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.
adjective Also, sce·ni·cal.
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.
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.