Over in the west of Ireland at the moment, tootling about.
Just finished in Kerry where we stayed in the village of Ballyferriter on the Dingle Peninsula, out in the Gaeltacht (Irish speaking) area.
Absolutely beautiful out here. Miles and miles of empty beaches, the water crystal clear, and verging on tepid … it’s where the Gulf-stream hits after all. Fuchsia bushes thirty feet high line the winding narrow roads, terrifying the life out of the American visitors. We spent Monday evening with some sheep on the heights of Dunmore Head watching an Atlantic sunset over the Blasket Islands.
Had too many Guinness on Tuesday and listened to a musical French family called Trotwood who’ve been coming to the Gaeltacht for years to play, and it was nice to hear some improvised reels on cellos, and non-traditional instruments. They were joined by a bongo – tabla – bodhran player and having arrived at the pub around six, I finally found my bed around two, having forgotten that we had a four hour winding drive planned for the following day.
If you’re ever in the area, check out Tig Uí Murcú in Ballyferriter. Great staff, and a ridiculously friendly crowd. The music doesn’t start until around 9, so I’d say about half-eight is the right time to get in there, unless you want to eat.
Stayed in a hotel across the road from the pub called Ostán Ceann Sibéal which had fantastic spacious rooms with panoramic views from the front, and was also pet friendly. If you stay, go for room 18! Zak, our dog was even more reluctant to leave than we were. He went nuts on the beach too. I think he thought he was in dog heaven. The hotel’s food wasn’t fantastic for us, as we’re both veggie, and Kerry is still in the goat’s cheese phase when it comes to vegetarian food, but it was an easy going place, and they had some great craft beers in the bar too.
From the strand (beach) near the hotel you can walk a few miles across the bay to Baile na Ngall and the Tabhairne Uí Chonchuir. The walk takes about an hour and a bit, and most of it can be done on the beach or the beach bank. Swimming is good at several points, but especially on Wine Strand which is a smaller lagoon-like bay.
If anyone from the area does pick this up, I’ve published a series of short stories with Vegetarian Recipes that are pretty simple, (http://tinyurl.com/poam5pa) but many also have an Irish twist to them. Too many chefs and cooks find it too easy to churn out the same old nonsense, and visitors are hoping for something a bit different to what they might do at home.
Having a full ‘Irish/English/Scottish/Welsh’ breakfast is about as exciting after day one as having a dump, and I’m told both get equally trying over a fortnight.
Breakfasts could have all come with potato cakes, with onions or herbs even, to add something a bit different. These are cheap to make, filling, and traditional, and they fit with almost anything in the morning. I didn’t encounter them anywhere? I did come across some nice breads, but nobody seemed to play with any ideas and add things like spring onions, carrots, parsnips, or even wild thyme and rosemary, which is everywhere. Breads like these can add a dimension to a simple bowl of soup, and use up any leftover vegetables. Again, they’re cheaper to make, add something a little different to the table and make a visit more memorable.
Kerry was absolutely stunning.
We’re off to Clare…and a special thanks to @Stormfreshphoto for the shots.