Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Round Robin - Kenmare and Ring of Kerry

I didn’t manage to get up a blog yesterday after my rounds at Kenmare and Ring of Kerry. My morning round took slightly longer that expected as I hooked up with three elderly gentlemen on the 3rd tee: Steve, Peter and Tom (an Irishman, an Englishman and an American – who was embarrassed to be American, thanks to George W). It was a bit slow (four and a half hours), but very enjoyable although it was a shame that the tide was out as the estuary to Kemare Bay was one puddle of mud – and it didn’t smell too good! Balls were being lost frequently, and my own tally was: one lost, 10 found.
[Photo: Tom plays out of the bunker on the par five 4th. Caha Mountains behind]

After that I raced off – OK, the camper van doesn’t ‘race’ but I got the old girl up to 80kph – to Ring of Kerry and went straight out. Again it took longer than expected as a job for one of my clients ran into trouble and I spent 30 minutes on the excellent par three 13th (see pic) trying to sort it out. I had a 5, which I put down to frustration – although that doesn’t excuse an 8 on the 6th (two balls OB), leading to a 13 over total.

From there it was a very long drive to Waterville. It’s not a long way, it’s just the roads are abominable and the camper van was likely to take flight if I went over 40kph. This is the Ring of Kerry! I have no idea how the big buses manage it – it is truly lethal.

When I left Bantry on Monday morning I had a free day. I’d got ahead of my schedule as I wanted to play the Scratch Cup at Bantry Bay, so I drove down to Garnish Island and then up over Healy’s Pass, where I left Cork (see pic) and entered Kerry. I pulled into Kenmare town in the afternoon and went to Jam, a superb coffee shop on the main street with little alcoves and great character. And fabulous food.

A bit later, I was in the Kenmare Golf Club clubhouse that has some intriguing history of its own: it was an old Indian hunting lodge and was brought back to Ireland by Lord Lansdowne. Nowadays it has new residents – one being a little robin. I was sitting on a sofa while an English guy waited to be served at the bar. The robin flew in, hopped past my feet and then flew up onto the Heineken tap, just a couple of feet away from the man at the bar. At this point, the English guy asked for a pint, but the bird flew off into the back. He turned to me and, completely straight faced, said:

“Birds behind the bar these days.”

My round at the hilly Ring of Kerry brought back memories. It was here, about 8 years ago, that I watched my wife slide sideways down the almost sheer 11th fairway in a buggy, trying to stop its descent by using her foot. Please, no comments about women drivers. It is hilly enough that a buggy helps, but if you drive you won’t get to appreciate the perfect views over Kenmare Bay.

I’m currently in Waterville waiting to play Skellig Bay. Unfortunately it started raining at 3am and it has yet to stop (2pm). I have all day, so I’m hoping for some clear skies soon.

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