Sam was the king of the Maranatha House, you could tell, and no matter how heavy the suitcase or how ridiculous the pillow, Sam parked himself right in the doorway, right under your feet, to ensure that he got at least a moderate pat as you walked by. What a lovely place . . . .

The next morning, true to form, the owner of the Maranatha house served up a traditional Irish breakfast with but one deviation. We had no toast. NO TOAST! It was a rough morning, leaving the pretty, pretty house and with no toast to boot.

Woney and I lugged our ridiculous suitcases and my ridiculous pillow down the Barbie staircase, across Sam’s napping place in the middle of the doorway and loaded up our car. We noticed as we were leaving that the other patrons of the Maranatha house, mostly Americans, seemed to be having trouble with the narrow roads in Ireland like we were. Like our car, most of their rentals had some scratchy marks alongside the passenger door but unlike us, they had had some run ins with what appeared to be barbed wire. Big holes dotted their doors and trim pieces were missing left and right. It was with great pride in our (Woney’s) driving abilities that we drove off, ready for the sight-seeing we had planned.

This will not surprise you, but Katherine from the Mena House had given us some tips for this day as well. We were driving to Tralee to stay in a castle for the night (and let me add here: Castle, yay!). The Ring of Kerry is a scenic drive on the way to Tralee, well known for its gorgeous views but less known for its awful traffic and toothpick hairpin roads. Katherine instructed us to head for the Dingle Peninsula instead, claiming that it was a better, less harrowing drive with views that rivaled and even surpassed those across the Ring of Kerry. When I get to that point, I will most likely not write much. I will most likely just post a bunch of pictures. You’ll see why.

This also will not surprise you, but Woney and I got lost on our way to the Dingle Peninsula. On our way to getting lost, we ran across a sign that read: Toy Soldier Museum Ahead. We continued to run across signs for this museum every time Gwendolyn took us on the wrong path (bitch), and we ultimately decided that we needed to visit this Toy Soldier Museum. Plus we had to pee and they offered a bathroom on one of the signs. Y’all, this was one of the coolest things I’ve ever done/seen in my life. Woney and I wandered around this concrete building completely in awe, watching these people cast all those tiny metal figures you see in your traditional Toy Soldier Museums. We watched a lady hand paint some of them. We even made our own and while we were proud of them, our talents extended nowhere near theirs. Woney and I will never be master Toy Soldier Museum employees is what I’m saying. Man, that was fun.

Tralee 2

Hand-crafted Chess Set

Hand-crafted Chess Set

We got back on the road, on our way to getting lost again, and eventually found ourselves driving along the Dingle Peninsula. Breathtaking is not a word that even comes close to describing these views. Wait, here you are:

Dingle 41

Dingle 38

Dingle 32

Dingle 40

Dingle 17

Dingle 24

dingle 15

Dingle 22

Dingle 14

Dingle 11

Dingle 28

By the time we drove it all, Woney and I were completely saturated with beauty. We could not take in another sight. Every few feet boasted a scenic overlook and we stopped at every single one of them. There’s not a solitary hill crest or rock or ocean wave that is not documented at least three different ways on our cameras. Also, sheep.

Isn’t that gorgeous? By far, this was my favorite thing we had done. If you ever go, the West Coast is the area you want, I’m certain of it.

Our final destination for the night was the Ballyseede Castle. Getting lost was becoming an art form for us – we pulled an illegal u-turn more than once to get to this place, but again, as we drove down the long drive and the castle came into view, in our breath caught in our throats. It was beautiful. The interior was beautiful. Our bedroom was beautiful. The grounds were beautiful. The dinner was beautiful. We felt like we were somebody as we sat in the parlor after dinner reading our books and nibbling on excellent Butler’s chocolates, passing an evening in the way the royals do. It was such a lovely day. We went to bed that night, sighing over our good fortune.


Tralee 16

Tralee 8

Next Stop: Doolin!

5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. studiobukowski
    Aug 18, 2013 @ 21:51:48

    Stunning, just stunning. Thank you for allowing me to live vicariously through you. Love the castle! And your royal evening!


  2. FELIX
    Aug 19, 2013 @ 10:10:40

    ABSOLUTELY BREATHTAKING!!!! I, too, thank you for the abliltiy to see Ireland through yours and Woney’s eyes (camera)! LOL And the storytelling……you are so good at writing about your travels and telling your tales.


    Aug 19, 2013 @ 12:00:51

    I really have to wonder about how a place called the Dingle Peninsula got it’s name. Just sayin…


  4. Bootsie
    Aug 20, 2013 @ 12:24:54

    I am loving these blogs and hating you (just a tiny bit) because I WANNA GO SO BAD!!!!!!


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