Friday, May 31: Another day of moving base but managing to fit in a couple of nice walks, as well.
The day brought with it a blanket of clouds pulled firmly down over the tops of the mountains. Even some of the little islands on Loch Lein, also spelled Lough Leane, were snuggled down under fluffy duvets. Nonetheless, most of us were game for the morning’s walk to Muckross Abbey and then through the gardens of Muckross House.
Killian took us on this walk and it was fun learning the history of the places along with a commentary on what the gardens had meant to him as a boy growing up just a short bike ride away. The grounds were part of his extended backyard and his love of the place shone through with each of his words.
Actually, I think that is the main thing that I will take away from these days in Ireland: Each of our guides has such a deep connection, respect and love for the landscapes they are leading us through. It infuses everything they tell us with a depth of emotion that is difficult to describe. And, it must be said, with a joy in the sharing of their stories that is contagious. Beauty surrounds us at every turn but the true beauty does, indeed, lie within the people.
A humble but nourishing lunch at a small, local café, local to where I’m not exactly certain because we drove for quite a while past Dingle, was a preamble to our afternoon’s ramble.
Weather was still casting a bit of a pall over the countryside and the mountains were still completely obscured by clouds. So, the first plan for the afternoon was abandoned and two alternatives suggested. One was a longer walk around and about and out to a headland; the other was a shorter walk back near Dingle out to a lighthouse. Michael and I took one of each: I did the longer walk; he the shorter.
Those of us in the longer walk party, guided by Ann, donned full rain gear and headed out onto wet but gorgeous cliff side fields. Although we did get thoroughly wetted, the sky cleared after twenty or thirty minutes and we stripped down and enjoyed a beautiful rest of the walk. Lots of lushly green fields, textured with stones and sheep. Apparently, the locals call this walk the “Ryan’s Daughter” walk because that movie was filmed there.
Incredible dinner at a Michelin restaurant was followed by pub (or pubs, plural in Michael’s case), whiskey, beer and music. Unfortunately, for me, at least, that was followed by a somewhat unsettled night.