key to enjoying the Irish summer isn’t scenery and a bag of chips on a wall. It’s neoprene, the stuff they use in wetsuits. In fact, there was no need for the government dangle staycation vouchers to persuade us to stay at home - a ll they had to do was buy everyone a new wetsuit.
We’re just back from two days in Dingle. The weather was what you might call mixed, which in normal times translates as ‘next year we’re going to Spain'. Thankfully my wife is a world-class packer and had thrown in a variety of long and short wetsuits that she has built up over the years. The result was our two spent a n h our running in and out of the waves on Coumeenoole strand, in the rain. It was magic, thanks to neoprene.
The weather was softish the following day as well, so we went for a spin. (A spin is the Irish phrase for ‘the kids will drive us nuts if we stay in the house'.) This spin took us back out around Slea Head. There seem to be more prehistoric ruins out around Slea Head every time I visit. You’d nearly wonder are the locals ‘discovering’ new ones every year, but everyone knows that Kerry people would be above that kind of dodgy dealing .
Anyway, we arrived at this genuine Bronze Age fort with a pet-farm attached to it and an honesty box at the gate where you left your € 2.50 a head admission fee . The entrance fee includes a box of feed, so we were barely in the gate when two hungry goats, one sheep and a hairy pig came trotting down towards us. Here’s my tip if you visit it yourself: don’t take your eyes off the darker of the two goats. I did and he gave me a quick little butt with his horns on the leg to remind me that he was still hungry. He did the same to my wife. We nearly creased ourselves laughing . Our six-year-old ran around the fort fighting off invaders while his sister rubbed the hairy pig. It was the best tenner we ever spent on a holiday.
The only other car outside th is B ronze A ge petting farm had a yellow Northern Ireland registration plate. You guessed it – Americans. Three women ambled out of the fort with accents and dental work that can only come from the other side of the Atlantic. For all I know, they might live in Northern Ireland and were taking some time around the Wild Atlantic Way. But Covid-19 has given us an irrational fear of Americans, even when we know the chances of infection are slimmer than Black Lives Matter getting a thumbs up from Donald Trump . So we skirted around them and avoided the usual bit of banter you’d have with strangers in these places. I wish now we hadn’t. My wife pointed out that our kids will pick up on this and their earliest memories of Americans will be people that Mom and Dad avoided on holidays. That’s the road to racism. So from now on, I’m going to be nice to any American I come across.
Our six-year-old is arrow straight about everything. If somebody is annoying him , he’ll tell them. That’s a good attribute until you bring him for a haircut and he bitches non-stop to the barber about the noise of the hair-cutter and the way it hurts him even though the barber promised it wouldn’t . I was mortified and kept apologising to the barber because I’m Irish and saying sorry is how I react to almost everything. I rang my mother afterwards and said her grandson was very rude to the barber. She said, so were you at his age, you hated the sound of the hair-cutter in particular. The more things change …