The thing that really makes a driving holiday in Ireland is the stunning coast line. Around every corner you’re hit with a new view, totally different from the last. Sometimes you see lush greenery, other times you get jagged, hard rock faces – all overlooking crashing waves that hide the small hope of seeing a visiting whale or seal.
In two days we hit two peninsulas, going to the most westerly points of Ireland, experiencing glorious sunshine and torrential rain interchange seemingly every hour. Going so far west meant that we were sometimes driving for long periods of time, often on the most crappy of crap roads, so when we’d find towns that looked hospitable we would stop for food and stretching. Little places like Baltimore would often serve up freshly caught seafood for a tiny price and see us through to our intended destinations.
Mizen Head is the ‘touristy’ peninsula. It has stairs built in to steep cliffs to provide extra viewpoints, and a bridge that goes across a vast gulf with a terrifying drop beneath it. The bridge takes you to an old signal station which was used to warn ships of the rocks below, and now it is used as a great spot to look for whales and other exciting creatures. We saw nothing as a storm rolled in, instead we just got bloody soaking wet. Oh, Ireland.
Sheep’s Head Peninsula appears to be much less travelled; the road leading us there hardly wide enough to accommodate us, let alone any car coming in the other direction. I swore quite a lot when it was my turn behind the wheel. This area wasn’t as dramatic as Mizen Head, but was much more picturesque. Foxgloves and heathers surrounded hardly-there paths and lush grass allowed us to sit and enjoy our lunch with a cracking view over the Atlantic.
Both places were a pain in the arse to get to, but were exactly what we were hoping to find from our semi-unplanned driving adventures.