Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Day 3: Killarney and Ring of Kerry

We said goodbye to our cottage and headed out to Killarney. Like I mentioned before, we spent tons of time in the car, so occasionally, I got bored and took random pictures as you will note from these first two pictures. The second one makes me laugh because just after I took this picture, the construction worker cocked his head to the side and smiled. Those Irish are so friendly. Killarney seemed  like a really cool town but we didn't get to spend too much time in the actual city. Instead, we rented bikes and rode them through the national park. It was beautiful.

 We rented the bikes from some random guy in a parking lot. He told us to find one that looked good, but I thought that he wanted me to use the one he pulled out. I wish I would have looked around more. I honestly thought that a wheel was going to come off. It rattled so much as I rode. Scary stuff. We had a little map of the park and at first decided that we would ride the full loop which would end up being around 12 miles (we were not really dressed for such exertion), but after realizing how long it would take us with all of our stops, we decided that we should probably just do the smaller loop. Scott and I haven't ridden bikes since before we were married. 
 It was a little chilly at first, but as we got going, we lost the gloves and jackets (Well, I took off my massive one).

 Muckross Abbey

 Muckross Lake
 Torc Mountain in the back. There are some really long hikes that you can do throughout the park that I was interested in doing. We just didn't have the time, though!

 People kept telling us that we lucked out on the weather. Just a couple of weeks before we got there, Ireland had storms equivalent to hurricanes (according to them) and trees were uprooted all throughout the park.

 So, funny story. There were walking paths and bike paths. We were headed to a waterfall and just kept following the signs. At one point, we thought that we had made it, so we locked up our bikes with the awesome bike lock and started walking the rest of the way. We probably walked about a quarter of a mile before we realized we were on the walking path. We kept seeing the bike trail next to us. Feeling a little foolish, we headed back to our bikes and biked the rest of the way to the falls.
 Cheesing it up. 
Everything was so green surrounding the falls. It was gorgeous.

 Where's Scott? He blended right in with his green zip up.

 At the falls. We had some guys from Zimbabwe take our picture. I liked hearing them talk. 

 Heading back to the car. We needed to get to our Bed and Breakfast before it got dark. It is much harder to find what you need once the sun goes down.
 This was part of the Ring of Kerry drive. The drive is about 110 miles of beautiful. 

 Another funny story. So, our B&B was in a tiny village called Ballinskelligs. We had to drive through a really cool harbor village called Portmagee to get to Ballingkselligs. Now, we had GPS in our car, but sometimes GPS would randomly lose it's signal or it tell us to go one way when we should go the other. It was starting to get dark and we were trying so hard to find a turn off to Ballingskellig. We found ourselves in the back country, where there was no signal at all, so we were just guessing how to get back to Portmagee. Once we got back to Portmagee, we got GPS signal back and it told us to go the direction heading back the way we had come in. Scott saw a sign that read, "Baile an Skeilg." The signs will have arrows that point you in the direction to go. He said that we should turn towards that, but I didn't hear him (or wasn't listening) and I guess I said that we should listen to GPS. So, GPS took us on a huge roundabout way, to Ballingskelligs. Once we got there, we realized that "Baile an Skeilg," was the Irish name for the village. Dang! The story doesn't end here. We saw a sign that had the arrow pointing toward our B&B so we headed in that direction. About 15 minutes of driving with no luck, we decided to go back to the only restaurant we saw. When I walked in, there was a sign that said, "kitchen closed." Of course we were starving! I decided to go  in anyway to ask directions. It was a hotel/pub. There were a few men sitting around and one old, traditional looking Irish man (wool cap, wool jacket) walked me outside and told us the basic directions. We learned that people don't use street names, they just tell you the direction to go and then you pray that you understood fully what they said. This guy had such a strong accent, I kept watching Scott to make sure he understood, because I definitely did not. We went the way he told us and it was far. There had just been one sign at the bottom of the hill, but that was it. And there was nothing around. At one point, we were going to turn around, but I saw some walkers in the road (remember all of the exercisers? And they all wear reflective vests once the sun starts going down. Smart people) and I told Scott to pull over and we would ask them. He started to slow down, and just as he did, he saw a house with a sign out front that said, "Beach Cove Bed and Breakfast." Finally! Good thing we saw walkers and I we slowed down, otherwise we would have driven all night. 
Our host was awesome. She told us that the only open restaurant/pub was back in Portmagee. I almost started to hate Portmagee So, we drove the back way (the way that Scott had seen back in Portmagee over an hour earlier) and headed to dinner. The roads were super narrow, steep and close to the cliffs edge!  I ordered roast beef and mashed potatoes (at 8:30 at night) and sad to say, it was pretty gross. I felt bad not finishing it, but I didn't have it in me. 
This is a picture of Portmagee when it was still light. It was taken after we had been lost for an hour and found our bearings again. 
Okay, that was a long story. It probably wasn't as funny to the readers, and it wasn't very funny for us in the moment.
We loved our B&B. It was right on the coast and we could hear the waves crashing onto the shore all night. Our host was so accommodating and fun to talk to. I will post pictures of our B&B in the next post. 


julz said...

Love these Linds! Especially love the sheep in the green fields. So cool.

Cynthia Lovell said...

LOVE hearing about your trip and looking at your pictures!!! Ireland is BEAUTIFUL!!! We LOVED it when we were there years ago!!!
I love how you get out with Nature and see the beautiful scenery. Great Trip!

J Fo said...

This sound like an epic trip!

Emily Foley said...

I hate paying for bad food! Ugh.

We had that same problem in France with our GPS. we got so lost one day because the GPS kept telling us the wrong stuff! I wonder why that is?

I love the sheep, and that last picture is gorgeous.