We woke to an unusual site – sunshine streaming through our window at the B&B. What a lovely surprise after days of rain and overcast skies. After another delicious breakfast with real eggs and strong coffee (french toast for Emma), our B&B owner pointed us in the right direction and we were off in the Fiat toward the seaside. Our first stop was the lovely village of Castlegregory, a picturesque Irish town with heavenly beaches and only a 20 minute drive from Tralee.
We then hopped onto Connors Pass – the scenic (and more treacherous) route to Dingle Bay. The Fiat did not disappoint and its small size was perfect for the curvy roads and hairpin turns up into the mountains. It was a beautiful ride with stunning views but at one point, a big truck was coming toward me and I downshifted and closed my eyes hoping we would not side swipe each other. (I’m okay Dad!) Views from the road are below – please excuse the many photos but it was simply too gorgeous not to try and capture the beauty with my iphone camera!
When we got to the top of Connors Pass, we found a flowing waterfall bursting forth from the mountain with tourists climbing up to the top. Being an adventurous duo, we decided to pull over and check it out. Emma climbed much higher than me, but our efforts were well worth it!
We finally arrived in Dingle and were greeted by a crowded downtown filled with visitors from all over the world. We managed to park the Fiat and find the pub that our B&B owner recommended for lunch and once again, she was spot on. It was an authentic place – not one for tourists – where I had the local smoked salmon (on gluten free bread!) and Emma opted for a more American chicken sandwich. The food and service were delightful and we enjoyed gazing out the window toward Dingle Bay with the sun spilling in through the window.
We enjoyed walking through the town, popping into shops and even managed to visit St. Mary’s, the local Catholic church which was built in 1885 to light candles and offer prayers for our family and friends at home.
By late afternoon it was time to get back in the Fiat and head for Tralee to see our Boston Rose and attend the TV night and party. The drive back was just a beautiful as the drive toward the coast and we found it hard leave the beauty and serenity of the sea and mountains.
Back at the Rose Dome, it was another fancy event and Emma and I enjoyed watching our Grace on TV. She looked elegant in her gold sequin dress and greeted us warmly when we reunited. She is having a fantastic experience during this once in a lifetime event – making friends with young women from around the globe. Her escort Struen was as gentlemanly as ever and we all enjoyed the lively Rose party until Emma and I decided we were turning into “pumpkins” around 1 am. (I am getting too old for this?!)
This will likely be my last post from Ireland as we leave early tomorrow. Emma and I plan to enjoy downtown Tralee today and then attend the TV show and party tonight. I will do a wrap up post once back in Boston. Thanks for keeping up with our wonderful adventures – it has been a gift to spend this time with my girls. I am particularly thankful to my dad Joe Papa Powers for inspiring Grace to apply for the Boston Rose. He has been her biggest supporter and fan and she had made us all very PROUD! The Boston Rose has a busy year ahead of her with senior year at Fairfield University plus her duties representing young Irish women as the Boston and New England Rose. May God bless her and all the Roses, young Irish women who have made this Festival such a wonderful gathering and celebration of the Irish people.