The universe says… goodbye Sal hello Kinsale

After our epic day yesterday we were all up early to take Sal to the airport to fly home. We have all adventured, laughed, solved the worlds problems and eaten delicious food. (I am sure i will be the size of a barn if i keep up this eating routine!!) Once we had said our goodbyes (hopeful of another gang outing down the track) L, D and i headed out to Kinsale. 

The carpark provided a sweet view from the edge of the tidal harbour. 

Like Kenmare, Kinsale is a very touristy town with lots of shops and eateries..

  we have seen a lot of places and things that have L’s surname today was the turn of some other friends. I didnt realise the Boland family had a shop in Kinsale. 

After a wander round the shops we found the Kinsale crystal shop. Besutiful pieces but highly impractical purchases for a backpacker ( thankfully lol)

As always it was time to eat. Unbelievably none of us had fish and chips today so it would seem the fish and chip revue is on sabatical!! 

With L behind the wheel we headed out back towards Kenmare with our next destination being the highest pub in Ireland… our first real traffic hold up was actually quite a change and as it was near an old bridge all was well.

The mist was closing in as we made our way up the mountain to the highest pub in Ireland at 1045 ft above sea level. It was a lovely  and the people and the mountain sheep were very friendly.  

By the time we got back to Kenmare we decided to pick up some supplies and then head home for a well deserved nap!! Tomorrow it will be time for me to head back to Cork to get on a bus for Dublin, the next location… cant wait!

One last stop before bed as we needed to get butter for morning toast. So as we were in town we followed a small sign that i had seen every day that simply read ‘Stone Circle’ what we found was a beautifully looked after stone circle that is the largest in Southern Ireland… 

A beautiful parting gift from Kenmare that left me feeling grounded and ready to move on. Blessed be.

Till then these aching feet need a rest!! Peace and light xxx

The universe says… house buying in Cahersiveen via Balihesheen Pass through the Ballaghbeama Gap.

After our epic day in princess bride territory yesterday at the Cliffs of Moher one would think we might have a rest day today but NO… the epic adventure kicked up another level.

D, our trusty blind guide, assured us that he knew an alternative route through the McGillycuddy Reeks to Cahersiveen where he and L had an appointment to view a house. Sal and I were up for the adventure so after breakfast we climbed onboard out trusty beamer and headed out into the great unknown.

We had travelled the Sneem road yesterday and as such we were hungry for a new adventure. Little did we realise what lay ahead!!! Our first indication came when i overshot the turnoff as i did not see it until i was right on it. To be fair it was barely a car wide and as a right turn it was almost a U turn that was steep enough to cause the beamer to kick down a gear. Second indication was that there was a strip of green growing up the center of the road. Winding and twisting through some beautiful farmland we headed up from near Blackwater Bridge between Knocknagullion (418m) and Knockanaskill (360m). 

Luckily we only came face to face with a couple of vehicles one of which was particularly scary. Imagine if you wil blind corner after blind corner on a one lane road with barely room to move… coming the opposite way a learner driver being allowed to travel at Mach 1!!! The look on his terrified face, as i came round tight to my side of the track, was only surpassed by the distance he skidded to come to a stand still a cigarette paper away from the beamer! The look on his Dads face was priceless. I would not be surprised if a bathroom pit stop was required by them both a little further down the track.

Feeling like we had done well we crossed the next major road and headed onto the next part of of the goat track. Still winding round a series of tight bends we came to a section of open flat ground that lead to a section of road that defies description. I suddenly felt like Tensing Norgay as i told my fellow travellers to hang onto their knickers, took a deep breath, and headed up into the Ballaghbeama Gap through the Ballaghesheen Gap and into Cahersiveen.

Relived and exhilarated to have survived and somewhat euphoric that i had driven the pass we parked and went to look for lunch. Cahersiveen is beautiful and filled with some cute little spots.

Today it was my turn to have fish and chips as we found a place that made GF batter as follows!:

  • Fish, sweet, flaky fish in a golden sweet GF batter 9.5
  • Chips, golden, well cooked,crispy 8
  • Overall with GF homemade tartare and salad with a pinch of fresh chopped parsley and a wedge of lemon… awesome 9

After lunch it was down to business with L and D looking at houses, but that is their private story… Then it was off to the french patisserie for a GF treat topped with  candied flowers… heaven 

So it was that we were soon heading to Valentia Island. We headed down to Renard Point and took the car ferry across to the island town of Knightstown. 
Legend has it that Valentia is so special that the Vikings hadnt the heart to plunder it when they landed 1000 years ago. The island is home to an observatory, and the Geokan ( pronounced yo carn) mountains from where you get a good view of the Fogher Cliffs. 

We have come to expect ruins everywhere in Ireland and this island does not dissapoint.

 Now with our heads filled with beauty to the point of overload we haded back to the mainland for a few supplies before heading home to Kenmare.

L had done all the driving round Cahersiveen and the island so it was time for me to get back behind the wheel for the trip home… The coast had one last treat instore as the road clung to the side of the mountains like a goat track. The side of the road dropping some huge distance to the costal plain below. The road had as many blind twists and turns as this morning only difference being it was rwo lanes wide!

Finally after one of the most challenging, exhilarating days of my life we all arrived home. Food and chat gave way to bedtime.

Its almost midnight so before i turn into a pumpkin i say goodbye and good night. Who knows what tomorrow will bring. 

Peace, light and adventure xxx

The universe says… beware the Cliffs of Moher

We had a plan today that required a hearty breeakfast as we set off for the Cliffs of Moher some 3 hrs away in County Clare. D gave us place names and we set off stopping to do a little bit of shopping in Kilarney.

L got some bargains and a few fresh pastries and we were back on the road.  The scenery on the way to Tarbert was beatiful and the ferry was loading as we arrived so we drove straight on. It takes about 20 minutes to cross the Shannon River disembarking at Killimer for a quick cuppa before heading on. 

Our journey had been soundtracked by the dulcet tones of L and Sal who were feeling inspired and creating new traditional Shannon shanties ad hoc en route to the ferry. If all goes well a new album entitled “Crossing the great Shannon – a journey with the Wierdons” will be out soon on the pirate label ” You’ve got to be joking” All requests for band dates should be forwarded to D…. Sal and L will be available for record signing after they have finished backing Van the Man on his next tour. LOL

From Killimer we headed to Liscanoor and stopped for lunch at the pub. D, feeling much recuperated after the burnt scampi of the other night, opted for the fish and chips and critqued as follows: 

  • Fish,  soft very white very tasty 9.5
  • Chips just above averrage at a 7
  • Overall was the best so far!

Then it was on to the Cliffs of Moher… no words can describe so i will let the pictures speak for themselves.  The wind was epic and just added to the atmosphere. If its good enough for Harry Potter, Ryans Daughter and The Quiet Man its good enough for us. 

What an absolutely spectacular day. So as we head for home in Kenmare 3 hrs away i bid you all good bye. Or so i thought… as we passed through Kilrush a discussion ensued regarding a few supplies for home. Our sat Nav was set for home, D had his set for the nearest Tesco. 

Soon a battle was underway between the two sat nav women, D and L. Sal and i were in fits of laughter. Finally L announced she was taking control and we arrived at Tesco not a moment to soon.. lol
Heres hoping we get back to Kenmare tonight… Peace and light xxx

The universe says… hello Sal

Up early D cooked us a smashing full cooked breakfast before we got on the road to pick up Sal at Cork airport. One of the difficulties L and  i struggle getting GPS to understand our excellent ( pulling unbelievable face lol) pronounciation of irish town names. So here we are driving down a motorway then moving into heavy traffic in Cork city. Not exactly the airport! So after a few frustrating minutes we finally get the GPS sorted and L who is now over driving in the city, does an awesome job of getting us to the airport. Our flood of relief was obvious to the heavens. D shook his head and we went to pick up Sal.

I  drove us back to Kenmare for a snack then we headed off to Sneem. As our accomodation is just off the Sneem road we didnt bother with GPS. 

Our drive through Parknasilla was interesting especially when round a blind bend a corner, we have now come to know as a sharp left, appeared out of nowhere. So here i was driving 4 of us in a brand new BMW XR3 straight through a giveway, sorry i stand corrected, a yield!! Sign. Obviously we survived, laughed some what nervously and continued into Sneem. 

One of the sweet delights i have now come to expect (gratefully 💕) is the breathtaking countryside. Todays journey did not dissappoint. Just before we got to Sneem we made a pitstop at Derrynane, a gorgeous seaside camping spot on the bay. I had promised myself that i would walk in the ocean and this beautiful beach provided that moment. L and Sal declined my invitation to join me in the salty brine ( i can here you all agreeing with them.. chickens) so i peeled off my socks and shoes and headed for the water. It was crystal clear and to be honested gave me that internal calm that being on the beach often brings. There is something primal for me about stepping into the ocean. Yes it was cool but exhilarating!! So the Atlantic and i are now intimately aquainted and i am in love..

Back in the car we skirted the Dunkerron Range and sucked in the beauty with every breath. Sneem was beautiful and home to the famous ( or infamous… i have no idea!! Lol ) gaelic footballer John Egan.. fuelled with local ice cream we jumped back in our old banger and continued on. 
Wow, Catherdaniel did not dissapoint with evenmore fabulous views. It was here that we decided to turn and head for home. As driver i was focused on the view ahead and was blessed on the return with a different perspective. 

Back home (it certainly feels like home) in Kenmare we headed to the pub… Tonights choice was  a cracker, O’Donnavhain’s, and worth the wait for a table. D, stung by yesterdays dissapointing seafood, opted for rib. Sal had cannelloni, i had omelette and L became the fish and chip critic as follows:

  • Fish, tasty with crispy batter and a sumptuous portion 8
  • Chips, smaal cut, possibly frozen served in an awkardly argumentative chip basket 7
  • Overall good.

The live traditional irish music was fabulous and so after our fill of food and culture it was time to head home to rest for tomorrows grand adventure.

Tired and blissful… peace and light xxx

The universe says… hello Kenmare.

Time to wave goodbye to Cork today so after a lovely breakfast with the gorgeous Liam and Daisy we said our goodbyes and headed out. 

L arrived right on time and i locked the front or of Em’s peaceful house and we programmed the sat nav for Kenmare. The misty rain feel gently as we passed through some stunningly beautiful countryside. L is now enjoying driving and wasn’t even thrown by the road signs for severe bends and we have both learnt to yield. ( known to the less well informed as giving way!)

Kenmare was so pretty and a wander on foot through the side streets delivered up beautul linens, glorious food, stunning trees and so much colour and history.

We decided on a pub called Davitts for a spot of lunch. D is the covert fish and chip guru. Todays analysis was as follows: 

  • Fish: fresh white flaky cod and melted in the mouth, batter was soft and tasty 9.5
  • Chips beatiful fluffy inside 8
  • Mushy peas really tasty but not enough 8
  • Overall comment excellent hard to out do

L had chicken salad and i had Jambalaya rice… fantastic.

We then wandered the rest of the street (so glad i only have a backpacknas there was so much i could have bought lol the scarves were gorgeous local lace… you can never have too many scarves).

Surprisingly i quite like icecream (i can hear a few bursts of laughter from those of you who have accompanied L snd I on late night trip to the local ice creamery) well let me tell you Kenmare cherry ripple with real chunks of cherry and rasberry ripple with real rasberries are out of this world. L and D had banoffy swirl. “Ice cream is the best antiaging cream, eat it and you feel like your 7!*

Next we headed to our accomodation for the next few days a lovely splash of modern three bedrooms two with ensuite one main bathroom upstairs, powder room downstairs.. not too shabby 😊🌼 

After a quick cuppa and a sit down it was time to get back on the road for the afternoon. L behind the wheel we headed to Castletownbere through the mountains. Words could not do it justice neither will the photos… i am in awe and feel like creation stepped out and touched my soul… 

I drove back via the Caha Pass. We made a pitstop to shoot the scenery. L and i climbed a fence to stand on the precipice of mind blowing beauty. Below us on a ridge stood two beautiful horses. We oh’d and ahh’d and felt the now cold wind move through us. As we made our way back to the car L was ambushed by an agressive fence that took her down at lightning soeed. Bleeding she brushed herself off and announced it was worth it… we laughed as we had both traversed the knee deep mud ( well it could have been!) Climbed to the edge, stood shooting footage being blasted by chilled atlantic air only for her to be taken down on the last step back from the edge.

By the time we arrived back at Kenmare we were starving. The food did not make it to the standard of Davitts but we ate. D had the scampy that was revued as follows; 

  • Scampy burnt batter and tough 4
  • Chips overdone hard
  • Salad ok with average tartare

Overall 4.

L had beef and guiness stew that was watery. I had bbq ribs that were ok ( cant reeally kill ribs!)
Oh well time to head to bed. Peace and light xxx

The universe says… time to catch up with L&D… 

Lazing around was the order for the morning. Grey mist rain had closed in and everywhere was shrouded in a cloak of soft cool droplets. Just perfect for laying in bed. 

A quick message from L let me know that they wotuld come with A to pick me up so that we could get the hire car. D was feeling poorly and had a blinding headache so dark glasses were the order of the day. We headed into budget to pick up a car and came out upgraded to this old banger lol (BMW X3SUV with leather interior) no complaints.  As I have come to expect, the jovial man at the counter established Ds dilemma and started joking about him signing their house away as D couldn’t see the form to read the details. Once we got that sorted L drove us using the sat Nav to the village of Cloyne for lunch… 

We popped into the local and managed to down some delicious hearty food.. I was in my element with my cabbage and bacon with mash, parsnip and carrots. Perfect for a wet grey day. 

Cloyne is a very pretty place with lovely buildings. 

The chap at the pub had a little difficulty understanding me and thought that when I put my hand on my heart and said the food was beautiful I was complaining. I thought he was going to have a heart attack. Eventually he got the drift and looked relieved. 

On leaving I asked about the impressive tower at the end of the road. I could tell you about it love but it would all be lies he said.. Apparently not necessarily true lol. As you will see the sign declares nobody is really sure why it was built.  Hilarious. 

After a quick stop at L & Ds air BnB it was my turn to drive to the South County pub in Douglas.. 

Unbelievably the voice activated sat Nav understood my direction but didn’t know the pub so we headed to Douglas and decided to wing it regarding the exact location. 

After returning to the same roundabout at least 5 times we eventually arrived. L & D had been at a wedding yesterday of Ds niece. So I got to meet the family and had a fabulous evening of story telling and laughter. 

Sadly all good laughs draw to an end so it was time to hop in the car and for me to drive back to Cork.. My new friend sat Nav decided to bring us back by the narrow laneways. High stone walls either side and no possible way to pass an oncoming vehicle. Let’s just say my hyper aware spatial senses were called upon to inhale sharply enough to cause the vehicle to inhale and passing moves were accomplished with no damage to our BMW X3!!!

Well my cheeks hurt from laughing and my heart was lifted by the amazing welcome that I felt.  Tomorrow we head to Kenmare to begin the ring of Kerry so stay tuned. 

Peace, light and belly laughter xxx

Universe says…  take the free walking tour around Cork 

Today was all about exploring on foot. I was up at 7 (not too shabby considering i arrived in the middle of the night) heading out the door after a herbal tea and a banana. It was a beautiful morning (very quiet place or so i thought) and after a quick look at the map on google i headed out for town. After walking for quite sometime i decided to ask a local dog walker if i was heading into the city. Apparently not, lol into the rural he says, you need to go back the other way… i thanked him and assured him it had been a pretty walk to which he replied ‘ah well nothings open yet so maybe have breakfast first’ lesson 1 for today update location in phone for correct time. Apparently 6am was real time!

So it was that a couple of hours later i headed out this time with directions from the lovely Liam and Daisy ( sweet guests in the other room who arrived the day before me) this time heading into town approximately 2.3kms down hill.

As i got to town i noticed a shop called Paddywagon Ireland so i popped in to see if they had a walking map. Alas they only had one of the town center luckily as we chatted i found out they had another shop in the inner city that ran free walking tours. So with new directions in hand i headed off to find location 2.

A lovely american girl, who is studying her Masters in Psychology in coaching, was the guide leading 4 french students and myself off on tour. 

It was awesome, she knew lots of local history so the shots above are of:

  • St Finbarres Cathedral ( third one on the site as previous two were destroyed during rebellions)
  • The panoramic shot is from the top of the fort where the cannon fire came from that damaged the cathedral
  • The River Lee shot from a bridge, one of many that cross over the two legs of the river that surround the city centre
  • The statue commemorating the young men who died fighting for Irelands independence in the Irish wars is beautiful and poignant.
  • The Pride stairs next to the Dominican Church lead us up yet another hilly street.
  • Next stop four liars bell tower so called due to the four faces never giving the same time ( while we stood at the bottom some clever sould was playing ode to joy on the bells, just magic)
  • Butter market where they measure things in firkins!! ( who knew Jamtart you are a butter person lol)
  • The last shot is St Patricks stairs but more about that later.

Lesson 2  for the day came when my camera battery died!!!!!!!! Slapping myself for that one.. So you miss out on shots of: 

  • The English markets
  • The Irish Markets
  • The walk around the shopping district
  • The Cork art gallery
  • Lots of live music
  • The walk home!!

By now the worms were gnawing so it was time to look for a supermarket for supplies. I finally found a shop called…  wait for it… Supa value…. and got some food for dinner breakfast etc. 

Time to head home the 2.3 kms back up the hill!!! 

I start ascending St Patricks stairs and get about halfway up before i need a good sit down. An irishman in an old suit comes over and says ” warm day, too hot for walking” and sits down next to me.

It turns out Sean, 63 and on his own, thought i had been out in the sun to long and suggested i get the bus. I told him i was happy to walk and just needed to catch my breath before getting on with it. We chatted a while and he told me he thought i was brave travelling on my own. We shared a bit of story with each other, him shy with women been alone a long time, me alone but adventuring.

Advice comes from funny places sometimes… Sean said when i was ready i should be open to getting a new man (bless him) apparently a young woman like me deserved another good man (and before you ask, no he didnt volunteer!!) But he told me to be wary of men who would romance me and take my money.. we laughed and i wished him well and got up and continued on the stairs.

Eventually i made it to the road i came down this morning only now my legs feel far more like jelly than they did when i set out. So i did a few stretches on the last step and headed back for a feed and a really good sit down with a cup of mint tea.

Heres hoping i can still walk tomorrow. Stretching with gratitude for this fabulius day. 

Peace, light and love xxx