Ireland Snapshots: A Spot of Tea (but no Craic)

The view from the Connor Pass was worth waiting for!

Thursday 4 November
Heavy rain thickens the mist so we drive to Tralee, but find no roses just an everyday working town. Just to add a little extra excitement we decide to take the Connor Pass home. Several large signs in different languages advise lorry drivers to turn back NOW! The high, narrow mountain pass links Dingle Town in the south to Kilcummin on the North coast and as we climb it feels as if someone has definitely taken the road in. There are steep rocky slopes one side, sheer drops on the other and the visibility is almost nil due to dense low cloud. Ma enjoys it.

In the evening Tom and I go for a walk along the breakwater. It’s still raining but the mist has cleared and the sea is a beautiful turquoise grey.

Out and about in Dingle

Friday 5 November
Great excitement! Although it’s still raining, we can actually see The Three Sisters range opposite the house! We head for Killarney, this time driving along the corniche. The scenery is ravishing with achingly fabulous colour combinations of vivid russet bracken against dove grey sea and accents of white crests.

The town centre at Killarney is fab with a vibrant atmosphere and lots to see, but our very best decision is going for tea at Miss Courteny’s Tea Rooms – an absolute delight. Loose leaf Earl Grey ‘ Blue Flower’ tea in a vintage tea pot, a silver tea strainer and delicate china cups and saucers. Lemon drizzle cake to accompany. Utterly sublime.

Things you never knew you wanted

In the evening we set out to find the ‘craic’. Alas, the craic is playing very hard to get. In a pub famed for its hospitality and billed as‘a superb place to eat, be entertained and stay, we are greeted by an unfriendly waitress who informs me when I order mussels, that they are only available as a starter. Look round empty pub in astonishment – surely they can double up? No. Order smoked haddock which arrives steamed to the point of exhaustion. Table cleared the moment we lay down our cutlery. Music not due to start until 9.30 but the pub is deserted and utterly miserable so we leave.

Little do we know that we are about to find the craic in the most unexpected place...

On the beach

On a different note
Those lovely people at Waterstone's Carmarthen have invited me back for a second signing tomorrow, Saturday 20 November, from 12-3pm so do please say hello if you're passing. Matthew Rhys fans will pleased to know that he'll be there too, from 1-2pm.


Hi Chris,

I've just been catching up on your blogs. And there's quite a few to catch up on!

Ireland sounds wonderful - what a lovely time you've had. And so special that you've taken Ma with you. I have never been but it's now on my list of places to go.

As I've been reading your blogs and updates I'm full of admiration for how much you seem to cram into your days- your life is full to overflowing - more than any year I recall as I've kept up with your blogs.

You will be able to look back to all the experiences of 2010 and think, that was a year, that was...

love and warm wishes
Chris Stovell said…
Right back at you, BSM - for anyone who hasn't read Bluestocking Mum's remarkable story, do go and have a read. Hope you are continuing to be kind to yourself and recovering at the right pace. Thanks for taking the time to visit.
Debs said…
I'm enjoying reading all about your trip to Ireland.

Wow, fancy having a book signing at the same time as Matthew Rhys, lucky you. Have a fun time.
Fennie said…
Haven't you kissed the Blarney stone yet? Still you'd think there would be another sort of stone for kissing, a musing stone that gave you the gift not of the gab but of the pen. Good luck in Waterstones.
Frances said…
Chris, please do keep these Irish reports coming. How odd that the craic was elusive, and how I do look forward to hearing about how you and Tom found it.

Congrats to Waterstones and to you for the encore performance. Grand to know that more folks will be having their own copy of TTT and perhaps getting another for a Christmas gift.

Pondside said…
Oooooh, I really want to go - between your real holiday and Fennie's story holiday.....
Pauline Barclay said…
It sounds like you had a wonderful time in Ireland, the pictures are great. More if you have time...please!

Wishing you a great time at Waterstones and sign zillions of books too! x
Preseli Mags said…
I love the phrase "Ma enjoys it" - it suggests 'oblivious to the danger'. Beautiful pictures - can't wait to hear about the rest.
Oh, Chris - I seriously had no idea that part of Ireland was so beautiful. Either that, or you just take bloody amazing pictures. And well done for being asked back to Carmarthen W'stones - just in time for Christmas, I hope. Looking forward to hearing a report back on M Rhys, too. J xx
muddyboots said…
looks like you've been having fun, been in a jaunting car? as kids we used to be fascinated by Molls Gap...
Chris Stovell said…
Debs, Thank you. As for Matthew Rhys... turns out it was a mistake on their website!

Fennie, if there's one there, that's another good reason for going back! And thank you!

Frances, thank you - more to come. And thanks for the good wishes.

Pondside, yes, Fennie's story holiday was so funny!

Pauline, oh well, if you insist! No there are a couple of tales left to tell so I'll go on!
And thank you.

Mags, she has a wild, reckless streak! I think it's too late to change her now!

LBD, alas, he got swapped for The Lady from The Coal House! No great camera skills, I'm afraid, just point and go, but Ireland is so beautiful you'd be hard pushed not to come away with great images.

Muddyboots, it was huge fun and it sounds as if there's so many reasons to revisit.

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