I had coffee at Lady's View overlooking the Lakes of Killarney, and dropped into that bastion of yummy-mummy-ness, the Avoca Shop and Café, at Moll's Gap near Kenmare. Certainly no recession in evidence there, with prices to match the quality of the wares. Most of the shops in Kerry have an abundance of shamrockery - Aran sweaters and scratchy Tweed scarves vie for space beside keyrings, mugs and glassware adorned in shamrocks and leprechauns - and are very tourist-oriented, which is understandable given that the season is so short but it does reinforce Ireland's well-earned reputation as a pricey place to visit.
Glengarriff looked positively Mediterranean in the evening sunshine, and it has a balmy climate - believe it or not Ireland's south-west has lots of sub-tropical plants as it rarely freezes there thanks to the proximity of the Gulf Stream and its warm air. The first time I visited Glengarriff in 1974 on a hitch-hiking trip around Ireland with my best friend from nursing student days it lashed rain in August - just after Nixon's resignation - and we squelched around Garnish Island in soaking jeans and trainers! I hadn't been along this road for about six years, when we went to Kerry for a weekend, and what I had remembered were the tunnels in the mountains between Killarney and Kenmare; I thought there were a lot more of them and that they were longer, but they are quite short and some are just like sea-arches only on the road.
Ireland really has some spectacular scenery and while Lismore has very lush and wooded landscapes, Kerry is very wild and rugged, and the mountains are barer than our Knockmealdowns - more like our Comeraghs. A trip like this reinforces my appreciation of our lovely scenery, and while I moan a lot about the political mess we're in as a nation, and all the economic doom, we do have a lovely country and if it was blessed with decent weather - why, we might even stop complaining about everything else!
My only other political comment on this post is a mention of the blight on the lovely landscape of the election posters. There wasn't a pole untouched in all of Cork and Kerry, and even Waterford has a few, though Lismore has a local agreement whereby none of the candidates for the town council - hubby included - will put up posters in the town. That won't stop all the county and European candidates and I spotted the first European one in Lismore today, much to my disgust. Labour's county candidate, John Pratt, and the South's European candidate, Alan Kelly, have both agreed to the Lismore Council's decision and won't be seen on a pole within sight of the town, though it remains to be seen whether the other party candidates will comply.
What is extremely noticeable by its absence is the near-invisibility of the government's Fianna Fáil name and logo from their election posters. (Just try to spot the FF party logo on this European Election poster at a Cork roundabout! Yes I thought so too, not easy - have they something to hide?)
I hope you like the photos and I might make a slide show of the better ones from this trip - the long way round - Irish style!