Wednesday, July 15, 2015

By Car & By Boat

We had a delightful breakfast at The Maze Eatery on Wednesday morning.  Well, that might be overselling it a wee bit, but it was nice to go out for breakfast.  I had found a site, similar to Groupon, that had a 2 for 1 deal on a "Traditional Irish Breakfast" (which meant Heather only ate maybe 2 things on her plate.  I thought it was the perfect opportunity to try it out since our hotel didn't provide breakfast for us.
 An Irish breakfast generally consists of the following: ham, beans, eggs, hashbrowns, sausages, blood pudding & white pudding.  I will admit that the "pudding" threw me off because it is not of a pudding consistency at all - more like a potato patty!  I tried the white pudding,  but it was not tasty at all so I didn't bother with the blood pudding because I just couldn't imagine it tasting any better.  As I'm sure Heather will tell you later - Irish coffee was not our favorite part of the trip: it was always too bitter for our tastes.

Anyway, we headed out and had a lovely walk along the River Shannon, heading towards King John's Castle.  We didn't have time to visit the castle however, because we had booked a boat tour in Killarney and needed to be there by noon.  We were soon back on the road heading towards Killarney and Ross Castle. Our Killarney Lake Tour left from behind the castle, so although we were right there we decided not to pay to go inside, it was too small.  Heather mentioned, in passing that there was no way we'd find someone we knew here, I quickly informed her that, on the contrary, we were quite likely to find someone from our "neck of the woods".  That's just the nature of travel, and as the song goes, "It's a small world, after all."

Although the boat tour was not quite what I had in mind, it was half-price (I love a good deal) and was also a nice break from driving. Our captain was the quintessential Irish man, and I loved listening to him talk.
  As we left the boat, I asked him if there was a good fish n' chips shop in town (he'd told us he'd lived in town his whole life so I knew he'd know the best spot and I really wanted some good fish n' chips).  He said that indeed there was an excellent one, located on High Street, called Quinlins.  And with that we set off to see if we could find it.  The streets were packed and we couldn't find a spot to park, and hadn't noticed it while driving trying to find a spot either.  We decided we'd just start along the Ring of Kerry, since it was already after 1:30pm, and find somewhere to eat along the way.  Naturally, we set off in the wrong direction around the ring, so we had to go back through Killarney anyway.  We checked again, and ended up deciding a picnic would be the perfect choice; we'd find a little spot along our scenic route and enjoy our meal then.  Murphy's Law would dictate that after buying our picnic lunch we would find Quinlins.  While that wasn't exactly true, we did find all the parking lots that we missed the first few drives around town!

The drive was lovely, we started out in the section through Killarney national Park, and we eventually found a fantastic lunch spot.  I'm not sure if the next turn of events qualifies as Murphy's Law, I'll leave that up to your judgement, but it was certainly timely.  We were looking for a good spot to sit when a gentleman asked if we'd like our picture taken.  There was a lovely view (it seemed to be a regular stop for all the tour buses), and we certainly couldn't pass up the opportunity, so we told him that would be lovely.  He asked where we were from and we told him Pennsylvania.  Moments after he walked away another man came over and asked where exactly in PA we were from, since he'd over-heard us telling his driver our home state.  As it turns out, his son had graduated in April from the same school as Heather!  Not only that, but the driver had apparently driven the Rooney family around and was a huge Steeler's fan.  It truly is a small world.

Although we didn't have enough time to drive the entire Ring of Kerry (it's 179km or about 111 miles), the portion we did drive was beautiful.  The road is extremely narrow - tour buses are required to all travel in a counter-clockwise direction - so you definitely had to be alert, so as not to get run over by one coming around a blind corner.  We also had some near run-ins with some sheep - but all-in-all it was great.

Heather did mention at one point that I drive like Paul Walker around all the curves, but I think that was just the difference between being a driver and being a passenger.  After visiting some tiny little towns with names like "Sneem" and "Castlecove" we turned around and headed back to Killarney for the evening.
After some souvenir shopping we topped off our evening with some amazing "Gaelic Gelato".
And that my friends, is how you end a day of vacation.

Read about Day 5 here.

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