Sorry for not posting for the last couple of days, but it has been pretty busy. We completed our second half of the Ring of Kerry journey two days ago. It was a cloudy day driving through the mountainous region of the ring, and misty in the lower parts, so we didn’t get to see a lot. On top of that, Shawn and Chiara had a touch of food sickness, so they weren’t in the ideal situation for travelling, so we didn’t make a lot of stops. There was some nice scenery and you get to overlook the water at a few really picturesque locations. We arrived at the university apartments and all but the two that were not well went out for dinner and drinks. It was a good time and we all tried some new drinks and some new food. Add three more beers to the ongoing total 🙂 An old stray dog sat down with us outside of the pub and forced us indoors, but the inside was so nice it wasn’t an unwelcome change. Lots of dark wood everywhere.
The following day (yesterday) everybody was feeling better, so we headed to Cashel to see the castle built on the rock of cashel. We took a couple of wrong turns in the town (the roads are all criss-crossing, angled oddly, and narrow, so it is easy to miss a turn), and as luck would have it, we ended up at some abbey just in the shadow of the castle. It was better than the castle. It was a huge old ruin, with a cemetery in it and loads of walls that were half gone. It was raining in the castle (which was half covered in scaffolding) and the kids (my kids, not the O’Keefe children) were acting up, so that might contribute to the negative vibe of that place.
We then headed to our new residence tucked away in the middle of some pine forest on a wonderful shaded roadway and had lunch in the restaurant and drank the afternoon away. The residences were like ski chalets (built in 1999 and still all original by the looks of things) but were situated with amazing views of the nearby mountains and the forest. Shawn and I snuck away and whiled away the few hours between lunch and dinner before bringing some dinner home for our spouses. We sat around for the last time while the women ate and the kids all watched a movie. Before they left for their own cottage for the night, we all said our goodbyes as they were leaving early in the morning to catch an early flight- though the goodbyes weren’t nearly as emotional as the goodbyes with the family on vacations past or as our hellos – we basically said “See you in a week”, which felt really nice to say. It was a great experience touring with friends, and the two weeks we were together flew by. We ended the trip by agreeing to make more of an effort to see each other back in Canada.
Today, we tried to visit Cashel again so Jenn could souvenir shop as it was on the way to Dublin airport. We then headed to a place called Clara, but time slipped away from us and we found ourselves in a mad rush to get to the airport in time (Jenn is still having trouble with the 24 hour clock – 15:00 is most definitely not 5:00 p.m.). We made it no problem and even had to wait about 8 minutes. We made it out of the airport in Dublin without passing through Passport control, which was very unusual. Then, in an even more bizarre twist, we got off of the little tarmac bus that we had to take from the airplane into the airport in London and right onto a train home – again without passing through any sort of customs or anything! We have no record of our re-entry into England or our exit from Ireland (no exit stamp in the passports unfortunately).
All in all, Ireland and the Republic of Ireland have hugely varying landscapes as you travel across the countries, each with their own distinct style and flavour, but all prominently pasture. I would definitely recommend Northern Ireland, the Dingle peninsula and inch beach, Newmarket on Fergus, and the Ring of Kerry to anybody that is planning on travelling to that part of the world.
See you all in a week!