In the summer of 1956 there was a very serious Polio epidemic in Cork….so serious that the all-Ireland football and hurling finals of that year were delayed as Cork were in both finals and there were naturally concerns that with so many Cork supporters travelling to Dublin for the matches the polio virus would be spread to Dublin and further afield.
Cork played Wexford in the delayed final of the hurling championship and it was for me a very exciting match as it was my first visit to an all-Ireland final. I also got to see my sporting hero Christy Ring the famous Cork hurler play in his last all Ireland final. Cork lost but the wonderful sporting Wexford defenders Nicky O Donnell and Bobby Rackard put Christy up on their shoulders and carried him off Croke Park as a gesture of their appreciation of how difficult it was to defend against such a sporting legend.
That summer myself and my brothers and sisters were dispatched to a caravan in a field near Derrynane in Kerry to try to avoid us catching Polio and so out of that problem we got to spend three months in Kerry in a caravan near a beach. As a result a lifelong love affair with South Kerry was born. My favourite part of the world without a doubt is between Kenmare and Caherciveen with Waterville golf club as a not unimportant visiting place along the way.
The way we travel to that most beautiful stretch of road from Cork is by turning left off the main Cork/Killarney Road towards Kilgarvan. We then join the Ring of Kerry road at Kenmare.
For those of you reading not from Ireland and unfamiliar with some of the roads in Kerry I would just offer three words of advice “Take your time”. Some of the roads particularly the Ring of Kerry roads are quite twisty but as you can enjoy the most fabulous views in the world from them it would be a shame not to relax, slow down and take them all in. As I often say to my children “Just Go with the flow”
Recently whilst driving from Kenmare to Sneem I was passing a lovely little place called Blackwater Bridge where Kerry’s River Blackwater enters the sea. The road at Blackwater Bridge is the narrowest part of the road and there is in fact only room for one car at a time to cross the bridge.
As you will see from the photo if there is a car on the bridge then a car coming from the other direction has to stop and let it go by. Probably the average speed that you can safely drive this stretch of the road is about 20k/ph.
We then move some 200 yards along the road towards Sneem where there is a speed limit sign. This part of the road is really twisty and is another very slow section of the road but the speed limit sign is now encouraging us to accelerate rapidly to 100k/ph. I tried it and the maximum I could do was less than 40 k/ph.
Anyway common sense has prevailed and the local people totally frustrated with the craziness of the speed limit indicated seem to have taken one of the zero’s off the speed limit sign. As you can see from the photo below they have changed the limit to one they deem more suitable.
A simple Kerry solution to a Kerry problem which I think kind of sums up the practical nature and the humour of the wonderful people who live in that part of the world.
Ted Dwyer Family Business