Wild Atlantic Way
“Want to go on an adventure?” Ann Marie asked?
“Hmmm I don’t know I have work….” Did I really though? It took me ten minutes to reorganise my tasks and tell Sean that I was off for a few days on the road to god knows where.
“Oh Jesus, I don’t know if the world is ready for you two!” he laughed.
Just like that we were packing the “essentials” and getting ready for a few lazy days on the road in Ann Maries incredible VW Bus called Scotty. Little did I know at the time as I searched out the gin and fairy lights that the next ew days would see me compete for position of Co Pilot. I was to win and loose this title many times to the beautiful soul Betty, the third lady on this trip.
Here are a few snap shots of a random trip to from the Dingle Peninsula to the coast of Cork.
This is Mr Kitty, we tried our hardest to convince him to come on our road trip. He decided that it was best to stay behind and do his nightly patrols. That and gets very car sick does our Mr Kitty! We decided to head for the simply stunning Union Hall and to join in, in some night time Kayaking, with Atlantic Sean Kayaking You could say that the chats and the bants lead us to missing a few turns along the way. Now, I did see the turns coming up, I just might not have let any one else know this in time. Betty simply rolls her eyes as Ann Maire and myself fall around the bus in hysterics, more than once. We sober up from the giggles and go off map finding our own way back to Union Hall.
We arrive to Union Hall and then notice the picture postcard Glandor across the bay and make our way over for something to eat and some “light refreshments.” Having not been here before we, were unaware of the one tiny road that winds through the village. Said tiny road is filled with people sat out enjoying the evening sunshine. Filled with parked cars. Filled with people in cars, tractors, trailers and horse boxes trying eagerly to go in both directions. Needless to say we got stuck!!! Full on consternation! Much to the amusement of on lookers we sat proud and tall in the VW Bus refusing to budge (mostly because we couldn’t) smiling at a “nice” man in front of us, sat in his car, also, refusing to budge! There was much shouting and laughter and a realisation that may be our fate to live in this one spot, stuck forever! Finally a lovely man from the area got out of his car behind us “Awh Mick for Fecks sake! Reverse Man! Don’t give me any of that… REVERSE!!!” Ten minutes later in one of the greatest games of Vehicle tetris I have ever witnessed we had parked up and headed to the Hayes for some grub.
While the girls find a table out side. I grabbed menus while ordering two pints of guinness. “You’ll have Murphys! You’re in Cork now GURL” sang the a bar man. Having enjoyed a scrumptious dinner and a new found taste for Murphys we headed out to our night time adventures. Of course its us, so we lost all track of time. What a sight we must have been, a pristine Scotty careering along the old pier a storm of dust and mud in its wake, while I tucked and rolled to make sure we weren’t too late.
Night time kayaking for those that have never done or hear of it is exactly as it says on the tin. Kayaking in the dark. Its best to go with some one you trust and has some kind of sense of co ordination. As there are two of you to a kayak. I have the co ordination of a dancing donkey, so fair play to Ann Marie for trusting me or for Jim letting me loose in one of his floaty boats in the first place. The light falls and we spend ten minutes adjusting to the life in the dark. We number off for Jim. 1, 2, 3, 4 …… Five are you with us? Oh Ya.. FIVE we both holler! Jim give us a history of the area and tells us some wonderful irish legends. It is heavenly. His soft voice reaching out across the lapping water. We are paddling in total darkness, in total silence, no phones, no interruptions apart of the odd bird or giggle from our companions.
Some body gasps… Jim laughs. “You are lucky to see it to night.. everyone look to your left and swishy your paddle gently”
“The other left” Ams giggles to me.
Then I see it. Its gone so quickly, I hardly believe my eyes. Like a child i put my hand in the water. I see it. A hundred thousand galaxies of blue stars light up in my hand. Despite the cold of the water, I swirl my hand again, whirlpools of stars emerge. Vaguely aware of Jim talking about biolumenises, I am lost to the magic happening. Closing my eyes now, I can still feel the power of that magic, the sheer child like wonder. The peace. The fullness of life. We float along the shore line watching the fireworks of blue before us, rippling through the sea weed like a wild fire. Jim guides to the middle of the river and tells us to look up. I lean back, it’s as though we are floating between the universes. The the Milky Way above us mirrors the stars from below. I don’t know how long we drift in quiet. I would have happily drifted for an eternity. It was the most alive I have ever felt.
Sadly our starry eyed adventure has to come to an end and Jim weaves us back between the boats to the shore. I can barely feel my feet touch the ground and I feel like we are flying as we head back to Scotty. We head back to town to try another Murphy’s to find there is no one at the Inn. Slightly disappointed we drive until we find the perfect spot to camp up for the night. Ann Marie breaks out the G&Ts, which are much needed after her words with the heater and battery. I wrestle with fairy lights and we settle down for the night. Breathing in the damp night air, I snuggle deeper into my blanket. I feel grateful.
We watch the shooting stars over head. We laugh as Betty tries to shake the blue orbs from her paws as she paddles on the shore. Yes, I am grateful. I could be at home working my ass off and worrying about the happiness and well being of others. Instead I am here. 2am in the morning freezing my ass off, sipping an icy G&T, talking about love and life under one of the greatest light shows the world has to offer. I am happy for this surprise adventure out of the humdrum. We wake to the sound of fishermen. Pulling ropes, sloshing of boots in morning waves. Silence again, natures greatest snooze button. Eventually we get up I jump down from the top bunk, by jump, I fall. Breakfast is freshly brewed coffee and fruit. We sit in the easy morning sun. Ams is reading a new book, “I found My Tribe” by Ruth Fitzmaurice…. I read aloud from it. We live by a beach in Kerry and we both understood the pull the ocean, that Ruth speaks of. I find myself slowing. Loosing the need to be always to be on. We have only been on this lazy adventure a day and I am reminded of a longing to just be. As people gather, breaking the morning glow, looking for the whale watching tour, we decide to hit the road and find brunch. Back through Glandore we end up at this old stone fort. We try our hardest to have an Outlander moment. The stones are too small and we don’t know the magic words. I think Betty is relieved when we stop making spectacles of ourselves. Our plan is to head to Baltimore by the evening. Our day is crossed by dazzling sunshine, long lunches, stops at curiosity shops, a discussion on why its pronounced LEEP instead of LePP..Or is it the other way around? Its also crossed with many people, dutifully pointing out, some times while running down the road, clutching to their hats and appendages…You have a leak!!!! “We KNOW!” we laugh in unison. Its true Scotty has a bit of leak but all buses do. Only we stop telling people this after the fifth time. Sunset is spent up around The Beacon. Its a funny place. A wilderness of gorse and heather kissed all of a sudden by the ocean… and a big white stone .. well, Beacon.
We get ready and wander into the tiny village of Baltimore for pints. We sit in Bushes bar and drink … Murphy’s. Dinner has been forgotten about so we snack on dark chocolate and peanuts. What connoisseurs we are. The chats and messing continues in Algiers Inn around the corner where we find ourselves in a local singsong. I think, what I great voice I have… Why don’t I sing more often?
We are the last to leave. We feast on sausage sambos and tea when we get back to Scotty. We are all glad of our beds. The next morning as the words to “She moves through the fair”, bitterly BANG through my head, I remember why I don’t sing. Because I can’t! I flush and hope/pray we don’t bump into any one from the pub last night. Its a slow start to the day. We do get up eventually. Watch the boats bop up and down in the bay. Its such a sweet spot. We have been gone two days and I feel that I have been away for weeks. I long to do a long walk, like the Camino again. My inner thought and imagination bubble to the surface, slowly at first. I know that I should write them down, catch them before they pass me by. Today is not the day. We are moving. I will be home soon. Back to work. Those random insights silenced. Not that they make much sense to any one but me. Still as we pack up for todays adventure I wonder what would happen if I did manage one day to write them all down…This sticks with me for much of the day. The half cooked sausages also stay with me for much of the day.
You know your leaking…. “Rolls” eyes, YES!! Yes we do. Ams decided that we should perhaps check out the leak before we leave. We get out the manual. We look like we know what we are doing. Ams, it strikes me actually does know what she is doing. She is some woman for one woman. Though if you knew her, Lady is more appropriate. Betty lends a paw, but decides that lunch is more her forte. After a lot of tinkering and discovering as suspected it is just a VW thing.. we pack up and leave Baltimore.
Betty is kind enough to let me have her seat on the way back.
It is dark and stormy when get back to the kingdom. I am home for ten minutes before I have to leave again to meet Sean along the way up the country for a wedding. I am tired yet so brimming with excitement to share all the stories and mischief.
As I look over the postcard snap shots of our road trip, I find myself wising for those days back. Planning for the next adventure. Who knows maybe the Wild Atlantic Way could be the staycation this year. There is so so much on our own doorstep and indeed of ourselves yes to be discovered.