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Journeys : October November 2009
soon overcome by motoring-induced endorphins. To unrestrained protestations from the passenger seat, I burst into my favourite motoring song: "Taking the freeway, driving the clean way, with Amoco in my machine..." Leaving Baltimore, a friendly fishing village in the far south-west, we headed north, swapping the open road for the twists and tur ns of nar row lanes that made their way up, dow n and around the countryside. These lanes slowed our progress significantly and it often took much longer than we planned to travel our intended journey. We crossed the high, r ugged mountains of County Ker ry. In contrast, the Dingle Peninsula was soft and green, its mountains more rounded, and the coast at its western end as pretty as anywhere we visited in Ireland. Picturesque villages with narrow streets and brightly-painted houses beckoned with the promise of a tasty fish lunch. In Galway I ran a red light and managed to tur n the wrong way dow n a one-way street. Fortunately, I was able to apply a lifetime of experience as I wrestled with the feisty Fiesta to point it in the right direction. The usual on-lookers were in place to watch and enjoy the spectacle. Long days on the road meant we had been unable to enjoy the live music that happens in pubs all over Ireland. We rested the Fiesta and went looking for the Galway music scene. We found a session that wasn't for the purist but I was able to put my singing talents to good use as I led tourists from all parts of the globe, including Swedes, Japanese and Dutch, in gutsy renditions of such favorites as Sweet Molly Malone and Danny Boy. From Galway we drove to Donegal and the majestic coastal cliffs of Slieve League, the highest in Europe. We moved on to Mount Errigal, aborting our ascent to the top for fear of falling off -- not that the sheer slopes deterred the locals who blithely headed up with their children, grandparents and dogs. Out of time, we drove to the Giants Causeway in Norther n Ireland. The summer weather was absolutely dreadful, clearing the coastal footpath of all other visitors. As we stood alone and fought the conditions with grit and determination, my thoughts were of home -- of David Boon and Alan Border -- and I was proud to be an Australian abroad. The following mor ning I finally gave up trying to release sound from the Fiesta's audio but did crack the combination guarding the sun-roof. With a cool, damp breeze blowing around our ears we sped down the freeway past Belfast and back to Dublin. Sadly, we returned the Fiesta -- but not before road-works sent it spinning around Dublin Airport at least twice. In the airport lounge, reflecting fondly on our Irish motoring adventure, I suggested we hire a car when we got to Italy. The response was both unkind and uncalled for! Photos Tomlins family Mount Errigal County Donegal Baltimore County Cork Dingle Destinations 17 October / November 09
August September 2009
Dec Jan 2010