Our itinerary got a bit mucked up because we had gone back to London instead of our initial plans of traveling through the Cotswolds. We had therefore booked to leave for Cork from Bristol Airport. Bristol is not around the corner from Notting Hill.
So cab to Paddington - 7 mins
Train to Bristol Temple Meads - 2 hours
Run to connecting bus - 4 mins (bus left 18 seconds later)
Bus to Airport - 30 mins
Plane to Cork - 1 hour
Sure we can hardly understand the Irish, but they seem friendly and smile a lot. Picked up our rental car, squeezed in our bags and headed off - driving on the left side, minimal traffic and well signed roads. We headed off to drive to the West Coast.
Very polite drivers.
|On the drive|
|Cyclists practicing for the event in 2 days time|
This part of Ireland seems to be "Authentic Ireland". The drive was interspersed with small towns each with a prominent motor mechanic garage (Garij) and numerous pubs all run by O'Neill, O'Flannagan, O'Mahoney etc. Can't remember the exact O's we saw, but know that in the area we are in now (Conomarra near Galway), the big name families are the O'Malleys and the O'Flahertys.
The towns tend to be centred on a "high street" and often seem to have a small central square.
On narrow roads, only one car can fit thorugh at a time. Everyone gives you a wave and a thanks if you pull over or sometime jsut if you happen to be the only two cars in proximity, you get a wave anyway. Its like being on a boat.
Never really understood why people on boats wave at other people on boats then get into their cars later and don't wave at others.
It's noticable that many people smoke in the front of pubs but not as many as in London.
It's noticable that the older kids walkiing along the sidewalks are not skinny.
Its' noticable that there are many flags hung from house fences. Not big flagpoles mind you, just little flags. Most of the flags are not the green / white / orange but rather that of the local county - so initially county Cork, then later county Kerry.
Glenbeigh has a population of 400 and is just the perfect foil as a rest for weary travellers. Maureen the owner is classic Irish mother and had us set up and organized in a flash. Kids had their own room which they thought was tops (us too).
Bags down we strolled through the town (2 minutes) and toward the beach along a single laned road with green all around, rocky stream to the right and hills with trails to the right. Bunch of teenage lads playing in the rocky stream - lily white chested and pink faced - could not have been nicer - so weird... greeted us like old buddies, not a mono-sylabic grunt to be heard, eye contact, polite, helpful with directions, saw us later and smiled and waved. Unbelievable.
Noticed a couple started checking Zoe out... Hmmm... Watch out lil glow in the darks, daddy Lozza will come for you in the night.
Turns out the beach (Rossbeigh) was still a few kms away so we strolled up a hill trail, took in the view and headed back to have dinner in the cafe across the street. Having low expectations, we were much more than pleasantly surprised - the meal was "damn fine" - my pasta parcels with pear on the inside and three cheese sauce was delicious as was Rees risotto and Zoe's duck.