Day Eleven, Part One: Regrets, I’ve Had a Few


The normal route.

The normal route.

Don’t let the title fool you, it was a good day; we just wish we had stretched it out. You’ll see. We made a slow start thanks to a misplaced itinerary and a recalcitrant internet cafe that deigned not to open. Ever. Unshaken, we finagled access via neighborly iPad, re-oriented ourselves to our plans, and wound our way out of town. Now, the drive to our next destination, Kenmare, required us to resolve a small decision tree. The accepted route, via google maps and the advice of the tourist center, would involve a slight bit of back-tracking to get to the major highway system, after which it would be a pleasant, speedy trip. Speedy but, you know… dull. Irish highways are a lot like American highways – put in the middle of nothing because that’s the cheap, flat land, and devoid of much to look at. If, on the other hand,  we were to  go south, we would enjoy the seaside view as we drive along. The road is “N” caliber, which is the same as the other highway we were being directed to.  Besides, Courtmacsherry is that way and will make an excellent cutesy photo-op. No no, much better to take the scenic route.

 

Doesn't look all that different, does it?

Doesn’t look all that different, does it?

 

sce·nic
/ˈsinɪk, ˈsɛnɪk/

adjective Also, sce·ni·cal.

1. having pleasing or beautiful scenery.
2. a scenic tour: to arrange scenics in advance.
See also: a means of attempting suicide in Ireland. 

The drive was ridiculously beautiful, I hear. Hugging the mountainside, with the cool (25 degree F) waters of the North Atlantic practically within arm’s reach. With each razor-sharp hairpin turn we were afforded clear views of the shear drops that waited for us on our left… ever on our left… waiting for us. Anyway, yeah, this was not the first time we had hair-raising roads but it definitely forged the mindset that would guide me (the primary (read: only) driver) for the next couple of weeks: “I don’t want to die.” Helluva honeymoon, ya know what I’m sayin’? The drive was extra enjoyable because the classic car enthusiasts from the Kinsale rally were out enjoying their classic cars, so the traffic was surprisingly fun to look at as it careened at us with murderous speed.

 

I’m overdoing it a little bit, obviously, but the coastal drive that day really was pretty tense for my American sensibilities. Nevertheless it was gorgeous and I’d do it again tomorrow.

 

Vanna, I'd like to buy... no, actually I have no idea how that word is spelled.

Vanna, I’d like to buy… no, actually I have no idea how that word is spelled.

Mercifully, we broke at least four times for tourist opportunities. Two of them were very specifically attuned to us. First we attempted to find the town of Kilpatrick, which we thought would make for a fun photo for our similarly named employer. Only problem was that even after stopping for directions we were unable to find anything on the ground labeled “Kilpatrick,” and never mind the dot on the map. Best as we can figure, a couple of family’s-worth of Kilpatricks lived around there, which was enough to warrant a settlement. But, they all knew where they lived, couldn’t give a shit if anybody else did, and so never put up any signs. Alas.

 

Our second photo-op was in Courtmacsherry, ancestral seat of my blushing bride’s people. It’s a teeny village, and by “village” I actually mean “street'”. It runs along a bay and survives mainly on beach tourism and sport fishing. Honestly we didn’t see much of the place; we drove to the sign, took a few photos, and left. I believe we were having a minor but poorly timed snit at the time, but more pressingly Courtmacsherry was completely out-of-the-way. Of course, out-of-the-way along the coast of Ireland also means really pretty, so it’s not like we minded. It was worth it all around, especially considering the familial connection, but we needed to beat feet afterwards.
A revered holy site.

A revered holy site.

The third “tourist” opportunity was our first ancient thingy of this stretch of the strip. Now, when Lisa first started on the itinerary (and let’s be clear, she always does like 90% of the heavy lifting on these things) she came to me and said “ok, I don’t exactly what we’re going to do, help me out.” So I went away for a couple hours and ran a few searches on the theme of “best ancient thingys in Ireland.” Bam, twenty or so must-sees for us to plot on the map. Some of it you’ve read about already (Hill of Tara, Newgrange, etc…) but on this leg of the trip our first encounter was with Templebryan. Naturally this ancient holy site was signposted and had explanatory flyers available for pilgri- who am I kidding? It was in horse pasture, and the only way to reach it was to find accommodating stones jutting out of the retaining wall by the side of road (having parked the car in a ditch).  You only know you’ve found it because there are massive stones in a circle. God I love the Irish… “what the fuck do we care? Swing a cat, hit a megalith, you try it for awhile and see how much you revere the bloody things!” Or so they seem to say. After taking it in, and all kidding aside I can stare at these things for hours, one of us may or may not have adopted the local attitude by peeing in the field. Not naming names or anything…

 

 

We shall continue this day’s journey tomorrow, with MEGA megaliths, a holy experience from your resident skeptic, and perhaps the best food we ever et in Ireland.

And now a word from our sponsor: COMPREHENSIVE RENTAL CAR INSURANCE.

 

Why yes, it's a stone wall and a blind turn going about 50 mph. You know, the usual.

Why yes, it’s a stone wall and a blind turn going about 40 mph. You know, the usual.


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