Friday, October 22, 2010

Ireland trip Day 4, The Ring of Kerry, Co. Kerry, Ireland

It started out with a forecast from the Irish weather guessers for rain and fog etc.  At first it was only spotty rain and clouds, punctuated by amazing rainbows!  So clear that all the violet was visible and the hung in the air for such a long time.  I don't ever remember one at home lasting as long. Our guide for the day was Dennis Kissane, who was very entertaining. We stopped first along the road for photos (yes, that's what we were told) there was a young man waiting beside the road with his burro with his tiny dog atop selling peat bricks.  We had been passing the blanket peat bogs along the way, while heating oil has replaced peat for most people the high cost of oil means that some are returning to cutting and burning their own peat.  Each family has a plot of peat that they cut, the landscape looks odd with the straight walls where peat has been cut.

Caragh Lake is just visible off in the distance and the Caragh River is right next to the road.  You can see the mist coming in.

When I turned to look the other direction this is what I saw, a beautiful rainbow!

Our next stop is Rossbeigh Beach.  It is mostly empty this time of the year.  This is one of the "Prove you are in Ireland" photos taken on the beach.

We stopped in a small town just down the road, I think it might have been Glenbeigh, and I had my first encounter with a pub.  There were US license plates hanging behind the bar so I wandered over to look at them, two gentlemen who where having a pint (before lunch) asked "Are you on holiday, then?"  Yes, I am.  "Would you be from the States then?"  Yes, I am (really all I have to do is open my mouth and speak to make that apparent!)  "Where in the states?"  I am from Missouri.  Long pause and blank stares.  "Would that be close to Arizoniay?"  Not really.  It would take two days to drive there.  Missouri is in the middle (this soon becomes my standard)  "Well, it is a big place, America."  It really is.  "Enjoy your holiday!"  I will!  Another cool thing was that they had their black and white collie dog with them in the pub!

We stopped for photos one more time before lunch between Glenbeigh and Kells for the ocean views.  You can tell the weather is getting worse.
Because it was raining and we couldn't see much we had extra time and stopped in at the Daniel O'Connell Church in Cahersiveen.  It was pouring down rain by then so I hustled inside!  Beautiful stained glass windows behind the main altar and also behind the two side altars.  I doubt my pictures do them justice!.

Then it is off to Waterville for lunch, along the way we pass Valentia Island where the trans-oceanic telegraph cable first landed in Europe.  Couldn't see it at all but Dennis told us all about it!  Waterville's claim to fame seems to be that Charlie Chaplin vacationed there with his family and eventually bought land there which the family still owns.  The hotel where we eat has many photos of him and his family and there is a statute of him on the walkway.  I imagine it was a lovely little town but it was so cold and wet we didn't see much of it.  Here and everywhere there are huge hydrangea bushes and hedges of wild fushia.  There are sheep and cattle on the hills everywhere.  There are 4 1/2 million people in Ireland and 8 1/2 million cows!  Beef and dairy products are two of their principal exports, all grass fed and "gate to table."  The road from Waterville is narrow and twisty and we couldn't see a thing for the fog!  Mark entertained us with music on his traditional Irish flute and tin whistle, Dennis made us all sing "Molly Malone!" We arrived in Sneem, winner of the coveted "Tidiest Village" award, where we stop for ice cream.  The rain had stopped and as we drove further north the sky lifted and some sun appeared-it was still quite windy!

 Next stop is Ladies View for a look at a glacial valley inside Killarney National Park.  Parts of these valleys didn't have electric lights until the 1960's!  Dennis remembers vividly the day electricity came to his family farm in 1957!  The whole of the day we have been circling the MacGillycuddy's Reeks which contains many of the highest mountains in Ireland.  It is very green but very few trees,  the exception there being the Sitka pine farms which are being subsidized by the government. There are ruins of houses all along the way,  dating to the great potato famine which holds a place in their collective memory much like the War Between the States does in the US.  Ever the builder's daughter I asked what the houses were made of,  the old buildings are made of native gray limestone and the newer ones of cement block both are stuccoed and painted so it is very hard to tell how old a house is!  Each house is ringed with pavement on three sides-no plantings like we have- the  town houses and some country houses all have a short wall around the front.  I asked Dennis about the why of that, I don't think he really knew as his answer was "It's traditional."

Arriving back in Killarney we are free for the night and I was invited to walk with Merry Lee and Jenni into the National Park, more on that tomorrow, then we dined in town on Fish and chips, yummo!  Later I joined a group bound for a pub for traditional music and had my second Guiness!

1 comment:

a good yarn said...

What a marvellous post! There's a reason why the country os so green Gail.....What a wonderful conversation at the pub. Textbook stuff! There is some magnificent countryside. You can't beat fish and chips. Ann :-)