The Banshee, pork sausages and spilled wine

Trip Start Aug 09, 2009
Trip End Oct 28, 2009

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Where I stayed

Flag of Ireland  , County Kerry,
Monday, August 17, 2009

Day 1 - Monday 17th Aug - We were due to check in to our Dingle accommodation at 2pm today, but we arrived at 11am and thought we would go see if there was a possibility of checking in a bit early. The look of horror on Maggie's (the b&b owner) face when I told her who we were indicated that this was not possible! She explained that she is a 'perfectionist' (clean freak) and would not be close to having our room ready until 2pm, but she suggested we go and do the Slea Heads drive around the peninsula to kill time, as the next day was supposed to be rainy. She told us that there is some beautiful scenery there that we needed to see.

She was right. Dingle Peninsula is one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen. This is why we came to Ireland, to see in person the beautiful coastline that we have seen on screen so many times. We drove around the coast stopping at the (many) lookouts along the way and trying to avoid hitting oncoming traffic along our way. The roads are alarmingly narrow and in some spots you actually have to drive into the vegetation on the side of the road to get past the oncoming traffic. It is bizarre, and somewhat dangerous if you ask me!

We stopped for lunch at a little cafe near Slea Heads and had a beautiful lunch of quiche and a glass of (Australian!) red. This is where we met Banshee. Banshee is a gorgeous 4 year old dog who was the only survivor after her and her brothers and sisters were thrown over a cliff in a plastic bag at 3 weeks of age. The chef at this cafe had found her and taken her in and she is now a well know resident of the cafe. A fellow tourist told us that last year a journalist had come out and taken photos and told her they were doing a story for a 'small' publication, and next thing they knew Banshee was featured in a half page article in the Washington Post! After that people were going out of their way in Ireland just to come and visit Banshee!

She plays a little game with you when you arrive. She sits under a table and looks at you pitifully with her ball next to her. Then suckers like me walk over to her and she picks up her ball and runs to the end of the verandah where she waits for you to follow before showing you the stick that you use to pick up the ball and throw it. So you do your duty and she runs off into the overgrowth and retrieves it before dashing off again to await the next throw. She is absolutely gorgeous and obviously we could have stayed there all day and just played with her, but we did have more coast to see!

Near where we had lunch was a huge hill which we climbed to find the most amazing view of the Atlantic and islands. The feeling up there was amazing, the cleanest air and so quiet except for the waves. On the way down we could see a small surf beach with a few surfers catching waves of about 2ft. But still! Better than nothing and they were obviously enjoying it.

We continued around the coast and finally returned to our accommodation 4 hours later. It was a lovely guesthouse right on the water and with lovely views. We also met Muffy, the resident mutt who is 14 years old and barks a welcome whenever we pull up in the driveway. Our room was finally ready and Maggie was much happier to see us this time round! I would have to say that this was the nicest room so far too, made better when I learned that we had free Wi-fi in our room so we could watch the Bombers v Saints game at last!

We headed to the shops and bought a couple of beers and a bottle of red wine and headed back to watch the game. What an awesome game!! I got a bit excited though got told to keep it down by Maggie. I also spilled my wine all over the cream coloured bed linen!! Remembering Maggie as a clean freak we frantically raced for the toilet paper and dabbed it up as best we could and got it down to a dull purple stain. I felt so bad though. I had also spilled a little bit of dip which we managed to get out and spilled on the floor twice more too! Fortunately the floor is floorboards so no biggy!

After the game we walked in to town to get dinner and ran in to Maggie on the way. She was happy to see us and we apologised for the noise and explained the game to her. She laughed and so I thought I had better tell her about the red wine spill......she looked very worried. I told her we had got most of it out and you could hardly notice it, to which she responded 'yeah, but I will'. She was quite concerned and quickly got in her car to head back to the house and strip our bed! I felt so bad! But what could I do? At least I told her about it I suppose...

We went and checked out the menus for dinner and found much the same story as Killarney - very expensive. We ended up with pub meals that were still 10 euro each plus drinks but that was the best we could do.

Back to the house and we had an early night falling asleep to the sounds of the rain and the wind.

Day 2 - Tuesday 18th Aug - We awoke this morning to a foggy and overcast day but the rain seemed to have stopped. We headed down to breakfast and I was a little nervous about how Maggie had gone with the linen. She was bright and bubbly though so I needn't had worried. Whew! Turned out she had washed the linen and hung it out but then the storm had knocked it off the line into the mud! Red wine was no longer the problem, yay!

Breakfast was awesome but the weather was crap, so we decided to can our idea to go horseriding and retrace our steps from the day before but stop at all the museums and craft shops etc. on the way this time. We skipped past them the day before and there were some we wanted to see.

The fog was amazing, I think visibilty was about 10m, fantastic on those narrow roads! But it was fun and we saw some great little shops and stuff. My favourite was the leathergoods place - awesome handbags! but with prices starting from 205 euro they were a little out of my price range. The pottery place was lovely too but expensive again.

Our last stop was the 'Pet Farm'. Since I have been taking photos of all the doggies we meet we thought it might be a good place to meet some more! It was 7 euro each to get in, and once we were in we were unsure if we should have paid that, but as Witek says, we are helping the local economy :)

There was a cute little border collie pup and some chicks but I was a bit underwhelmed. We kept on walking through these paddocks and eventually we could hear running water. When we got to the bottom of the hill there was a beautiful running river, very pretty and we probably got 3 euros of value from that, so not too bad in the end!

After the Pet Farm it was about 2:30pm so we decided to go have a lie down for a couple of hours before heading into town to have a browse and have dinner.

Maggie had told us about The Half Door restaurant which she admitted was expensive, but they had a earlybird special of 29 euro per head (About $55) for three courses - and she insisted that they have the best seafood chowder in Ireland. We have been coming in under budget every day so far so we thought we would have to treat ourselves to the best seafood chowder in Ireland!

We got there a bit before the 5:30pm earlybird start and they seated us in a lovely spot by the window. We both had the seafood chowder for entree, and it was absolutely awesome. The seafood was so fresh and so tender. For main Witek had the pork and I had duck, which were both fantastic, then for dessert we shared an Irish coffee and a sticky date pudding. It was amazing food, though the whole meal including drinks cost us two thirds of our daily budget! But we hadn't spent anything today except for the entrance to the Pet Farm, so it was all ok. 

After dinner we went to the supermarket to get a small bottle of port to take back to the room with us and then went past the cinema to see what was on. There was only one movie, a French film we had never heard of with English subtitles. So we didn't bother. We did run into a stray dog we had seen the day before out the front though.

We have seen so many stray border collies in Ireland it is ridiculous! This guy was very friendly but so skinny! So while Witek kept him company I rushed back to the supermarket to get him some sausages. That put us 1 euro over budget for the day, but for a good cause! Or so we thought....

When I got back to Witek the doggy was trying to make a run for it and I actually saw Witek try to tackle him so I quickened my pace! There was also a lady there who was  very impressed with the effort we were making. When the doggy saw me with something in my hands he took an interest and came towards me, so I held out a sausage and put the rest of the packet on the ground. I had bought 3 packets of them as I assumed he was hungry.

He did not want a bar of it. Snobby little homeless dog was too good for pork sausages! He turned his nose up at it and trotted off down the street! So that left us with a near full opened pack of sausages that had been on the ground, and two unopened  packs.

The lady that was with us said that if she had money she would buy the unopened packs from us so I took the hint and insisted that she take them. She politely refused but we knew she wanted the sausages, she was dead keen for the sausages, so we insisted again. She accepted this time but then asked if she could buy us a beer or if she could fix us up with some money for them later. It was getting a bit weird so we just said no repeatedly and left her to it. I'm sure she was genuine but ffs, its was 2 euro worth of sausages! And let's remember we were going to give them to a stray dog who I am sure wasn't going to give us any monetary or beverage compensation.

So on the way home we were on a mission to find a doggy to take the sausages. We decided that if we couldn't find a stray doggy we would give them to Muffy, but we would ask Maggie first given my track record with upsetting her.

We came across a small beagle like doggy trotting along first and  after a moment of hesitation he took a sausage. Then another. We thought we had better save some for Muffy though so we cut him off there. He seemed to give us a nod of gratitude before continuing on his way.

Our next friend was a black cat sitting high upon a fence above a blueberry hedge meowing at us. Witek held a piece of sausage out to him but it was obviously too far for him to jump, so Witek clamboured up the hedge and offered it to him at closer range. He seemed happier with this arrangement so reached forward to take a bite and promptly knocked it out of Witek's hand and into the hedge below. Witek made a second attempt and kind of smooshed it into a ledge on the stone fence, and the cat still failed. Pork went down into the hedge. Witek was able to retrieve this piece and then smooshed it into the top of the fence where the cat couldn't possibly stuff it up! Finally, success. The cat picked up the piece of sausage and ran off over the other side of the fence.

We had about 5 sausages left and decided that Muffy would be the beneficiary. We thought we should ask Maggie first, but she wasn't home so we just offered them to him anyway. He was not interested at all! He almost seemed offended. 'You're offering ME raw sausage?' was what he seemed to be saying, so in the bin it went. Shame really, I'm sure it would have been good sausage!

We spent the rest of the night relaxing in our room and getting organised for the morning. We were flying to Paris at 11am, but it is a 2 1/2 hour drive to the airport which meant another 6:30am start!
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