Monday, May 12, 2014

From Galley Head to Kinsale

Slow train to Kinsale
or Ogden Nashes his teeth

Living in Ireland, I think perhaps we don’t really appreciate our wonderful scenery.
It is particularly evident when coming back from holidays in hot places like Lanzarote or Egypt that are dry and arid and completely devoid of any greenery.
(Not that I wish to decry the Canarian or Egyptian landscape which is of the most part quite spectacular
And can be ‘the dog’s bollix’ to use a coarse vernacular.)
But, in truth, there is little in nature to beat driving through the Irish countryside with the sun, when it is actually shining, casting shadows from the hedgerows,
Or shining, when there are no hedgerows, on the potato rows or carrot rows or other veg rows.
So, after visiting Galley Head lighthouse, I decided to make for the lighthouse at the Old Head of Kinsale,
Which, along with Hook Head, the Fastnet and Howth Bailey, is, to Irish lighthouse enthusiasts, the equivalent of the Holy Grail.
And so I had the choice of taking the main N71 road back towards Cork or taking the shorter and twistier but more picturesque R600 through Timoleague, when I left Clonakilty,
And, though it might take longer, I chose the latter, without feeling the slightest bit guilty.
And the sun came out and life was good on my trek to the Grail (Holy)
And I drove leisurely but not too slowly.
Until, that is, about a mile after leaving Clonakilty I came up behind a white transit van
Who was backed up behind an old red Fiesta going as slowly as any moving car possibly can
Without actually stopping.
And between second and third gear, there was much changing and chopping.
Now those of you familiar with minor Irish country roads know they are not the straightest
And opportunities to pass are never the greatest.
And just as nature abhors a vacuum, so Irish nature abhors a straight road,
And as we trundled eastwards, car after car came haring up behind me before it too slowed,
Until we were like a slow goods train with differently coloured and shaped carriages
Being towed by this tiny Fiesta which most of the motoring world disparages.
Now I can fully understand how the enchantment of the countryside can make any driver lose himself in his dreams
And there are present streams and future streams but this was going to ex-streams.
If I am ever driving narrow roads and I find myself holding up a car behind me,
I immediately look for a gateway to pull into to let him pass or, if I don’t, my wife will very soon remind me.
Simply put, it is only polite and civil
And to argue otherwise would be utter drivel.
(And, on this subject, God bless Irish tractor drivers who are always thoughtful and courteous
Even if those big wheels spray muck in heavy rain that simply serve to dirty us.)
But matey in the Fiesta trundled blithely on at twenty kilometers an hour
And by the time I reached Kinsale I was heartily sick of the greenery and the sun shining on the bower
And my mind was full of impure thoughts and my lips spake words coarse and graphic
Just like when I am back in Dublin stuck in rush hour traffic.

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