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Published: April 24th 2015
April. A rare thing on Irish roads is the overtaking lane. With the exception of motorways, the roads are generally two-lane, one in each direction. Even the national highways are the same, and these are the only roads that might be a little wider, with some even having an overtaking lane on a rare occasion. This information is preface to this morning’s drive north from Killarney to catch the car ferry across the Shannon River. The ferry saves about 120 km of driving, and runs once an hour on the half hour. I had allowed “plenty of time”, even by Irish standards, to get there for the 11.30 ferry – I thought. To cut a long story short, I rolled on to the ferry deck at 11.33am! Luckily they hadn’t closed the gates right on time.
The ferry brought me across into County Clare, which is quite different to County Kerry, where Killarney is, much more wild looking, less green and has stone everywhere – stone fences, stony landscape, stone buildings, even some stone roofs. It was another warm, blue sky day, and the locals are still loving it too. At Lahinch Beach there were beachgoers, and even a
bunch of surfers out (wearing steamer suits, the water is really cold, I tested it). This town seemed to have nearly as many surf schools as cafés.
Early afternoon brought me to the Cliffs of Moher. Reportedly Ireland’s most popular tourist attraction. There were loads of people there, from many countries. And the cliffs? Awesome. The photos can’t really convey the scale and drama.
I then headed east into The Burren. This is countryside dominated by a barren limestone landscape. Hard to describe, but the impression one has in the midst of it is, “Is this the weirdest scenery on Earth?” I called in to a visitor information centre to get advice on a route through the area, and headed off that way. After a while I began to think I was not seeing much, maybe they were directly me to the tourist spots further north, so I turned off and followed my nose towards the grey hills to the east. A great decision, as this took me along little roads right into the limestone fields.
I arrived at Kinvara, where I am staying, to find a picturesque coastal village which boasts a castle as well. My
B&B is out of town in a very quiet spot, with no nearby neighbours. I headed into town to find some GF dinner, and found Keogh’s pub & restaurant, which had two GF choices. Now if you are a sensitive vegetarian, you may want to skip the rest of this paragraph. The choices were beef steak or little pork ribs. All the fish choices were battered or crumbed. I am not a big steak fan, so I chose the ribs. The waitress arrived with a huge breadboard-sized platter with basically the whole side of a piglet on it. Big dinner. Really delicious I have to say. Prices seem to be cheaper around here too.
After dinner I took a short stroll around the town and managed to catch the sunset. A red sky at night is supposed to be a shepherd’s delight, but tomorrow’s forecast is cloudy with afternoon showers – looks like the sun is gone for a few days now.
Overall today, amazing and fascinating landscapes – extreme scenery.
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