Today was started off with a full table service breakfast on quality china and real Irish linen napkins. Small B&B in the middle of town, street parking and owned and managed by a lovely couple. With the writing completed, it just remained for a proof read, load up and use the new process to load the GPS. Well, it was a learning process and the lessons were well learnt and in future, that will be done at night to avoid the delays inherent in searching out accurate locations. The weather was overcast as it has been for the last couple of days.
Now I haven't mentioned the Irish parking practices before but I think it must be where the saying "Rafferty's Rules" comes from. Parallel parking but it doesn't seem to matter which direction you come from. Nothing to see a car drive down the wrong side of the street and park in the opposite direction of the flow of traffic, and they squeeze in any where or park within centimetres of the next car. Anyway, we walk out with luggage and here is our car with about 450mm in front and 300mm of clearance in the rear. Not a lot of room to load the bags and even less to maneuver out. Multiple forward - reverse until we were able to get underway.
First stop, the little town of Drimoleague, where Therese's great grandfather lived. She knew the ancestors were buried in the old cemetery so of course we had to locate that first by finding the church. By now we had the pleasure of light Irish sunshine, (rain), Wandered around the church and the new cemetery. Cemeteries seem to be a bit like the parking, graves all that close together there is usually no room to walk between them. We found little of significance there and back at the church we spoke to a couple of ladies who told us the location of the old cemetery further up the hill and warned us that it was quite overgrown. That was an understatement. Many of the graves had been marked with Natural slate headstones and these had deteriorated beyond recognition, fallen down and were covered with long grass. Very difficult and dangerous to move about, especially in the light rain. No chance of locating anything.
Back into town for a visit to the local hardware as the previously mentioned ladies referred us to the owner as someone with great knowledge of the history of the local inhabitants. I'm begriming to think all Irish people are almost obsessed by their family histories as this guy could talk about all the different families and how they were related. Finished up by telling a story of a nearby Kelly who apparently was an early version of his Australian namesake, Ned, and the strange tale of gold treasure and associated haunting spirits. Therese joked this may have been how the family could afford to emigrate to Australia. He also commented that he remembered the Kellys as having curly black hair. I laughed and said that was a fitting description a few years ago.
Now the fun started. We headed off with the destination of Killarney and as usual, relying on a GPS that I rarely trust. I have mentioned the constant travel on narrow country roads instead of major roads and made multiple checks of the GPS settings. Only two real choices, shortest route or quickest time. Now normally you would think that quickest time would be via the major roads as the shortest time will always take you off the main road if the GPS calculates a few seconds can be saved. We approached a corner where the main road went right and the GPS wanted left. Being no fool, this looked wrong so a quick Google Maps check and sure enough, the GPS proposed route was 28 minutes versus Goggle's 48 minutes. Big difference so we'll take the byways, big mistake. We ended up on a road that just got worse and worse until we headed up a hill on a road marked Priest's Leap Road and another sign saying dangerous road. As we reached the sign we were on a steep climb and what do you know, overheat situation again. Dangerous little maneuver to back down the slippery wet steep hill until I could turn around, coast downhill till the car cooled and try to back-track. Eventually found our way back to the main road with the help of a local who told us it regularly happens including trucks often ending up lost in the area. Note to self, "Check radiator tomorrow when engine cold".
Heading for Killarney via a picturesque drive, and by ignoring all GPS instructions to take side roads, the route we were on took us up over a range east of the Killarney National Park climbing up the range through a number of short tunnels and occasionally having to crawl behind slow moving camper vans. No sign of engine temperature issue, really strange this one. At the top of the range we came to a little place called Molly Gallivan's Cottage and Traditional Farm. A small interesting shop and attractions with a supposed history associated with Molly and how she survived up there by selling eggs, home made goods and illegal whisky. Nice place and wide range of souvenirs and locally produced and had made woollens and linen. The site is also marked by an imposing wooden carving of a Druid, representing the first settlers of the area 6,000 years ago.
Eventually reaching Killarney, we found a nice looking town, a lot bigger than the Killarney close to where we grew up. Heading back south we travelled through the Killarney National Park beside the famous Killarney lakes. Beautiful drive through sections of forest and rocky mountains. Great scenery and would have been so much better if it had been sunny. The road was two lane but quite narrow and forms part of a group of tourist roads called "The Ring of Kerry". A lot of tourist buses but they travel the route clockwise and cars are recommended to go anticlockwise. We didn't know that until later luckily we had done that anyway. Few chances of overtaking a bus on this road. Out of the park and continuing south we crossed over a high range in sheep country and the road reminded me of crossing Mt Hotham and I assume this area would be snowed in during in winter.
From there it was south through Kenmare, Sneem, Waterville as we headed to Dingle for our overnight stop. This road follows the coast line of the Atlantic Ocean and again, would have been better in bright sunshine but the road again was reminiscent of the Great Ocean Road. With our accommodation just out of Dingle, and it getting late, rather than have to go into town for dinner, we stopped in Waterville for dinner. While being served and talking to the manager about where we were from, he asked Therese if she was originally from Ireland, Something to do with the eyes apparently. I told you they were obsessed with family history.
GPS planning completed and aligned to Google Maps routes, we should be able to get an earlier start tomorrow to explore Dingle and head to Limerick.