North America, Europe · 9 Days · 59 Moments · March 2017

Ireland 2017

2 April 2017

Sunday April 2nd it was time to head home. Goodbye, Ireland. I fell in love so quickly with your countryside, valleys, and mountains, your villages and towns, cliffs, castles and seashores. I'll be counting the days until we come back. "And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping slow, Dropping from the veils of the morning to where the cricket sings; There midnight’s all a glimmer, and noon a purple glow, And evening full of the linnet’s wings. I will arise and go now, for always night and day I hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore; While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements grey, I hear it in the deep heart’s core."

1 April 2017

This morning we woke up and went to both Saint Patrick's Cathedral, and then the Royal Hospital in Kilmainham, which is now the Irish Museum of Modern Art. Since 1870, the Church of Ireland has designated St Patrick's as the national cathedral for the whole of Ireland, drawing chapter members from each of the twelve dioceses of the Church of Ireland. The dean is the ordinary for the cathedral; this office has existed since 1219. The most famous office holder was Jonathan Swift. The hospital was built in 1684 by Sir William Robinson, official State Surveyor General for James Butler, 1st Duke of Ormonde and Lord Lieutenant of Ireland to King Charles II, as a home for retired soldiers and continued in that use for over 250 years. The style is based on Les Invalides in Paris with a formal facade and a large courtyard. The Royal Hospital in Kilmainham was restored by the Irish Government in 1984 (its 300th anniversary) and controversially opened as the Irish Museum of Modern Art (IMMA).

31 March 2017

Friday afternoon we made it into Dublin and relaxed as long as possible before a bit more roaming around the city at night. We wound up taking my colleague's advice (my company has an office in Dublin - which I dropped in to say hello to a few friends) and we had dinner at The Church Bar. As you can imagine, it's a church that's been converted into a bar and restaurant. Luck as we could be, we were seated on the second floor, dead center, under the original pipe organ. The food was spectacular and 100% reasonably priced.
Friday we had to head back to Dublin, but we made it a point to stop in Cahir - to visit Cahir Castle, and have some breakfast at a nearby cafe. Cahir Castle (Irish: Caisleán na Cathrach), one of the largest castles in Ireland, is sited on an island in the river Suir. It was built from 1142 by Conor O'Brien, Prince of Thomond. Now situated in Cahir town centre, County Tipperary.

30 March 2017

Thursday night, after I parted ways with the lambs. We made our way inland to Ballylooby, Tipperary Ireland. This was our final AirBNB (Air Bed and Breakfast) location. We stayed in a cottage on a farm, owned by an overwhelmingly sweet man, named Pat. When we arrived at 8pm, he had already had the wood burning stove going for two hours - to ensure the cottage was warm for our arrival. He had little cakes on the table and ample amounts of tea and items for Friday's breakfast ready. He even let us do a load of laundry at 9pm. Very few people in Ireland own dryers. So he came down to the cottage at 9:30pm and collected our clean / damp clothes, to dry them up at his main house.
Leaving Dingle and driving through Cahersiveen, we stopped at a sheep farm... and I fell in love with the little lambs. I can't say for sure, but the one who smushed his face into mine and fell asleep in my hair MAY have been in love with me too. I'm just going to say it. My heart belongs to a tiny, black nosed sheep in Cahersiveen.
Dingle Bay (Bá an Daingin in Irish) is a bay located in County Kerry, western Ireland. The outer parts of the Dingle Peninsula and Dingle Bay mark one of the westernmost points of mainland Ireland. The harbour town of Dingle lies on the north side of the bay. Fungie /ˈfʊŋɡiː/, also known as the Dingle Dolphin, is a common bottlenose dolphin who is known to live in very close contact with humans in Dingle, Ireland. According to locals he was first seen in the harbour in 1983, and continues to seek out human contact over thirty years later. Fungie is a male fully grown bottlenose dolphin.
Thursday morning we woke up super early and got on the road toward Dingle. The Dingle Peninsula is one of / if not the most beautiful place I have ever seen.

29 March 2017

By the time the sun had set, our hunger was setting in as well. We hightailed it back to Killarney for dinner (which wound up being a fast food joint for fish and chips, because everything else was closed at 10pm 😂👌🏼) and hit the hay hard that night. It was such an amazing day, I think we all had sweet dreams.
We took another ferry over to Cahersiveen Ireland and almost immediately came upon Ballycarberry Castle... which we had all to ourselves to wonder around. We stayed specifically to see the sunset from the second floor... which was a sort of unstable and nerve-racking climb.... but we love an adventure! Ballycarbery Castle is a castle 3 kilometres (2 mi) from Cahersiveen, County Kerry, Ireland . The castle is high on a grass hill facing the sea, and dates back to 1398.
After which, Sloan had us plummet a ridiculously steep mountain - so we could learn about Tetrapods! (I know. I know. How could I NOT already know about Tetrapods?! I'm so sheltered!) In 1993 an undergraduate geology student discovered a tetrapod track on the north east of Valentia Island. The tetrapod tracks are in lay person's terms footprints of a animal believed to have been created some 385 million years ago (give or take a year or two). The Valentia Island track way is of international importance as it provides some of the oldest evidence of one of the first water dwelling creatures which crawled out of the water and made the important evolutionary step toward land dwelling.
Then we took our "little rental car that could" aaaall the way up Geokaun mountain to check out the cliff views.
On August 16, 1858 the first message sent via the cable, other than technical messages sent by the electricians setting up the system, was, "Europe and America are united by telegraphy. Glory to God in the highest; on earth, peace and good will toward men," sent from England.
Crossing Maurice O'Neill Memorial Bridge from Portmagee to Valentia. Portmagee (Irish: An Caladh, meaning "The Harbour") is a village in County Kerry, Ireland. The village is located on the Iveragh peninsula south of Valentia Island. The name in Irish means 'the ferry', referring to its purpose as a crossing point to the island. Access to Valentia Island is now via a bridge from Portmagee. The bridge is called the Maurice O'Neill Memorial Bridge. The bridge was built in 1970 and named in memory of a young farmer captured and judged by a military court before being executed in 1942.
The next town was Portmagee. This was the first thing I saw in Portmagee. In my humble opinion, it was the only thing I need to have seen in Portmagee.
From there it was on to Waterville. Fun fact: Waterville's population is 538. Pulling into Waterville. Waterville, historically known as Coirean (Irish: An Coireán, meaning "little cauldron"), is a village in County Kerry, Ireland, on the Iveragh Peninsula. The town is sited on a narrow isthmus, with Lough Currane on the east side of the town, and Ballinskelligs Bay on the west, and the Currane River connecting the two. The town's name in Irish Coireán refers refers to the shape of Ballinskelligs Bay on which the town sits; the name, however, has been transplanted onto the lake with the Irish name being Loch Luíoch or Loch Luidheach. The town was a favourite holiday spot of Charlie Chaplin and his family who used to stay in the Butler Arms Hotel. They first visited the town in 1959 and came back every year for over ten years. There is a statue of him in the centre of the village in his memory.
Then we drove a bit on towards Staig Fort. Staigue represents a considerable feat in engineering and building. It was built without mortar, using undressed stones. Vertical joints visible in the wall show that gaps were left during the building of the wall to allow access and were filled in later. There is also a tapered, lintelled doorway. Inside is an elaborate network of stairways leading to terraces and corbelled cells in the wall reached by passages.
We stopped to take in the beauty of a storm brewing over Reen Beach, just outside of Caherdaniel, Kerry Ireland.
We passed through Sneem, on the Ring of Kerry. I'm fairly certain the entire population of Sneem could fit in this pub.
In between Killarney and Sneem we stopped when Sloan saw this stone with the words "HOLY WELL" painted on it. I mean... who wouldn't need to investigate that?! After walking down what felt like 200 steps, through the woods, we came to a tree trunk with a small flow of water springing out of it. Inside a tiny hole in the trunk, were figures of the St Brigid, coins, trinkets, and everything else you can imagine people had left as a memory or offering. We each left a coin.
We woke up the next morning and had breakfast in Killarney & stopped at a candy shop to get provisions for the road.

28 March 2017

Back to the hotel for bed!
Finally we made it to the Gap of Dunloe.
We drove through Black Valley and met many sheep.
Then we drove around Killarney National Park towards Black Valley.
Then we hiked to the Torc Falls.
Our first stop on the ring of Kerry was Muckross House.
We had lunch at Murphy's Bar.
This morning we drove to Killarney and checked in at The Arbutus Hotel. The hotel history: Visiting Killarney’s fairs as a youth, Tim Buckley dreamt of owning the hotel that overlooked the bustling traders in the town centre. But it was more than a dream – he set off for America to make the necessary money. He returned in 1926, married Julia, bought the hotel and renamed it the Arbutus. He then set out to redefine Killarney hospitality. The Buckley family have faithfully maintained the high standards of warmth, friendliness and professionalism that Tim put in train all those years ago. There has been a hotel on the site for over 200 years but the most significant architectural aspects of Arbutus are the numerous examples of Celtic-deco furniture and design commissioned by Tim in the 1920s.

27 March 2017

Eleanor's beasts.
This is our bed and breakfast. Our host is Eleanor, and her menagerie of animals. Including kitties, dogs, puppies, chickens, horses and god knows what else I haven't seen yet.
We stopped to see the magnificent Cliffs of Moher. No description can explain how breathtaking these views are.
On the way to the Cliffs of Moher we stopped at random places in Doolin, along the coast, to explore little bits of beauty.
Thought of my Dad today, as I had avocado / egg toast for breakfast ☺️🍀 It's a favorite of his too!
There are 3-5 barbershops on nearly every block! It seemed fitting that we couldn't leave Galway without Sloan getting a haircut / beard trim. Reggie Healy opened this shop in 1939 and ran it for 60 years before letting his son take over. He came out of retirement for this week while his son is vacationing in the Canary Islands. Who would have guessed he'd have the luck of Reggie Healy being around today, doing what he does best.
Sometimes, shut happens.

26 March 2017

Swans are big. Like... super large birds.
Dinner was at The Kings Head Pub in Galway.
We had some amazing tea this morning!
Our goal for the trip was to get authentic Claddagh rings. Galway was the place to go for them!
We made it to Galway safe and sound!
Driving to Galway - Sitting in the back trying not to hyperventilate. It may have taken two anxiety pills to get this calm, and I'm not even the one driving. "DRIVE LEFT!"

25 March 2017

After dinner we just roamed around Dublin. We stumbled upon the statue of Molly Malone. "Molly Malone" (also known as "Cockles and Mussels" or "In Dublin's Fair City") is a popular song, set in Dublin, Ireland, which has become the unofficial anthem of Dublin. The Molly Malone statue in Grafton Street was unveiled by then-Lord Mayor of Dublin, Alderman Ben Briscoe during the 1988 Dublin Millennium celebrations, declaring 13 June as Molly Malone Day. June 13th - go figure :)
Dinner tonight was at The Hairy Lemon. Recommended to us by my Director of Financial Operations, who is based in Dublin. Sloan had fish and chips, I had a traditional Irish stew, and Hannah had a beef and Guinness pie. All of the food was super scrumptious.
Our hotel. The O'Callaghan Davenport.
The Long Room The 65-metre-long (213 ft) main chamber of the Old Library, the Long Room, was built between 1712 and 1732 and houses 200,000 of the Library's oldest books.
The home of The Book of Kells & The Long Room. The Book of Kells (Latin: Codex Cenannensis; Irish: Leabhar Cheanannais; Dublin, Trinity College Library, MS A. I. [58], sometimes known as the Book of Columba) is an illuminated manuscript Gospel book in Latin, containing the four Gospels of the New Testament together with various prefatory texts and tables. It was created in a Columban monastery in Ireland or may have had contributions from various Columban institutions from both Britain and Ireland. It is believed to have been created c. 800 AD. The text of the Gospels is largely drawn from the Vulgate, although it also includes several passages drawn from the earlier versions of the Bible known as the Vetus Latina. It is a masterwork of Western calligraphy and represents the pinnacle of Insular illumination. It is also widely regarded as Ireland's finest national treasure.
Gunfire around Dublin’s St Stephen’s Green during the 1916 Rising was stopped every day to allow for the ducks to be fed. The Dublin Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, which was founded in 1840, has brought out a historic look back at some of the issues it dealt with 100 years ago. Park keeper James Kearney would enter the Green daily to feed the waterfowl. Every time he did this, the opposing sides of the Irish Citizen Army and the British forces would cease firing to allow him to do so. The British forces were based in the Shelbourne Hotel, while the insurgents were at the College of Surgeons, both located at different sides of the Green. The charity’s annual report recorded that it awarded Mr Kearney a parchment certificate for bravely feeding the waterfowl under fire.
Beautiful park. The grass is practically perfect.
Different areas of Grafton Street.
Random stuff.
Look both ways
Our taxi ride and first time spending euros.
Full airplane and we are almost there!

24 March 2017

Gate A18 and our wings.
Ubering it to the airport with Anthony and his 2005 Cadillac.
Packed and ready to go. Traveling with a baby?! Nope. AA thinks so. Hopefully, this will get straightened out quickly.