Once again our retirement travel plans centre on dear old Ireland. If you’ve read these blogs before you will remember we were here in May and enjoyed so much that here – out of season – we are again. It’s not long before Ireland weaves its magic spell. On our first morning we come down to breakfast at our hotel in Killarney, rather I come down, please wait to be seated, OK. The lady comes and asks me my room number. The conversations goes as follows :
Waitress Lady : Room number?
Me : 105
Lady : Ah, the tour guide.
Me : No
Lady : That’s good because the tour bus has left.
Me : That wouldn’t be good, a tour guide missing the tour.
Lady : No it would not. Room number?
Me : Let’s try 205.
Lady : OK.
She happily crosses out, what I assumed, was our names on her list and shows me to our table. A few minutes later Mrs Summerhouse comes in and sits with me. I ask her what our room number is. 105, she says, showing me our key.
This is Ireland and we’re on our way. Strictly we were on our way yesterday but that was just drive – ferry – drive (for 5 hours to Killarney). Killarney was heaving, mostly with Americans, none the worst for that of course. We went into the same bar we went into last time we were in these parts. The bar was heaving with Americans also. I asked a group of women (American) whether the people at the table next to them had left. No, they’re coming back, she said. Then added, quite unnecessarily I thought – 8 guys. I said, 8? That’s too many. I think I could take 7, but 8, keep the table. You know they say Americans have no sense of humour. This would have been a bad time to find this was true. Hey, Floyd, this limey guy says he can take 7 of you. Fortunately the lady took my reply in the spirit it was intended, that of the abject coward. How we laughed. When I tell you that this exchange and the fish and chips were the best parts of today* you will realise that this was a tedious day and frankly it made me glad we haven’t bought a house here in the South West. True it’s closer than Colorado but still quite a trek. Twelve hours in total so far. The breakfast conversation above took place after we’d walked the doggies in the ground of Ross Castle. A beautiful spot, pictures provided to prove it (above and at end).
We stop for fuel before heading on to Dingle. I am puzzled all over again to find petrol at 1.34 euros and diesel at 1.17 euros. Not quite as surprised as last time and even less surprised given I believe I have found that diesel in the UK is also cheaper – sometimes but not others. Not for the first I wonder what is going off and I also think about whether diesel is more or less polluting that petrol. I read that it was but then heard on the radio that it was not. It’s hard to make rational choices these days when you throw into this melting pot of confusion the fact that all the pollution data is, courtesy of Volkswagen and probably others, a dirty low-down lie anyway. What the heck. Like my smoking blog, I think just get on with it, hit the road towards Dingle.
Or rather to Aldi – twice. We had learned that the supermarket in Dingle (the one where I broke the marmalade jars) was expensive so it made complete sense to buy our food and wine at good old Aldi. Except that we couldn’t buy wine until 10.30 and it was now just before 10. Hence the twice. At 10.30 we returned and bought our wine and at excellent prices compared to Dingle but it set me thinking as these things do. What was the rationale for this 10.30 start? Some attempt to reduce Irish alcoholism, at least in the morning. We decided, after some thought, it was probably a way of increasing attendance at mass – most things are in Ireland. If you want a drink at that hour of the day then get to mass and take a swig of communion wine because you’ll not be buying any in the shops. And it’s a good price, free in fact, although there’s no such thing as a free drink at mass.
We stop off an Inch Strand (left). A favourite beach for us and the pups. It’s empty and beautiful and I do not make the mistake of driving quickly along the far-as-the-eye-can-see sands. When we were last here I drove into a hole going too fast and not seeing it. Mrs Summerhouse was unamused and the pups were found cowering in the back of the Land Rover with their paws over their eyes. It was on the way home so the pups’ cages flew off the roof-rack not that we realised until we stopped further along the beach, so we had to go back for them and they were surprisingly difficult to find in all that sand and, if I’ve told you that before, then I apologise. So, on this day, we drove a way down the beach and stopped, see photos, and Mrs SH played ball with the pups while I wrote up my diary that hadn’t got done on account of the driving we did yesterday.
So here we are in retirement heading for South West Ireland, County Kerry and a village called Dunquin. In order to get this published on Tuesday (it’s now Monday) I’m going to stop writing this even though it only covers the first three days. Who knows what the next few days might have on offer to us in our retirement adventures.
*The only other fun part of the long day driving was running a competition with myself for the most ostentatious Irish new build, houses that is. To say they were bling would seriously undervalue their hideousness. It’s like the Irish are saying through their ‘architecture’, so you think we’re poor, the butt of other countries jokes about the impoverished Irish, well we will show you and hence produce houses that are huge, painted hideous colours, combine Spanish balustrades with Greek columns in an ever-spreading series of wings and extensions and garage three times the size of the average croft that most of population used to live in. All because land is / was cheap and, when all these new houses were built, presumably the Celtic Tiger was in full swing. Now it’s swinging often from a rope, to my jaundiced eye, they look over-blown and ridiculous and quite out of place in their settings. Not to mention empty. OK, that will do. Maybe retirement makes a person a bit grumpy, I don’t know.