Kenmare to Waterville

In some ways similar to the Great Ocean Road although not as spectacular or rugged. Basically keeping to the “main” road – again sharing with cars, so never entirely relaxed but my fluorescent jacket and rearview mirror, act as the religious equivalent of worry beads.

I have decided that riding in the middle of the left lane is better than keeping as far to the left edge as possible. Cars are forced to slow down on these very narrow roads. I have deduced that the most aggressive drivers are Audi owners or tradesmen in vans! “Paddy’s Plumbing” or “Eamon’s Electrical Services” or “Ryan’s Radiator Repairs”…all serious sideswipers – we have them in Australia!

Sneem is a sleepy little village serial winner of the “tidy town” competition. I am so relaxed for many reasons: the sun is shining, the bakery at which I sit is reminiscent of the bakeries in the Hills, the fruit scroll is moist and warm and the coffee not unreasonable. I am so easy to please, really! All the Irish villages seem to have a Dulux paint competition as the houses are painted in all the colours of the rainbow. It is quaint and not as gaudy as it may sound or look. An ancient stone arch bridge over a cascading river runs through the village.

It’s a Sunday morning and a few cyclists appeared – look like locals on road bikes out for a spin. Having said that I have not been impressed by any obvious large numbers of touring cyclists. The relative quiet of the roads may be due to the fact it is a Sunday but more importantly, as has been explained, it’s the Irish football grand final – although calling it “football” in the pub would place my life in mortal danger.

Today the road tended to hug the coast, beach on left and gentle slopes of verdant green with stone fenced fields and sheep with wool as white as snow. A smell of grass often newly mowed, a persistent sweet herbaceous scent with a subtle mixture of fresh sheep droppings. Could well be an Adelaide Hills Savignon Blanc.

Every house, church and village square has acres of lawn as green and well manicured as a bowling green, but I am yet to see even one lawn mower.

At O’Connor Beach an Irish couple, retired I would venture, were paddling in the sea, as i did too – Freezing cold water. As is my custom I struck up a conversation – my opening line is usually “can you tell me if this is the road to …”

They were exceedingly helpful but sadly not quite enough, as I missed the turn off to the national park. Anyway I asked if they lived locally? Oh no they explained, this is our first trip back here in 35 years! Oh, I exclaimed, to where did you migrate? (surely it had to be Australia or America). No, the wife explained, we live in Cork. You don’t need to check the Atlas, Cork is about 155 km away!

I started today from Kemare. The Official “local” weather on the iPhone (admittedly provided by Yahoo) showed cloud and rain from 3pm. Well today was the best sunny day to date at 3 pm, 4pm and even 6pm! The weather app has the facility to show the local weather by the hour on the actual day! Perhaps the Yahoo weather app development team had a major part to play in the new Apple Maps app?

Speaking of that Apple stuff up, apparently it identifies a cattle farm somewhere in Ireland as a “major airport”. This provoked concern from the farmer, who was understandably upset that a 747 Jumbo taxi-ing up to the milking shed, would upset his cows. Whilst the Irish press suggested that this may lead to pilots using their iPhone Maps app to navigate and hence line up on final approach to the diary farm. If Aer Lingus pilots are using iPhones in the cockpit to navigate, change airlines immediately! Moreover I am unable to verify if the press reaction suggesting pilots using the Maps app was tongue in cheek or serious. Remember I am in Ireland!

The final gentle Pass to Waterville was just as awe inspiring as the others over the last few days, the more so as the sun was actually shining.

Tonight I dined at The “An-Corcan” restaurant an establishment rating 4 or 5 stars in Trip Advisor. It has the atmosphere of an American cafe from the deep south. Mostly locals, vinyl table cloth, and a menu item that states: “a platter for the confused”! As I was not sure what I should have, I ordered the lemon sole and will have the platter tomorrow, assuming I remember. The background music is country and western, no Irish fiddle here.

Again the Yahoo local weather app suggests a veritable gale tomorrow! The plan is, or was, to take a boat trip to a remote island in the bay. The guest house owner explained that we can’t make plans until the morning, something to do with the “swell” and the boat being able to dock. We shall see.