Thursday, March 28, 2013

EuroBlog! Day 5: Ireland Takes Our Breath Away

We landed in Cork, Ireland with high hopes but low expectations about the weather. We’d heard reports of snow, and visiting Ireland’s coast in March is probably riskier than visiting Seattle in March. What happened today will be remembered for the rest of our lives, no doubt. I can barely muster entertaining humor…it was purely amazing.

The day started out about as we expected. We started just outside of Cork, and I safely navigated my left-side-of-the road, high-MPG mini car to Blarney Castle where we kissed the Blarney Stone.

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After that it was wandering time. We headed to the Ring of Kerry, where I had planned a risky, destinationless journey. I didn’t want to hold us down to a specific hotel, but I also didn’t know what that would do to us. What we got was one of our most perfect days. And it was sunny nearly the whole day long.

We started by looping down through Killarney National Park, making stops along the way to take in the amazing views of Torc Waterfall, Lough Leane, and Upper Lake.

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But we hadn’t even scratched the surface. As we kept going down the Ring of Kerry, the sun was casting sun beams over the water and islands.

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With every mile that we closed in, things looked better and better. Every turn gave us a new view.

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Remember. This is Ireland…in March. And there’s snow in London and snow in Dublin. It was unreal.

We journeyed down Skellig Ring on a road that tour buses aren’t allowed on. Thanks to our tour book we decided not to pass on a sign that advertised “The Best View in County Kerry” behind a B&B. We pulled into their parking lot and paid the lady 8 euros to walk up a hill behind her backyard. It was worth every cent.

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But now it was getting dark and we hadn’t yet found a place to eat or sleep. We wandered down to sleepy village of Portmagee, wary that we may have used up all our karma getting all the good views. There seemed to be only one open restaurant, a pub calling The Moorings, where the catch of the day was literally caught in the harbor outside. We picked the chair by the fireplace.

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Whether it was luck or God or my meticulous logistics/itinerary was discussed, but wouldn’t you know this pub doubled as a B&B? And that they had a room? And they prepared it while we ate so we could just go up and sleep? We capped off the Moorings with a Guinness in Ireland, some conversation with an Irish bartender, and a restful sleep. A perfect day. We never saw rain, nor snow. Just a sunny, beautiful, problem-free journey through the County Kerry.

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