I’ve been really bad at keeping the blog up to date this year. It might have to do with a change of job, house, and organising a wedding..? Something like that! However, we did take some seriously cool trips and I really miss my photos! So let’s start backward, with the May day bank holiday weekend that we spent on the Irish South coast, blessed with an amazing sunshine.
We rented a car and went straight to Kinsale, and then followed a personalised mix of the “Wild Atlantic Way“, a scenic tourist coast road on the Irish South Coast, as well as the Ring of Kerry, along panoramic lakes and low mountains. Driving in Ireland is excessively easy, super well signed and once (and if) you get used to the local twang, people are also incredibly nice and helpful.
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We started our 4 days self drive weekend with a fish & chips in Kinsale, and of course a local beer and cider with live music, and proceeded west and along the side coast, around the Killarney national park and back to Cork.
The best bits:
Staying at the Bantry house was a treat. It’s only got a few rooms though so I was quite lucky – and booked really early (about 3 month early). Grabbing a digestive with a book and read by the open fire for the evening made me want to get called “your Ladyship” a little bit.
Diner at the Fish Kitchen in Bantry was one of the best recommendation we could get. There isn’t possibly any more fresh fish than upstairs at the fishmonger. Fuss free and very welcoming people helps too.
We spent a night at Parknassilla, a magical place I’d recommend to anyone but specially those who travel with families, for the park is wonderful and kids-friendly. We realised later though, that the park is also the setting of the film The Lobster….and omg that was a shock! (I don’t recommend watching it if you are staying there, especially not on a mini-moon, creepy!!)
The following day, we were off to another nearby film setting – very different vibe though this time! Since the latest Star Wars film was released, hordes of tourists went looking for Luke on the Skgellig Islands. I originally had planned this trip in August 2015 and at the time, it wasn’t nearly as busy as it is now so it caught me unprepared. When calling the fishermen who offer trips to the Skelligs (12 passengers per boat and with a limited number of tourists at any point in time on the rock) I realised it wasn’t going to work. Some offer half days trips at sea and around the islands though, so we signed up for that and I was extremely glad. We got to see seals, dolphins, a whale, dozens of puffins and other colonies of birds lodged on the cliffs.
We then proceeded to a day of hiking in the lovely and lush Killarney National park. Given the blazing sun (I promise!) we skipped the visit of the Muckross House and went straight into a walk around the lake. There are several path of different levels of difficulty, all well indicated. We opted for one of the longer loops and walking boots but much shorter and easier path are also open, as well as a little boat tour on the lake for those too tired to do it on foot. The views from the hills are gorgeous, and giant rhododendrons make for perfect photos opps.
All in all….
I acknowledge we got exceptionally lucky with the weather – I hear you loud and clear saying that most of the time this trip would have required less tank tops and more wind-breaker jackets – note: the subtitle of the Ring of Kerry webpage says it all “don’t let the rain spoil your holiday: visit the Ring of Kerry“!! But hey, it happens I suppose, even early May! So all in all a pretty relaxing 4 days weekend for outdoor lovers; on the plus side, despite being in the countryside, Ireland offers lively evening occasions.
I was genuinely enthused by this Irish taster …next time? The Giant Causeway. Any tips?
To keep busy in the plane….
We watched “In The name of the Father“, the true story of Gerry Colon. It’s filmed nicely and provides a good excuse to brush up on the Irish independence history.
Later, I also watched on my way to New York the more romanced film “Brooklyn“. The (love) story of a young Irish emigrant to Brooklyn in the 1950’s (played by Saoirse Ronan – she’s amazing) ….definitely a lot lighter than our initial choice, even though emigration from Europe to the US is just as much part of history….(a Times review of Brooklyn)