2014 – Day Nineteen

Today we left Cahirciveen and travel North up the Wild Atlantic Way heading to Dingle. Most of the day will be spent touring the Dingle peninsula.

Out of nowhere, we have a perfect day. Blue sky for miles. You’d never know it rained and blew up a storm last night. If I had to call it, I would have said the rain was set in for the week. The landscape changes on this section of the road, again. There are signs that proclaim it “The Mountain Way”and it certainly is. Mountains flank most of the way, with the sea to the right. The first part of the drive is up high and offers fabulous ocean views. We stop at quite a number of places for photos. The mountains are quite bare of trees, but instead, blanketed by what appears to be at a distance, a thick green velvet. Very majestic, very beautiful. I’m not sure if they are naturally bereft of trees or whether they have been denuded over time.

We stop for lunch in Killorglin, or more to the point, we stop for a walk near the river, and find a local bakery. The bakeries are different here. Rarely a bakery alone, they are often also a delicatessen selling local artesian cheeses and charcuterie. This one also has a gourmet condiments section and a great selection of in store breads. The layout is a bit like going to an indulgent nana’s house – all the treats of the day are laid out on cake stands and pretty patterned plates. There are fairy cupcakes, sponge slices oozing with jam and cream, cream horns, and all manner of sweet slices. No refrigeration, no covers…. and you know what? No one died. No one got food poisoning. A bit like the French cheese shops, the look and taste of the product is more important than refrigerating it to the point where it is utterly tasteless.

After lunch our landscape changes again. The mountains are distant now, to our right, but still looming large enough to be imposing and we drive at sea level, with the sea to our left. We come across a couple of beaches that could have been airlifted straight out of Queensland. One in a town called Inch, and another just out of Dingle. All along the way, the beach and mountains are bisected by a patchwork of green fields. The fields are kept separate by low stone fences, but what gives them their patchwork appearance is the overgrown hedging that has taken over, over time. The fields occasionally have cows, or fluffy snow white sheep (no doubt cleansed with last night’s rain) grazing peacefully. The local livestock, more often than not, have the best views in town.

Once in Dingle, Chris is adamant he can smell diesel – a small leak it seems. We walk back to town along the magnificent beach (sandy, sheltered and wide with matured sand dunes) and ask one of the locals for directions to a diesel mechanic. Luckily one is close by and he is able to help. One of the seals, or some such mechanical matter. He’s working on it as I type…. under the watchful eye of his guard dog – a Jack Russell who’s all of all of 6 inches tall. He’s very cute. Teeny weeny, even for a Jack Russell.

Later: seal fixed. We park in a field off from the main beach and get the binoculars out. There are 9…count them, 9, bunnies just a little way over. Doing bunny things and having a lovely time. They’re fun to watch with binoculars. Totally wild behaviours with no trace of human impact. Much frisking and general rabbit merriment and much ducking for cover when a large bird flies by.

We’ve decided to go out for dinner tonight. There’s a local seafood restaurant and the food is excellent. Chris and I are both deeply suspicious of fish, but we both have the seafood tasting plate with many different types of fish and it’s fabulous. Chris also has squid in wild garlic butter and I have crevettes in pastis sauce for starters.

We roll home and stop at the local pub for a drink. My first Irish coffee! The publican is a retired high profile football player and he has pictures of everyone (with him) plastered all over the pub. Every actor, politician, and singer you could think of. Including one of Tom Cruise from when they filmed the opening scenes of Far and Away, some 20 minutes from where we are. Ah. Thomas…..I’ve adored him even longer than I’ve known Chris.

Time for a little more bunny watching I think.