I'm telling this all out of order, I hope you know. I had not intended to do a serial narrative of my first trip to Ireland; I was only going to tell that one story about getting drenched in Dingle.
But one story leads to another, and another, and before you know it, here I am, all mixed up in the chronology.
Maybe it doesn't matter. From Doolin we headed south, to Tralee and Lahinch and Listowel and Dingle. Lila kept lobbying for bright lights, big city. So finally we headed to Killarney.
Killarney is a market town. It is not big, but it is busy and crowded, and the traffic had me baffled. I drove toward the city center, and immediately got in trouble while sitting at a red light.
The car behind me began to honk. I looked in my rear view mirror, and I could see the driver gesturing at me impatiently to Go! Go! But I had a red light. What's the deal? In Ireland does red mean go? I shrugged at him and hoped he'd back off, but he continued to lay on the horn, and finally I panicked and just went. Shot right through the red light, just to get him off my back.
Nice move, Lila said, but I was starting to hyperventilate. Too many cars, too many people, too many unfamiliar rules. I had already stumbled my way through a roundabout, avoiding being hit by the grace and patience of the other drivers, and I just wasn't sure I could handle any more. I pulled over, turned off the car, and said, Let's take a walk.
The streets were lively and bustling, lined with small shops, many with colorful swinging signs. Take-aways, sweater shops, snooker parlors, pubs. We popped into a shop and Lila bought a flat tweed cap for her fiancee. (She had already bought him a shillelagh.) Then we headed back down the street.
At the corner, I saw a charming sight: A big old baby buggy, an old-fashioned perambulator with big wheels. It was filled with puppies. They were poking their little heads out of the carriage and looking around with interest.
Lila, look! I said. I was instantly cheered. Look at the puppies!
I brought my camera up to my eye, and the next thing I knew I was knocked sideways. My camera dropped to the sidewalk, the back popped open, and the film unfurled as it rolled down the street.
A large dog--the mother, I assume--had been lying quietly next to the buggy. She leaped to her puppies' protection, apparently, and my camera and I took the full brunt.
I picked up the camera, I picked up the ruined film and dropped it in the trash can, and then I walked away. I entered the first pub I saw, climbed onto a bar stool, and ordered a drink. After a few minutes, Lila came in. I guess we should leave, huh? she said.
Yep, I said.
I finished my Harp and then we walked back to the car and headed out of town. Not far out of Killarney, we saw this:
Ahhh. Fields of sheep. I felt better already.
On to West Cork!
(to be continued)
The Mag 169
10 minutes ago