There once was a couple from Australia
Where the weather ne’er once does fail ya
To Ireland they went
On honeymoon they spent
Indoors, where they only got paler.
A long time in the car today. We left the B&B, headed around the Dingle peninsula on the route called Slea Head Drive. The sky was mostly clear, save for some low cloud over the tops of the hills surrounding Dingle. Heading off in a clockwise direction – as advised – we soon found ourselves on a stunning coastal road, overlooking the North Atlantic Sea from half way up the mountainside. The road was typically narrow and once again I was unfortunate enough to be behind the wheel, though when I stopped for photos I was able to take in the stunning views: ragged, sharp black rocks meeting the ocean with the greenest of green pastures above.
The loop tools us ultimately back into Dingle, from which we took the R560 – a stunningly beautiful mountain pass recommended to us at Friar’s, which was similar to the drive to Applecross but not quite as hair raising – joining the N86 to Tralee and the stunning coastal N69 to Limerick. The city of Limerick (presumably the namesake of the famous poem structure) was quite pretty so we stopped briefly for some lunch before pressing onwards to the tiny township of Ennistimon, and just beyond to our B&B called The Siding.
The B&B couldn’t be much more removed from the guesthouses we have stayed at more recently. Quite apart from its rural setting between the tiny townships of Ennistimon and Lahinch (aka Lehinch), it is very much a family-owned and operated B&B. On arrival we found our host Susan helping one of her daughters make a plaited bracelet in support of the local football team making a final against a Dublin team. Once inside we were made a cup of tea and had a home-made chocolate muffin while chatting to Susan, her husband and their other (2 year old) daughter. Shortly after we made our way to our rooms to read our books when we looked outside and the 24 degree sunshine had turned to 45 degree rain.
We delayed dinner until the rain passed (though grey skies remained) and were offered a lift to Lahinch twice (separately by Susan and Doug – how sweet) before heading to scope out the main street. Being a small town there weren’t many options, so we picked the one with the best views: O’Looneys. The food was surprisingly good; I had a goats cheese tart with caramelised onions (proving you don’t always need meat to have flavour – something I don’t always remember!) and Emma had the lasagne. A surprise treat when we really didn’t feel like leaving the house. After dinner we strolled along the promenade in the rain to check out the beach and were surprised by how popular surfing is in Lahinch. There were many surfing schools on the small sea front, and plenty of people in the water, even after the sun had well and truly set. Susan had told us of some famous waves that occur at certain times of the year, and that surfing brings in an estimated $30M each year to the local economy. Big Wave surfers can ride waves up to 50 feet high, though off the beach there is scope for beginners as well. Interesting trivia for the day.