The Wild Atlantic Way

Warning: Do not adjust your screen. After 5 1/2 months of travelling, Ali has found the 'panoramic' button on the camera...

The sun was shining as we pulled out of Eagle Point in County Cork, drawing cries of “you’re mad to leave, this is the first clear day in 3 weeks” from our neighbours. We were tempted, but we needed to start moving up the coast, and we hoped the sun would stay out as we headed towards the famous “Ring of Kerry”.

There is a decent road round the coast here, so we were able to take the caravan and see the sights on the way (rather than camping inland and then going back out in the car). The good weather held, and as we pulled into our next site we were all thinking “we can get the bbq out here”! French caravan sites don’t allow charcoal barbeques, so it has been a while since we sizzled a sausage or two.

The site (Mannix Point) was one of the best we have stayed on the entire trip – mostly due to the wonderful setting overlooking Valencia Island – but also again due to friendly neighbours, good facilities and a lack of organised fun. Dot made friends and spent a happy 48 hours playing all sorts of games, most of which seemed to involve brandishing a stick and hiding in a den (in the morning there was a knock on the door and a small person asking “is Blot coming out to play?”).

The sun was still shining the next day so we went surfing at the very picturesque St Finian’s Bay. We had a few evening drinks with a couple from Colchester, who managed to drink us under the table (Ali blamed the lack of dinner).

With thumping heads the next morning we packed up and embarked on the long drive to the Cliffs of Moher in Co Clare. This involves either a ferry across the mouth of the Shannon, or a 150km detour inland through Limerick. When we arrived at the ferry the sign said “Max Caravan Length 6m” (we are 7.5m). We decided the best thing was to drive on confidently and hope it would be too late before anyone noticed. No one did, phew.

After a long day in the car, we finally arrived in thick mist and driving rain. Despite camping on the sea front, we could barely make out the famous Cliffs, so it was hard to see why they are “Ireland’s most visited natural attraction”.

We got soaked setting up the caravan (well, I did, the other two managed to miraculously stay quite dry). There was only one thing for it, Fish & Chips, followed by a TV session – we are now hooked on Modern Family, thanks to the ‘Major Breakers’ who gave us a copy when we met in Bari almost 4 months ago.

We cut our losses and headed to Galway, where we were hoping to meet up with friends of Ali’s from her childhood holidays in Portsalon. We found ourselves in a rather stinky campsite in the seaside suburb of Salthill, so we went out for a wander and found a craft beer bar and a curry house. Result.

The next day we fixed a leak in one of the caravan hatches, got Dot some new school clothes and stocked up on supplies in Aldi – which is even cheaper here than in the UK. In the evening we hooked up with Ali’s friends Paul and Paula who treated us to a slap up meal at their local pub – thanks guys!

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