Posted by: jeanne | April 2, 2010

if you’re coming to see me

i’m just sitting here, waiting for my kid’s sheets to dry, at midnight, because she wants clean sheets when she gets off work, and i’ve got nothing else to do but care for my kid’s every need.  that, and i’m her landlord and her washing machine isn’t working.

so i thought i would start on a sort of faq about what you should expect.

if you’re coming in from europe, you’ll know better than i which airline you’ll find the best.  if you’re coming from the states, it’s aer lingus you want, if you can get it.  they have good prices, and good service, and you can rent a car very cheaply thru their website.  you can do this even if you’re flying someone else.  $209 weekly, insurance included.

you can check a number of websites for good deals and cheap (hah) tickets.  there’s,,,, etc.  in the end, however, i usually buy from the airline directly.

my friend dallas is always sending me links to $699 fly/drive/stay 4 days deals that sound wonderful for the casual visitor.  nothing like driving to the back of beyond, if you can swing it.

as for airfares from the states, i’m paying a thousand dollars from atlanta, so plan accordingly.  fares are much nicer from nyc, but still.  check those websites for last minute fare deals.  and if you’re young enough, you can fly good old student-rate standby, tho you load after the baggage handler’s niece.

if you don’t have a reason to come in thru dublin, it’s a lot quicker to take the plane only as far as shannon.  you’re already on the western side of the island, and instead of a five hour (253 mile) drive, you have a swift jaunt of three hours and only 115 miles to go.  it just as scenic, which is to say, it’s not very scenic (for ireland) until you get into kerry and get some height on the land.

having gotten yourself onto the sweet rich soil of ireland, if you’ve got a car, use mapquest or your gps and have a go on your own.  your destination is ballinskelligs, county kerry, ireland; at least, that’s as close as i can get today with mapquest.  at that point, you can ask anyone, but it’s best to stop into a pub in ballinskelligs and ask, because you’ll need a pint after all that driving, and it’s only a few moments in the car until you’re there.  please bring me a bottle of guinness from the back of the bar when you come up the hill, there’s a dear.

if you’re not driving, i’d take the train.  the train runs from heuston station in dublin to killarney.  it only takes three hours, and runs daily.  56 euro round trip.  or from limerick to killarney (40 euro).

once you’re in killarney, you’re only halfway there.  at least, it seems that way.  you’ll want to take a bus now. don’t know where to catch it, but it’s the 279, which runs from killarney to cahirciveen to waterville.  it takes just under two hours, costs 26.50 euro round trip.

get off at waterville, which, if i’m not mistaken, drops you right in front of butlers arms, where you should definitely have a pint and discuss your next move with the barman.

who may advise you to start walking and maybe someone will stop for you, or might agree that a taxi is your friend.  after several pints, you’ll think so too.

it’s eight and a half miles to ballinskelligs.  a twelve minute drive, according to mapquest.  i do four miles an hour normally, so call it just over two hours hoofing it.  after a pint or two.  if you got something to eat, then you’re grand.  if not, you’ll feel a bit peaked by the time you get to a pub in ballinskelligs.

if there’s absolutely no-one to point the way, then you have to go toward the ocean, which means south southwest, and trend your way up the side of bolus head, the mountain at the end of the world.  you might see a sign for cill rialaig artist village, but if you head uphill from ballinskelligs, you can’t go too wrong, as long as you’re heading out to sea and not over the hill to the vale on the other side.  it’s three miles from the nearest pub to the residences, i’ll have you notice, so top up while you have the chance, because we’re not going back down until after dinner.

when you get a little ways up the side of the mountain, where a good spill will take you off the cliff and onto the rocks, you’ll see a bunch of little cottages crammed onto a tiny flat place along the road.  i don’t know which one i’ll be in, but it shouldn’t be hard to figure out.  i’m the cottage that’s filled to the rafters with friends and relatives all wondering what’s for dinner.

as for weather, it’s fall, and it’s in the southwest of ireland, and that spells rain and wind to me.  of course, september is renowned for being the nicest month of the year, even in the southwest.  let’s find a source and you can check it out yourself.  dress for rain.  bring stout walking shoes.  bring a wool sweater.

what else do you need to know?
the price of a pint – the last i checked it was close to 5 euro, which is highway robbery.
where you’re going to sleep – my sister is lending me an air mattress and bedding, so my bet is close to the peat stove in the living room.
how long you’re welcome for – a few days and then you should go tour the countryside and leave me to my work.
what you should pack in with you – anything special you want to eat for dinner.  if i get enough people visiting, i’ll run out of food, so bring something, even if it’s a pound of butter and a quart of milk.  some spuds wouldn’t go astray, either.  and i’d love a nice cream cake from the bakery, but don’t put yourself out.

the folks at the residency recommend neither pets nor kids, because the whole complex hangs by a thread at the edge of a cliff, and either of those two pitiful things would roll right off, especially after a rain or during a heavy gust of wind.  poof, gone.  the fairies took them.  else that, or the other residents decided to paint them.

here’s a lovely panorama of the place.  it’s god’s own country, completely haunting and capable of inflicting the most intense piercings of joy when the light comes thru the clouds and lights up the far shore.

only six months to go.


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