Why God Created the Gulf Stream, or, Views of an Irish November

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Here we are at a town square in Kinsale, the "Gourmet capital of Ireland": We arrived here on November 2nd, having flown straight on to Cork after we landed in London. Mary took this picture of me and Nora.

The next day, we drove to Killarney to meet Mary's sister Sue and her fiance, Al. They're enjoying a sabbatical on Valentia Island, Ireland's southwesternmost inhabitedland. Our first tourist activity was a horse-drawn carriage ride to Killarney Castle.


On the 4th we slept in, then hit the road. After a three hour drive punctated by a quick pint, then by a ferry ride across the River Shannon, we arrived at Kilmhil, to visit Mary's second cousins Mamie and PJ. They've been maried since 1954, the very year we were born:

We enjoyed traditional hospitality, right down to the hot water bottle they gave Nora for the night. On the 5th, Sue and Al took Nora with them down to their house at Valentia Island, while Mary and Bob drove the scenic route via Kenmare. This was our rainiest day, but the view, and this double rainbow, made up for it:

On the last leg of our drive, we enjoyed this "Irish orgy" in Waterville, near the tip of the Iveragh peninsula:

On Saturday the 6th, we took a long walk through some boggy sheep-infested lands on Valentia Island:

And looked at some ancient standing stones:

We visited the local art center on our way to dinner:

On Saturday we visited the Daniel O'Connell house with its famous "subtropical" gardens:


and went on the 3,000 year old Staigue Fort.

Finally, the day's true goal was reached:

The best place we visited was the Dingell Peninsula, where 4,000 year old "beehive huts" built by the forbears of the Druids are scattered across fields which now belong to the true rulers of Ireland, the sheep:

The town of Dingell bears some traces of the Spanish Armada, both in the dark hair of some of the locals, and the Mediterrean dishes on the menu at Doyle's Seafood Restaurant. Then it was time to part from Sue and Al. We spent the night in Killarney in a Bread and Beakfast and heard music drifting up from the pubs as we went to sleep.

updated Jan 3rd, 2000