People aren't exaggerating ... it's that pretty
28.09.2012 - 28.09.2012 58 °F
After a solid, boozy night at the pub we were beat. We slept in late, got some brunch, and caught a later train to Killarney. It's a touristy little town in southwestern Ireland, but used as a home base for driving tours of the area. Like we were going to do. What a coincidence!
The train ride was straight from the movies. Glancing out at each stop, you'd see children and parents waiting and then running up and into the arms of a grandfather. Or young lovers kissing madly before one got on, while the other looked on. It's something I wish we had in the America I know. What I don't wish for is a town like Mallow, where every breath is filled with the finest, most fragrant horse manure. And not the composted, earthy smell. The real shit.
As a side note, I struck up a conversation with a train conductor on the way out. He's lived in Ireland his entire life and had never seen the west coast. A place that millions of people from around the world flock to every year. And he works on a train that goes out that way. Alllrrrrighty then.
Upon arrival in Killarney, we headed straight to a pub for some beers and landed at a place called Courtney's. Locals! Met a friendly, old gent named Patrick who insisted on asking all questions twice. Outside. we met a fast talking, Bush-hating, libertine named Tim O'Leary. I paused. He nodded. We moved on. The night got blurry and we checked out of the place when a younger crowd of guys engaged in a spirited nut kicking contest. Breakfast the following morning of black and white pudding, a mostly raw sunny side up egg, and a grilled tomato, was sprinkled with Advil.
Upon the advice of our car rental guy (and some sleuthy eavesdropping by Elida the night before), we changed our plans from the Ring of Kerry to the less traveled but just as majestic Dingle Peninsula. We picked up a car and immediately realized why no credit cards or insurance companies cover you in Ireland. The car was partially destroyed: missing a side mirror cover, panels kicked in, scrapes and dings galore. The "previous damage sheet" was completely blotted out. I'm positive that if I set it on fire, no one would have noticed.
Off we went. Roundabouts? Not a big deal. Driving on the left side from the right side of the car? You get used to it. But you never, ever, ever get used to driving 50mph, 1 inch from a stone wall , the sound of hedges slapping the remains of your side mirror, and facing an oncoming, demonic tour bus filled with hundreds of elderly willing to take life from you. You have to comfort your cringing wife with your left hand. YOUR LEFT HAND! That's the weird part.
The landscape is striking and beautiful as they say. Only pictures can describe it. We headed up to the sleepy habor town of Dingle, stopped in a local farmers market for some bread, brie, and salmon pate spread and off we drove on the Slea Head drive. It's a series of roads circling the peninsula from which you can view exquisite cliffs and islands, rolling green hills, and ancient ring forts built some 2000+ years ago. You get a funny, attached feeling when you're standing on a remote cliffside in a distant country, touching a stone that hasn't moved for eons. We had a picnic en route.
We also met a goat. Goats are pehaps the creepiest animals up close. If you ever get the pleasure, just stare into those devil slit eyes. Or don't and keep that portion of your soul that it would have taken.
On our way back, a little indigestion expressed itself in our stomachs. By the time we were stuck in traffic back in Killarney, I had to leap from the car, wander into an alley, and express my own technicolor yawn. Dinner was attempted and failed. We spent a quiet night back at the B&B with the delicious stabbing pains of food poisoning.