Published: July 29th 2012July 29th 2012
Every one is still sleeping. Birds are tweeting, Joe is snoring and the occasional truck or tractor rattles by on the road out front. In a few minutes I'll wake them all up because today we're going to the Ring of Kerry. We picked this day because it's supposed to be warm and sunny.
Yesterday was one of my favorite days on this trip. Ericka and Tracy went to Ennis and a castle somewhere near Shannon (and got caught behind a fox hunt!). Joe, Kaylene, Kelly and I decided to stay closer to the cottage and hike around Ballina and Killaloe, two ancient towns (is there any other kind in Ireland?) divided by the Shannon River. I'm in love with these two towns. If I were to ever be able to move here, this is where I'd want to stay.
It started off drizzly, but that's okay because we walked a thickly wooded path alongside the river, so the rain barely touched us. Words or my photos will never properly describe what an incredibly cool walk that was. It even included meeting a father and his two young boys pushing their boat off into the river.
Then we stopped at an adorable cafe where I finally got WiFi access and was able to send off two blogs and a few emails. It's almost a sin to get back in touch with reality when living in such a fairy tale, but I'm not gonna lie it felt good to be able to connect again. Even better to discover I'm not yet broke, but trust me I will be.
And then the sun came out, and the locals were on! They must've known it was going to warm up and stay summery because before you knew it there were mamas with strollers, old couples, giddy kids and best of buds strolling, lounging, picnicking and swimming --- yes swimming!
A 300-year old one-lane arched bridge connects the two towns, and there were a pack of pale boys jumping and flipping off of it into the cold, rusty water. Just the night before when we first visited the towns, we looked over the bridge and talked about how cold that water must be, and how it'd be insane for anyone to even think about jumping from there. A day later kids were doing it (before the day ended that bridge was packed with kids of all ages jumping in while some parents watched).
Instead of leaving the area to hike some more we strolled through an old church, sat alongside the river, and popped in and out of pubs. The guidebooks back home never even mentioned either one of these towns, which is such a shame because they're not to be missed. BUT, then again maybe that's a good thing. There were a handful of Brits, Germans and even a few Americans, so some of us manage to find this place. But, most of all, it's an Irish haven ---- especially on that rare sunny day.