We started the morning by finding the local Starbucks (who initially tried to pass off half of a cup of foam as my chai latte. Nice try, Starbucks). Then we went to Reginald’s Tower, which is the oldest civic building in the whole of Ireland. It started as a Viking fort (Regnall built it, hence the name Reginald) and the Vikings built up the area around it, known as the Viking Triangle. It was a wooden structure then, but later inhabitants made it into a taller stone fortress in the 1100s. It was interesting to get sort of a favorable history of the Vikings in Ireland, as the only things I have heard so far were generally negative. I also learned that Waterford was a very strong city and actually repelled that joker Cromwell. Once. Unfortunately it was not successful twice. Also, Waterford is the Anglicized version of the Viking name, which makes it the only town in Ireland that has retained its Scandinavian name!
I finally have a place in Ireland that rivals the Cliffs of Moher as the most beautiful place I’ve ever seen on earth. It was hell getting to it. The driving today was a lot more difficult than yesterday due to the roads. I felt much more comfortable with the manual, but today the roads became the quintessential tiny Irish lanes. I may have clipped a few side mirrors, bushes, and driven slightly off the pavement once. And I was generally traveling 10-30 mph UNDER the speed limit! Crikey!
But I have two words for you after the driving ordeal: WORTH IT. We were traveling to Mizen Head on this treacherous (what, too dramatic?) journey and at one point we were sure the road would never end. Mizen Head is the most southwesterly point in Ireland and used to have a lighthouse and a signal station. There is a footbridge connecting the cliffs to the signal station. The views were majestic. There is just no other word for it. I got chills in many locations (and not just because it was also literally the windiest place I’ve ever been…the wind seriously was blowing us around as we tried to stand firmly in one place for pictures and it even blew Jaime’s hair tie out of her hair!).
I did not want to leave. I think it is just going to get harder and harder for me to leave every trip! But I could’ve sat out there and just marveled at God’s creation forever. I just feel incredibly content here and I adore the tumultuous and fierce scenery. The wind whipping, the sound deafening, the waves crashing, and the rocks jutting. It was magnificent. And I could sit there forever. We will be seeing another place next week that is supposed to rival the Cliffs of Moher, but after today, I will have to see it to believe it!
We then made our way to Kenmare, an adorable little town that is a common jumping off point for the Ring of Kerry and where Loren and I stayed in 2012. I love this little town, even though it wasn’t as hopping tonight on a Thursday in October as it was on a Friday in September! We got an amazing room for 35 euro per person (including breakfast). We had a tasty dinner and then went out to two pubs to listen to music. It was much quieter here than the last time I was here, but it was just as lovely. The music in the last pub we went to was incredible. I know I’ve said it before, but one of the only words I can use to describe myself when I am here is content.
Tomorrow we tackle Killarney National Park!