the cheapest place to fly in all of europe (believe me, i checked for months and months) was dublin. so, ireland became my first stop. i took two overnight planes to get there and was a bit bleary for the first while, but soon found among the green and sheep and hills that bit of irish magic.
i was giddily excited flying in and then picking up my rental car and driving on the left side again. i was giggling for the first 20 miles. i didn’t have much of an agenda – i just drove and occasionally referenced rick steves to decide on some stops.
first stop was the rock of cashel, and old fortress set on a hill. it was like i plunged right back into ancient ireland. the site has served many purposes, and st. patrick himself came here to convert the king! i took a little tour and our guide’s accent was perfect and sounded like raw silk. i liked to imagine the structure’s grandeur, filled with pepople and music.
easily my favourite thing about ireland is the wildflowers that are everywhere along the sides of the roads. i walked down the green sheepy mountain that the rock of cashel perches on and meandered over to more ruins past the road. no one was there and it was beautiful!
i really honed my self-timer picture taking skills on this trip!
next stop was muckross house, on the edge of killarney national park in county kerry. instead of going in the beautiful (fashioned for a visit from the queen!) 19th century house, i decided to roam around the gardens, which were sensational!
i drove the first part of the famous “ring of kerry” scenic loop to see this stunning view point.
then, i put the address of my hostel in my rented gps (which saved my life) and this is where is brought me – along this random, tiny (yes, that is two lanes), goregous road for 19 kilometers through the middle of nowhere. i had such a love/hate relationship with that narrow, windy, beautiful road!
i meandered through back roads and along streams until i finally made it to a main(ish) road to head to the town of dingle, cruising and all the while listening to music from a cd one of my mission companions and i found under the seat in our car called “celtic romance.” perfect.