Once when it seemed like every turn on the highway in the Canadian Rockies revealed yet another spectacular view, we invented the word “jodsvaa.” Jodsvaa is an acronym that stands for something like “just one darned spectacular view after another.”
As it was raining, we didn’t have time to drive both the Ring of Kerry and the Dingle Peninsula, and we had covered part of the Ring the night before, so our driver Jim suggested we would enjoy the drive on the Dingle Peninsula more. The Dingle Peninsula: jodsvaa!
Alie and Michelle even walked along the Inch Strand in the rain. It is the beach where part of the film “Ryan’s Daughter” was filmed. One can drive on the beach there too, but Jim wasn’t interested in driving on the wet sand and Ray preferred the warmth of the car.
High on the hills were the circular rock walls that remained from forts settlers constructed two thousand years before the birth of Christ. We also saw beehive-shaped huts whose stones were so carefully placed that they remain dry inside to this day.
Our car had a feature that Jim says is common here: the side mirrors not only have power adjustments, they can automatically fold in towards the side of the car. It is a very valuable asset when one passes another vehicle on these narrow roads.
The Blasket Islands rarely had a population of more than 153 before they were evacuated in 1953, but they produced an amazing number of Irish-speaking writers. An impressive modern interpretative center has been built to both tell the tale of these fishermen and farmers and their way of life and also to encourage the preservation of Gaelic, still spoken in many places along the western coast.
Returning to Killarney, we visited Muckross House, built in 1843. They are celebrating the 150th anniversary since the visit of Queen Victoria. The Herbert family spent six years preparing for her three-day visit and kept everything as it was when she was there. A few decades later, they went broke and the house
was sold at auction, used as a rental and purchased by a wealthy American couple as a wedding present. After the death of the last residents, it was donated to the nation and with the estate became Ireland’s first national park. Still furnished and decorated as it was 27 August 1861, it is a wonderful look back into Victorian times. Two brides had their wedding pictures taken at the house while we were there.