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Mijn eerste vakantie in Ierland (1969)

Mijn eerste vakantie in Ierland (1969)

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I have been on holiday many times in Ireland. The first time was a long time ago. In 1969 I went to Ireland with two friends (HansHuisson and Eddy Opperdoes) for two weeks. The aim was the small village of Ballymacelligott near the town of Tralee in the county of Kerry in the southwest of Ireland. From this village we went exploring the region with a covered wagon. This seems like an exciting prospect if you have never done anything with horses. But it turned out to be a fun and relaxing way to get to know Ireland and the Irish.

It was quite an assignment to meet the covered wagons rental company. We first flew from Amsterdam to Dublin. We did this with a four-engine propeller plane from British United Airways (BUA). That society no longer exists.With a minibus we drove to Ballymacellicott. That was a whole ride. We arrived in the middle of the night (3:30 am). On the way we stopped at a pub for a while. There I drink my first glass of Guinness (1 shilling and 6 pence).

The next morning we prepared for the trip. We became acquainted with our horse Mary, learned how to send her from stop to stop. After some shopping at the local VG store, we get used to the road.

There were four sleeping places in the covered cart: two benches and the two backs of the benches we could fold up. So there was plenty of room for the three of us. There was also a stove gas stove to cook our food.There was also a water tank and storage for oats (for the horse).

We received a list of possible stops. They did have something like simple camping places. There was space for the covered car, there were toilets, and there was a piece of land where the horses could graze. One example was Ray's Guesthouse in Boolteens (see photo above).

The stops were chosen so that you could make a nice route in a week. You did not have to follow that route. It knew the route from her mind. So we could not get lost. Difficult was that we followed a two-week route, and that route did not know the horse. That is why it was difficult at some points to get our covered car in the right direction.

At the stopping places we often with other groups who were traveling with a covered wagon. Those travelers came from Switzerland, England, France and the Netherlands. Those encounters were fun. They were mostly the same people. We exchanged experiences, giving each other tips on the way and getting used to the local pub.

Our covered cart did not go very fast. Occasionally we get gallop, but more often in trot or walking pace. When Mary walked slowly, we often walked beside the covered wagon. So we could have a chat with a farmer or already had dinner for our dinner picking (there were plenty of blackberries!).

Our route first followed the south side of the Dingle peninsula, from Castlemaine via Boolteens to the beach at Inch.After that we crossed via Anascaul and Lougher the Slieve Mish Mountains to the north side of the peninsula. That was a big climb for our horse. And also during the descent to Camp it was very careful. We had to make sure that our horse braked the covered wagon sufficiently. From Camp it went back via the north to Tralee. We had wanted to go to Dingle and the tip of the peninsula, but that was too much for our horse.

The covered wagon trip was a very relaxing trip. No rushing and quiet from one stop to the other. And on the way we are always Irish people.In the evening we were regularly in the pubs. Particularly cozy pubs were the Riverside Inn or Con Daily at Currans, Ray's Guesthouse at Boolteens, and the Lyons Bar at Tralee. 

A lot was sung in those pubs. They were the well-known Irish songs. Sometimes we as Dutch were also challenged to sing. That usually did not go beyond a potpourri or Sinterklaas songs.

After two weeks we came back to Ballymacelligott. There we are with Denis Mannix, the owner of the VG store. That store was also the post office. We could call the Netherlands from here, although it was quite a mess. Denis Mannix was very hospitable. He invited us to come and eat in his house.And he took us in his car for a tourist trip to Killarney. These were special days at Ballymacelligott. We also witnessed the first moon landing in the middle of the Irish (on July 20, 1969) and the first moon walk (on July 21, 1969).

Our covered wagon tour was a very pleasant and relaxed first introduction to Ireland. That was excellent, because I have been back many times. You can still ride a covered wagon ride now. The picturesque, narrow country lanes are increasingly replaced by fast through roads. Traffic is also getting faster and faster. So there is no more room for the covered wagons. In any case, it is a beautiful memory.

Posted Sat 25 Aug 2018 12:13 PM
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Jelke, wat een geweldig verhaal, ik heb genoten!

Een prachtige vakantie en je talent voor vertellen, zowel in plaatjes als in woorden brengt het hele verhaal tot leven. De tegenstelling tussen jouw reis door Ierland met paard en wagen, terwijl je tegelijkertijd getuige bent van de grootste technologische prestatie van die tijd, schitterend.

Zo'n mooie eerste kennismaking met ons groene eiland, en zo te lezen heeft Ierland tijdens die reis je hart gestolen. Het is bijna niet te evenaren, zo'n bijzondere reis in een bijzondere tijd.

Ik wacht met spanning op je volgende reisverhaal Jelke, waar ben je daarna heen geweest?

Hele fijne dag gewenst,

Posted Sun 26 Aug 2018 9:31 AM

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