this bird can sing.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Ireland, Part Six

November 27, 2012

I woke up feeling a little questionable due to the celebrations from the night before. Nevertheless, I push through and arrange to meet my great aunt in Kenmare later in the day.

My grandma, who is also my namesake, was from Kenmare and immigrated to the US at age 19. She was one of 14 children. Some of them immigrated to the US, a couple of them to England, and a few stayed in Ireland. My grandma was the second oldest of the children. Her youngest sister is still living, and so we arranged a visit.

The road from Killarney to Kenmare goes right through Killarney National Park and is beautiful. The roads are narrow and winding, and I'm sure a little scary during the summer when shared with tour buses. But being the offseason, we had it mostly to ourselves.

There are quite a few places to pull over and enjoy the views, through the national park and then through the Ring of Kerry. One of these places is Ladies View:

Kenmare is only about 30km  from Killarney, but it takes close to an hour to drive there due to the small roads and the desire to go slow and enjoy the beautiful scenery.

We arrived in Kenmare, a place that I have wanted to see my entire life. I felt like I was seeing it for my dad and my uncle, who wanted to go so badly but never ended up making the trip.

Kenmare is a small town, a population around 1,700 or so. It was particularly slow due to the season. We walked around the town square. It was so interesting to see places that would have been there when my grandma was growing up. We stopped into The Breadcrumb, a little bakery with yummy looking foods. I still wasn't feeling great, but Joe had some coffee and I had a bite of his chocolate pastry.

O'Donnabhain's, which I saw on some of the pubs of Ireland.

We met my Aunt Betty at her house. Although she's in her nineties, she insisted on serving us sandwiches and tea. I'm so thrilled that I've gotten to connect with some of my grandma's family. 

After our visit, we took the long way back to Killarney so that we could drive around the Ring of Kerry. I'm convinced that this area of southwestern Ireland is one of the most beautiful places on earth. I'd love to have more time and drive around the Dingle Peninsula and Beara Peninsula next time.

Sneem, one of the little towns along the Ring of Kerry.

It became dark when we were nearly back to Killarney. We had dinner at The Caragh Restaurant not long before they closed. It seems that restaurants close up fairly early at this time of year. They changed their sign to closed while we were eating, and we saw a number of people walk by looking for a place to eat.

I had the traditional bacon and cabbage, which was more of a ham to this American. It was served with potatoes. We finished off with the sticky toffee pudding. All of the food was delicious. 

After dinner, we called it an early night in preparation for our drive back to Dublin the next day.

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