Animals, Bantry, Bantry House, Cliffs of Moher, Dublin, Ireland, living like a local, Living Like Locals, Ring of Kerry, Sheeps Head, Travel, Trinity College, Uncategorized, Villages

Ireland- How We Loved 40 Shades of Green, Bold Heather, Thick Fog, and lots of Rain.

Our first trip to Ireland was full of excitement, anticipation, beauty, 40 shades of green and history. Oh, yes, and plenty of laughing.

We asked friends for advice on how to best attack this storied land. Dublin, Galway, Limerick, Adare,, Dingle, Killarney, and Cork received the most votes. So we decided to spend four days in Dublin (turned out to be 1 day too long for us). Then we’d cowboy-up, rent a car (seriously, driving in Ireland, shifting with the left hand on the “otherside of the road, on narrow lanes, dodging sheep and cattle?), and head toward Galway working our way down to the Cliffs of Moher (we were told they were not to be missed), then Dingle and The Ring of Kerry, over to Limerick and Adare (which my sister visited 1 year ago and loved), then to Cork if time permitted.

As with most of our “seat of the pants” touring, changes come often and swiftly. While visiting a tourist office in Dublin a young man suggested the following:

  1. Go to Bantry in County Cork. It is not only a small town (our favorite) and beautiful but also has easy access to many attractions that rival some of the best known and most crowded tourist stops.
  2. Avoid the Ring of Kerry at all costs unless following behind busses inhaling exhaust and dodging wobbly bicyclist is a passion of yours. This was underlined by ever local we asked.
  3. Drive the back roads as often as possible (set your Google Maps to avoid highways and tolls). Be prepared for roads that are barely passable by 1 vehicle, let alone 2 or farm vehicles, and look for Mohawk roads which have grass growing down the middle.

Dublin

Trinity College

While in Dublin we stayed in a small accomodation at Trinity College, founded in 1592 by Queen Elizabeth I.

Trinity_Entrance
Looking through the College Square toward the arch at the main entrance.
Trinity_Bram Stoker Bldg
One of the main buildings, designed by Bram Stoker, once a student and an Irish author, best known today for his 1897 Gothic novel Dracula.

Today, one of the main attractions of Trinity is The Book of Kells, an illuminated manuscript Gospel book in Latin, containing the four Gospels of the New Testament. It was created in a Columban monastery in either Britain or Ireland and may have had contributions from various Columban institutions from both Britain and Ireland. It is believed to have been created c. 800 AD. We were a bit disappointed in that only 2 pages of the Book is on display. Each day a “protector” of the Book with hands covered with archival gloves turns the page and another two pages goes on display for that day. This system helps to protect the Book.

Trinity_line for Kells
There is a downside to “Main Attractions”. It is known as “crowds”. This is a shot of the line to enter the Book of Kells on the Saturday after we arrived. The length was not nearly as bad as we had anticipated and it moved quickly. But then this is a “short” line.
Trinity_library with guide
The Book of Kells is displayed in the Main Library at Trinity, known as the “Long Room”. We both loved this Library and spent quite a bit of time in it. Notice how the books are stacked over two stories. There is no dewey decimal system in place here. The books, a copy of every book published in Ireland, are stacked with the largest by weight and height on the bottom and smallest on top. Curious system! We were told they wanted to be certain that some huge coffee table book didn’t fall on someone’s head.

 

Walking Temple Bar

If you have never been to Ireland, as we had not, you’ll be tempted to go to Temple Bar for the Guinness Experience. According to virtually every Irish person we met, DO NOT BE FOOLED.

Dublin_Temple Bar Street
The Temple Bar area of Dublin, pretty but touristy, crowded, and expensive.

First, Temple Bar is a retail section of the city, not actually a bar. Most Irish will not go there as it is for tourists and the prices for just about everything is higher than elsewhere.

Dublin_Temple Bar
We were told that this popular tourist bar actually raise the prices of drinks every half hour during the evening.

Merrion Square

A residential section of Dublin, this area is beautiful. The garden is meticulous and has a whimsical and relaxing statue of Oscar Wilde, an Irish Poet and Playwright and student at Trinity.

Marion Square_Wilde
Flamboyant Oscar Wilde, author of The Picture of Dorian Gray and The Importance of Being Earnest.

Along The River

Dublin_river hooks
We had a leisurely walk along the river to pick up our Eurocar. These hooks were used to secure large sailing vessels that had docked.
Dublin_lavender
Along the walk were pretty flower boxes of purple and lavender, and of course green.
Dublin_Harp Bridge
Samuel Beckett Bridge in Dublin joins Sir John Rogerson’s Quay on the south side of the River Liffey to Guild Street and North Wall Quay in the Docklands area. Notice the shape — it is a harp, the symbol for Ireland. It was allegedly taken (without compensation) from Guinness, whose logo is the same only reversed.
Dublin_Famin 2
Everywhere you can go in Ireland there is a reminder of the Great Famine of 1845. Along our walk were a set of sculptures depicting the devastation as millions of people were driven from their homes and traveled by foot to other parts of Ireland and the world in search of food, jobs, housing, and medical care. One tour guide estimated that more than half of the Irish population was lost during the Great Famine.

Dublin_Famin 1

Dublin_Famin 3
This statue of a father carrying his deceased child is particularly moving.

Ennis and Adare

ennis_jimmy bagley
We stopped in a little village on our way from Ennis to Adare and met John’s new friend Jimmy Bagley. Because his brogue was so thick and he spoke a combination of English and old Irish (mostly Irish) that we barely understood a word he said. But, he was one of the friendliest people we have met since our travels began.
Ennis_river of flowers
This “River of Flowers” was exceptionally beautiful.
Ennis_Duck Inn
The “Ducks Inn” was the first thing to catch our attention in this village.
Ennis_Parents
Right near the “Inn” a couple of parents were anxiously awaiting their new family members. We discovered them while Bev was geocaching.
Adare_house yellow pink
Adare is a really lovely old village with many homes having thatched roofs. On a walking tour we learned that only one man in the village actually builds and maintains these roofs. (can’t imagine how expensive they must be and whether he is passing on this lost art to anyone else).
Adare_thatch
The intricacy of the roofs is quite amazing.
Adare_flowers and thatch
And, they give a look into what life may have been like during a time gone by.

Bantry

Four days of Dublin was plenty. We set off for Bantry, in County Cork, John’s homeland on his mother’s side.

Everything we had been told about Cork and Bantry in particular was spot on.

BH_Bev eat blackberry
Bev enjoyed picking (and eating) blackberries while on a footpath.
BH_Bev and J
A friendly woman from New Zealand took this picture of us against the backdrop of Bantry House.
BH_old garden
Descendants of the original owners still occupy Bantry House. They receive little or no financial support from the government so some of the grounds are a bit overgrown. Nevertheless, this is a beautiful place, worth visiting and supporting. Besides the tea and pastry in the coffee shop makes the day even better. The same evening we went to a !0:30 concert by candlelight of traditional Irish folk music in the Bantry great room.
BH_Harbor
Harbor view from the front of Bantry House.
BH_Canon
Another view of the harbor and one of the hundreds of cemeteries (to the left) we saw.

Durrow & Sheep’s Head

Durrow_lobster traps on pier
Old lobster traps and gear on the pier in Durrow.
Durrow_old mill
An old storehouse built to store cereal after the Great Famine of 1845 which killed millions.
Durrow_wall castle cows mussel on greenjpg
This farm in Durrow captures all of Ireland. What is left of an old building, cattle grazing on the greenest of grasses, a rock wall, the ocean, and mussel rafting. The only thing missing is a pint of Guinness.
Sheeps head_ bev and J at light house
After a mile walk we reached the Sheep’s Head lighthouse. We really enjoyed the ride along Sheep’s Head peninsula , the walk and hot chocolate at the rustic Sheephead’s cafe.
sheeps head_bev on heather and fog
Bev framed by fog, heather and stone hills.
Sheeps head_heather down to ocean
Heather and rock down to the sea.
Sheeps head_heather on rock
Surrounded by heather, rock, and fog – the rugged beauty of this is hard to describe and impossible to not appreciate.
bantry_accross from airbnb
View from the front door of our fabulous Airbnb in Bantry.
bantry_500 yr old homes
The 4 homes across the water from this boat are approximately 500 years old.
bantry_town center
Another view of Bantry from the town center. The stunning irish green is everywhere.

 

 

bantry_town donkey
The Town Donkey in the center of it all. We’ll be back!

Before leaving Bantry we have to give a big shout out to Maureen and Pete Farreley, our Airbnb hosts. They made our stay a barrel of laughs. Each morning we would gather around the breakfast table chatting about everything from my ancestors (the O’Driscolls who were/are “Tinkers” — gypsies ) to President Trump, Brexit, Irish football, Cork vs Kerry and laugh until our sides hurt. Thanks Maureen and Pete, we’ll see you soon. Here is to keeping our fingers crossed that your favorite team comes out on top on Saturday September 14.

Baltimore

Baltimore_heather overlooking harbor
It was a beautiful day so we took a drive to this beautiful (Bev’s favorite) seaside village. Acres of heather overlooking Baltimore Harbor.
Baltimore_harbor
Baltimore Harbor.
Baltimore_brunch flowers
Brunch Flowers.
Baltimore_Brunch tea
Bev enjoying brunch tea at Glebe in Baltimore, one of our favorite stops in Ireland.
Baltimore_cliffs of Balt
Cliffs of Baltimore, rivaling those at the Cliffs of Moher which has an entrance fee (unless you find the tiny footpaths to the south of them) and you have to fight large crowds. We actually prefer the Baltimore cliffs as they are more our style.
Baltimore_cliffs of Beacon
Cliffs surrounding an area known as The Beacon in Baltimore, an easy and very beautiful walk from the center. And, for Bev, the sight of another geocache.
Baltimore_more cliffs
More cliffs.
Baltimore_Bev shooting Harbor Cliffs
Bev capturing as much of Baltimore as possible, in spite of the wind.

We could go on and on about how much we enjoyed the beauty of the Irish countryside and the people. We will return for sure. Hopefully as pet sitters. In the meantime, each time we raise a pint we’ll be thinking about the 40 shades of green that astonished us each day in Ireland.

Thanks for joining us on the road.

Bev & John

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Moher_B & J
A stop along The Cliffs of Moher, near Galway Ireland

Caring for two dogs in a small village in a foreign country
can be daunting. But, not for us. We have done it before,
As International Trusted House Sitters we get to make
new friends with all sorts of critters. The best part,
however, is making new human friends.

About Bev & John
We have rented our home and rid ourselves of most of our “collection of stuff” so we could explore the world, unencumbered. Join us as we learn how to live like locals, throughout the world, without it costing a fortune.
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2 thoughts on “Ireland- How We Loved 40 Shades of Green, Bold Heather, Thick Fog, and lots of Rain.”

    1. Thank you for the kind comment. And, yes, we had a wonderful time in Ireland. We have long hesitated to visit Ireland because of the weather, cold and rainy. Being from Arizona, we are used to heat and sun. Much to our delight, the weather was enjoyable, a lovely departure from that which we are accustomed.

      Liked by 1 person

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