We meandered along, down to Ventry Harbour where a small caravan park seemed an idyllic place for summer holiday – as long as the weather was good.
Out further along the coast road, every turn in the road gave us another spectacular view. Slea Head, one of the most western points in Ireland, presented a panoramic view of the Blasket Islands, with a glimpse of the craggy Skelligs away on the horizon. Further along towards Dunquin, the dry stone walls and tiny houses spoke of earlier, poorer, simpler days. And still the sun shone.
A pilgrimage to Louis Mulcahy’s pottery shop was a must. Years ago as a young engineer I visited Louis with a colleague: his kilns used a lot of our gas. I was struck by his unique style even then, and bought myself a small vase. We wandered around the shop twenty years later, Mum and I trying in vain not to buy any jugs…
I gave in, buying a beautiful little white jug in Louis’ new Japanese-influenced style, and Mum bought me a lovely little bowl to match. I was happy. Later in town I bought a beautiful orange-red shawl from his weaver wife, Lisbeth.
Stopping off in Tig Áine, a quaint café near Ballyferriter on the Atlantic coast, we watched as the sea mists rolled in and just as quickly disappeared. It seemed the weather was going to last.
Back across the peninsula on the Bothar Fada, the rear-view mirror now offering spectacular Atlantic views, it was hard not to stop every few hundred yards to take another look. Truly, this country (and I know I am biased) is one of the most beautiful in the world, and even more so when the sun shines.
Dinner this evening was further along the harbour-side, in Paudie’s Bar. Again, the place was thronged with locals and visitors alike. Again, the food was fresh, simple and delicious. My mackerel was to die for. I ate slowly. Again, the live music when it started, was skilled, casual and entertaining. Makes you proud to be Irish.
Next morning the day was even more sunny and warm than before. We took another trip around the peninsula, anti-clockwise this time to pick up Ashling’s sweater she’d left in the café. If it were possible, the views were even more spectacular, the waters bluer, the countryside more rugged. We drove slowly, savouring our last hours in Kerry.