I took on the southern portion of the Wild Atlantic Way on my first trip to Ireland and was surprised to find that in spite of it being late January, the Emerald Isle's southwest coast wasn't at all the huddle of cold, crusty seaside towns which I had envisioned.
I remember wading on the beach of a little inlet in Co. Clare and remarking to myself how entirely tolerable it was (because, well, I was wading in the Atlantic Ocean... in January), and how the large-grains of sand were quite soft under my feet. Admittedly not the sugary sands of the Gulf [of Mexico], but nevertheless velvet between my toes.
While the temperatures were lovely, a thin mist clung to the air (and consequently my camera lenses) and gray skies loomed overhead for nearly the entire adventure. But whilst I adventured, I not too infrequently happened across these cheerful little doors. They served as an almost poetic reminder of the politely stubborn nature of the Irish. And I smiled...a little oppressive weather could never stop the Irish. With their determined attention to the fine details, they liven up even the most hidden little corners of their beautiful country.
That door in particular I found in a little fishing village in Cork named Kinsale. And while the town hosts a population of just barely 5,000, it boasts a lively array of purveyors and B&Bs, including the Blue Haven Hotel where I stayed for few nights in a very well appointed single at a reasonable price.
I also had the pleasure of eating a full Irish breakfast my first morning at their bistro (for which they have also recently won the accolade of Best Breakfast in Ireland), and drinks both evenings in their relaxing bar. It is a decidedly full-service establishment with 3-courses available to guests (at nearly all times), and a chemist just across the street. Dinner on the second night was at Bastion, as I spent the entire day scouring the little town and all it had to offer, from Desmond Castle to strolling the stone streets. I was exhausted and STARVING.
I finished the trip by nearly killing a local, as I had a brilliant idea to rent a car and take this whole tour head-on (the American way!)...needless to say I got a well deserved tongue lashing and left town with my tail tucked between my legs. Regardless, it was a trip of a lifetime, and this little town left an indelible mark on me. With its peacefulness and pizazz, it makes the perfect little hideaway.