In August we had our summer holidays. A normal year we would have gone to Italy and Sweden and maybe taken a roadtrip to Clare. Actually this year we had planned to take my inlaws to Northern Ireland, it was last year's Christmas gift to them. Instead, this year's holidays meant that we stayed home, and my husband could work in peace with his own products instead of consulting, while also being able to spend the day playing the mandolin or build wooden decks.
For me, it meant relaxing my mind. Can you ever have holidays or time off if you're in the process of creating a new career? Some people would say no. But you have to take time off sometimes even from online courses, creating things or whatever it is you are doing, because trying to be productive ALL THE TIME is not good for you.
Especially in times like these you need to be kind to yourself. So during the summer, when we had good weather I skipped everything else and spent the day in the garden and went for walks. In Ireland, the summer weather is usually unstable and you may only get one week of true summer weather. This summer was even worse than normal! Every warm and sunny day was a treat, and this horrible year I've tried to enjoy the good moments to the fullest. This also meant treating August like true holidays.
The entire month we talked about taking a roadtrip, but with certain criteria. The weather needed to be good, we wanted to go where we haven't been so often but close enough to go without having to stay overnight.
We finally decided to do the Ring of Kerry. County Kerry is located north-west of Cork and it's one of the more famous regions of Ireland, very much visited by tourists. It has some beautiful peninsulas, fantastic coastal areas, a couple of well renowned whiskey brands, a strong musical tradition, a goat festival and the Skellig Michael island, where parts of the latest Star wars films have been recorded. I hope to cover the goat festival (and much more) another year!
The Ring of Kerry is a route around the most southern peninsula, and it's rather close to us. We can go to Bantry, then towards Glengarriff and Kenmare, but this time we took the road to Dunmanway to arrive in Killarney. From there we went north-west to follow the northern side of the peninsula.
During the summer, the people in Ireland were encouraged to do staycations to support the tourism industry. There was just one problem with that. No public toilets open. Seriously, none!
What were they thinking? I understand the safety priorities, BUT how are people supposed to leave their homes for a day or two if they can't visit a bathroom?
After an extensive search with no results, we were way beyond the Killarney area and found a knitwear shop with a cafeteria, both open - including, to my delight, the bathroom. We had coffee, and to show our gratitude, we also went into the knitwear shop. It was staffed by a lovely elderly gentleman, who was a great salesman - he had good suggestions on what would suit both of us. We left the shop with much less money but both with new, elegant, high quality winter coats!
Along the north side of this peninsula you don't see much of the sea but that changes when the road heads down south. This spot near the end of the peninsula is quite fabulous.
We had lunch there, having bread and salad we had brought with us. Quite a nice spot to sit down.
We had planned to stop by at Ladies' view, which is a beautiful place in the Killarney National Park with view over the lakes. Previously we haven't been very fortunate with seeing it. When we tried to visit in 2008, the weather was very rainy and cloudy and we saw absolutely nothing! Then we went again on Good Friday last year, and there were three busloads of Americans and Germans. It was so crowded that we left almost immediately.
August this year would have been the perfect opportunity to see it because of the lack of tourists. But we missed it. We turned towards Moll's Gap instead which means you'll get straight back to Kenmare. But at least it's a nice drive.
The good weather started to fail us here, but the colours were quite impressive..
It was a nice treat to get out for a bit. I love the area I live in, but I also love to see other places, especially scenic areas, so even if this trip was short and quick and we mostly were in the car, I really enjoyed it. 2020 hasn't offered much in terms of travel.. for obvious reasons. And as the Covid situation has developed here, it will be a long time before it's appropriate to travel even within Ireland.
But I have photos, good memories, and can plan what to visit next, when we get to the other side of the pandemic.