On Day 6 in Ireland we ventured into County Kerry, heading toward the coastal village of Dingle. However, as with many things in life, the journey is just as important as the destination! We stopped for gas at a normal-seeming gas station but it turned out to have an amazing bakery inside! So we continued our drive loaded down with donuts, muffins, and breakfast cakes!
En route to Dingle, we traversed Conor Pass, a high mountain pass from which you can see forever East and West. There was a gorgeous waterfall and amazing vistas in both directions. We parked the car and tried to hike up to the highest part for the best view. This was more difficult than anticipated because the sheep that graze these mountains leave poop all over the place and trying to avoid it made us hop around like Qbert! Still, despite that obstacle – and the blustery wind – it was well worth it for the panoramas.
We finally arrived at Dingle, a charming little harbor village. It was bounded on all sides by rolling green hills so it felt very much like the Shire! After walking a big loop around the village, we stopped for a pint at Murphy’s Pub. This was the only time all trip I didn’t have Guinness. Instead, I drank . . . Murphy’s! Before departing, we also took the tour at Dingle Distillery for some “new school” Irish spirits.
En route to the place we would be spending the night, we had to stop for a herd of cattle crossing the road. Cattle in County Kerry? I guess they were the source of all that awesome, grass-fed Kerrygold butter we eat! They seemed very happy – and not at all in a hurry to move out of our way!
Around sunset we finally arrived at Carrauntoohil Eco Farm near Killarney. This was a really cool farm with goats, chickens, cats, and alpaca, offering several yurts and one “cabin” for overnight guests. Katie and I opted for the cabin but it turned out to be just about as rugged as the yurts – basically a small storage container with a bed and some electric outlets! It was fine for our purposes, though so no complaints.
Carrauntoohil was not merely a farm, though; it was an ecofarm, which meant that it recycled rainwater (of which we had a true deluge that night!), used dynamic, organic farming practices, and . . . used compost instead of toilets with plumbing. That’s right, I was far away from my fancy, heated toilet seat with built-in bidet; instead I was just sitting on a hole in the ground with a polite reminder to sprinkle sawdust down the hole after I was done! Actually it wouldn’t have been so bad if it hadn’t been for the enormous spiders that occupied the outhouse . . .
For dinner that night we trekked into town to Kate Kearney’s Cottage. It was a total tourist trap but was good all the same. After dinner there began live music and dancing but the real treat was hearing Danny Boy played on bagpipes. For a tourist trap, you could do much worse.
We settled in for the night back at the Eco Farm and woke up the following morning to mountains completely shrouded in fog. Whether looking out over vistas spanning miles and miles or ensconced in fog so thick you can barely see the Sun, this country is just so beautiful!