kells Beach, which didn’t prove all that worthwhile. It was a tiny beach strewn with litter and a few rocks, and the weather made swimming a ridiculous suggestion (not for Mum, though – read on).
We had another stop at Caherciveen (not sure how you say that) where there’s an old prison barracks, in which we had a quick look around, enjoying the views from the tower. There’s also a small strip of shops, where we stopped and had a warm drink in an attempt to stop ourselves from catching pneumonia.
Another hour or so of driving followed by a short ferry ride and we were on the island of Valentia (not Valencia), a beautiful little spot with views across the sea to the mainland. There’s an old slate quarry there, which was one of the strangest spots we’d seen – it looked like a huge cave, and on the outside, perhaps twenty metres above ground, there was a small, colourful statue of Mary, I think, which looked completely and utterly out of place.
The island’s cliffs might have produced brilliant views, but it also made for treacherous driving, particularly on the wet roads, and Dad did well to keep us safe.
We hummed along to the lilting tunes of Riverdance as we drove across the bridge to the mainland and Portmagee, another pretty little town on the coast, without much but a couple of pubs.
A stop near here (it might not have been near here) prompted Mum to get out of the car and run down to the beach, where she had the brilliant idea of going for a quick swim. The girls soon followed, and then even Dad, and funnily enough when they got back in the car they complained of being cold and wet.
More driving took us to Ballinskelligs, where we had magnificent views – it was a shame that it was too cold to stay outside for more than a couple of minutes. I suppose, though, that it’s the wild and varied weather that creates these sort of dramatic landscapes, and so you can’t really complain. Well, you can. I will, for one.
We drove towards, and eventually found, Derrynane House, the home of and now museum dedicated to Daniel O’Connor, known as ‘the Liberator’ of the Catholic underclass. His rise in politics and the effect he had on society was outlined in some detail, and then we got to see some documents, newspapers and portraits from the time, as well as the abode in which he spent most of his time.
Our final stop was the Torc Waterfall, a lovely spot just outside Killarney (we’d done a big loop). The rain had subsided, so we went for a bit of walk through the lush green parkland, occasionally spotting the river that fed the waterfall, or seeing the Ring of Kerry spread out below us.
Finally, we got back in the car and drove, via Killarney, to Dingle, our stop for the night, finishing our day’s driving, which tallied up to around six hours.
We found a spot for dinner, and then went to a pub, but I was feeling a bit crook and so went to bed early.