So far our only mistake in planning this trip is that we didn't allow enough time for a stay at the Ring of Kerry, basically a route that goes around a bay. It's more than that though because you go through a variety of cinderella-like villages (all with their own distinct personality), through farms on steep hills (sheep can climb!), and mountain passes with views of emerald, blue and black crystal lakes. If we get the chance to come here again, we'll book two nights in the area so that we can take advantage of the hiking trails and local pubs.
We fed stalks of grass to horses, ate sandwiches on a pebbly beach, crawled through a crumbling castle near a mud bog, and ohhhhed and aaahhhhed at breath-taking mountain vistas, some of which looked down at the sea. Kelly and I accidentally left our clan by a mountain waterfall when we took a steep hike up a rooty forest. It took us awhile to realize we were going the wrong way, but it was a good workout with an awesome view.
We did more, but I'm tired and typing this from the backseat of our packed little focus. It's our last full day in Ireland, and we're headed off to Glendalough in Wicklow. That too is supposed to be a beautiful place, so we're hoping to get in some good hiking and a fun night at the local pub. Tomorrow should include another hike and some shopping to finish off the last of our euros, and then we're off to London where we hope to get into a little bit of Olympic-tourism trouble.
I'm sad to leave our little cottage, which is the perfect Irish home to call your own in County Clare. If any of you ever get the chance to go, google Barley Cove Cottage. You wont be sorry. Just know that while the pubs are indeed only a mile walk away. That walk is on an Irish road, which we Americans are too chicken poop to walk on. So, you'll need a car to get from one place to the other, but no worries there's always someone willing to help you out, should you need it. Fidelma will even offer to drive you about to pick up some groceries if needed.
Scariff, where the closest pubs, library and stores are, is right down the road. It's so small that one night we got stuck in a traffic jam. We knew something was up when we saw the men laughing hysterically in front of a pub. Apparently, a pack of mules went rogue, escaped their field and decided to run around the street (plural tense not needed) of Scariff!
Mount Shannon is the next town up from the cottage, and that's where we found our favorite local pub. Sadly, we only got the chance to go there once, but we had a blast AND I got kissed by a man on the way out --- made my night! Joe didn't seem to mind, although he is a little bummed he didn't get the same from an Irish lass.
We have some long layovers tomorrow, so I imagine I'll finally find the time and a good enough connection to upload photos. All I can say is if you ever intend on visiting Ireland you need to do at least two weeks (three or four would be better!) and make sure you use one of them to rent your own cottage. It's the absolute best way to get the Irish flavor you're really coming here for. Joe and I totally plan on coming back to not only spend a little more time at the Ring of Kerry and revisit some of our Week One locales, but to also spend another week at Barley Cove, the bestest little cottage in the world.
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