I enjoyed a long, restful night, tucked away in my cozy little attic nook. When I finally went down for breakfast, hoping to get an early start, I discovered someone had blocked me in and I had to sit around waiting for them to leave before I could go. I killed time checking Email (Internet finally worked) and eating another fine Irish breakfast. Really, if you have reduced your carb intake, the Irish breakfast is the way to go.
The Blarney Stone Guesthouse was only about $60 and included parking and breakfast. The room was small but plush. There were Waterford chandeliers throughout and the breakfast table sparkled with crystal, linen and silver. It was delightful and I wasn’t even bitter that the French couple who blocked me took forever!
When I finally left, my first stop was the Muckross House, recommended by my coworker Chris. She married an Irish man and comes to Ireland quite often to visit the in-laws. I’m hoping to meet them when I get to Egan’s on Friday! Anyhow, I thought I might also walk to the Muckross Abbey while I was in the neighborhood.
Muckross House is a really, really large Victorian home on the banks of the middle lake in Kilarney National Park. The views are breathtaking and the house is majestic. I bought my ticket, but they only had guided tours only so I had to stand around and wait for the tour to start.
By the time it started, there were dozens of people, including a few older, slower moving folk and several families with small children. The tour guide told us don’t touch anything, don’t take pictures, yada, yada, yada.
We then advanced from room to room. I was on a tight schedule because of the delays in getting started and usually made it to the next room first, in spite of tripping over the children who were running in circles between people and touching all of the furniture. Then I had to wait for the slow ones to catch up before the tour guide would begin. The house was beautiful with lovely furnishings, but being slowly herded from room to room was killing me!
It took so long and the weather looked so gloomy, I decided to skip the Abbey and press on to Dingle.
The ride was exhilarating. It was a lot like riding on the Pacific Coast Highway in California, only at twice the speed on narrower roads with a constant stream of tour busses heading right at you. It would probably be a lot safer if your car had working windshield wipers, but the lack thereof just adds to the adventure, I guess.
I stopped at the first overlook (and there aren’t many) and when the tour bus pulled in behind me, the driver kindly offered to take my picture. He also suggested I visit Slea Head before I leave for even better views.
The Quayside Inn I had originally booked, which is right in the middle of Dingle surrounded by pubs and across from the marina, had overbooked and emailed me last week to tell me they were moving me to their “superior” property The Dingle Harbour Lodge. It’s a few blocks from all the fun and up a very tall hill. By the time I made it there, the drizzle had intensified so I decided to check in and explore the town and wait to see Slea Head tomorrow.
I’m not sure what the Quayside Inn is like, but the Dingle Harbour lodge can best be summed up as “rustic”. I unpacked the car and then walked back into town.
Dingle is a tourist shopping hub! Lots of pubs and souvenir shops across the street from the Harbour. I popped into Murphy’s pub for a late lunch of seafood chowder and a pint. That’s when I discovered we’d all been lied to our entire lives.
I had never been a fan of the Guinness. It was just too harsh and bitter for my taste. But I felt like I had to try one while I was here just to say I had.
Imagine my surprise when I realized its the best fucking beer I have ever tasted! My friend Rich LaBelle tells me that’s because it’s been pasteurized everywhere but Ireland. Why? For the love of God, why? And why have I wasted so much of my first four days drinking tea?!? No longer, my friends. Tonight at half nine I will launch my rediscovery at a number of Dingle pubs. That’s when the trad music starts and now that I’m cured I can’t wait to hear some live shows. Wish you were here!