What a glorious day indeed! The Irish coastline of Kerry, a fiord on the southeast side of the island surrounded by the Atlantic, is a magnificent combination of history and lore, blight and famine, conquest and survival. The peninsula is very isolated 179km of narrow, windy roads that takes off out of the small town of Killarney, Ireland. The drive takes approximately 3.5 hours without making any stops.
After our driving experience, we opted into taking a tour so Chris could admire the scenery, and not be so stressed. Turns out this was a fabulous idea and our driver gave us driving tips. He was a 68 year old from the O’Sullivan clan who had personal history living out on the peninsula as a boy. He drove milk trucks from village to village and had quite a reputation. As with all your drivers, he was a wealth of knowledge, singing, reciting poems and passing on the history.
I guess what struck us the most was the incredible shades of green. The incredible contrasts of the yellow Gorse bush or Furze. It is said that Furze bushes, like all other thorny bushes in Ireland such as hawthorn and white thorn, belong to the Sidhe, and often guard their portals to magical realms. It is a magical bush looked over by the fairies of the land. Folklore has it, that if a bride cuts a sprig and puts it in her bride bouquet, she will have all the luck of the Irish.
The Irish Black-faced sheep are also scattered around the towering hill sides. The only way to bring in the sheep from these craggy hillsides is with a sheepdog. I spent about 45 minutes watching one of these small, sure footed dogs in action with his shepherd. Amazing agility and speed, controlled mostly by different whistle tweets from as far as a quarter of a mile. I thought about Gandaulf for a moment and how he loved the chase.
We had a local lunch at “the most beautiful lookout in all of Ireland in fair weather”, or so the sign said. I had my first lamb stew and Chris had the shepherd pie. The view was indeed spectacular of the bay and the mountainous islands as the fog held light to the peeks. A statue of Mary standing on a serpent stood in the middle of a stone ring looking down on us with outstretched hands and a soft welcoming gaze. I felt blessed once more to be having this adventure.