Saturday 6 November
A lovely sunshine and showers morning. The view from the house is stunning. To Lidl to buy provisions for weekend. At the till the cashier confiscates all alcohol. None to be sold before 10.30 or 12 noon on Sundays and St Patrick’s Day. Drive up Connor Pass to see the view on a clear day – breathtaking. Then back down to Supervalu for papers and now legal alcohol.
Ma is filled with the urge to visit the hairy jumper shop again to find one for herself. She is assisted by a prim and rather fierce-looking woman of about her age. They bond over widowhood. ‘Why are Irish people so happy?’ Ma says, a bit in love with all things Irish. ‘Well, mainly, it’s the drugs,’ says the assistant without blinking. ‘But what about the luck of the Irish?’ presses Ma. ‘Well, I don’t know about that,’ says the assistant. ‘This week I’ve already blowed up me hoover and me food processor.’ Ma suggests she needs a win on the lotto. ‘Ah,’ says the assistant. ‘I’ve thought about that. I’ll buy meself a nice place somewhere out of Ireland, maybe France. Then I’ll book meself a Caribbean cruise and get a **** *** *** (eyewatering detail of the stud at the top of her wishlist deleted to spare everyone’s blushes) for meself. Then I’ll decide what to do after.’
Ma’s eyes have gone wide; she has finally met someone naughtier than herself a fact confirmed as the assistant delivers her opinion on the medical profession, ‘the feckers’, the perils of pills, ‘even if they say they’re only for constipation, make sure you ask about the side effects.’ And the folly of leaving money to your children, ‘sure, you’re the greatest mother in the world for three days and then they won’t even visit your grave!’
Ma walks away with a new hairy jumper and stunned expression of respect.
We retire to Murphys for hot chocolate and a lovely chat with the nice young man in there who got dragged to Ireland when his parents fell in love with the place nine years ago. The coffee machine’s taking time to warm up so he gives us free ice creams whilst we watch the rain and wait. Drive round the Slea Peninsula when the rain clears – utterly stunning views – and walk up to the beehive huts, the Neolithic stone dwellings. Home to drink Guinness and watch Ireland lose to S. Africa. Heavy rain and wind.
Dingle puts on a fine display for the last few days of the holiday and we meet and chat to enough people to fill a book. There are bright mornings, walks and breathtaking scenery; it’s been utterly wonderful. On the last day there’s a final treat. We’re half-planning another trip to Miss Courtney’s Tearooms, but when we arrive they’re giving themselves a makeover so that they’re even more beautiful. We don’t mind too much because we’ve spotted a newly-opened retro-style burger bar which is gleamingly-clean, the service is fantastic and the food is fresh, good and made with care. You can see it was a success...
Coming next and in conclusion: standing above the most westerly beach in Europe watching the wildest waves I've ever seen.