Sunday, October 29, 2017

Ireland, Day 6: The Ring of Kerry

After our long day on the road and out in the weather, we were ready for some comfort food and relaxation. The Anvil Bar
near our b&b in Castlemaine provided both, along with some interesting conversation--and the fish and chips was absolutely the best. Fresh caught that day.

The owner, a lively and friendly lady, told us she'd been spending some time in Lisdoonvarna--remember my post about the Matchmaking Festival? Well, this lady is single, but she said she wasn't interested in finding a mate, but went for the many dances held during the festival. I asked (of course) about ghosts in her inn, which is quite an old building, and she said she was sure there were some although she'd never had an experience with them--yet. I laughingly mentioned the fortunetellers we saw in Lisdoonvarna, and found that she wasn't nearly as skeptical as I was about them, as she had had some interactions with them that made her think there might be something to it. Hmmm.

We were up and out early again the next morning as we intended to drive the entire Ring of Kerry in one day. The route is about 130 miles long, much of it one lane and curvy, so we knew it would be a long day. But it was our last day in the west of Ireland, and the Ring was one place I had been told by many people was was a must-see. I admit I was disappointed at first; the route went through towns and some ho-hum scenery, but things soon changed.

One of the more interesting sights was a pair of Travellers on the side of the road, selling what we would call flea market stuff. Some people call them gypsies, which is considered a perjorative name. The Travellers are itinerant people and although there have been efforts to settle them into housing, most prefer their ancestral traveling lifestyle. These two men had a van and set up along the road to sell to tourists like us. We enjoyed talking with them and petting the donkey and the little dog who liked to sit on the donkey's back. I bought a Saint Bridget's Cross from them and it now hangs in my kitchen.

And then we were back into beautiful--no, stunning--scenery.

We drove down one steep road to the lighthouse, and were followed by an impatient man in a van. We found a place to let him go by, only to find him a little further on, walking his dogs along the road. I guess we interrupted his routine! And truthfully we were going slow because the countryside around us, and the sea below, was just breath-taking.

Sadly, I somehow lost a good many pictures after taking these. There was a little abandoned stone hut near the lighthouse that we explored. It consisted of 2 rooms, and you could see where the rafters had been for a loft above. There was a two-sided fireplace, and some nooks built into the stone walls.

It was intriguing to imagine what life would have been like in this place, with this view. I imagined that maybe the husband and sons were fisherman. The women would have kept a few sheep in the walled pastures, perhaps raised cabbages and potatoes, and picked the many berries along the walls for making preserves and wine or something? Days spent working the wool, cleaning fish, fixing nets, preparing food, drying seaweed for soups and other uses, cutting a stacking peat for the fires....I might be way off course, but looking at what was there and what might be possible with those resources kept my mind busy reconstructing those long ago lives.

My camera was being most uncooperative, but it was working again by the time we got to where I think was the furthermost point of the Ring, and the site of some scenes from the most recent Star Wars movie, apparently.

Although I took many photos here, I seem not to have more than the two above. Have to go back, that's all!

We stopped for lunch in Watertown, and I had to laugh because yes, here was another tractor parked in town, while its owner apparently had his lunch.

I also liked this bench with its tribute to a Mr. Lear: "So there you go, for good, smiling, Swearing,eyes thrown to heaven With never a drop of bad blood between you and the whole wide world." A good way to be remembered.

I will have to finish this day in another post as there is much more to share.

Copyright Susanna Holstein. All rights reserved. No Republication or Redistribution Allowed without attribution to Susanna Holstein.


Joy@aVintageGreen said...

Love seeing and reading about your continuing story of your recent visit to Ireland. The ocean/land/road pictures just draw me right in. Hugs.

John "By Stargoose And Hanglands" said...

I'm surprised that you didn't encounter more traffic on the Ring Of Kerry as it gets plenty of publicity. You can't win with Travellers/Gypsies/Roma - whatever you call them you'll upset someone.

Boud said...

Is that a Donald Trump money bank I see on the Travelers table??? Is there no escape? I'm glad you bought from them We used to have them come around sometimes in North Yorkshire and my Mom who had very little money would try to buy something. Usually handmade items, like wooden cothes pegs. Our wire toasting fork was from them. She was friendly partly because she felt they were so pursued and blamed for no good reason. They liked her, and looked her up even if she didn't buy.

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