As our Clan continued on our little roadtrip in Ireland, I was starting to realize that this place is a bit of a CC bonanza. After the MGB GT the other day, we were walking down the high street in Kenmare and as we were rounding the corner, I heard a distinctive noise behind me. Turning to look, we were passed by a delightful green shape as I was frantically but unsuccessfully trying to pull my camera out of my pocket.
Not to worry though as I noticed it make a turn into a driveway off the road just around the corner. Sure enough, a short walk later and I saw it sitting in the forecourt of another petrol station. As I walked up to it, the owner was walking out the door towards it and I remarked that I found it lovely. He beamed and was only too happy to allow me to take a few photos of it while answering a few questions.
The biggest difference between this one and the standard 2CV is of course the van body, known as the “Fourgonnette”. Being a 1964 version of the 2CV, it was also the last year of the “suicide” style doors, they were replaced with conventionally hinged ones the next year. As with all 2CV’s, it is powered by an air-cooled flat twin-cylinder engine, this model year they produced 16hp (!) when new. Looking at the engine, it is visually remarkably similar to an old BMW motorcycle engine. (Well, it is if you get the angle right, the cylinders are right at the front bottom, not really visible in the picture above)
The seats, though minimalist, are extremely comfortable, as is the ride of all 2CV’s. In fact the design brief for the 2CV stated that car should be able to traverse a plowed field with a basket of eggs on the passenger seat and once across the field, the eggs should all still be intact.
This is the owner’s third 2CV, and his favorite so far and most reliable. In fact it just seems to go and go while needing very little attention. He uses it to scavenge firewood from the roadside from fallen trees and tree limbs; as such the back is outfitted with a simple cargo deck, but he has added little lockers at the top of the front edge of the roof as well as shelves/bins at the sides. Also, there are now wooden boxes under the front seats where he keeps his tools. Overall it seems more like a little boat or cabin cruiser than a car with all of the little cubbies. Really, the back could easily double as a sleeping quarters for a longer trip if there was only a little mattress or pad.
I wish I had asked the owner his name, alas I forgot to do so. Hopefully he sees this though, I told him that I would write it up quite soon and reminded him that we used the American spelling of “Curbside” as opposed to “Kerbside”.
The reason we stopped off in Kenmare specifically was to see its stone circle as part of the “Ring of Kerry” loop that we were driving. We’ve become a little bit of stone circle buffs, having visited the most famous (Stonehenge in England) more than a few times and in fact got engaged many years ago at Avebury, which I believe is the largest known stone circle (much larger than Stonehenge if not as well preserved or excavated but even more mind-boggling).
Ireland (the South-West specifically) has a quite a few stone circles and this one was very nicely presented in a screen of trees. Much smaller than the ones I mentioned above, these days one could probably more or less recreate it in a backyard with a few trips to the garden and stone center, a delivery appointment, a rented Bobcat skid-steer, and a bit of planning with a few friends and a case of beer. Still, to have done so with simple tools thousands of years ago is a magnificent feat, (keeping in mind that there is usually an astrological component to them as well utilizing a lot of science and precise measurements), and there is still little understanding of the exact reasons for building them.
While we were in town we walked around the area and also came across these large stone figures. Much newer than the stone circle, they were part of an art grant scheme in the recent past wherein 1% of the road infrastructure improvement budget had to go towards public art installations in the town affected.
They are in a nice setting on an overlook on one of the bays just outside of town.
Going further along the Ring of Kerry, a little ways past Kenmare you hit Portmagee. Off the coast of Portmagee is a island named Skellig Michael – If you are a Star Wars fan, think back to the ending of Episode 7, when Rey meets Luke. That is in the picture above, the little island visible in the distance to the right of the frame. It’s about 9 miles offshore and they do organize visits. The actual history of Skellig Michael is fascinating, well worth a Google…or a visit.
Overall, Kenmare specifically and many if not most of the others places on the Ring of Kerry are well worth a stop for some sights to see and a short stroll about town and perhaps a meal. And if you are really lucky (or just keep one eye on the road), you may see a Curbside Classic as well!