A Road trip of Road trips today. The stunning Ring of Kerry. Starting in Kenmare, this is a 110 mile circular route around the Iveragh Peninsular covering stunning views, charming towns, rugged forests, gushing waterfalls, all edged by the rolling, crashing waves of The Atlantic Ocean. It was a sublime journey, covering breathtaking land and seascapes. Key stages of the journey included the Coomakista Pass, Macgillycuddy’s Reeks, Molls Gap, Skellig Micheal in the Atlantic, Waterville village and Cahersiveen.
‘And some time make the time to drive out west … along the Flaggy Shore, In September or October, when the wind And the light are working off each other So that the ocean on one side is wild With foam and glitter…’
The Irish love their sport and high up on the list are football and wrestling. On a whistle stop visit to Sneem in Co. Kerry there are two life size bronze statues of two Irish sporting legends, part of the Sneem culture trail.
By artist, Alan Hall from Valentia this statue is set in South Square , facing Sneem Sportsfield, where John gave many displays of his remarkable footballing skills and vision over many years.
Stephen Casey was an Irish sport rower and world champion professional wrestler. He was the second Irish wrestler, after Danno O’Mahoney, to become a world champion. He was World Heavyweight Champion for six years, while fighting in WWII. The statue was again the work of Valentiasculptor Alan Hall.
Sneem was a lovely little Irish village and the statues were a highlight.
“You’ll never find a rainbow if you’re looking down.”
Charlie Chaplin (1888- 1977)
A short stop in Waterville today. A small town on the Wild Atlantic Way, Western Ireland where Charlie Chaplin, English comic actor, filmmaker, and composer who rose to fame in the era of silent film, liked to holiday.
Day one of my Western Irish tour started in Clonakilty, birthplace of Micheal Collins (1890-1922), Irish revolutionary, soldier and politician who was a leading figure in the early-20th century struggle for Irish independence.
Next stop was Timoleague, a small village where the ruins of a thirteenth century Franciscan abbey stands picturesquely at the waters edge.
Kinsale, a harbour town with a maze of narrow streets and an eclectic mix of bars, restaurants and shops was the next stop.
It was raining hard during my visit here, but it’s Western Ireland and it’s October… It took nothing away from the beauty of the location.
Last stop of the day was Charles Fort, just outside of Kinsale. A star-shaped military fortress that has stood firm for centuries. It was raining even harder by now, but the fort was totally worth getting drenched for.
Despite being partially ruined, you could imagine the soldiers and their families living in this fortress.
This morning was my first flight post pandemic. My last flight home to London was nineteen months ago, from Cuba the only country that would fly passengers home from the COVID-19 stricken cruise ship I was stranded in the Caribbean on.
I thought that International travel would be a bit further on than it was. London Gatwick was so quiet. The North Terminal is the only one operating. The normally bustling South Terminal is still closed. Strange to drive past and see it empty.
The Travel Lodge I stayed in the night before due to an early flight, normally a hive of activity, full of passengers coming and going was dead. I felt like I was the only guest in the building!
My early morning flight was the quickest I have ever got through. I expected to be delayed with long queues while everyone’s paperwork was checked at each end. I was asked a lot if I had filled in a Passenger Locator form and if I was vaccinated, but at no time, London or Dublin, did I have to produce any proof.
It was a quick and easy transit through both ends, but it was also sad to see such a vibrant and exciting space so empty and lacking vitality. For me a bustling airport was part of the excitement of the impending holiday. It was missing. International travel is far from getting back to normal.
A Road Trip to cover all fifty five piers in England and Wales- starting at Weston-Super-Mare in the Midlands and finishing at Penarth in Wales. Writers Danny and Jon, with Midge the driver. I love a road trip, but this ended up feeling a bit downbeat, enforcing all the reasons why I prefer to go overseas and seek sun and adventures, rather than holidaying in the UK- even if it is seaside England. Their journey started off up-beat, but somewhere in the middle the tone changed to a darker, bleaker trip. It reminded me why I have resented every moment of having to holiday in the UK over 2020/ 2021.
A series of interconnected short stories, connected by the location- holiday cabins on a Scottish loch, somewhere in the region of Glasgow, beautiful but wet. The stories of the residents take a day in their holiday lives and we see the place and time through their different perspectives and now and then, the natural perspectives. It is written in the first person narrative, through each individual stream of consciousness. Clever and captivating poetic but practical prose.
“In the town itself, actually within sight of the house in which Charlie lived, there was an ENORMOUS CHOCOLATE FACTORY! Just imagine that! And it wasn’t simply an ordinary enormous chocolate factory, either. It was the largest and most famous in the whole world!”
Roald Dahl. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory .
A visit to Cadbury World today to visit Bournville’s very own ‘enormous chocolate factory’
My first Atwood. Again I listened to this on Audio read by Atwood herself- I don’t think I could have read these poems from a book. I didn’t even try to take the content in, or try to understand it. I just let the language wash over me as I went about my day. Every now and ten a poem or a line would resonate with me- I would have to replay it. But on the whole it was just a soothing drone of words.
I have always liked the Reading Agency Quick Reads and now you can get them on audiobooks too! A whole Peter James novel condensed into an hour’s listening, while still retaining the Peter James attention to detail.
Two of my favourite things are playlists and road trips. Two of my second best things are books containing these things. I loved Mix Tape. I was reminded of and introduced to songs and bands from the late seventies/ early eighties that I had either forgotten about or hadn’t heard of. All through I had to stop reading and yell at Alexa to play a song by a particular band. This weekend will see me compiling a ‘Mix Tape’ playlist and planning a mini-break road trip to Sheffield. And a much grander, maybe in the future, trip to Adelaide!
One of the most famous stone arches in the world. This spectacular natural doorway was formed over 10,000 years ago on the Jurassic Coast in Dorset from merged bays. Geologists suggest that the rock arch in the sea was formed as a result of softer rock eroding behind hard limestone, allowing the sea to pound through.
It’s a fairytale area- the place of myths and legends.
Somewhere to appreciate the coastline, walk for miles, or just enjoy the water…