Ireland '99: Day Fifteen
Day Fifteen -- September 10th, 1999
We awoke still not quite refreshed
and headed out on the Iveragh Peninsula and to tour a bit of the Ring of Kerry.
The Ring of Kerry is a circular route around the peninsula frequented by large
tour buses that left little more the an inch or two of road for oncoming cars,
making traveling particularly exciting.
Our first hope was to catch a ride
out to the Skellig Islands, but upon calling Joe Roddy, a sailor who will take
people out to the islands, all we received was Irish laughter: “Oh
no, no, nobody is going out to the Skelligs today”. We were able to get
on the list for tomorrow though.
So we sat in the car in the town of Killarney and fell asleep while trying to decide what to do for the day – did I mention that we were both pretty exhausted? We decided to go out to Killarney National Park and take a peek at its delights. I had some hopes for a row out to some of the lakes’ islands, but we ended hiking a short way to the Torc Waterfall.
While at the waterfall, we met a fellow named Michael from Tralee and his dog named Tina, who insisted on carrying a stick with her everywhere – Michael said it gave her confidence. Incidentally, Tina was named after Tina Turner; Michael seemed surprised that we did not immediately see the resemblance. Anyway, Michael took us up a path beyond the waterfall rather sprightly and chatted with us on a variety of subjects. He promised a viewpoint that was spectacular (each time we stopped for a breather, we were not sure if that was the view he referred to). Eventually, he stopped climbing, but gave us instructions of how to continue on to the final viewpoint. We said goodbye after I snapped a quick picture of he and Tina.
We followed Michael’s
instructions and soon were granted with a lovely spot overlooking the lakes. It
was worth the hike. Jenn and I sat and rested and tried to figure out how much
hope for life and us the Ireland trip was infusing us with.
As we hiked down, we met a gal from
New Zealand that I had met and chatted with earlier back in Donegal. It was the
third time this trip were we met someone more than once, separated by many miles
in between. In Doolin, we saw a couple from the US Midwest that we had stayed
with in Howth. And in the Kilkenny castle, we met a couple and child who we flew
over from London with. Small world, Ireland is!
From the waterfall, we then
walked a few more miles to a 200 year old hunting lodge called Dinis Cottage,
where we ate lunch. We talked about the lack of variety in Irish food – the
same meals are served nearly everywhere. In the windows of the cottage where graffiti
engravings dating back to 1816! It was strange to see engravings that
read 2-5-96, and the 96 to me 1896.
Right next to the cottage was yet another Meeting of the Waters. This one, however, was much more pastoral than the one we saw near Avoca at the beginning of the trip. Here, a river split and simultaneously fed two lakes. One of those small things that I saw that day that has stuck in my mind ever since was seeing the wind travel along the lake. You could hear the winds coming down from the mountain and they would hit the still surface of the lake nearly vertically, as you could see the slight ripples emanating outward from a circle near the lake’s shore. They would then spread out over the lake – it was quite a subtle, but beautiful display of nature’s grace.
From the Killarney National Park, we headed out onto the peninsula and romped around some of the mountain passes. At one stop, we happened upon a fairytale horse that would lift his head whenever I whistled to him to pose for my camera. I have two of the shots below, but I am not sure which one is best.
up staying the night halfway out on the peninsula at the Old Stone Forge
B&B. The name was cool and the outside attractive, but the rooms were rather
dilapidated. Before going to sleep, we headed out for a quick bite to eat and
found a small restaurant in a tiny town. We barely managed to get a table as all
of the locals had made reservations. It turned out to be one of the best meals
of the entire trip (I had Filet Mignon stuffed with mushroom!).
On the way back to the B&B, we stopped and saw an Ogham stone on the side of the road – a very early method of writing the roman alphabet based on simple lines etched into rock. We could have had a very cool picture by using a flashlight to illuminate the rock, but it was raining and we were both pretty tired. We headed home and sang the Police’s Roxanne in the car.
Proceed to the next day, or return to the Ireland '99 Main Page.
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