Saturday, September 26, 2009

The Ring of Kerry...

Along the Ring of Kerry, we came upon the "Bog Village" and just had to stop!

That is a huge pile of peat next to the blacksmith's building. There were piles this size all over the village. Chris and I seriously considered throwing a few pieces in a bag and smuggling them back to the states with us in the hope that when we finally move back and settle we'll have a fireplace to burn them in. We LOVE the smell of peat so much!

Creepy manakin dude!

Peat Cutter

After we cut through the Ring of Kerry, on suggestion of a few people in Dingle, we drove through the Ballymhan Gap. We didn't stop to take pictures, as it was such a long day of driving, but the scenery was amazing! Huge rocks in the grass covered hillsides, spotted with sheep. The single lane road was windy and very bumpy, but very fun to drive through. We drove through Sneem and had the most delicious meat pies at this bakery.
We started out sharing the beef pie. It was so delicious that we had to have another. When I went up to order a chicken pie, the owner said, "I knew one wouldn't be enough." And it wasn't!
A River Runs Through it.
Four years ago, the MacFarland family took me on the adventure of my life, in search of my ancestor's castle on the Ring of Kerry where the Black meets the Kenmare River. We found the "guest castle" which took the name of Cappanacush. The original castle, once named Cappanacush, has been renamed Dromore Castle and stands a short 1/4 mile away. They are quite a distance off the road and not easy to find, so I was satisfied with my memories, but needed to take a picture of the village sharing the name.
Chris and my trip around Ireland came full circle as we went through Cork and Waterford, finally arriving back at home in Dublin 8 days later. It was a trip filled with unforgettable memories, but we were exhausted and glad to be home.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Slea Head Drive...

Once we settled into our B&B we started on the Slea Head Drive. I was very excited about all the different sites on the drive. This was not one of them, but was a very cool looking restaurant. We didn't eat there though, as the menu left something to be desired.
I was most looking forward to the "Bee hive huts." We soon found out that you had to pay 2-3 euro per person at each of the 12 sites along Slea Head. This was extremely lame! We paid the money to see the huts, but that was it! The drive itself was beauty enough.

We came upon a free attraction...the beach. It was really quite lovely and we walked barefoot while high tide made itself known!

Footprints in the sand...
One little piggy...
Two little piggies...
Outside our B&B in the early hours of morn I discovered many snails on the wall. I know this one is a bit blurry, but I love the pattern on the shell so much I wanted to share it.

I love the Dingle Peninsula very much. I realize that I've been saying that about all the places we've visited so far on the trip, but it's true every time. I simply love the west of Ireland! Visit as soon as possible and stay as long as you can!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Dingle Peninsula...

Dingle is yet another place that holds very special memories for me. When last I was there I stayed at the Ballentaggart Hostel, in a dorm of 8. The room was filled with the MacFarland family, one short of the Brady Bunch, so I filled the 8th bed. We got along wonderfully and they adopted me for a full 36 hours, taking me around the Ring of Kerry in search of my ancestor's castle where the Black meets the Kenmare river. They are such a wonderful family and Dingle was such a wonderful place that I wanted to share that with Chris. We were exploring town and came upon this know me...I see kitchen equipment and it's magnetic! We bought a few gorgeous pastries and sat down to eat, only to be joined by the owner of the bakery. He was full of interesting stories...

He told us about these stars. He said, "Well, the lie goes like this...all the names are of the famous people who visited and never paid. The lie is more interesting than the truth, but nobody really knows the truth."
The thing the Chris was most looking forward to was taking a trip out to Dingle Bay to have some craic with Fungie the Dolphin. Fungie has lived in Dingle Bay for roughly 23 years. The story goes that he and his mate came into Dingle Bay where his mate died. He will not leave, as dolphins mate for life. They aren't sure how old Fungie is exactly, but he is definitely getting on in years...that didn't stop him from playing with the boats!

A typical Irish pub...
With the latest "import" the king of beers!
Chris and I ate seafood chowder almost every single day of our trip and never got sick of it!
Ah...a meeting with my kind of people!

The Cliffs of Kilkee...

Chris and I had both already seen the Cliffs of Moher up close, so were satisfied with a view from a distance. However, when we were presented with the chance to see the Cliffs of Kilkee (Moher's lesser known cousin), we jumped at the opportunity.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009


Chris and I visited Inisheer (Gaelic Inis Oirr), the smallest and closest of the Aran Islands. We took a very bumpy and wet ferry ride from Doolin Point and were there in a little over 30 minutes. Chris was very sweet and patient with my sea sickness while on board the ferry. I was really dreading the ferry ride back, but it turns out it's only choppy water that I feel sea sickness! So the return trip, on smooth water, was actually quite enjoyable!

Since moving to Ireland, I have come to love Cormorants.

Millions of tiny mussels!
Upon arriving on the island, Chris and I immediately rented bikes to see the numerous attractions scattered around. Among them were a shipwreck from the 1960's, church & castle ruins, a graveyard and a lighthouse.
My favorite picture of the trip and I took it all by myself!
Spider web in the rusty shipwreck...
the rusty ship...
The holy well...

Chris loves the livestock. He always prefers the sheep, but cows are pretty cool too!
This church was level with the rest of the ground when it was built. Over the years, the wind blew sand to the point that it was completely buried and needed to be excavated. They then planted a special type of grass around it to prevent a re-burial.

This was once the castle of the royal family that ruled the island back in the day...the O'Brien family I think.
Chris on top of the castle ruins...
When last I visited the Aran Islands, I was intrigued by how many stone walls there were, making hundreds of very small fields. From a distance (from the ferry) the islands looked grey. Chris and I speculated about the reasoning behind the many walls, but it wasn't until I was in the sitting room with Brid's husband that I found out the truth. Earlier that day, while riding our bikes out to the lighthouse, we saw him helping a neighbor build a stone wall. I asked him about it and he said he's been building stone walls all over the island since he was 13 years old. He was a builder (built his house himself over 30 years ago) and built most of the buildings on the island. He also said that when people first came to Inisheer to live, the island was covered with rocks and the land was no good for growing crops or keeping livestock. They started building stone walls to move the rocks and expose the land. They brought sand from the beach and then started seeding with grass and potatoes. It has taken many, many years, but now the land is good and crops and livestock flourish.
Our final destination on bike was the lighthouse. We were most excited about this one, imagining we would stay taking pictures for at least an hour or so, so we saved it for last. Making sure we were well fed and hydrated, we set off. The road was very bumpy and mostly downhill (giving us an idea of how our return ride would be). When we arrived at our destination, we found a gate, very much locked, with a sign stating the lighthouse was private property and we could go no further. After the disappointment washed over us, we climbed the wall and took unobstructed pictures from there.

Our time on Inisheer was wonderful. It was a quaint and friendly island. One day was just enough time to bike around to all the attractions!