Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Ireland: The Ring of Kerry and the Gap of Dunloe (Wednesday, February 27)

Written Wednesday, February 27 at 7:19 pm, Killarney (upstairs at the cottage)

The weather was bright and warm today (it’s supposed to rain again tomorrow), so we drove the Ring of Kerry today.  We headed up to Kilorglin, then along the north edge of the Iveragh Peninsula, along the south side of Dingle Bay which had been so nasty a couple days ago but was now very calm.

The Ring of Kerry is quite definitely the big tourist road in the southwest region.  While much of the road is but two narrow lanes, it would still be navigable by a tour bus, which much of the Dingle and Beara peninsulas were not.  We only saw one tour bus all day, though (February is well outside the season); that probably made for a nicer trip, with far less traffic.  There were several patches of road construction along the way, including major work in Waterville and Castlecove; getting ready for the season, no doubt.

We stopped for ice cream in Castlecove (and I also bought a 2 CD set of Merle Haggard songs there), and then lunch in Kenmare, our third trip through that very nice little town.  We also shopped at the Kerry Wool Market shop there.  I bought a sweater and a ski cap; a bit expensive at €90 ($135), but they are wool and they will be my major souvenirs of the trip.  (I had also bought a €10 made-in-China-from-acrylic-yarn Ireland scarf in Dublin on Saturday.)

Rather than take the route back from Kenmare we’ve done twice, or back through the National Park, we went down into Black Valley and through the Gap of Dunloe.  Single-lane track the entire way (about 20 km), past sheep and farmhouses and looming upthrusts of rock; it was as close to a natural rollercoaster as you’ll find.  This time, I had the video camera with me and I recorded several snippets of driving on the dashboard of the car, including a full 8 minutes of harrowing drive through the Gap of Dunloe.  (I figure if I play it double time and add an Irish jig soundtrack, I’ve got the potential for a really cool and popular viral video on YouTube!  Remember that you saw it here first!)

We’ll be going into Killarney to the Danny Mann again shortly, so I can have my nightly Guinness and e-mail.  One of the bartenders is starting to recognize me!  (I was there until closing last night.)

After coming home from the pub each night, I’ve been watching DVDs I brought with me. So far finished Pretty Woman, watched Season 1 Episode 2 of Stargate: Atlantis, and two episodes of Season 1 of Will & Grace.  Maybe some Queer As Folk Season 4 tonight?

Finished Before Dishonor today.  Peter David is a great writer of Star Trek novels, tying disparate bits of continuity together into a superb whole, and doing it with dialogue that always seems note-perfect.  (He does Worf to a “T”.)  Although I’ve watched little Star Trek since the very start of Voyager, and thus haven’t seen either of the big Borg episodes referenced in this book, nor several of the lesser episode references — and didn’t know many of the secondary characters, at least one of whom is from an entire series of Star Trek novels that he has done — to see several of his creations from when he wrote the comics for DC Comics who are based on rec.arts.comics denizens from the time (late ’80s/early ’90s)show up here: Admiral Galloway and the TNG-era descendants of TOS-era security personnel Meyer and Boyajian make cameo appearances.)  And of course, when he made the pivotal reference to a Kirk-era TV show enemy, two words was all I needed to have a “Holy crap!” moment.  Connecting with your reader to do that with just two words, that’s good writing.

We’ll be going to Blarney Castle tomorrow — probably taking the north side of Inishcarra Reservoir and avoiding going into Cork at all — and then north to Mallow and back to Killarney.  Only about 10 miles is road we’ve been on before; much of should be pretty good road, except maybe the part along the reservoir.  It’s supposed to be rainy all day tomorrow, based on last night’s weather widget forecast.

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