We got to watch my brother, Sean, in action at a local hotel where he and a couple of Irish dancers, The Celtic Twins, and Paul Timoney, our local seanachai (story teller, pronounced shan a ki) entertained a group of American tourists. Paul Timoney spun a few tall yarns, followed by Sean with his guitar as he sang Leaving on a Jet Plane, Carrick Fergus, Mary Mack, Makem and Clancy’s Spancil Hill, and a couple others I can’t remember. I just love his voice and his guitar music. Next up were The Celtic Blonds doing Irish dancing. Typical tourist fare. We sat discretely in the background and watched the group trying out their dance moves (we were a kinder version of Waldorf and Statler).
Our next destination was Miltown Malbay, in Co. Clare. My husband got the ‘flu, which severely limited our activities — a bit disappointing, but what can you do. We had a spectacular view from our room, and from the communal living room, onto the bay. I was most impressed by Wayne, the owner, who had built this amazing house and rented out several rooms to guests. Mornings saw him running back and forth, taking orders, cooking breakfast. Everything was perfect too, his timing, his coffee and his professionalism.
We drove down toward Kilrush and Kilkee, and on toward Loop Head because we thought it would be fun to visit the film site of Star Wars. Those cliffs are magnificent. Wayne, who also works as a life guard, told us he had just returned from the film site.
“Hardly anybody goes to those cliffs along Clare’s southern coastline,” he said.”Everyone goes to the Cliffs of Moher.”
There were tufts of pink flowers everywhere, shooting up between the rocks. I was hoping to spot a few sea lions or puffins, but that was not to be. There were lots of cows, sheep, crows and swallows though.
I took a good brisk walk out along the coast one evening and watched the setting sun and heard the swallows making funny squeaking noises, like those toy plastic ducks, or dolphins even.
Back to Loop Head. Unfortunately, they had closed off the road, but we enjoyed some great scenic spots along the way.
We stopped for a snack in a pub in Kilrush. The owner told us the film crew of Star Wars had been in the previous evening to watch a football match. Mark Hamill and the new female star were not amongst them, although they are currently in Ireland, I believe.
The ferry over to Kerry took about twenty minutes; it was shorter than the drive we had planned on taking to get to our next destination. I’m so glad I didn’t drive. The route was heart-in-your-mouth thrilling and frightening at times as we manoeuvered narrow roads between cliffs, with oncoming tour buses and tourists and locals driving hither and tither.
At least we had brilliant sunshine, but that was about to change a couple of days later.
We took the road to Kenmare and followed our instructions to the Swiss couple’s residence, half-way up the mountain, to our self-contained apartment, complete with log fire, lots of buddha heads and other iconic statues and artifacts, a rack full of trance and reggae music, with a few chill cd’s thrown in. We’ve been enjoying listening to them.
Again, we were/are so impressed with what this couple have managed to achieve ever since they left Zurich and bought this old dilapidated stone cottage on four acres of land over two decades ago. Their property is on a huge slope; there’s a gigantic rock at the back of their house. Renee said he had to free the rock from moss and other vegetation which had made its home there. He has built two glass houses, a hen house, a koi pond (sadly a heron ate five of the kois), a workshop for himself and a little stone house with a pool table next to our apartment. We can use it whenever we want. We can explore the garden too and snip some of the fresh herbs scattered throughout. If we find any eggs, we can help ourselves too. His sheds and structures are filled with little interesting details and painted in bright colours, but not gaudy. Our huge terrace overlooks a meadow with sheep and their lambs, and we can watch the sun playing hide and seek over the mountains in the distance. Starlings have nested under our roof and I see them flying back and forth with fat worms in their beaks and making a terrible racket. Two swallows sit up on the overhead wires, a foot apart, and don’t talk to each other.
The bug hit me too, and I’ve been walking around like a zombie. I refuse to give in, although last night I made a delicious chicken soup with chilli and turmeric and lots of vegetables and painted a picture. Since I didn’t bring my painting stuff, I bought a cheap set and had lots of fun playing with colours. I’ll add the final touches later, or maybe I won’t.
Looks a bit of a mess if you ask me!
I also discovered there’s a poetry workshop in Kenmare tomorrow morning and have signed up for it. It’s being held in the library. That should be fun (I hope).
We’re returning, via Killarney, on Sunday and will be leaving for the U.K. on Monday, where we’ll spend a few days before returning to Germany.
I’m glad in a way that that we’ve had a day of heavy rain and pretty strong winds. Otherwise I wouldn’t have wanted to leave.