We're jumping all over the place with the blog here I guess, Ireland, beach, TILT, back to Ireland...and that's just how it's going to be. Oops.
So, we awoke on our second morning in Skibbereen to the sound of rain. And the sight of rain. And we got in the car and drove...in the rain. Notice the emphasis here...
We drove west to our Point of Interest for the day, which was Mizen Head. I had no idea what Mizen Head was or what to expect, but I do know I was hoping the rain would let up a little. Mizen Head, I learned, is the most southwestern point of Ireland, where the Atlantic meets the Irish sea. There is a signal station on the point which you can walk to, and that's just what we did. It's only a bit of rain! We were accompanied--just the five of us--by one of the employees there, as she had to unlock the gate and we weren't to go alone. Fortunately my camera backpack has a handy weather-guard that stows beneath it and can be pulled out and fastened about the bag in foul weather. Definitely made use of that! The walk out there was very windy and very rainy and it was COLD. I don't have a ton of photos because I was afraid to have my camera out of my bag (I did shoot some with my UWS which will be posted later) but there was a (sturdy, thank goodness) bridge spanning the gap between two cliffs (or whatever you'd call them). I wanted to hold the rail to keep steady in the wind, but my hands were so cold and wet...not my ideal situation at all. Upon reaching the signal station, we were able to go inside and escape the wind for awhile, but there wasn't really a chance to warm up or dry. Our guide mentioned we could walk up to a sort of overlook, which we did, and the wind there was even more fierce than before, lashing the rain against our bare faces and hands. She told us to keep a hold on the handrails at all times for fear we'd literally get blown around.
It was a wild experience.
We soon headed back toward the visitor's center, but our guide had mentioned we could take a 20 minute detour (to be honest I wasn't all for this option) to see a stunning rock arch down near the surf...but when we got there, soaked to the bone, it was blowing so hard that we couldn't face the arch without suffering the pain of having rain-needles on our faces.
So we walked back up.
And Evin's dad got the suitcases out of the car, and brought them INTO the visitor's center, because it was far too windy and rainy to do any clothes-shuffling outside. We stripped off our wet layers in their lobby and changed into drier clothes in the bathroom...how ridiculous we must have looked! and threw all the sopping clothes into a trash bag. FINALLY it was time to warm up and have some lunch. Happily, the little cafe in the visitor's center was serving homemade soup for lunch and no more questions were asked. It tasted wonderful. The tables were decorated with maps of the area and the walls showed pictures of other signal stations and lighthouses in Ireland, as well as the wildlife one might see at Mizen Head on a day where opening your eyes fully and not ducking your head against the weather is a more feasible option. After soup was tea and dessert and warmth was much appreciated.
I really don't mean to sound like this day was the worst. It was still a beautiful place in its ruggedness, and we even got to see some seals flopping about in the water at one point, which I've never seen before. Being drenched and cold is not a pleasant experience, but I am grateful we had our suitcases full of dry things to change into and everything was ok :)
We left Mizen Head for our next B&B, which was to the North--Kenmare in Co. Kerry. We checked in and headed straight for the laundromat to dry our things (I had 2 pairs of jeans for the whole trip and one was drenched). The rain had let up a little so Evin and I walked around the cute little town and once the laundry was done, we ate in an Irish pub. Just my luck--the waitress accidentally knocked my entire Guinness onto my 2nd, clean pair of jeans. Fortunately my Aran sweater was unharmed. And that was pretty much the end of our day in the southwest!
Our room at the B&B was beautiful. Below: look at that huge window! I want huge windows. It seemed a shame to close the blinds for the night, but of course it was light until almost 11pm and the window didn't afford much privacy when open :P
I can't wait to share the next day. County Kerry was absolutely stunning...wait til you check it out!