In the end of January, we flew to Ireland over a long weekend hoping to find a suitable home for our year abroad. Five houses scattered all over the western half of the island had to be visited in just three days – a marathon! Everything started in the southwest in the cute tourist town of Kenmare, where we looked – at a bungalow from the 80s overlooking Kenmare Bay.
It went on the same day in the north of our beloved city of Galway. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to view the old stone cottage (my secret favorite) – somewhere – in nowhere at daylight. Due to a too low shower unfortunately it bowed out immediately, although I had struggled to get this viewing appointment so badly. But so be it … We spent the evening in the vibrant nightlife of Galway in the Latin Quarter with Guiness and Cider. That compensated for the previous disappointment.
The next day, after another trip to Galway in the rain, we unhurriedly went to County Limerick, where we viewed a house of a friend of a relative of a vacation acquaintance of some very good friends of us (let’s just say someone we know over three corners) – really nice and close to a monastery with a large park area, but unfortunately a bit too expensive. And Limerick, which we then went to, unfortunately couldn’t win our hearts at all.
The next and last day of our house hunt started with another small, but fine old stone cottage, which is only heated with a stove. On the advice of the landlords we then visited the Bullybunion Beach in the north of Co. Kerry – despite the gloomy and rainy January weather we were overwhelmed by Ireland’s beautiful natural forces once again – the kilometre long sandy beach, the roaring Atlantic and the green grass.
However, we wern’t able to stay there for too long, because our last promising house visit – again near Kenmare, our starting point – was still ahead of us in the afternoon. What awaited us took our breath away. The description of the house said ‘remotely located’, but in Ireland a quiet, secluded location seems to take on a whole new dimension! First we drove about half an hour from Kenmare along a winding road through a ever-changing, breathtaking scenery until the estate agent in front of us meant to turn left onto a dirt road that was blocked by a gate she had to open first. We followed her with our rental car (thank God – our car could not have expected this way anymore) over rough and smooth as well as through lots of mud. After a few minutes she opened another gate and the way became worse and worse. At some point, only steep hills went up and down, sharp right and left and suddenly there was only a narrow dam framed by the sea from both sides.
„At high tide or flood one wouldn’t be able to pass here any longer“
That’s what we thought about this sight. Now we finally have to be near the house, right? Wrong. Not before we drove over ‘seven mountains’ and over another sea dam. Then there was a steep driveway in front of us, at the end of which a third gate had to be opened. The car made it up in groans and there we were – far from the next neighbor on a peninsula, on which only this house was standing. We were surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean from three sides – what an incredible, spectacular view! The house looked very massive as it was made of dark stones. We were told that an Irish doctor who now works in Canada recently bought it as a retirement home. We went in and it was just huge. Much too big for us and unfortunately too remote. You can only see a few sheep or goats here all day and maybe the postman from time to time. It takes 45 minutes to reach the next city, an off-road vehicle and strong nerves. But this view makes up for much! For a writer or an artist who’d like to concentrate for a year on nothing but his work, this house would be just the thing. For us it was at least a unique experience.
Subsequently we headed towards the airport. We set up our last night camp in the beautiful medieval town of Kilkenny. A lovely B&B in a kind of manor house, affectionately run by an old man, welcomed us (although we had mistakenly booked for the next night and it was Sunday – typically Ireland!). In a cozy pub in Kilkenny we reviewed our “house hunt” together. We agreed: Our house search wasn’t completed, yet. Too many cons made it difficult for us to choose one of the houses. And so we left with empty hands but with the certainty that we really wanted to take the next step, and flew back to Berlin.