Day Eleven – Mount Brandon
Another fabulous sunny day.
After a tasty breakfast of pancakes and sausages (nice to have a break from the standard full Irish breakfast), We are off to conquer Mount Brandon. It is reportedly an easy walk-up mountain and is the third tallest in Ireland. We had an interesting time getting to the base. Turns out there is a race today where they bike 17 miles over Connor pass and then on to the base of Mount Brandon. They “trek” up to the top and back, then run back to the harbor and sea kayak across dingle bay. We passed runners while driving up and trekkers while walking up. The cute young woman at the tourist office told us there were 12 white crosses marking the way, but then admitted she had never actually hiked it herself !! She said it was tough enough she had to speak gaelic to get the job, much less climb a mountain.
First of all the crosses don’t start until you are a ways up the mountain. We got to cross six and Linda’s knees threw up the red flag. I decided to be a good husband and keep her company while the young’uns (Aaron and Shannon) set their sights for the top. About the time they reached the top (turns out there are 15 crosses!!!!), a cloud completely covered the top of the mountain, obscuring their rewarding view. No sooner were they a third of the way back down, and the top was completely clear again. Bummer. They had legs like jelly when they got down. Still not sure why it took so long. The peak was around 3000 ft and we probably only gained 2500 ft from where we started walking.
Did a partial drive of the Dingle peninsula, but were pretty tired so we took a one lane road over the top of the hills as a shortcut and headed back pretty quickly. Overall, I think I really like the Dingle peninsula a lot more than the Ring of Kerry.
We split up tonight. Aaron and Shannon wanted a quick meal at a vegetarian restaurant and then went to Saturday mass. Turns out they made the better meal choice. We went to the Global Village restaurant. Pricey, fancy, but nothing great. Even the restaurants that do more creative dishes stick to the traditional sides of mashed potatoes or chips and vegetables are invariably carrots and broccoli. We headed to the pub to watch the nearly miraculous world cup match where the US tied England 1-1. Amazing. Met up with Aaron and Shannon later at Murphy’s pub for a bit of music and headed back a bit early. Not all of the pubs live up to the reputation of the friendliest places on earth. Off to Doolin tomorrow.