We didn't believe we could do it. But it's Ireland, and so we did.
Two days of touring, sunup to sundown. Over 300 miles in the magical Stackmobile, in which the travel music, candy and jokes (oh, the jokes!) provide an almost irreconcilable contrast to the views. How do these even go together? The combination is ultimately utterly perfect.
We started out in the Gap of Dunloe, a valley cut by glaciers in County Kerry. In between hopping in and out of the car to catch breathtaking views as the frigid wind whipped our faces, there was a sheep-chasing incident (they are such uncooperative models) which resulted in a lot of photos of wooly backsides.
Off we flew to the Black Valley, which was the last place in Ireland to have electricity. Wild, unspoiled. Waving at folks hanging out laundry in the cold, admiring cyclists who labored to climb the hills...and at last, a willing woolen model. At the top of Moll's Gap, a delectable early lunch. Bowls of sugar cubes delighted me. Who can resist?
A random road along the way led to a gorgeous sheep farm at the base of a rugged mountain. The owner was happy to chat and I believe was willing to sell us the farm, which suffered bitter winds running across the lake through the gap. One of her dogs was not so sure about us. The muted purples and greens in this valley were breathtaking.
Chasing the daylight (which lasts until half past four), up, up up the mountains on winding switchback roads - wait! A white donkey! STOP THE CAR! Sigh. Isn't it cute? Back in the car to the tippy top where a copper mine from the 1800's stands like a silent sentinel. Warning signs of abandoned mine shafts and the very, VERY narrow road with no guardrails and a complete MANIAC of a driver (whoops! Did I say that out loud?) who actually did get us safely up and down the mountain...