Tag Archives: Kilkee

Co. Clare::Kilkee Again — Day 14

Scoop the Poop sign in Kilkee -- note the odd maximum fine

Scoop the Poop sign in Kilkee -- note the odd maximum fine

One of the things Andrew wanted to do most of all was to go scuba diving while we were in Ireland. He’d never mentioned the desire to scuba dive before, but was really keen on doing it in Ireland. So Dean, being a water lover himself, set up a scuba diving lesson and actual dive for him and Andrew for today.

Clare and I should have asked to be dropped off in a market town or something — or even left at home, because, while we expected to go shopping in Kilkee while the guys went scuba diving, we soon discovered that Kilkee is not a market town.

Tidepool where the guys dove

Tidepool where the guys dove

We even asked at the local tourist office where the shops were. Their reply was, “Ohhh, Kilkee is a holiday town, not a market town. You’ll have to go to Ennis or Limerick for shopping.”

When we got to Kilkee this time, we accompanied Dean and Andrew to the scuba diving place. Kilkee is supposed to be the best place to dive in Ireland, so they made a good choice. The guys at the scuba place told Clare and me that they had room in the class for us, but we politely declined and said we were going shopping. An elderly and unkempt gentleman, who seemed to be there for the free coffee warned us that we’d find no shops in Kilkee. Kilkee was not a market town.

Clare and dead mermaids

Clare and dead mermaids

Clare’d had enough of walking on the beach on Wednesday, so she didn’t want to do that. I didn’t want to walk on the rocks because I’d been scared last time, when Dean was around. We ended up walking up and down the main drag. It had a few shops — a couple of small stores with tacky clothes and one or two with plastic toys for entertaining young children at the beach.

We found one shop that had a few books. Clare bought a signed copy of a book about fairies by a local author, so it wasn’t a complete waste.

After walking up and down that street we decided to hang out in the car for a while. Clare read her summer reading for school and I watched the people on the beach.

Crabs at Kilkee

Crabs at Kilkee

After what seemed like hours…oh yeah, it was hours…the guys came back with tales of their adventures scuba diving.

We then ate a delicious lunch of sandwiches purchased at a local deli while sitting on a bench overlooking the beach. Andrew and Dean wanted us to see where they went scuba diving, so we drove around town to a really cool place that Clare and I would have gone to had we known it was there.

Starfish and sea foam

There were tide pools galore! In fact the tide pools were so huge that they were where the guys went scuba diving. We spent a while exploring the tide pools and Clare took some great shots of some crabs under just under a bit of rock.

We also had fun with the sea foam. If you’ve ever read the real version of The Little Mermaid, you know that when mermaids die their souls don’t go to heaven, they turn into sea foam instead. So I always call sea foam, dead mermaids.

Andrew at Kilkee

Andrew at Kilkee

After wandering around for a while we realized the tide had come in and we were slightly stranded. Dean carried Clare through the water and was about to come back for me, but a young couple encouraged me to take off my boots and wade through the water. I was afraid the barnacles on the rocks would hurt the bottoms of my feet, but they didn’t and the water was not that cold. When we got to the other side someone joked that I’d walked across the Atlantic Ocean. I guess I had.

Our one sharp knife

Our one sharp knife

We returned to Parkduff Cottage and I cooked a delicious salmon meal. I’d seen fresh fish for sale in a “victuallers” shop in Kilkee and bought a couple pounds of salmon. I braised it in a lemon butter – garlic – rosemary broth and sliced up some carrots which steamed on the top of the salmon while it cooked. We had it with rice and a salad. It was truely wonderful. Very fresh.

cobwebs

cobwebs

At the victuallers I asked the butcher why it was so hard to find fresh fish in Ireland. He told me that the Irish who lived by the sea wouldn’t eat it to save their lives. In fact, during the great famine people would die rather than eat fish. He said that folks inland ate more fish. I’d actually heard that story before, but thought it an old wives tale.

dust

dust

Gregory came by to settle our bill before supper. He disagreed with the butcher’s theory. He said that the Irish were sick of fish because that is all they had to eat.

That evening I took a few photos around the cottage to remember it by. I forgot to take a picuture of the exactly 4 forks and butter knives, but I did take photos of dust, cobwebs and the one sharp knife in the house.

They had a killer pan though.

More Day 14 photos on Flickr.

Co. Clare::Kilkee & Loop Head — Day 12

structure near Doonbeg pier

A structure near Doonbeg pier

This morning we had a late start because an electrician stopped by to fix the hot water. While he worked, he chatted about his visits to the States, including a visit during the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.

After the electrician left we drove into Doonbeg to see if anyone sold fish. I’d read that one could buy fish from fishermen who landed at the pier. We walked out on the pier, but didn’t see any fishermen. It was just as well because we wouldn’t know what to do with a fish that hadn’t been gutted and skinned.

Fishing boat

Irish Fishing boat

While we saw no fishermen in their boats, we did see some fishing boats that reminded us of the boats from The Secret of Roan Inish.

Clare on the beach

Clare on the beach

After Doonbeg we drove down the coast to a town called Kilkee. We’d seen it when we first got to County Clare. It seemed like a crowded and tacky holiday town — a place I’d wanted to avoid. I was hoping to spend only an hour or so there, but after taking a walk along the sheltered, but dirty beach Dean and the kids found some rocks on which to climb on. They got dangerously close to the sea while huge waves crashed just below them. Clare and Andrew also found holes in the rocks and climbed into them. The crashing waves were a beautiful turquoise color.

Andrew at Kilkee

Andrew at Kilkee

Had I researched the town before visiting, I may have forgiven its current appearance had I known more about it. It was a Victorian seaside resort and had been visited by several famous people including Che Guevara and Charlotte Bronte. Richard Harris owned a house there as well.

Fishermen along the Loop Head coastal route

Fishermen along the Loop Head coastal route

After an expensive and disappointing lunch (at a bar that claimed to have lodged Che Guevara) we drove along a route called Loop Head. The views from many points along this route were spectacular, and in my opinion, were more impressive than the Cliffs of Moher.  Of course the kids had to push the limits and get close to the edges of the sea cliffs.

Memorial to a man who fell off the cliff

Memorial to a man who fell off the cliff

On one spot we saw a lot of people with fishing rods walking over a hill. I kept to the inside, away from the edges of the cliffs, but Dean and the kids took a more dangerous route near the fishermen. I went back to the car which was parked next to a comforting memorial to a man who fell off the cliff. While I waited for my family to return, I wondered if I’d put a memorial up for them or not. I also wondered how I’d get back to civilization since I had no idea how to drive the car. I was very happy to see them when they finally did come back away from the edge of the cliffs.

Gulls

Gulls

The route takes you to a lighthouse (that it seems you can rent). I’d heard the birds were interesting by the lighthouse, so I made sure to have my binoculars handy. I didn’t see any unusual birds, but there were a lot of them.

Loop Head isn’t that far of a drive, but the roads are so small it takes a long time to complete.  We were ready to go back to our cottage and play some more games and have an easy meal of spaghetti.

More Day 12 photographs on Flickr.