At 6:28 this morning, I woke up to the sound of an alarm. I wasn’t sure if it was a burglar alarm or a fire alarm, and they don’t put scary notices on the backs of the room doors here in Ireland. Since our room was on the first floor, and I knew the windows opened enough for a highly motivated person to get out, I didn’t worry much, but it did do the trick and get us moving early…once I woke Dan up, that is.
After saying our farewells to the kind folks at Killeen House, we were on our way for a LONG day of drive-by sightseeing. We started out backtracking a bit to take a drive through Moll’s Pass, which is a road cut through the mountains. It was beautiful, but I would strongly encourage a light breakfast before because the road was super-narrow, and the traffic is super-speedy.
We stopped at Ladies’ View, a viewing spot that is well-known because of its breathtaking scenery. It was worth the trip, and because we were so early in the day, it wasn’t crawling with tourists. But we knew we had to head in the opposite direction in order to start on the road to Galway, which is exactly what we did. In Killorglin, we stopped at Jack’s Bakery and Deli and picked up ‘meat pies’ which are essentially glorified chicken pot pies, and headed north in the rain. We didn’t get far though, because I saw the Kerry Woolen Mill Outlet (the Mill itself had been closed last night when I first noticed it), and we stopped in. I guess that was another dream I never knew I had before – I got to pick up two obscenely expensive balls of dyed, spun wool for a future knitting project. Now I just have to figure out what I can make and complete with just two balls of beautiful but pricey yarn.
Back on the road, we went on a long, crazy ride. Dan says I should confess that I shrieked a few times and that he wanted to open the door of the damned car and throw me out. I admit, I did have a few moments of unabashed terror, but I’m confident that he couldn’t have thrown me out of the car because honestly, we were so far to the left that the passenger door couldn’t have opened without hitting a wall or whatever other deadly object was next to us, so I was pretty safe. I also think that Dan’s propensity to drive so far to the left (on or to the left of the painted guides) may also have some subconscious connection to his liberal political leanings (wink).
We took a ferry across the Shannon Bay and drank hot chocolate in the mist on the deck, and that was fun. And we stumbled upon a rocky beach a big fancy-ass golf resort overlooking a portion of the Cliffs of Moher. As we left, we saw the sign said it was a Trump Golf Resort, which nearly made Dan cough up the fig newtons he’d been munching on. (Who chooses Fig Newtons in a country that makes scones, for heaven’s sake?) I think we should have taken a short cruise to see the Cliffs, but it was raining – a lot, and we still had a lot of ground to cover, so we kept on going.
The traffic in Galway, when we finally got here, was really terrible, and we were kind of flying blind with no directions or GPS (note to self: it would be a good idea to plan and print that stuff out ahead, but it did feel very spontaneous up until every time we’d make a wrong turn). Finally, after 7, we turned onto a wicked long, one-lane road that went on forever – at least it felt that way at the time. At the end of the road was Ross Lake House Hotel, which is what we’re calling home for the next couple of days. I’m sure it’s lovely, but I didn’t even look at it when we pulled in because I was so sure we weren’t in the right place and would have to turn around and drive down that long road again.
The place is older – Dan says “it’s very historically period.” I think that’s code for “the toilet doesn’t flush well, and there are even less television stations here than at Jakewood. But we’re both tired from the day’s travels, and the thought of driving down that long road again – and trying to find the place again in the dark, made the decision to stay here for an upscale dinner. I forgot to take a photo of dinner – Dan had roast duck – which sounds “very historically period” if you ask me – so I hope his toilet flushes, and I opted for fish.
It’s really late now, and I did not sleep well last night (I am blaming this on that giant pot of tea we drank last night), so I’m going to call it a night an hope you won’t mind if I save more details for tomorrow. I think we’re going to Kylemore Abbey (if we can find it), and I’d like to go to the original shop and now museum where the first Claddagh was created. I read originated here. In the meantime though, the rain has stopped here, and even though most of our day was spent in the car and on the road, I loved seeing all those rocks, rock walls, and old cottages, barns, and stone masterpieces which comprised the Fifty Shades of Gray today. And who could resist the fifty thousand shades of green that seem to become even more vibrant on a day with a heavy mist and low-hanging grey clouds in the sky?