around 2:00 in the morning: a group of hotel guests from that anniversary party very kindly let us in into their conversations they are having in the parking lot outside the hotel entrance — for about half an hour we get to share each and every attempt at jokularity… much appreciated.
at breakfast mrs d and i commit the faux pas of seating ourselves at one of the free tables as the large group table seems to be fully occupied. we quickly get told off by an apparently unmotivated, round-ish waitress who informs us that that table is needed for “other guests”1 — not quite the “irish hospitality”. coffee and tea are just that, but also seemingly rationed: we only manage to get 2 cups of each each.
today’s part of the pilgrimage takes us to brandon’s well2 which is a bit outside tralee. the actual well itself, the water hole in the earth, is a bit on the quiet side3 but otherwise a nice little area enclosed by a dense hedge. we read a psalm, listen to some thoughts of mr tambour on john 5:1–15 (the story of the healing at lake bethesda), and conclude with a prayer and song.
the next part takes us through an daingean (aka dingle) — replenishing our proviant at the local supervalu [sic] (i use the opportunity to frequent the pharmacy next to the the aforementioned supervalu to acquire some midge repellent and antihistamin: those little buggers have really taken a fancy of me, i must have about 30 midge bites on my arms, neck and head) — along the dingle peninsula. about 2.5 hours walk from slea head we are released from our pilgrimage transporter and get a chance to walk to slea head. the weather is at its best: in contrast to the forecast of the irish met office we have pure, unadulterated sunshine! over the ring of kerry we can see cumulus congestus clouds piling up, some looking like they are severly tempted to turn into cumulus nimbus clouds — we only have rather innocent looking straits of cumulus humilis clouds coming our way. perfect.
while on tuesday, on kevin’s way, mrs d and i sped ahead, quickly leaving the bulk of the group behind, we decide today to stay at the end and “bring up the rear”, so to speak. mr tambour seems strangely relieved by that — i can’t figure out whether he’s relieved to have experienced walkers at the rear of the group or whether he is relieved that we are not chasing ahead again. in any case we stay back and have a couple of quite interesting chats on the way.
the scenery is fantastic: in front of us the wide open sea, framed on both sides by mountain ranges and outlying little isles and rocks, dark clouds on the other side of the bay piling up in-lands, the sun casting interesting cloud shadows across the almost smooth surface of the sea. the path to slea head winds past dry-stone walls (lots of sheep), first up then down again. about 2 hours into the walk we break for a snack-lunch and enjoy the quiet and the views!
at slea head we have about an hour to ourselves which most of us spend at the cafĂ© having a crumble and a pot of tea.
the way back to tralee is interrupted by a story telling session at the beach: one of our co-pilgrims is a practised story teller and really spins an enticing piece of yarn about a bloke called mccormack, an enchanted branch, and how he lost his wife, daughter, and son — and regained them later. i really enjoy that bit.