Beyond Killarney Part 1

My journey to Explore Ireland

To be quite honest with you I barely know where to begin. Last week seems like forever ago. I have been to so many places, experienced so many things, and met so many people since my last blog that it has all become one fantastic, always interesting, and often heartfelt blur. Traveling on as I always do, took me past Killarney into the heart of Ireland.

Leaving Killarney was certainly difficult. As I remember it, there was a gentle mist falling across the village my last evening there so I pulled up the hood of my jacket, hunched my shoulders against the cold, and strolled around town one last time. Eventually, I made my way down into the Killarney National Forest that sits quietly next to the town. I walked along the river listening to the sound of the water as it gently flowed across the rocks as I am sure it has done since who knows when. I wandered down the path and soon found myself slowly making my way out into an immense, green, open pasture where the full glory of Magillycuddy’s Reeks looked down over the valley, across the glen, and seemingly, down to where I stood.

I have to admit I definitely got emotional as I stood there looking across the prairie and up into the face of that distant purple mountain. I could feel the tears well up in my eyes and a lump grow uncontrollably in my throat. Those mountains had looked down over me during some of the most grueling moments in my life. It now sat stonily, watching over me, as if to say; finally, you are a part of this place, a part of this planet, and now a part of you will forever remain in Ireland. Moving forward was hard, looking back a must, as so many memories were made underneath that still mountain.

To Annascaul: I decide to actually move from one place to the other the way normal people do…I caught the bus. I left Killarney for a town called Annascaul just northeast of my next favorite town and future destination, Dingle. I stopped in Annascaul for one reason and one reason only, the strand (beach) at Inch. I had wanted to see the beach at Inch for years and I was certainly not disappointed. I stashed my gear at the “Randy Leprechaun,” who by the way was one shady character, (more on that later), and headed the 5 miles over the mountain pass (yes another freakin’ mountain), and down into Inch. I will have to say the view from the top of the pass was spectacular, the beach amazing, and the water cold as shit. Inch Beach was a sight to behold as my eyes finally fell upon it for the very first time. Experiencing Inch had been a dream of mine since I first started thinking about making my return back to Ireland. This was it. I made that dream a reality and it felt pretty freaking awesome. Item number 3 out of a gazillion crossed off the ole bucket list.

Now, on my hike back over the pass, on my way back to the “Shady Leprechaun” (as it came to be called by me and the other guests), a car pulled up beside me in a cloud of dust and a little old lady named Mary stopped and offered me a lift back to town which I graciously accepted. I crawled into the passenger seat and before I could shut the door and plant my ass in the said seat, I found myself literally rocketing down the small, narrow, gravel lane I had been walking. Dust and gravel followed in our wake as I tried to make pleasant conversation with Mary, which was difficult to do whilst shitting one’s self. Mary, I found out, and from what I could understand through my terror-stricken brain, was on her way to church and was I’m guessing from my years of experience and quick wit, running late. We rocketed down the road at a rate of speed that Mario Andretti would have been proud of. At the intersection of the gravel road and the Main Street into town Mary unceremoniously skidded to a halt and gave me a nod of approval and what I assumed was a fond farewell. As I left the confines of the car, she told me she would pray for me and I do believe she actually smiled as she spun the tires, spitting rocks and gravel back at me as she left me standing on the side of the road with crap in my pants. Swear to goodness, true story, including the crap.

Now the hostel I was staying at in Annascaul had a very odd feel to it. Creepy to be precise. But there were no other accommodations in the town so I went to my room locked the door and got myself a fitful night’s rest. When I awoke the next morning I met the only three other houseguests in the hostel that night which happened to be three girls from Missouri; must be my week for Missourians, as two of my friends from Killarney were from there. Anyway, as we spoke, we all began to share our thoughts about this fine establishment. We were all equally creeped out by the front desk dude and when he offered to let us stay again that night but for free, get one night for ten bucks get the next night free, we all looked at each other wondering what the deal was and all of us trying not to bolt for the door right then and there. It wasn’t long before my new friends had packed and were off with me hot on their trail. I opted to stand at the bus station in the pouring rain for an hour rather than stay one more second at the “Shady Leprechaun.” It’s pretty bad when you can’t even give away a free night’s stay. Now that I think back on it; I remember wondering to myself while I was showering; why there were like twenty bottles of shampoo left behind on the shelf in the bathroom? I caught the bus on to my next destination, Dingle thinking that between the car ride and the weird hostel (which by the way was literally the only hostel on my many travels that I was creeped out by) I was pretty happy to be alive to move on with the next part of my journey to discover Ireland. And that is what I did. My return to my Favorite town in all of Ireland was imminent. To Be Continued…

Want to capture all your adventures? Then definitely go and check out my blog on the Canon EOS Rebel T7 Digital Camera! It is the camera I carry and trust as I explore this amazing world around us! See you out there on the trail!

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