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devil duck

From Kerry to Galway

The itinerary for this trip is not what anyone would consider efficient. We flew into Cork in the south, took a bus and a train the next day to Dublin in the east, then rented a car and drove to Dingle in the southwest, then the Iveragh Peninsula slightly farther south, then to Galway in the northwest, and will then drive back to Shannon airport in the west, passing through the Kilkenny Killarney area three times in all, and the greater Limerick area three times too. This is because I was unable to find decent air fares flying into Dublin (but flying into Cork was OK), and unable to find decent room rates in Dublin the middle weekend of the trip (but staying in Dublin the first week was OK). Yesterday involved a lot of driving (by European standards).

We started on little country roads from Kenmare (south of Kilkenny), stopping for half an hour or so to see the medieval sights of Kilmallock, to the Lough Gur site, which has been inhabited more or less continuously for 6000 years and has a range of archaeological sites from neolithic to early-modern. All of this was discovered in the 19th century when they lowered the lake and found vast quantities of artifacts, which were promptly shipped to museums and private collectors all over the world (except the ones that were melted down); very little remains at Lough Gur itself. Some of the archaeological sites are basically invisible, while others are on private land. "On private land" doesn't mean "you can't get there," as it generally would in the U.S.; it means you may need to pick your way over cow-patties to get there, and you may be asked to drop a few Euros into an honor-system coinbox. But some of them really are inaccessible. The visitor centre (modeled on some of the neolithic round huts the archaeologists found) includes a small museum with a video and the few artifacts that are still at Lough Gur, but the people behind the desk didn't seem to think we needed to pay for that, and invited us to just take the free self-guided walking tour. Shortly into this tour, it became evident that there was information about the various stops that wasn't in the one-page glossy brochure, so I stopped back at the visitor centre to ask if there was an audio-guide or something. The ladies behind the desk explained that it's an "i-Tour", i.e. you're supposed to download the audio-guide to your smart phone. Unfortunately, (a) there's little or no cell phone reception at the site, so it's difficult to download anything if you didn't do it in advance, (b) I couldn't find the audio-guide on the Web site, and (c) it's very difficult to even find the stops on the tour without the audio-guide telling you where to turn. A potentially good idea with some serious flaws in implementation.

Anyway, we did get to two early-Christian stone ring forts, a Bronze Age megalithic tomb, and a Bronze Age megalithic circle-temple, all of which were not only visible and reachable but impressive.

We then drove around Limerick and up to Galway, which is a long distance (by European standards), but it's mostly high-speed divided highway so it went fairly easily. We arrived in Galway to find the city socked in with fog, which I gather is par for the course. We were pretty hungry (it was almost 9 PM), so the B&B proprietor dropped us at a nearby restaurant he recommended, we had dinner (I had a tasty hake, shalmestere had a beef-and-Guinness stew to die for) and walked back to the B&B along the waterfront.

Comments

Wow, that all sounds amazing.

The word that got me, though? Hake. As jealous as I was before, that did it. I miss that...

Sounds like a great trip...