After a lovely night in Dublin catching up with friends, and a horrific morning battling the Christmas shopping crowds on O’Connell street, we jumped on a train down to this beautiful corner of the country, the Beara Peninsular. Its about as far away from Dublin as you can get and still be in Ireland.
Our friends, R and I, split their time between Ireland and Mozambique, and while we were with them they treated us to some wonderful home cooked food, lots of red wine, and some lovely walks. After the last few weeks of constant travel it was wonderful to be in a homely environment and we made full use of the facilities, doing 2 loads of washing, eating and drinking well and generally enjoying the home comforts. Thanks guys.
The weather was stunning for this time of year – cold but sunny for the main part – and it was great to be able to get out into the countryside.
A highlight of our trip was when the resident badger came to visit. He is apparently a regular visitor, and we left two mackerels out on the lawn for him. Around 8.30pm he turned up and proceeded to tear apart the fish, right in front of the patio doors, for a good ten minutes. It was an amazing sighting, and he was a big boy alright. Lauren and R led on their bellies on the floor, less than a metre from him, while he tucked in. I’ve never seen a badger that close and for that long, and it was a real privilege.
One night, Lauren stayed in with I, while R took me out to the nearest town to a comedy show. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from a comedy show in this tiny town. All R said was it was three female Irish comedians who had been going for ages. To be honest, even having sat through the show I can’t quite describe it. The Nualas are three bonkers women in Spanx, sparkly (very short) dresses and ‘torture shoes’ who have penned funny songs about all sorts of things from obsessions with plastic surgery to breakups to foreigners’ perceptions of Ireland. Just google them, they don’t fit neatly into any particular box and have a style all their own.
It’s fair to say it was a firmly female audience, with a divorce party down in the front row livening things up and thankfully drawing most of the ‘audience engagement’ fire. One of the songs was ‘Jesus, Mary and Joseph why am I so fat?’ and another was ‘Family’ – mainly about all the things they’d like to do to the various in-laws, distant cousins and uncle Dave the paedophile.
It was very funny, in a sweary, shameless, self-mocking, Irish kind of way, and certainly went down well with the audience of mainly middle aged and above local women and the few men who’d been dragged along. It was definitely a good craic, although it’s fair to say I only got about 80% of the very Irish jokes. I was terrified I’d get picked on for my accent (having kept my hand firmly down when they asked if there was anyone in from abroad) and kept my mouth firmly closed and lurked in the next-to-back row.
On the 45-minute drive back to the house, we passed a magnificent looking stag on the road, who just looked up at us and then calmly went back to eating grass, clearly not at all bothered by our presence. A magical sight on a bright moonlit night.
All too soon it was time to say goodbye to R and I, but I have a feeling we will get the chance to return their immense hospitality sometime in Portugal in the future.