Up bright and early the next morning after the previous day's driving and stops, we took in a long walk around Kinsale, through the town itself and stretching right out along the waterâ€™s edge. Back to the hotel, there was just time to pack, take in the last of the bright morning views out from our window, and head down and out to the car for the next part of the journey â€“ onwards to Killarney.
On mature reflection, this journey looks set to be fairly direct along the same road for most of the trip, taking around one and a half hours. In fact, a combination of factors came to ensure this time was extremely far off the mark.
First of all, my GPS (which came from work, and which even upon delivery to us, was already seriously out of date) took so long locating a signal that we were already following the road I believed to be the main way out of Kinsale. The speed limit lifted to around 80km/h and off we went, with me particularly determined to get this drive out of the way as quickly as possible. We tore around bends, up and down hills, with the road seemingly average and no more. The GPS eventually located a signal and sparked to life, informing me that our turn right was imminent.
Well, whatever about the road we were on, the right turn was ridiculous. We went from a comfortable two-lane bit of what could have been a dual carriageway to a bit of paving no wider than the car itself, complete with potholes large enough to camp in. You can imagine the scenario â€“ the speed limit, bizarrely, remained at 80km/h but achieving that speed while not taking part in a closed-road rally was near-impossible, as the car plunged, dipped and bounced all the way, occasionally slowing down to make sure I didnâ€™t hit a dog that would then go on to chase us half a mile further down the road.
Thankfully Annaâ€™s parents saw the good side of this and I think, actually preferred seeing what they considered to be â€˜real Irelandâ€™ as opposed to the good roads some of their tax money has probably gone into building.
At about the 90-minute mark though, mild nausea was beginning to set in with me, if not anyone else. We had bounced, plunged and dived for so long that even driving was beginning to become a serious chore and I was convinced the GPS had sent me (not for the first time) on one its incredible journeys. Not only that, but its calculation of arriving seemed to be entirely based on my doing the full speed limit at all times, so in that regard we also seemed to be making no progress.
Finally fed up, we came out onto a slightly larger road where there was a pub/shop/petrol station combo with a tiny bit of tarmac to pull in on, so I did. I decided to cross-check the directions the GPS had in mind with what the source of all knowledge, Google Maps had to tell me on my phone; the truth was, yes we had gone terribly wrong, but we were now just a few hundred meters from rejoining the road thankfully once more.
Arriving into Killarney after a far longer drive than expected, we were all eager by now to find our accommodation for the next few nights â€“ the very plush Scottâ€™s Hotel, which in spite of having one of the tightest underground car parks Iâ€™ve ever driven into in my life, was very nicely done on the inside. Our rooms were right down at the very end of one of the corridors, and while we wondered about this at the time as we hauled our luggage down there, this also turned out to be a massive benefit when we discovered the size of our rooms.
After this crazy boneshaker of a journey, there was time for a quick rest and try and clear my mind of the horrors of our two-hour rally driving experience, before heading out to see Killarney for real.