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Typical Piscean, dreamer, story teller in the tradition of my country, I love to write. I'm not sure that I'm any good at it, but getting the words down has its reward.

08 April 2014

60 in Kerry Part 2

The morning of my birthday, Thursday was a day drenched in sunshine, albeit there was a tax of a thin bitter wind coming in from the east.  I was up bright and early sitting in the kitchen with a large cup of tea.  I love on Spring mornings to get up earlier than the family and relax with a cuppa and look out over the garden at home.  Here I watched the cows from the farm next door meander out from the milking parlour and wend their leisurely way down the lane to the fields.

I'm a dairy farmer's grand-daughter, and the bovine lure is strong.  I have little tolerance for sheep, especially the dimwitted one's who live on the Connor Pass on the road to Dingle.  As a child YD termed them "Woolly Jumpers" and not without some accuracy.  They, full fleeced and grazing the long acre, jump out from behind rocks onto the road in front of oncoming motorists.  In my childhood the Connor Pass was treacherously narrow and the low walls in permanent state of decline.  As OH complained on this trip, Kerry County Council has had a burst of health and safety concerns, and the road is now wider.  All the thrill of imagining oneself as James Bond on high mountain curves has gone.  Reginald Molehusband lives!

One by one the family emerged from their warm cocoons under duvets in Egyptian cotton covers; presents were given with hugs.  I am spoiled.  That's the long and the short of it.  They know me so well.  I love vintage and was not disappointed. 

 OH cooked the full Irish, and it was hilarious to hear him fuss around a strange kitchen.

After a leisurely breakfast, and a lot of laughter we prepared to head out to Slea Head.  I had promised myself a very long time ago that no matter what my station in life on my 60th birthday, I would be at Slea Head on my 60th.  Just as we were about to depart, Myra [Myra Daly] the owner of Courtyard Cottages, arrived down with a birthday present for me.  A lovely candle to light my celebration.  Myra and her husband Derry are a lovely couple who make you feel very welcome and at home.

Never mind 40 shades of green, Kerry shows us 40 shades of weather

Bob the Ruffled Herring Gull

We arrived, via the Connor Pass and a "woolly jumper" who narrowly missed us just below the waterfall.  Not only did we arrive, but a strong wind and heavy shower chased us too.  Still, it couldn't dampen my spirits and it was wonderful to watch the dramatic changes in the weather as the rain came in from the Atlantic, passed over and left everything looking wonderfully well washed.  Bob the seagull's feathers were a bit ruffled by it all, but a handful of crumbs soon soothed his ire.  It takes a seagull to perch on a low wall, three stories above the water, in a rain lashed gale and still look implacable.

We sat in the car overlooking Slea Head and Dún Chaoín as it was too windy to get out.  We had brought a light picnic with us.

The headland where the set for "Ryan's Daughter" was filmed.  It still annoys me that the set was not kept by the local people.  David Lean had offered it to them and it would have been a very valuable asset from a tourism perspective.  There is little, today, to mark where this beautiful film was shot, but Robert Mitchum is still remembered with affection by elderly local people.  

After our picnic we drove on towards The Marioch, Ventry and Feohannagh.  We stopped off in Ballyferriter to pay a quick  facility visit.  In Murphy's pub we were treated graciously although we were not stopping for a pint or a sandwich.  We shall be visiting Murphys in Ballyferriter when we return in September, and for lunch this time. Because I thought there mightn't be many places open in this area, as the season didn't open for another week, I had suggested a picnic. The smell of the food in Murphy's was tantalising and the huge blazing fire tempting but we had miles to go yet. 

We snuggled up in front of a roaring fire
and chatted over a glass or ? of Merlot

We returned home to Blennerville and The Courtyard to find it a hive of activity.  The gentleman who lived in the bungalow across from the CC had passed away suddenly.  Originally from the North of Ireland, he had settled in Tralee.  Myra had offered the use of the parking area to his family.  There was a huge funeral on Saturday as we were leaving, he was a popular man in the town and involved in many local sports activities.  

[the friendliest collie in Kerry]

Dinner in The Earl of Desmond Hotel, Ballyseedy that night was wonderful and I voted this the best birthday in a long time.

We left on Saturday morning for Cork to visit my last remaining aunt.  Even then Kerry threw more weather into the pot.  High on the mountains there was snow.  We had visited Brandon Point on Friday and had watched the squalls ride in from the west, across the mountains, drifting snow like icing sugar across their tops.  Baurt Regaum, Guivnageela, and the rest of the Slieve Mish were stunning in their beauty.  By Saturday morning as we headed up through the Killarney mountains on route to Cork the snow had fallen more heavily and was further down the slopes.  As YD remarked "It's like Switzerland at home".

We stayed in
The Courtyard Cottages, Greenway, Blennerville, Tralee, Co. Kerry 
Telephone: 353 667 124494
[prop. Derry & Myra Daly]

We shopped in
Loramar Gift Shop, Lower Rock Street, Tralee 
Kelliher's Hardware, Lower Rock Street, Tralee               
Dan Fitzgerald's, 4/6 The Mall, Tralee.

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