After a horrible day of Bobby having the stomach flu in a tiny town, in a tiny room I was beyond excited when Bobby woke up, after sleeping for more than 24 hours, and was feeling back to normal. I couldn’t believe how hard and fast the bug had hit him and was incredibly grateful that it was only a short lived illness. We decided to walk! We were now a day off schedule and we had all our B&B’s previously booked so adjusting the schedule would be tricky. We were scheduled to have a rest day the following day and we discussed forgoing it and simply walking straight through for the next six days. That idea didn’t sound appealing to either of us. We decided that we should find a way past the section we would have walked the previous day and start the hike that we were scheduled to do that day. We looked into taking a bus, but that didn’t depart until 10:30 and wouldn’t have gotten us to the next town until past 11:00. Plus, from that town we would’ve faced a 20 mile day on the trail. We talked to our host, John, about the possibility of getting a taxi to Coars, a tiny, almost unknown town, that would give us a day of walking a little over 10 miles. He said he could call a guy he knew who could take us there. With our cash supply virtually gone, and no ATM in town, and the taxi not taking credit cards, we were worried we wouldn’t have enough to pay for the taxi. We asked John how much he thought it would cost us. He said, “Give me two seconds and I’ll find out for ye.” He got out his iPhone and called “Pat”. We had told him before that after paying for our room we would only have 35€ left. We listened as he bartered with Pat for an affordable trip to Coars. “Oh their just two young kids who are hard up for cash could you do it for 30?” He kept insisting. In the end he got us the taxi for 30€. He explained to us after, ” Always tell ’em you’re poor.” While this B&B was the most lacking in services and quality facilities the kindness bestowed upon us by our hosts well made up for that fact. When I came down to ask if we could stay another night they were completely understanding and offered any help they could. Plus, John had kept me company at breakfast the previous morning since I was alone, and he got us a deal on a taxi. We had 15 minutes to pack up our bags, say our goodbyes and thanks and wait for the arrival of the gray “people mover” aka SUV to arrive.
Rain had started to fall in Glenbeigh and we waited in the small covered entryway of the B&B until a gray vehicle pulled up. A woman in her early to late 50s got out of the front passenger seat and opened up the trunk for us to put our packs in. The man who had been driving got out and crossed the street to chat with another local man. We waited in the car as the man finished his conversation and eventually returned. The woman, must have been Pat, that John had been talking to on the phone, and we assumed that she was the wife of our driver, Michael O’Mahoney, who looked to be in his 60s with wild, untamed white hair. It seems that her purpose was to come along and be the designated backseat driver. They were a delightful couple who gave us fun historical facts and other geographical information as we sped along what would’ve taken us hours to walk the day before. We watched as Dingle Bay whipped by our windows and the old railroad line that is now a portion of the Kerry Way came within such close proximity to us. I was amazed that the previous day when Bobby had woken up sick, I was actually disappointed. While I knew the rest day would do a lot of good for my sore ankle, I couldn’t help but feel disappointed that we had missed such a beautiful section of the Way. After careening around the winding narrow roads and knowing that Bobby still felt good, I knew that he was fully recovered from his stomach ailments.
They dropped us off about 1/2 a mile from The Way and proceeded to give us directions, with multiple routes, repeating themselves at least half a dozen times. They finally drove away and our fourth day of walking had begun!
Today’s hike involved two ridge walks with undulating hills. The first was the higher of the two, we gained close to 1700 feet. The wind began to whip us around a bit, though it was nothing compared to what we would experience on the second ridge, more on that later! The views were beautiful as we saw windmills, farmland, and the coast in the distance. The trail was very muddy at times. We both managed to completely submerge our feet in sinking, sticky mud piles, thank goodness for our waterproof boots!
As we finished crossing the first ridge and were just beginning to descend, the sun was suddenly gone and fat raindrops began to fall quickly. It was soon down pouring. We stopped and hurriedly got out our pack covers and rain pants. We already had our rain jackets on to act as a shell against the strong winds. By the time we were bundled up and were continuing along the way the rain stopped just as quickly as it had come and the sun was back out. We continued the climb down and experienced showers on and off throughout the descent. Near the bottom and feeling a little shaky from hunger we found a good rock for lunch and perched with our backs facing the wind. We supped on baguettes and apples that we had bought at the small grocery store in town before we left that morning. As we were digging into the apples we were suddenly in the midst of another downpour. We decided to pack up and keep walking as we munched. After completing our descent it was time for a brief road walk to the next ridge line.
As we began our ascent we ran into a couple whom we have regularly seen since the start of our hike. They were from Amsterdam and we stopped for a quick chat before heading up. This ridge was slightly shorter than the last but our exhaustion was extreme. We stopped regularly for water and snack breaks and our pace slowed. We watched as rain fell in the distant mountain ranges but we were enjoying sun for the moment, although we knew the rains would hit us soon enough. As we reached the apex of the second ridge the winds were blowing at or above 30 mph. At times it would blow us a bit off course and climbing up and down the ladders that allow us passage between the fields was getting dodgy with such strong winds.
We still had all of our rain gear on as we traversed the ridge for protection from the wind but we were eternally grateful we had it on when an intense rain/hail storm hit us hard. The strong winds caused the rain/hail to fall horizontally and we were being blown off course. We walked sideways, so our backs could be to the wind protecting our exposed faces from the needle-like pricks of the hard precipitation that pelted us. We couldn’t look around for trail markers and the path often becomes muddled in the high hills due to the constant animal foot traffic. We saw a ladder in the distance and decided to head for it, thinking that must be the trail. The hail and intense winds continued for about 10 minutes and we continued to walk. I considered hollering to Bobby that we should look for shelter and wait out the storm, but a quick look around at our surroundings told me that there was no shelter to be found. Luckily I could see a clear patch of sky in the distance that seemed to be heading our way. The intense weather did have the benefit of taking my mind of my aches and pains from the days hike and gave me a new focus of walking as straight as possible and surviving the weather! The sunny portion of sky mercifully shone done upon us and we were clear of the storm. Thankfully the ladder we had headed for was indeed the right choice and we soon spotted a trail marker in the distance. Not only did we survive but we managed to stay completely on course!
We began our descent as the wind continued to do its best to blow us right off the trail but it did have the added benefit of drying our soaking rain gear in no time at all!
We left The Way as we came near the town of Waterville in order to take a small shortcut to our B&B for the night. After more than 13 miles and 2,717 feet of elevation gain we came upon the charming yellow house that would be our home for the next two nights, O’Grady’s Townhouse. We were warmly welcomed by our new hostess Angela. We’re not sure if we are always the first to arrive at the B&B’s every day or what, but so far we have always been given room number 1… Strange.
I think that all day yesterday I was suffering from a much milder version of the flu that Bobby had been plagued with the previous day. I had felt queasy all day and now in the room I collapsed onto the bed and immediately fell asleep. I awoke and we decided to go into town for some dinner. Despite having no appetite I knew that we needed to eat, Bobby especially. We found a restaurant called The Lobster (seafood is the common theme of all the restaurants in this little village on the coast) and we dined on subpar bar food that did nothing for my already nervous tummy. We left quickly and came back to the room and turned on the telly. I was soon fast asleep and wouldn’t wake until the next morning feeling much better!
This B&B is by far the nicest we have stayed at thus far. We were given a breakfast menu the day before and selected our meal of choice for the following morning. We had both opted for the pancakes with fresh fruit and maple syrup. More like a crepe, and little less tasty than a pancake. Our hostess is kind enough to offer laundry services for a small fee which we were eager to use as the pungent aromas that we have both been emitting of late are rather unpleasant… We have spent the morning in bed, seeing as all our clothes (aside from sleeping shorts and shirts) are in the laundry. Thunderstorms and cloudy skies are today’s forecast while tomorrow calls for sun with some clouds. Looks like we happened to pick the perfect day for a rest day!
In 2013 we hiked The Kerry Way over a 10 day period (we had 2 rest days). Read all of the posts in this series: