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Friday, November 02, 2007

A week in Ireland

Some time ago, we were discussing what to do for the half term holiday week in October. We'd always wanted to go for a holiday in Ireland, and I mentioned that I'd like to visit the far South-west corner, having sailed as far as Cork in the past but never explored the supposedly beautiful County Kerry and the wild Atlantic coast.

So whilst I was sailing to the Canaries, Gesa arranged a cottage for a week and, true to my request, got us about as far south-west as you can go without falling off the edge. My parents came along too, so we drove to Pembroke, got on the ferry and arrived in Rosslaire early evening. A sensible decision to get a B+B close to Rosslaire saw us well rested on Saturday morning and then a six hour drive through Ireland to a little hamlet called Dungegan, near the only slightly larger village of Ballinskelligs. That's near Waterville, and if your geography still hasn't caught up, it's about 100 miles west of Cork.

Our cottage was a very nicely appointed, modern house in a little group of six on the edge of the village. Very spacious, lots of light, oak floors, peat fire and four bedrooms between us. The south of Ireland has clearly experienced a massive building boom, and almost every house looks under 5 years old - either the small to moderate holiday cottages and second homes, or the extensive mansion that you imagine replacing some decaying cottage, but in rality, have probably been dropped into a couple of acres of nice virgin field. Every scrap of land seems to have a planning application pinned to the fence but the radio and papers suggest that this boom is about to come to a fairly abrupt halt, probably no bad thing for the countryside and hopefully without hurting too many residents. The word is that local people are priced out of the market, a familiar story from many parts of the UK, so perhaps a 'correction' is in order.

We had a very enjoyable week, there is a great deal to see and do in that part of Ireland and it is, indeed, stunningly beautiful. Even the weather was fairly kind to us, a bonus in mid October. I'll add some more posts about specific things and we would highly recommend it as a destination, as long as you don't mind driving a few miles!

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