Hollow Victory: the wins and fails of the RoK tour

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May 15th 2011
Published: May 15th 2011
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Today I took a Ring of Kerry coach tour. Let me begin by saying the Ring of Kerry is gorgeous. absolutely gorgeous.

Now the rest of it.

I knew that being in a bus meant i wouldn't be able to take good pictures for the majority of the ride, and i opened my eyes as wide as i could to take in all the sights for as long as possible between blinks :P The tour guide was funny and lively, and kept everyone in a good mood. We stopped at a mock village called a "bog village" that had a cool fox-themed pub/gift shop next to it. Then we stopped at a type of Shepherd show. It's hard to label, but easy to explain. this guy, a real, live shepherd, had 25 different types of sheep on display, which he thoroughly explained and herded with two of his Border Collies. This might well have been my favorite part of the day. I used to think there were only white sheep and black sheep. Boy was i wrong lolol.

The shepherd put his dogs through their paces, using a completely different signal system for each dog with absolutely no crossovers so he could manage them independently to make them work in concert, if that makes any sense at all. It was suuuuper cool. I really liked the message he sent, too: that when you get a pet dog, you should train him or her yourself, starting at 4 months, and don't get the pet if you aren't willing or won't have the time to train it. He also said his dogs work between 6 and 8 years, and after they start to slow down he takes them off the job and lets them stay with his family until their time's up : ) it would take a long time to explain all of the good things he said, but long story short: he really cares about his dogs and his sheep, fully acknowledged the slaughter process as a matter-of-fact thing, and seemed to be a fair, respectable man. It was really, really nice to see somebody with the qualities that he showed today. He wasn't a showman of any sort, but he was captivating to me because, i think, the values he spoke about without using the exact words are things that I admire.

We stopped at a few other spots (I had Irish Stew for lunch: idk what's in it, and i don't want to know, but it wasn't bad), and they were all gorgeous, and some were even literally breath-taking, but I realized two things today: 1) my dream had been upstaged by a shepherd, and I'm OK with it; and 2) I still want to walk the Kerry Way... all two weeks of it.

I met a girl from Virginia named Paige and a guy from all over (but most recently California) named Brian today. The three of us are headed to Doolin tomorrow, and i'm hoping to catch the Cliffs of Moher at sunset. After that, i'm aiming for Belfast, which i'll use as a base of operations for a Black Taxi tour of the city and for a day trip to the Giant's Causeway before catching a bus or train to Dublin Airport for my last night in Ireland.

The time has really flown here, but everything's been so great.

I'm still debating buying that book. chances are, i'll buy it tomorrow before catching the bus out of Killarney :P

Adventure Awaits!!


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