Before we left home we were fairly laid back about planning our actual stopping points while in Ireland. We wanted to be free to linger somewhere that spoke to us, or add detours as we wished along the way. Our first pre-planned stop, however, was the Dingle Peninsula where we had reserved a cottage and planned to spend the better part of a week.
Driving from Dublin westward, we traveled through the center of Ireland first, exploring as we went – and letting Pete hit his groove driving on the left and navigating a stick shift with the wrong hand. (We only were able to list one driver for our rental car, and we figured that I could knit while he would drive.) We thought we'd save the scary-narrow and winding roads of the west coast until he'd had a few days practice on the (slightly) larger highways.
After a couple of days working our way across the center of the island, we found ourselves on the west coast – and face to face with the Atlantic. Five glorious days to slow down, rest, and savor the stillness of being in one place without packing up and and driving on each day was just what we wanted!
Our only goals for the first day were to not get in the car at all, and to spend some time beside the sea.
Done and done.
Getting here though? Well, it was a tad more dicey than we expected! No matter how many people warned us about the winding, narrow, bramble-lined roads, we really couldn't comprehend how there is – quite literally – not enough room for both your car and an oncoming vehicle to pass without someone going off the road. Never mind that the speed limit is usually at least 80 kmph!
And as there is no shoulder and roads are lined with stone walls pushed right up against the pavement, well, let's just say I'm not knitting while we drive after all. (We even managed a get a flat tire when Pete pulled too close to the side to avoid a car speeding toward us, and nicked a rock protruding from a wall. Oh, my! Such an adventure.)
We still have a couple more days here at our cottage for our blood pressure to continue to come down as we prepare for the next circuitous leg of our journey.
Until then, we'll be on the beach (high winds and rain be damned!), playing, relaxing, and savoring this quiet pause in our travels.