Thursday, May 3, 2018

The Gap of Dunloe

Wednesday saw us touring through the Gap of Dunloe. This narrow mountain pass is probably best seen on foot or bicycle during summer. But it is a rugged walk, and a cold windy day (not to mention age and bad knees) suggested that we use the traditional conveyance that takes you three and a half miles up the gap and back, the Jaunting Car, a pony drawn cart. The car makes a fine excursion, but does not present the best opportunities for photography. I did what I could.
The approach to the Gap. The road is a public road and is legally open to cars, but they are discouraged. As we went through the Gap we came to realize that this is a place for men and animals, not machines.

To the left is Jacko. Jacko is a cob, which is a cross between an Irish Draught horse and a Connemara pony. To the right is Donny. Donny is a ponyman. His family have been leading these tours for 250 years, but Donny fears he will be the last of his line, since he is unmarried and none of his nieces or nephews cares to carry the tradition.

Ma and Pa and Jacko

Rosa, bundled up, enjoyed the ride from a sheltered seat.

This is Donny, along with Jacko. Along with his traditional training, Donny is a devoted historian of the American Experience in Vietnam. He also tells jokes and sings.
Lunch at Kate Kearney's Cottage is another tradition of the Gap.

Both Sharon and I are now suffering from moderately severe colds. Thus far in our travels in retirement we have been pretty lucky about illness and we are grateful that this is the worst we’ve experienced. But we were sick enough that after the Gap we retreated to our hotel room.

The Killarney National Park, which includes Gap and the pass we came into Killarney through on Tuesday, includes some of the finest scenery we have seen in our three trips to Ireland. Partly because of this and partly because of our illness, I feel as if we could have spent another day or two easily.

Thursday, on to Dingle and the Dingle peninsula.

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