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  • Day10

    Day 10 - Blown Round the Ring of Kerry

    August 10, 2019 in Ireland ⋅ ⛅ 15 °C

    The alarm went off at 8.00am, too early if you had had a dreadful night sleep. I struggled out of bed & made Jackie a cup of tea. The wind was blowing a hooley, I later looked it up & discovered that it was gusting at 30mph, perfect for motorcycling!

    We got ourselves ready & packed our rucksacks & loaded them in the car. We were all moving out of Mr Hegarty’s Meadow Cottage to pastures new. Around 9.30am, we said goodbye to Chris & Angela & climbed aboard the motorcycle. We were heading to the Ring of Kerry, Chris & Angela were heading to our new cottage for the forthcoming week.

    Jackie & I headed west on the N71, then headed north just before reaching Ballydehob. The windy was gusty to say the least & we took it easy particularly because the roads were also damp. When we arrived at Bantry Bay, we stopped & got off to look at the monument to all those that lost their lives in the Bay, which stood in front of the Cemetery. When we returned to the motorcycle, we found Jackie’s helmet in the entrance to the Cemetery, several metres from the bike. It would appear she hadn’t attached it the bike securely & it had fallen off & rolled down the road.

    We drove through Bantry to Ballylickey, where we filled up with petrol. We then continued through Glengarriff & on to Kenmare, where we parked up to get some sustenance. After walking around the very busy town, we stopped at Cafe Mocha, where we ordered a Full Irish Breakfast & a Mini Breakfast. I won’t say who had which!

    Pleased with our breakfast selection, we continued onwards & upwards to Molls Gap. Unfortunately we shouldn’t have been there, I had missed the Ring of Kerry turning, so we did a U turn & drove the 10kms back down the mountain to Kenmare. Luckily it was only raining & blowing a gale!

    We picked up the Ring of Kerry road (N70 & Wild Atlantic Way) & rode through Templenoe, Blackwater Bridge, Derreenamacken, Tahilla & Parknasilla to Sneem. At times it was damn frightening as every so often we were sideswiped by a vicious gust of wind.

    Sneem, a small village, was heaving with tourist coaches. In addition to this a wedding was taking place at the local church & a stag party was in full swing with the groom to be dressed in a leprechaun outfit. (We saw them at another pub along the Ring of Kerry).

    We stopped & had a mooch around. It was nice but way too busy. We got back on the bike & continued clockwise around the RoK. The most bizarre sight of the day was seeing as erected tent on an island just metres off the mainland, with 2 people sat in deckchairs in front of it as if it was the perfect summer’s day.

    We continued to Waterville, where it has capitalised on the fact that Charlie Chaplin & his family holidayed there for many years in the 1950s. Apparently he first visited the town upon the recommendation of his friend, Walt Disney. As a result of this connection, there is a Charlie Chaplin bronze statue, a Charlie Chaplin Walk & a Charlie Chaplin Comedy Film Festival, which later this year is going to attempt the World Record for the largest gathering of Charlie Chaplin Lookalikes!

    We had a stroll along the seafront (or Charlie Chaplin Walk) & I used the Ladies Public Toilets, as the Gents were out of action. The weather looked to be getting worse, so we continued on to Kells, our home for the night. We stopped at Cahersiveen for a bottle of red , the drove on to Kells House & Gardens, arriving just as the heavens opened.

    Kells House & Gardens are owned by Billy & Penn, his Thai wife. Penn greeted us (although she hardly speaks English) at reception & took us up to our room. Kells House & Gardens are open to the public & for €8 you can visit the house, but of more interest take the walk around Billy’s world class fern garden.

    Our hotel room is wonderful, spacious & posh. Thank you Chris for getting such a superb discount for us. We stripped out of our damp clothes & watched Final Score. Jackie had a brown bath which looked wrong, but was the soil in the water. It is harmless, but not drinkable.

    At 7.00pm we went down to dinner in their Thai restaurant, Sala. We had a very nice, albeit a little expensive, meal of crispy Aromatic Duck, red Thai curry & Pad Thai.

    By 9.00pm we were back in our room giving me time to catch up on my blog & Jackie to watch Casualty.

    Song of the Day - Charlie Chaplin by Perry Blake

    Day 10 Part Two - the Michael Collins Experience

    After we had said our farewells to Simon and Jackie we set off to our second cottage in Tallow, Waterford County. Our first stop was Clonakilty where we stopped for a stroll around the pretty town and for a coffee and cake, coffee cake for me, lemon and poppyseed for Chris. We came across a Seasalt, Cornwall shop and Angela couldn’t resist a bit of retail therapy!
    Our next stop was the Michael Collins Centre in Castleview on the outskirts of Clonakilty. We paid our 5 euros each and went in. The museum is owned and run by Timothy Crowley who is a distant cousin of Michael. Michael Collins was an Irish military and political leader, fondly known as the ‘Big Fella’ who came to prominence during the Irish Revolutionary Period 1916 to 1922. He moved to London in 1906 to become a clerk for the post office savings bank. He became a member of the London GAA (Gaelic Athletic Association) through which he became associated with the Irish Republican Brotherhood. He returned to Ireland in 1916 and fought in the Easter Rising. He was imprisoned in Frongoch, Wales as a prisoner of war and was released in December 1916. Timothy Crowley’s grandfather was a prisoner of war at the same time as Collins.
    Collins rose through the ranks of the Irish Volunteers and Sinn Fein and became a Teachta Dala for South Cork in 1918. He gained fame as a guerilla warfare strategist, planning and directing many successful attacks on British forces and assassinations of British intelligence agents. After the ceasefire in July 1921 Collins went to London to negotiate peace terms, the Anglo-Irish Treaty established the Irish Free State. A provisional government was formed under his chairmanship in 1922, this was soon disrupted by the Irish Civil War in which Collins was Commander in Chief of the National Army. He was shot and killed in an ambush by anti-treaty forces on 22nd August 1922.
    The museum had an excellent presentation, several exhibits and a mock up of the ambush scene. There was also an assassination area which had a pole you could stand against and have a replica gun pointed at you - nobody fancied doing that! We made a stop at the Diamond Bar where the tip off came that Collins was on his way through and to Beal na Bla which was the ambush site, there is a memorial there.
    We than made our way to Bride Valley Fruit Farm and our second cottage. We were greeted by Willie McDonnell who lived in the farmhouse as a child. He now runs the farm with his son Paul. They have sheep, suckling cows and grow apples which they sell to Bulmers. Once we figured out how to work the oven Angela roasted a chicken which we had with a salad and some red wine.

    Song of the day - Michael Collins by The Wolfe Tones
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