Although Irish mountains aren't massively tall, our mountain passes feel very wild and treacherous, in no small part because of the scant road you cling to when you them. Not to mention, you're equally likely to come head to head with a horse and trap as with a motorized vehicle.
Lest you think I'm exaggerating, you can spot the "road" we were driving up in the top picture, on the right, barely visible between the big rocks. Still, once you steady your nerves and look around, the views are breathtaking. The landscape is so visibly glacial with its paternoster lakes and corries that it's hard not to recall geology segments from school geography class. More pictures on Flickr!
We wound all the way through the pass and then high-tailed it down to Cork to eat at Cafe Paradiso. I'd been dying to eat there for years, being a big fan of the cookbooks. The food was amazing by any standard, whether vegetarian or not, and although the prices are characteristically Irish (i.e. way more expensive than they need be), I would most definitely go back again.
I ate for starters: Grilled fig & leek salad with Knockalara sheep’s cheese, glazed pecans and a honey-pomegranate dressing. Dinner main: Gratin of roast squash, leeks, Gabriel cheese & herbed hazelnut crust with lemon cream, roast plum tomatoes and braised borlotti beans. Dessert: Finished it all off with a trio of mini-lemon desserts.