Sunday, August 21, 2011

The Loudshoes In Europe, Part 2, Ireland

The west coast of Ireland is one of the most beautiful places you could ever see....the air is windy and fresh, the scenery is breathtaking and unique and being that close to the ocean gives it all a perspective that is hard to beat. But you do not go there for the weather.

The atmospheric conditons on the west coast of Ireland are changable, to say the's the weather equivilent of "Mr. Toad's Wild Ride". Sunny one minute and pouring rain the next, it's the only place I've ever been that the weather can give you whiplash.

We actually were very lucky in that regard. I've been to Kerry before where it quite literally never stopped raining for the entire week we were there, and my father claims that there was one summer in about 1957 where the sun never came out once the entire season. Our first day was overcast but bright, a major stroke of luck in an area that gets 2000 mm of rain a year. But the girls were outright offended by the change in temperature: we left 30°C to go to 16°C; a bit of an adjustment. ("Seriously? This is what they call "summer"?") We did most of our sightseeing that day, with me making a nuisance of myself saying "You have no idea how lucky we are with this weather!! This is incredible!!"
And then the next day, the clouds came down and it started to drizzle in the most grimly despondent way possible. And my family then understood what I meant.

Just to give you an idea, here is Thing 2 at the beach on our second evening in Kerry.
And here is Thing 1 the next evening.

The thing is, the temperatures were about the same. Go figure.

Here is the veiw from behind the house in Lispole, on a good day. (By the way, isn't that quite a sight out your kitchen window in the mornings?) See the mountain? It's a good sized mountain, no?

And here it is the next day, gone altogether. It could be part of a performance art piece called "How to Make a Mountain Disappear".

You also do not go to west Kerry for the relaxing drives. We went around Slea Head on our first day, on a road that takes you right around the west end of the Dingle peninsula and to see some of the most spectacular scenery ever. The only problem is, the road is narrow, and built on a cliff, so that the passenger in the front seat gets not only the best views, but also the uncomfortable realization that there is only a two-foot stone wall between the car and plunging headlong into the Atlantic Ocean. Do that for a couple of hours.....Makes for an interesting day. I think there might be a big market in selling Xanax at the pre-historic beehive huts.

Here is one of the typical roads around the area. Note that this road is not a one-way road, it takes traffic in both directions. And also? You can drive 60K an hour down this road. (That's nearly 40 mph.)

Both Thing 1 and Thing 2 thought that this explained a lot about their grandfather's driving habits.

At least we could see the road.

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