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Ireland

It’s not Cork, but it’s still nice

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.

I was out in the garden with the camera most of August

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.

6 Comments

  • Kadie | lifewithkadie.com
    30th November -0001 at 12:00 am

    Wow what a pretty place and such beautiful photos! I love how green Ireland is! We ran into much the same issues with small trips within the province here. We could use gas station bathrooms but that was about it and most tourist attractions where closed down for half the summer and the other half was so hot and humid, we’re talking high 30’s with 100% humidity for months on end, its still much warmer then normal at the moment. We are going into the second wave now outside the province, we are still holding still here at just a handfull of cases at a time but New Brunswick is currently at 104 cases so the “Atlantic Bubble” is not so safe anymore.

    Reply
    • Susanne S
      30th November -0001 at 12:00 am

      Here not even the petrol stations have toilets open! I was so glad to find that knitwear shop. (And the new coat is beautiful)
      I guess the greenery of Ireland is our consolation during wet weather, because Ireland wouldn’t be so green if it wasn’t for the wet and mild climate.

      Reply
  • Natalie
    30th November -0001 at 12:00 am

    Susanne, Glad you were able to take a road trip. Such beautiful scenery that brought back fond memories of my trip to Ireland a few years ago.

    Reply
    • Susanne S
      30th November -0001 at 12:00 am

      It was lovely that we could do at least one roadtrip this year! Where have you been in Ireland?

      Reply
      • Natalie
        30th November -0001 at 12:00 am

        Dublin, Cork, Killarney, Ring of Kerry, Cliffs of Moher, the Burren… Killarney National Park is one of my favourite stops. I saw a lot of deer when I was there during their mating season.

        Reply
        • Susanne S
          30th November -0001 at 12:00 am

          Lovely!! You’ve been around quite a bit then! Killarney National Park is beautiful but I think my favourite area will always remain the Sheep’s head peninsula here in West Cork, and also the area where I live. Of the places you mention I was really fascinated by the Burren, I was in the area in early March because I spent a week in north Clare at a concertina workshop. I planned to go back with my husband during the summer, but you know how that went 🙁

          Reply

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