These days, it’s not often we get the chance to get in our car and drive just for the pure pleasure of driving. With all of our modern jobs, commitments and problems, we never seem to have that time anymore. The problem isn’t solely down to never having the time; Many modern cars are not driver’s cars. There is a connection that’s lost between the driver and machine.
That opportunity came to me recently. My partner was to be away working in Co. Kerry for a few days and being unsure of a lift home, I took that opportunity to say, I’ll pick you up….let’s make a picnic out of it. I was to drive down on a Saturday, stay one night and drive back the next day.
The moment had arrived. There’s a strange feeling on these type of mornings. A quiet excitement that swarms around me. Breathing in the cold morning air and listening to the trees talking as a gentle wind flows through them. Walking around my car, I love the water droplets from the night’s rain. It’s as if they sense a static in the air, and an energy from within the car they sit upon. An anticipation of speed and noise.
Starting the car feels like bringing a machine to life. I take a moment to hear the car’s heart beat. Something only a few of us appreciate….these days.
I have to apologise for this next bit. I never stopped or took any pictures. I just drove until I hit my destination of Sneem. I was passing Limerick in around 2.5 hours and was on target for doing the journey in 4 hours 20 mins. However, after Limerick I hit traffic and it took another 2.5 hours from Limerick to Sneem.
I arrived in Sneem in about 5 hours and quickly met with my partner. Still feeling fresh (unlike my partner), we decided to drive the ring of Kerry. We stopped about half way around the ring for our picnic. The weather was against us so we had it in the car. Ham and cheese sandwiches with a slight smear of mayo.
The scenery down in Co. Kerry is astonishing.
That evening we grabbed a bite to eat in a restaurant called Sacre Coeur. It was nice, seemed to have a good number of fish dishes on the menu and several local beers and ciders. Although there were several places in Sneem that looked like nice places.
At night in the hotel room I was thinking about the drive down. Going through Killarney National Park was the highlight for me. I’m amazed at the capability of the Lancia Delta. I was driving hard over the Kerry Mountains and everything seemed fine. My previous car ( ford focus mk2) struggled on mountain hills and the brakes would melt on the first decline. That Lancia withstood that punishment for around 30 minutes.
The south and southwest coast of that peninsula is my favourite part of the ring.
After breakfast, we decided to take our time driving home and stop at a few places. My partner took the wheel for the first part of the journey home.
As we drove along the coast and ascended up to moll’s gap, we entered low lying clouds, which really restricted views. There is an Avoca Store at moll’s gap and other cafes along the route, which I think is a brilliant idea for rest spots.
These pictures speak for themselves.
I hope to go back to Kerry and spend more time there. Its coastlines are gorgeous, ancient and untouched from modern civilisation. Absolutely astonishing drives and views. Just a lot of tourists and coaches. It’s a shame that the old railway isn’t functioning anymore to take the tourists around in better comfort.
One of our stops on the way home was a place I’ve been wanting to see for years. Having a passion for ancient Ireland, we stopped at the Hill of Tara.
This spot seems popular among tourists too. Very hard to get parked around the site. Hill Of Tara is a free site to visit, which after this visit, I believe works against its protection. There were a lot of children running around using one of Irelands oldest known Celtic sites as a playground. The ancient stone at the top was being whacked and hit with a stick by a child as his mother stood beside him chatting on. Leaving the hill requires us to walk through a church and small graveyard. I see the churches statues have guard rails around them to protect them. So disappointing to see one of Irelands most sacred spots being treated like that.
There are a few shops here for people to get refreshments and gifts. One is called ‘the Old Book Shop’. A small store crammed with books which my partner loved.
I would go back to the hill of Tara when its empty, and I’m definitely going back to Co. Kerry.
47 mph avg
15hours 36mins travel time
The drive made me so grateful and appreciative to have a car that is comfortable for this length of time, yet economical and powerful (well to me). Something ‘these days’ which is disappearing into the past. Our connection and appreciation for cars and their enjoyment.