Nelly's Blessing May the road rise up to meet you. May the wind be always at your back. May the sun shine warm upon your face, the rains fall soft upon your fields and until we meet again, may God hold you in the palm of his hand.
28.07.2010 - 03.08.2010
Trinity and I are in Ireland. It's been an interesting trip so far. Ireland is a beautiful country and I hope to get back here and explore some more. We (meaning I) didn't plan this trip very well though so we ended up spending a lot of our time on a bus traveling from town to town. I assure you that this IS NOT the optimal way to see Ireland. There are so many places that I would have loved to have stopped and spent a little time to explore and others that I wish we had not spent quite so much time in.
My advice....RENT A CAR! Get over the fact that they drive on the 'wrong' side of the road and the fact that you may die on the narrow roads with cliffs on either side of you and simply DRIVE! A lesson learned for me.
The land is so lush and green. Green beyond any green I have ever experienced. When the sun comes out it's nearly like being in the Land of OZ (from the Wizard of OZ; not Down Under).
We started our trip by landing in the worlds smallest airport in Kerry Ireland. I really mean this....I have seen some small airports but this one is by far the smallest! Three buses and several hours later; we finally arrived at the Dingle Gate Hostel for a two night stay. We were told to just tell the driver to drop us at Dingle Gate Hostel which we did with fingers crossed.
We hadn't seen the glimpse of a real town in quite a while and I was a bit fearful of what we had gotten ourselves into when the bus driver pulled to the side of the road with nothing in sight and announced 'Dingle Gate Hostel'.
We stepped off the bus and grabbed our bags and glimpsed the hostel just down a short lane. As we walked up to the hostel, a short bearded Irishman slide out from under a van marked Dingle Gate Hostel. His hands coated in grease and a mumbling of something not working and parts needed. I was having a difficult time understanding the thick Irish accent. Turns out that this was our host; Brian.
Brian promptly showed us to our room and gave us the key. We asked to be taken to Annascaul to pick up some food for our hostel stay and some dinner at a local place. Although I felt a little imposing, he loaded us into his beat up personal vehicle with fliers on the floorboard in the front seat and a baby seat in the back and dropped us off at a local pub for dinner. We were instructed to call when we were ready to return and realized during our dinner that we didn't have a working phone. It only took a few short minutes to get into town from the hostel; so we decided to walk back.
Our walk back to the hostel was longer than we thought. It took about 15-20 minutes to walk along the narrow road with no brim or sidewalk for most of it. It was a little scary with the cars careening around curves and speeding past. We stopped along the way to take a few picture of the sheep and countryside.
Now, I knew that this place was out of town....I just didn't realize how far out of town! Initially I thought that we could rent bikes and ride to the closest town (about 2km away). Then catch the bus to Dingle Town whenever we liked. The reality was that there are only 2 buses a day from Annascaul to Dingle Town and unless you don't value your life, biking is not an option (this leaned from the earlier walk)!
On our first night; we met one of the residents at the hostel, named Rhonan (sp?). He was cooking a wonderful smelling meal in the hostel kitchen and hanging in the common room alone. We struck up conversation and ended up getting beaten pretty badly at Monopoly by him. Fortunately for us, we didn't have to suffer through the end of the game because he had to leave to pick up a friend, Nile that was also staying at Dingle Gate. Both Nile and Rhonan are from Northern Ireland and are working in one of the restaurants in Dingle Town.
The next morning...well, actually late morning; we made our way to Dingle Town. We were too late in the day for most of the tours so we ended up taking a one hour harbor tour to see Fungi the local dolphin. I really wanted to get our on the water and see the town looking in; but really had mixed feelings about taking a tour to 'stalk' the dolphin. I was right...there were times on the tour that I felt like we (along with several other boats) were crowding in on Fungi and being a nuisance. Trinity and I tasted our first-ever deep fried candy bar...we choose a Mars Bar. A little much for me....
We ended up having a lovely visit and got to see most everything that we had planned; including a lovely surprise that we hadn't planed; thanks to Brian. A wonderful walk to a pristine lake and up to the waterfall that fed it. Nothing like hiking up the Irish mountainside! Our 'Luck of the Irish' hit when attempting to get a picture of Trinity at the waterfall. She stepped onto a moss covered rock and landed on both knees; banging up one pretty good. No one ever told me that the 'luck of the Irish' wasn't always good...
The rest of our down-time at Dingle Gate was spent with me getting beaten at pool and alternately; ping pong. Trinity spared no mercy!
On leaving our home away from home; it was another day of buses. We stood outside the hostel 'watching for the bus' for nearly an hour. It felt quite odd standing on the side of the road waiting to flag down the bus as it passed, especially knowing that if we missed it; there wouldn't be another for several hours. It turned out ok and we made the bus. Two transfers later and we arrived in Cork. At our stop for our second transfer; the 'luck of the Irish' hit again. As I stepped off the bus with my backpack on, I slipped on the steps and twisted my back. This really scared me; all I could think is that this might be the end of my traveling...I know, pretty lame to think of traveling and not work but I got my annual social security summary about a month ago and I will be pretty well taken care of if I should become 'disabled'. ;o)
As if we hadn't already had enough of buses; we decided to take a bus tour with Paddywagon Tours the following day to see the Cliffs of Mohr, Burren & Bunratty Castle. It was a fair day and I'm glad that we did the tour but I am SICK of buses! I don't know if it was the fact that I had already been on buses too much or if it was the tour itself, but I wasn't very impressed with the tour. I felt that we could have spent more time in some places and less in others. When we stopped at Bunratty Castle, we were given a short 30 minutes. Instead of exploring the castle and re-created town (which would have been interesting), Trinity and I decided to have an Irish Coffee at Durty Nellys next door. Durty Nellys was a quaint little Irish Pub with great atmosphere and strong drinks. I strongly recommend a stop here for a pint or grub.
Initially, we planned for 4 nights in Cork but realized that we needed to get back closer to the airport for our departure flight. We canceled the last day in Cork and booked a day in Killarney; just a short trip from the airport. We have two full days in Cork one of which was consumed by the bus tour to Mohr and today; which I feel we are attempting to recuperate from all the bus riding!
To be continued.....
Day two in Cork turned out to be quite disappointing. The highlight being a stop at Lush for some new products. Yes, I am addicted to Lush! Being a Sunday, most everything was closed in Cork and we ended up spending much of the day back at the hostel online playing with photos and being bored.
We arrived in Killarney and I was nearly pissed....THIS is where we should have stayed for the trip. It's very centrally located to all of the sights of the Ring of Kerry. Neptune's Hostel was very inviting (even if the beds were hard). The staff friendly and all the amenities needed; including reasonably priced day-tours. I may have to return...
Only two short days and my baby girl goes home to the states and my friends Teresa and Jeni arrive for a visit...http://www.travellerspoint.com/my_blogeditentry.cfm?blogid=17181&entryid=212202.it's going to be fun!