I need to return to Ireland one more time, not actually but in writing. This blog is the blog I intended to write about Ireland before we went. It is the blog that I thought I would write if not much happened on our ten days away. But then, predictably I suppose for us, a lot did happen, quite enough for two blogs in that time and of course if you’ve read them you will know I found wi-fi facilities at the local museum about the Blasket Islands. So my intended blog never got written but I intend to rectify that now because there are definitely a few loose ends I need to tie up. Probably the big question is – did this trip satisfy my need for travel? And the small answer is – probably. Probably more of this in a later blog.
But let me do the little things first. They concerned a couple of those moments when we said well, what do you expect, this is Ireland. These were those moments when what we saw before us defied any known logic. The first we witnessed on Dingle’s main street and concerned, as you can see. a bloody great rock outside a house actually in the street (see right). As a strategy for stopping people parking outside your house it’s impeccable. A fine example of cutting your nose off to spite your face, you might say or the ‘if I can’t have it neither can anybody else’, philosophy. When we did a bit of research we found out that it was a holy rock and therefore presumably could not be moved for fear of upsetting our Lord. Fair enough I suppose. The second anomaly, so very Irish, was the main road that just stopped at a gate (see above). I have tried to take a picture (it was raining at the time so I didn’t get out of the Land Rover) but I’m not sure it really captures the strangeness but you can see from the white line down the middle of the road that what we have here is definitely a proper road not just some old farm track. Finally, just a brief mention to petrol prices – diesel is about 6 cents on average cheaper than petrol. Totally the opposite to the UK. How can that be? Why should this be? No idea, this is Ireland. There were many other circumstances that caused us to stop and say to each other – well, it’s Ireland. Trouble is you become used to them and no longer notice unless it’s something a bit exceptional.
So to the main theme of the blog – living by the sea. I have always wanted to live by the sea, whether it’s because as a Cancerian, I’m a water sign if you believe in such things, or more likely because I find the sea restful and relaxing. Admittedly I prefer to be by it rather than on it or in it, but either way I’ve always been fond of the sea. I have from time to time thought we might move to a house by the sea. The closest I’ve come to this was when I worked in Scarborough and, for a while, considered buying an apartment overlooking the sea so that, at a practical level, I could avoid both travelling back and forwards to Leeds or staying in some soulless hotel in the area. Kinda made sense but then I moved on from Scarborough after a year and that window on the sea closed. And that was as close as I’ve got. But each time we rent a house by the sea, as we did in Ireland, that particular dream rises up.
In those pre-retirement days when speculating about how our lives might change when we did retire and where we might be living, those seaside dreams came back to me. It actually hasn’t figured that much as an option so far. As I’ve written in other blogs, I don’t really believe that if we lived elsewhere, by the sea for example, I would be more content, more fulfilled than the places we live now. So it seemed that the genie was still in the bottle. Well, until Ireland that is. Given the apparent implosion of the Celtic Tiger and the reported large number of houses remaining only partially built, a situation reinforced by the number of seemingly empty houses in the area we were staying – the very west of County Kerry – my initial thought was that they would practically be giving houses away. That idea was quickly dispelled. Strangely, we didn’t find any estate agents windows to ogle at but of course there’s always the internet. And there I found a couple of options, two possibilities to revive the dream. One was a piece of land and the other, unsurprisingly, was the half-finished house in the photo (see below). I know this is all potential pie in the sky and I also know that Mrs Summerhouse will not approve of this particular property related scheme. She’s more cautious / sensible than me. Both options are possible financially but, and it is a big but, money invested in Ireland would mean money not invested in our Colorado land. So that particular retirement scheme would have to go on the back burner. Gosh, this isn’t easy.
So we’re retired and we have probably one last opportunity to live our lives, at least in part, by the sea, in fact by the ocean, the Atlantic Ocean no less. Buying coastal property in the Uk is impossible, way too expensive. We toyed with the idea of buying in New Zealand where things are a bit cheaper but still for a sea view out of our price bracket. I remember that when John Lennon was alive and he was asked by an interviewer what he thought he would do when he retired and he replied that he and Yoko would probably end up living in a cottage somewhere on the west coast of Ireland. It didn’t happen for him. That’s where we have just been of course and that’s where we could retire to but it would be a big gamble. I mean do we really need another place to live? I know we are retired but there are only so many places you can live at once.