Name: Phillip of Los Angeles, Ca
Tell Us Your Story: As “road trips of a lifetime” go, nothing can compare to my sojourn along the oceanside two-laner that traces the southwestern coast of Ireland, also known as the Ring of Kerry. I navigated the twisting asphalt for 3 days, along precipitous cliffsides and through small Irish villages, all the while my vistas in every direction replete with the vibrant greenscapes that the country is known for, not to mention the stunning and peaceful Kerry coastline. This would have been enough of a memory… but what transformed the adventure into the realm of pure magic, was the machine I chose to take me through.
Earlier while researching my trip I had discovered a small Mom-and-Pop shop in county Limerick specializing in renting (or as they say in Europe, “hiring”) classic cars. Long in advance I reserved their glorious ivory white 1973 Triumph TR-6 convertible two-seater, with a straight-six engine mated to a 4-speed manual.
This was my first time driving on the “wrong” side of a car, on the “wrong” side of the road, and Day 1 would be spent getting from Limerick to Killarney – in the rain, no less. So when the nice lady at the shop let my rookie hands loose on this sweet classic, there was no shortage of anxiety on my part. Happily, I got used to it quickly enough. And there would be no distractions, as there was no radio — just the sound of that rorty six.
The epic part of this drive was on Day 2, after a good night’s rest, when I set forth on the Ring of Kerry. The day would see gorgeous sunshine and occasional squalls of rain. Putting the roof down or up was quite a ritual, requiring about 10 minutes of finagling with the folding mechanism and then putting the tonneau cover on. So, once it was down, I kept it down. And when the rain came, I just hammered through it. I discovered that as long as I kept near 60km/h, the interior and I remained bone dry! This strategy worked out quite well.
The coastal road snakes along the edge of the country and takes uncountable twists and turns both near sea level and at high elevations, making for a non-stop thrill ride — with the bonus of a 360-degree view of the scenery that just wouldn’t let up. And the TR-6 was all too eager to eat up the road at, let’s just say, “spirited” velocities.
The Triumph was a great conversation starter with strangers, too. Other motorists were out and about but few and far between, dawdling along in unmentionable modern soul-crushing econoboxes. In this company, the TR-6 stood out like a parade float – and I have to admit I enjoyed the extra attention.
I was out from morning ’til sunset. After resting for a bit at my bed & breakfast, I strolled down to one of the local hangouts in Killarney, regaled the people I met with the tale of the Triumph, and celebrated an incredible day.