Singing in the Rain and Wind

Trip Start Jul 16, 2011
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Trip End Jul 31, 2011


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Flag of Ireland  , County Kerry,
Sunday, July 17, 2011

After about three hours of trying we both gave up.  Erin played with her smart phone and I watched "Battle for Los Angeles" on the seat  back.  They served us breakfast about 90 minutes before landing, a very small croissant, melon and juice.  We landed ten minutes early at Shannon, a very small airport which made everything very easy.  Customs was so easy.  No one even asked if we had anything to declare. 

We went to the Thrifty counter and got our car, a very small silver Hyundai but with surprising trunk space.  Next we went to the ATM to get cash.  Erin got 300 Euros but when I put my card in, it couldn't read it.  We will try it in another machine later. When we went out to find the car, the wind about blew us away.  It was strong all day with sometimes rain.   I bought an atlas at the gift shop but took it back because we didn’t think it had enough detail.  I drove today so Erin could navigate.  Driving on the left is easy on the motorways, but in the city it does take some extra concentration, especially at the round-abouts.  So far all I have hit is weeds and mud puddles by the side of the road when I had to get over for buses and other large vehicles on two lane winding mountain roads.

 Well, it took no time at all to realize that new motorways had been built since Erin’s software was written and even the newest AAA map did not have the changes.  So … we got lost in Limerick trying to find the road to Killarney.  Once we realized that N18 became M7, we got off and followed our noses to Limerick.  We missed sign posts in the city but finally figured out where we were and where we needed to be.  We found the road to Killarney and drove until we came to Adare, a quaint village with thatched cottages, a Trinitarian Abbey (Holy Trinity), an Augustinian Abbey, a Franciscan Abbey, Desmond Castle and a Manor House.  We only had time to stop and see the cottages and we saw some of the others from the road.  Alas, we did not get to see the Franciscan Abbey as it was a distance from Adare.  We also stopped at the Heritage Center where we bought the same atlas I had just taken back at the airport.  It was helpful in the end.

It was a 68 kilometer drive to Killarney but that doesn’t mean we got there in no time.  We missed a turn in the city of Killarney but finally found our way to the road to Kenmare.  Just outside of the city is Killarney National Park which contain Muckross House, Farm, and Gardens, Muckross Lough (Lake), Muckross Abbey (another Franciscan one), Torc Waterfall, and the Ladies View.  We stopped at the first place that had a car park (parking lot) but it was full, so we parked in a lot just up the road.  By the time we got back to the trail head, it was raining and a guy wanted us to take a ride in a Johnny cart, a horse and two-wheeled cart.  This was a scam!  He tried to tell us that you couldn’t get to Muckross House except by cart.  When he finally realized that we knew you could get there, he told us how.  Then Erin remembered that Rick Steves has warned about this scam in his guide to Ireland.

Well, we finally got to the House and parked.  We went straight to the house and signed up for the next tour at 12:10.  We walked around outside for a little bit until it started and we were asked again if we wanted to take a cart ride.  We declined again as it was raining and our tour was in 15 minutes.  The house and the tour were very interesting, but we were so tired we were dead on our feet.  Erin thinks she fell asleep standing up.  Not that our guide was boring, but it was a chore to stay with the tour for the full 45 minutes.  When we were finished we found the Restaurant and Garden and had a light lunch, sandwiches, Erin had a scone and I had a yogurt.  I had coronation chicken, a recipe used at the Coronation of Elizabeth II.  But it wasn’t as good as my cousin Jane’s recipe.  The food revived us somewhat and the sun came out for about 15 minutes, so we walked in the garden.  By the time we got back to Muckross House, the sun was gone and the wind was driving the light rain sideways.  If not for the wind, it would have been just a “brolly” (umbrella) day. 

We left Muckross House and stopped at Torc Waterfall which is on Torc Mountain.  It reminded me of a lot of the streams and falls in Great Smokey Mountain National Park, lush with the greens of mosses and ferns, water tumbling over bolders in a course crowded on both sides by rhododendrons.  Magical!

As we climbed up the winding, narrow road to the vistas of Muckross Lake, I started having to hit the weeds and potholes at the side of the road to keep out of the way of oncoming traffic.  It was a real challenge, made even harder by the fact that I was dead on my feet.  So when we stopped for the last time at The Ladies View, I was glad.  The view was spectacular even in the mist from the rain.  Only 10 kilometers to Kenmare, our stopping place for the next three nights.  We pulled into Kenmare at 3:20 and couldn’t get to our room at Virginia’s Guesthouse until 4:00.  So, we parked in the closest free lot, flattened our seat back and had a half an hour nap.  When we woke to the alarm on Erin’s phone, we were both very refreshed.  We walked with our luggage to the Guesthouse, as they had no parking, being on the main road.  When we arrived we found an empty lobby but a phone to call for assistance.  Within 5 minutes, Neil was here to help us.  He told us all about everything we needed to know: how to order breakfast, how to get in after hours, how the keys work, where breakfast will be, and he showed us the lounge where we can make a cuppa tea and just relax.

We got settled into our room and I tried to skype Larry but he didn’t have the computer on yet.  So I sent him an email to let him know we would be around for another few minutes.    He never saw the email before he turned on the computer and when I saw him come on line, I called him.  We had a nice chat about our adventures so far.  It’s amazing to be able to do this.  The Guesthouse has free WiFi.

By this time we were very hungry, so we went to find some food.  We settled on the Coach House Pub.  Erin had Irish Cottage Pie (beef, carrots,  celery and onion in gravy topped with mashed potatoes and baked) with more veggies on the side including carrots, broccoli and parships.  I ended up eating the parships with my Beef and Guiness stew with veggies.  I couldn’t taste any Guiness, thank goodness.  Both were really good.

When we got back we got ready for bed, did some blogging and downloaded pictures.  Erin is snoring right now and I will soon join her.  She just couldn’t keep her eyes open one more minute.  It is 9:04 and I haven’t slept for about 32 hours.  Time for bed.
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Comments

Betsy Mason on

I hope you have a FABULOUS time! Enjoy!!!!

Kathy Killen on

Beautiful photos Linda! Thanks for sharing.

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