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Ireland – Our Last Day

Ireland – Our Last Day   “Nil aon tintean do thintean fein.” There is no fireside like your own fireside. Irish Proverb Well here I sit with a glass of Jameson and water by my side, no ice (the Irish way), in a hotel lobby near the Shannon airport. I am going to find it hard to write this. Today we basically retraced our steps back from the west coast through Limerick. We did cross to the North of the Dingle Peninsula to find a hidden gem, too well hidden, and got caught in a major traffic jam in Tralee (40th annual Rose of Tralee festival), and Sue almost went through the windshield when I stopped...

Ireland – Sunday

Ireland – Sunday “Ireland is a peculiar society in the sense that it was a nineteenth century society up to about 1970 and then it almost bypassed the twentieth century.” – Author John McGahern   We are now in Dingle, co. Kerry, probably the most interesting area that we will explore on our own. When we get up the weather is not soft, it’s a pouring, windy rain. So we retreat to the B&B common room to key word photos and practice new water color techniques. Lo and behold, around noon the weather turned beautiful, so we began our tour of ferry forts, magnificent cliffs,...

Ireland – Saturday

Ireland – Saturday           Today I will be downloading lots of photos, we are at a B & B in Dingle that has internet access. Last night they were closing the internet café before I could download. In the rush I mixed the order of days, but for the few people that are following this I am sure you figured it out. Today we drove the Ring of Kerry. Following the directions in Rick Steves’ book we only saw two buses before Waterville (the tip of the peninsula), and none after. The scenery was nice but not different than we have seen in co. Mayo earlier. We then...

Ireland – Thursday and Friday

Ireland – Thursday and Friday Well its Friday and shortly I will go to an internet café and post Wednesday’s blog along with today’s which covers the last two days. I am now driving. The road from Ennis to Limerick was an “M” road like our “I” roads limited access, two and four lanes with a divider, but with an occasional “roundabouts” (where all traffic goes in a clockwise circle, leaving in one of four directions). The speed limit is 100 kmh equivalent to 60 mph. We then went to Adar by an “N” road. They are two lanes, occasionally three, generally wide aprons to pull off and let someone pass. The...

Ireland – Last Day With Group

Ireland – Last Day With Group There is a small nation that stood alone, not for year or two, but several hundred years; ….that could never be got to accept defeat, and has never surrendered her sole. Eamonn DeValera Well today was; everybody together now – S O F T! Actually there was a spot were we wanted it to be soft and that was the Burren (Gaelic for barren). These are limestone rock formations, caused by the ice age, where you have many square miles of flat rocks with occasional stands of grass. It begins on the south side of Galway Bay and continues south and east. When the rocks are wet they are...

Ireland – Days 8-10

Ireland – Days 8-10 I am writing this on the way to County Donegal, and the city of Donegal. It’s a two hour drive and I tried to listen to my IPod, but was missing too much of Olcan’s interesting commentary. So I switched to the computer. I have been able to keep up with writing the blog, but I am way behind on publishing. We have one Apple Computer at the house, and it is the only way to connect to the internet. Most have their own computers, but to send or check email it’s the Apple, and we have only one person proficient in Apple usage to teach the rest. I can check and send emails without help, but...

Ireland – Day 7

Ireland – Day 7   “It only rains twice a week in Ireland, the first time for three days, the second time for four days.” Olcan I now am more convinced than ever of my Irish heritage, they love to tease with a twinkle in their eye, and they cannot spell worth a damn. Clew Bay is spelled as Clewbay on some directional signs, and the town of Mulranny can be found spelled 5 different ways on road signs. Of course if I had to spell in Irish (Gaelic) I would be really confused. That may be the reason I believe “spell checker” is man’s greatest invention. Today we go to the Island of Achill,...

Ireland – Day 6

Ireland – Day 6   For the good are always the merry, Save by an evil chance, And the merry love to fiddle, And the merry love to dance. W. B. Yeats It is “soft” again this morning, but we are going through with our plans anyhow which is to visit Clough Patrick, Irelands Holy Mountain where St. Patrick spoke to the people. It had two other names but was recently changed to its present name –  in about 1200 ad. Across the street at the foot of Clough Patrick is another abandon abbey with its graves marked with Celtic crosses and other varieties of stone. The idea is to take pictures and the...

Hillcrest House day 1

Hillcrest House day 1 I n the 17th century, a command to “Hang the harpers wherever found” was given by Queen Elizabeth, who wanted to extinguish all aspects of Irish culture.   This morning Olcan, our host, driver, tour guide, and international musician gathered Becky, our teacher, an award winning photographer and watercolorist, plus six other students at Shannon airport plus us at the hotel. Our group headed north to Westport. First on the M16, made famous in song, and then through county roads, getting narrower as we got closer to Westport. We again passed fields of livestock and harvested...

Ireland – Day 4

Ireland – Day 4 When things go wrong and will not come right, Though you do the best you can, When life looks black as the hour of night- A PINT OF PLAIN IS YOUR ONLY MAN. Flann O’Brien Well the tightly pulled drapes, useless for keeping out sound and light, but perfect for making the room stuffy, along with the heavy coverlet, has taken its toll on me also. The sleepless night keeps us from taking our Tram trip up the coast, so we settle for a long walk first to a museum recommended by Rick Steves, closed Mondays, and then through a shopping district. The streets are closed for traffic and filled with...

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