Zenfolio | Merrill Morrow | Two 'oul Boys and a Bike - Day 7 (Story)

Two 'oul Boys and a Bike - Day 7 (Story)

June 07, 2017  •  Leave a Comment

 

Before I tell you anything about Harbour House, let me express my horror at the utter lunacy of three local drivers (I have assumed local because of their KY number plates) who passed us and other cars in front of us on the narrowest of roads down the Conor Pass into Castlegregory. They must have been doing 60mph. Had they met anyone there would have been carnage.

 

We caught one of those nice people who might have killed us on Conor Pass.

 

Back to Harbour House. I asked Ken why he had chosen this hotel - "...because they have a swimming pool and a sauna." And why not? This is a family run hotel located on the top of the Maharees Peninsula on the north side of the Dingle Peninsula.

On first sight, that term I used yesterday - relics of 'oul decency - had come to mind as I recalled my student days in Dublin in a bedsit on Pembroke Road, not too far from the new American Embassy, where I ate at a solid mahogany dining table with Irish silver cutlery and delightful bone china, while there was other evidence a-plenty that things had been better for this 'relic' of a once prominent Dublin family.

Having spent an evening and part of a morning at Harbour House, I think 'homely' might be a more accurate description. Outside there were bits and pieces lying around, the grass needed a bit of a cut in places, there were things on view that perhaps other hosts might not necessarily want guests to see - but in terms of somewhere to spend a very pleasant B&B experience - it was superb.

If breakfast is anything to go by, someone in the kitchen knows exactly what they are doing. For the second day in a row, we had perfect scrambled eggs. They were cooked on order and not cut out of a precooked and frozen block with a chainsaw. Oh, there was a substantial slice of smoked salmon as well.

And that is before you throw into the mix the truly remarkable views from the house across Tralee Bay. And the fact that Ken had a swim, a sauna and a shower and his wet cycling gear dried for  him.

 

View from Harbour House

I enjoyed enormously the humour of Pat Fitzgibbon who, with her husband Ronnie, have over sixty years between them in the hospitality world. She told me this morning that a short time previously, she had noticed that the cup of coffee of a German gentleman at breakfast with his family was almost empty. I said to him, "Would you like a drop of hot stuff?" "I would not," he said, "but I would like some more coffee." I wondered what he thought was on offer.

She also told about the end result of a brochure being translated into French by the local school French teacher.

"How often does your hotel get flooded?" a French visitor asked. "Never. Why do you ask?"  "Because the brochure says that Tralee Bay is right on your doorstep."

As I was paying the bill this morning at Reception, a 'twenty something', or should that be 'a twenty somebody' said to me 'Do you ever go cycling with your son?' Not a great start to the day.

I haven't seen Ken since around 10 o'clock this morning when he began a very long day in the saddle going back over Conor Pass from Dingle and into Castlegregory again; and then from there on to Tralee, Listowel and finally Ballybunion for the night.

From where I left Ken in Dingle I went straight to Tralee, Listowel and then my main event for today - the Gabriel Fitzmaurice pilgrimage to Moyvane. As you can read in my 22nd April blog, I'm a huge fan of his writing - both prose and poetry. There are twinges of deep spirituality in much of it, which has always intrigued me - particularly 'Poems of Faith and Doubt' but 'Beat the Goatskin Til the Goat Cries' is a masterpiece of life in a small village in the west of Ireland.

I was totally enthralled as I turned off the N69 between Listowel and Tarbet. As I neared the village I could incredibly feel the excitement around me as I imagined what Mairead's Bar would look like, and whether I could take a photograph inside it and whether Brosnan's Corner might still have a few 'boys' hanging around it.

The reality on the ground was shattering. There is a large village poster with the history of Moyvane, it's eminent people and the story of the proposed name change which has been going on for decades but absolutely nowhere could I find a single mention of a Fitzmaurice. He seems to have been either ignored or shunned or both. I wonder if what J B Keane frequently refers to as the 'round collar brigade' are involved?

Finally, someone suggested that I ask the local butcher who pointed out Brosnan's Corner, which now houses Brosnan's Bar which is only open at weekends from 9.00pm. I could almost feel the tears welling up inside me. I just cannot believe that Gabriel Fitzmaurice appears completely to have been forgotten in the place where he lived his whole life, and from where he thrilled, challenged and encouraged so many people. I really do hope that my time there today in Moyvane was some kind of aberration.

 

Brosnan's Corner, now Brosnan's Bar, Moyvane, Co Kerry

 

Well, Ken finally arrived back at 8.00pm, having sat around the vast majority of the day, ten hours in all, apart from those pieces of hill climb when he had to get out of the saddle. He did 145km today which is an incredible achievement considering the torrential rain and the high winds. He also climbed 1470 metres, of which 410 were at the Conor Pass and he used 3438 cals.

Please don't forget that this 'road trip' does have a serious purpose. We hope to raise £4,000 to finance the digging of a well in Uganda by Fields of Life, an organisation which Ken has supported for many years; having, in the past, helped in the building of a school in Uganda.

If you would like to help in the financing of the well, please go to: justgiving.com/fundraising/missionbybike

 


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