The Rings

Sneem, Ireland
Thursday, August 17, 2006

The Ring of Kerry is misleading - there are actually three rings of Kerry and you have to BUY a map from the tourist office to find out where they are. We had a brochure so we opted not to purchase yet another map and instead, followed the tiny graphics from the Rings pamphlet. We only got lost once, but as all roads lead to Dingle in the Dingle ring, we weren't too perturbed. The first ring goes around the Slea Peninsula so we stopped for lunch overlooking Slea Head and some very stunning mountains. The landscape looks very similar to Victorian coastline and to be perfectly honest, I'm not that impressed. Perhaps I have been spoilt by Switzerland and Scotland - or maybe I have been on the road too long and my "breathtaking" radar needs to be recalibrated.

We stopped briefly to look at some 2000 year old Beehive huts which were said to be occupied by monks. We duly paid 2 euros to a kid in the farmhouse and asked for some printed information but were told there 'weren't none'. We wandered around some huts with no roofs and then drove on. 2 kilometres down the road we came to the "official" huts marked on the map.

We finished the first ring mid afternoon and started on the second ring. This one goes down to Cahersiveen and looks back over the Shea Peninsula. We picked Sneem as our stopping point and found a brilliant B & B right in the centre of town. Sneem is a lovely little village with brightly coloured houses and quaint little old fashioned shops - not yet too spoilt by tourists. We had a brilliant dinner in the local pub and wiled away the evening on the back deck.

I have voted Ireland to have the WORST ever drivers and the worst ever roads. The "ring" roads have 1000's of tourists ever day and they are patch repaired at least 50 times before they are resurfaced. The potholes swallow entire tyres and the edges turned to mush during the Iron Age. The roads subside as the peat bogs beneath them subsides and driving is equivalent to a rollercoaster ride. Pretty red flower hedges grow 3 metres high on both sides of the road and encroach on the already narrow lanes. The Sloth has a nice collection of red flowers in her side mirrors and bumpers. The road is so narrow that the tour buses must only travel in a clockwise direction because it would be impossible for two buses to pass if they met head on. To make the road conditions even more treacherous, they add bloody tourists in left hand drive cars, learners who haven't learnt to reverse yet, 4WD's in the hands of incompetent idiots, cyclists with metre wide panniers, a variety of smelly farm vehicles and then the worst of all - locals frustrated with all the bloody tourists. The local's favourite sport is to tailgate the tourists at 100kph over the undulating roads and then overtaking them around blind bends. My favourite sport is driving in the middle of the road on the straight stretches and then slowing down to 30kph until the tailgating local behind me is red in the face from screaming.

Geez I miss the bike.

01 Irish roads
Irish roads
02 Cool view
Cool view
03 More great roads
More great roads
04 Cool view
Cool view
05 Cool view
Cool view
06 Cool view
Cool view
07 Cool view
Cool view
08 Cool view
Cool view
09 Cool view
Cool view
10 Cool view
Cool view
11 Cool view
Cool view
12 Cool view
Cool view
13 Cool view
Cool view
14 Cool beach
Cool beach
15 Cool red hedge
Cool red hedge
16 Cool hut
Cool hut
17 Hut with stone roof
Hut with stone roof
18 Beehive hut
Beehive hut
19 Looking through the beehives
Looking through the beehives
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