I’m drowsily typing this from a B&B in almost the most westerly point in Europe – Dingle, Western Ireland. It’s pretty magnificent here. The kind of landscape reminiscent of the kind of epic films whose morals are founded in loyalty, bravery and which perhaps features occasional, intense, homo-erotic eye contact between Hobbits. With mountains.
The best way to explore it is on horseback. The best way to achieve this is to allow your father – who has recently adopted the sport and cherishes it like a beloved child – to tag along with you so he can pay for it (pony trekking is not cheap).
There’s something radically authentic about seeing Ireland happen from the back of a horse. You don’t really feel like a tourist; tourists hop into their hired cars and drive around the narrow, winding cliff-top roads, churning out noxious fumes by the cubic something-or-other and gleefully flinging their Maccies bags out of the window, cooing at the various attributes of the landscape but also keeping their eyes very much pealed for the next opportunity they might snatch a drive-thru. No. We are not tourists like these! We are not afraid to don our waterproof coats/trousers/gloves/socks/panties yet still somehow get soaked right through to the skin, we relish the opportunity to have our faces plastered with sand and our mouths filled with grit from the flying debris churned up by the horse galloping on front of our own, OH NO. We enrich our lives with the awe-inspiring sight of the Irish countryside from a sympathetic, non-polluting viewpoint. It makes us realise how small our presence on this Earth truly is, allows the trivialities of everyday life to slide gently, effortlessly into perspective and allows our imaginations a little freedom (the horse I was assigned, Blasket, looked a little like the one Aragorn was given by the Rohirrim in The Two Towers, so mostly I pretended I was in Middle Earth, doing some quests and shit).
Dear Reader, I hope you have realised all that soul searching talk was satirical, superfluous bullshit. Pony trekkers are just as pretentious as the car hire-ers. Dad and I went pony trekking ’cause we fucking love ponies, man. And LotR.
Look at his smily little face.