Just like I'm having trouble deciding which has been my favorite town, I cannot figure out which has been my favorite portion of the drive. I would ask Erika, but she ends up sleeping through sections which strike me as being among the most beautiful and interesting. And I'm not complaining about doing all of the driving, I honestly don't mind it, and I know it wouldn't be good on her back... It's just a shame that the person who's free to look around and take in all the sights is also the person with nothing to occupy their mind and body (like driving) and, as such, is more likely to doze off and miss the views.
We drove the inland portion of the ring of Kerry, and finally did a bit of hiking. Inside the National Park, we came across Torc Waterfall. A beautiful, multi-tiered display of natural power, I could only imagine the ferocious glory it's ivory cascades must exude when the snow is melting off of the surrounding mountains, filling it's crescent track to the brim. I wish that I lived near enough to see it in all seasons, and devote more time to hiking it's winding trails. If I were to stay a year, I would surely find the time to wander the full length of the trail from Kenmare to Torc. After all too brief stops at Muckross house, Muckross abbey (or cathedral... I can't remember what it was called), and Ross Castle, we were on our way... not because we were rushed, and not because they weren't each filled with enough beauty to spend a day discovering and still have more to find... but because we couldn't do the tours (which are the only way inside Muckross house, and Ross Castle), and because we seemed to be chased by a very large tour group of Canadian high schoolers. We will come back, and we will go on those tours... and maybe take a Jaunting Car tour around the grounds.
The angels charged with orchestrating the welcome to Dingle must have been hand picked by God as the best of the best, because I have never seen, except in dreams, a more beautifully crafted depiction of Heaven than when we rounded the mountain and caught our first glimpse of Dingle bay. The rolling, wandering grey and white dappled clouds overhead seemed to mirror and mimick the mass of contented sheep speckling the hills on all sides, as if God had called his flock to the lushest of the pastures of the sky, and set them to graze in lazy unhurried joy... The hills and meadows before us, with the ancient forest to our backs, spread out like a blanket on an unmade bed, in shades of green too vast and numerous for words, and too intricate and soft for any camera lense to hold. But it was the bay herself... the bay set the tone of the welcome chorus that sang through my eyes to the depths of my soul. She spread out before us with the narrow end point toward us like cupid's arrow taking aim at my heart, with the cloud greyed sunlight shimmering across her waves like silver chainmail, and across the mouth of the bay, where the clouds parted to make way for the setting sun, was a brilliant track of light on the water like the fiery blade of a golden sword barring the entrance to my green Heaven... like that sword of the angel left to hold Adam and Eve back from the entry to Eden.
To Leave the Land I Love
My soul is forty shades of green,
my heart is rolling hills.
My blood, it flows like sweet potcheen
from secret peat-fired stills.
My mind is filled with stories, full
like whiskey in the jar.
Why must I, from this country, pull,
and leave behind my heart?
~ Jacøb Smith.