Visiting the Kingdom

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I have often been to Kerry . Sometimes on holidays or day-trips , other times whilst racing . Every time I go there I have a new experience of where Kerryman jokes come from like ;

A Kerryman rang Aer Lingus and asked how long it took to fly from Dublin to London.
“Just a minute sir,” said the girl on the desk.
“Thank you,” said the Kerryman and hung up.


A man hired a Kerryman as an assistant to take phone calls. One day the phone rang and when the Kerryman answered he hung up immediately.

“Who was that?” asked his boss.

“Some fool saying it was a long distance from New York. I told him everybody knew that.”

Last week we spent a few days in a cottage near Banna Beach outside Tralee . I brought the bike and was on the road each morning just before sunrise around 6.45 am in order to be back in time to avoid cashing in some valuable brownie points .

I always like to explore a new area whenever I’m away and this trip was no exception . However I did happen to fall victim on one or two occasions to the wit of the Kerryman .

My first morning on the road whilst passing through Ballyheigue I noticed a signpost proclaiming a Kerry bicycle trail . This looks good ,I thought, and off  I set to find out where it would lead . I passed through Balleyheigue towards Kerry head and was enjoying the sight of the sunrising behind me and the ocean on my left . After about five or six miles I followed the sign post and took a left .  This was where John Benny Moynihan and his cronies got the better of me . Himself and Mike Francis O’Shea must have been out in the ‘ when I grow up I wanna be a twin-cam’ 89 starlet the previous evening , or maybe it was the previous year and turned all of the signposts .

It was only when I ended up in a farmyard at the bottom of a hill two miles later with 47 cows and a bewildered looking farmer staring at me that I realised this road was a dead end . The farmer lifted his cap and used his forearm to adjust his combe over whilst trying to figure out what a six foot four Lycra clad apparition in a bright yellow jacket on an orange bicycle was doing in his yard at ten past seven on a monday morning . I just waved and said that ’twas a grand morning ‘ before doing a swift u-turn and going back to where I had come from .

Lesson number one ‘ Don’t believe a Kerry Signpost .’

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I spent the next couple of days ignoring signposts and even resorted to using the sat-nav to get from Dingle to Ventry , which for anybody who may want to know is called Ceann Tra on all of the signposts although you won’t be looking at them anyway .

On my last morning I was once again passing through Ballyheigue when I noticed a sign post for ‘The coast road’ . This was a signpost for motorists and looked to be pointing in the right direction so discounting my own councilI decided to take a chance and follow it . Well done to John Benny and Mike Francis , they caught me again . The only time I could see the coast was from the crest of a few drags along the way . Although I could also see a road to which I seemed to be travelling parallel I was unprepared to take a left and see if indeed there was a proper coast road .

Lesson number two ‘Don’t believe a Kerry sign post.’

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Another thing which I did notice was that all small back roads had yellow lines on each side  instead of the customary white line in the centre which would be the norm up in our neck of the woods . The only conclusion that I could come to was that either The minister for Kerry John O’Donoghue or Jackie Healy Rae had been so successful in getting E.U. money for Kerry that they were trying to use twiceas much paint in order to use up the allocated budget for road painting .

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Ciara’s parents came down one night to babysit and we were able to head out on the town in Tralee . We had a bit of grub in restaurant David Norris ( not David Norris’s restaurant) . The food was excellent as was the atmosphere and there wasn’t a camp politician to be seen . Before heading back out to our rented Holiday Cottage we realised that we needed some milk for Laura’s breakfast the following morning so we went over to the 24 hour Tesco in the Manor West shopping centre . Romance is never dead when you have a 24 hour Tesco nearby .

 There happened to be a cruise on that particular night and as we were leaving the car park we got caught up in the cacophony of neon lights and playboy stickers . There was one squad car around , a one litre Toyota Yaris which would have had trouble keeping up with a bicycle let alone a 1.2 punto sporting with boot spoiler and 15 inch alloys .

We were in the midst of the convoy leaving the car park and when the others turned left towards the Earl of Desmond we turned right towards town . Which car did the squad decide to follow ? The souped up 240 bhp 1995 Toyota supra with a boot spoiler which looked more like a bunk bed than an aerodynamic addition to a car , or the Mazda 6 estate with a bike rack on the roof and baby blinds on the rear window driven by a six month pregnant woman . You guessed it , the Mazda . They followed our every turn and junction for about three miles until we were safely on the road out of town when they turned off. It was only upon later reflection that I realized what the problem was . All of the cruisers had KY number plates whereas our TS must have been flashing ‘Trouble Soon’ in the headlights of the Garda Yaris and they wanted to be sure we didn’t start doing donuts in the main street so were happy to escort us out of town .

One noticeable fact about Kerry however is that people are genuinely friendly . Cycling or driving down any road or boreen , if you meet a car or a person at the side of the road they will always wave a friendly greeting . People in shops and restaurants will pass the time of day with you and it really puts you at your ease in the place . There are thirteen beaches in the Tralee area and for our stay the weather was fantastic .

Would I go back again or recommend it ? absolutely , with one word of warning – Don’t believe the signposts!

Ray also went to Kerry last Friday and accomplished the fantastic feat of winning the opening prologuestage of this years Ras Mumhan . His time of 8.35 on a hard course was very impressive and showed that he is still a force to be reckoned with in Irish Cycling . Captain Chaos won today’s stage well and Big Ben is now in Yellow , a position which he is unlikely to relinquish with the form he is in this year .

And finally ;

Two Kerrymen were watching a John Wayne film on television. In one scene John Wayne was riding madly towards a cliff.
‘I bet you €10 that he falls over the cliff, said one Kerryman to the other.
‘Done’, said the second.
John Wayne rode straight over the cliff. As the second Kerryman handed over his €10, the first said, ‘I feel a bit guilty about this. I’ve seen the film before’.
‘So have I’, said the second Kerryman, ‘but I didn’t think he’d be fool enough to make the same mistake twice”.


One thought on “Visiting the Kingdom

  • April 15, 2007 at 3:13 pm

    Now all you have to do is get your custom header back 🙂



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