Day 13: Sneem to Caherdaniel.

Our “Thelma and Louise” Day: WAW ASD Challenge 2019.
“When the going gets tough, the friends get going”.

Today dawned showery, wet and chilly in West Clare. I dropped Tomás off and collected my buddy Eimear to hit the road. Now Eimear and I have a long, chequered and lively past. We connected back in 2003, when she was a young lass working a part time job in Donnan’s store. She was then, as she is now: bright, vivacious and beautiful to the core. Back then, I “gently cajoled” her to undertake the New York Marathon with an eclectic and motley crew, raising funds for what was to be the first ASD unit attached to a mainstream school in this country. Our friendship and Eimear’s commitment to developing and supporting services for people on the autism spectrum took off and has never wained. Eimear, Chris, Isabel and Sophia have recently returned to Ireland after a very successful sojourn abroad as Restauranteurs, to take on The Red Cliff Lodge Restaurant and Accomodation in Spanish Point. We are delighted they are home and especially that the business is taking off with real gourmet acclaim.
We had a business stop at Shannon Airport and then hit the road in earnest, to Sneem. Wind, rain and mist couldn’t take from the great sense of craic, fun and togetherness of the journey. We contacted our buddy Siobhán Garvey to flag our route, again another great find in all of the ASD connectivity. We parked up in Sneem with a bunch of supporters to see us off, humbling as ever I feel. In the cloudy afternoon we hit the road: the mountain range to the right sat snug in the shadow of Carrauntohil. To the left we embraced the calm waters of Kenmare Bay. We jogged along and a few miles out, a group waving flags in Miltown colours, heralded our arrival at Kelly’s Cross, here Mrs Breen and her extended family welcomed us with great warmth and feeling! Replenished, we journeyed on. The weather brightened too. Castle cove proved a quiet, slumbering village: Savills signposted the sale of a many hundred year old property while along the road a rural pub advertised a large selection of diverse entertainment. Again the miles mounted as we headed on. To the left unexpectedly, we spotted a selection of ruins gathered together: there was an unusual feel about the place, almost like as if it had been abandoned. We


chatted, speculated, talked and walked the last few miles. West Cove, a little beached spot on the way was tempting in its tranquility. Before we knew it, Caherdaniel was in sight. It’s a small rural village with “the Blind Piper” pub as it’s unofficial landmark. We booked a cab to take us back to base. As we waited, I had a somewhat unusual conversation with a man in a car. Yes, another epic tale to explore in time. Meanwhile, Eimear was engaging with a couple of lads about to host 2 women as “couch surfers”. I’m truly learning as I go! Our driver Tadhg was an encyclopaedia of the area: it’s history, it’s people and it’s spaces. The abandoned houses of earlier were the creation of an English woman called Abina Broderick, an English woman, sympathetic to the republican cause in the early 1900s. She had built centres for small crafts, a maternity unit and housing to support local enterprise back in that day. Another woman with vision ahead of her time, it seems. She lived, died and was buried locally. Tadhg dropped us to the car, We said our goodbyes and off we went. However, within a few miles he had reconnected with us, to offer help for the next leg of our journey. Great good will as ever, prevails. We arrived at our destination, a beautiful cottage in Lough Currane Homes in Waterville, compliments of the proprietor Simon Kelly. The tranquility was encapsulating. We reinvigorated ourselves with welcoming warm showers and headed locally to eat. Sealodge Hotel is within walking distance of the cottages and is warm, friendly and local. The food was super as were the staff and neighbours who minded


and entertained us into the night. We slept well having laughed our fill. We had acquired several numbers for the next leg of the journey, as is the case everywhere we go. In the morning, seen off by Simon we drove back via Caherciveen, Killorglin and Tralee to stop in Listowel and breakfast with Jimmy Dennehy (former Kerry footballer, TD and man of the people) and his lovely wife Mary. Jimmy has been actively supporting the Kerry leg of our Challenge. Replenished once more we caught the now familiar Shannon Breeze ferry back across the water to Killimer. I dropped Eimear home and headed North to connect with wonderful sea swimmer,Trish O’Dea with an amazing heart and Inclusion age


nda to boot, yes just as with the most wonderful Eimear King, big hearted, Inclusive and such fun too. These are the days to cherish.
Next leg is Friday afternoon starting back in Caherdaniel and travelling along the way over the weekend via Valencia to Caherciveen.