Wednesday 15 August 2012

Smallholders Trip to Killarney. "Whisky in the Jar." Part 1.

We decided to take half a day off from the smallholding and go over the Cork and Kerry mountains (are you singing Whiskey in the Jar?) and visit : The Kingdom - Kerry and Killarney.  We drove through Glengarriff passed the Eccles hotel (Virginia Woolf and George Bernard Shaw use to have their jollies) there along with lots of other famous literary people like William Wordsworth.  It really is a beautiful place West Cork.

We then proceeded to drive along the famous N71 tunnel road and on to Kenmare.  Yes of course we sung the famous Irish ballad and Thin Lizzy song when we drove through the stone tunnels and into Kerry.  Cork and Kerry county councils have improved the road surface and crash barriers a lot in the last few years.  You have to be careful though with sheep browse grazing the roadside verges and tourists stopping their (hire cars) vehicles to take pictures of beautiful Bantry bay and the Caha mountains and beyond.  This part of the world reminds me of the English Lake district but with far fewer people.

From Kenmare we took the lesser known road to Killarney missing the winding lanes and coaches that take you down to Muckross and into Killarney.  We drove through Kilgarvan and I noticed a lot of the fields had very livestock in them.  Perhaps the farmers had done well and sold them?

We parked in the 'Euro an hour' car park in Killarney.  Which I thought was very reasonable and it only took a couple of minutes to find somewhere to park.  This is so different to some many little towns in Ireland, where you can't find anywhere to park or you have to walk miles.  Killarney council must raise quite a bit of revenue also.  Just don't understand why Ireland doesn't make money from toll roads and car parking.  It would help to pay for infrastructure like (yes regular readers you're right) public transport and may even get rid of some of the cars and pollution and we go back to getting the seasons in the right order?  Rant over.  More about the Killarney trip in the next few days.

Anybody been on the new toll M6 motorway in England?  What's it like?


  1. M6 toll is wierd, £5.50 for a few miles, saves an hour or more at peak times, nothing on it.
    (Prices correct at 3 aug 2012)

  2. Thanks for that Cumbrian. Don't know if toll roads are the answer, but what other ways are their to get cars off the road and encourage people to use public transport (if it exists), cycle or walk? There's a new toll road section of the Cork to Dublin M8 that tolls =1 Euro and eighty cents. I am informed that the new motorway doesn't any service stations.

    I think the fumes are polluting us all. The World Health Organization links diesel to cancer. I know cars get people about but do we really so many?


  3. Some of it sounds like parts of the Lake District, it's usually caravans this time of year, they seem to be stuck at 25 mph, and impossible to pass.
    The road over Corney Fell is just like you say about sheep, no dykes or fences, just a narrow road and grass, sometimes the sheep have to be forcibly removed from the road, they don't seem to have any fear of motor veicles. Nice scenic drive, but dangerous in winter, often closed by snow.

    Then there's Hard Knott Pass, the steepest road in England I've been told, hair-pin bends to the top, no barriers and steep grassy fellside. Big notices as you approach telling you "Not suitable for caravans" and a turning area at the bottom with a sign telling them to turm them round; the approach road is narrow with dry-stone walls both sides.
    Of course there's always the guy who knows better, usually with about £40,000 worth of Discovery, Shogun, or equivalent, and a £30,000 caravan in tow.
    He'll show us locals how to do it.
    Usually gets to the second hairpin, sometimes even the third, then finds out he can't go forward and can't go backwards. There's a farmer lives near with a big JCB makes a decent bit of beer money getting them back down.
    I sometimes wonder how anybody who can't read (or can't understand English) manages to get a job earning enough money to buy a big 4x4 and fancy caravan.

    Tolls on M-ways are the norm on the continent, there's usually a paralell A-road, much slower but toll-free. I pay about 7 euros from Gerona airport to Le Boulou on the E15, free on the A11 but slower as it goes through towns. If we land on the morning flight I take the A road, it's a nice drive, if we land on the evening flight I invest the 7 euros to save time.
    So I don't think it would be unreasonable to pay a small fee to use the M-ways, although I don't know what they'd use the money raised for? I wouldn't mind if it went to improving country roads and subsidising rural transport, but it probably wouldn't be, they'd just find something else to spend it on, or give themselves another salary and expenses increase?

    And don't start me on town parking; we have a blue disc for using the DAP slots, I've lost count of the number of times I can't get in one because of fit able-bodied arseholes too lazy to walk a few yards. I'm thinking of having a sticker made to ave on their windscreen "You've got my parking place, do you want my wheelchair?" There's days I would like to be wearing a Traffic Wardens uniform.

    Don't think you'll get people out of their cars until the oil runs out, there's too much big business and government money invested in motor vehicles.

    Not raining, overcast and breezy.
    Raggy cat cone in as usual, I've been getting a mouse a day this week.

  4. Thanks for the info about parts of the Lake District Cumbrian.

    The most scary and precarious bit of road in Ireland we have been on is the Connor Pass near Dingle in County Kerry. It's incredibly beautiful and the scenery is used in the Tom Cruise film Far and Away.

    Thanks for your thoughts on toll roads and the car parks. I try to be controversial to hopefully start a bit of debate. John Seymour argued like many road campaigners that new roads never actually eased traffic congestion, but made it worse. Don't build bypasses, get rid of the cars. There's a great organization in the UK called Campaign For Better Transport. Have a look at their site, it's very good.

    I think people would drive around the supermarkets if they could. Interestingly 70% percent of London's population is under 40. So perhaps the bicycle will return along with more people using public transport. The amazing take up of allotments in Britain in the last 10 years shows that people want to be fit and know what they are eating.

    I'm not totally anti car. I just think that there are far too many and the pollution is upsetting all the seasons and killing us all.

    Once watched a old BW John Betjeman film about Cornwall from the 1970's. He was complaining how the motorways like the M5 was bringing the masses in their cars and coaches down to Devon and Cornwall and creating the wrong atmosphere in the old coaching inns.

    Perhaps we should go back to first, second and third class stagecoach and train transport? I am joking

    I agree that cars are here to stay and no government will ever get rid of the revenue they generate from motor and fuel tax. It would be good though to go back to donkeys and carts and a more sedate and peaceful way of life. Perhaps we will all be driving nuclear electric powered cars in the future?

    Dry today but the ground is saturated. Cattle seem happy enough eating silage. I know of another farmer who housed his cattle yesterday. Hopefully only for a few weeks.

    Thanks Cumbrian.


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