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Tuesday, June 30, 2015

A Lesson in Gaelic & A Toast to the Scots

Our trip to Ireland seems like ages ago and I think the three of us miss the Irish characters.

I told you in my last blog about the Post-it that saved us and the people we met along the way.  Join me again as I tell you about the rest of our trip and the back roads we took to make new friends.

We left the Blarney Stone and headed to Killarney, which is part of the Ring of Kerry.  

After a good nights sleep in a B&B and live Irish music, we were ready for an adventurous day.
We were in search of a waterfall when we ran into a man named Danny and his horse named Molly.
Danny said he had been waiting for us all morning.

They gave us a ride through Killarney National Park.  Danny told us many stories of its history and landscape.

We found the waterfall, Torc Waterfall, at the base of the Torc Mountain.

Danny was shy at first, but warmed-up to us at by the end of our carriage ride.
He was one of our favorite Irish characters.

When we said goodbye to Danny, we headed for the old farm tour in the park.  Sarah and I, the farmer's daughters, stopped to check cows along the way.

I spotted this bench on our trail and wondered who had been here before.  Who had sat on this bench and walked down this path, what did they talk about and how long ago were they there.  Ireland is full of history and a long history, it has to make you wonder. 

 I lost Sarah and Carrie along the way at some point, this wasn't really surprising.  
Apparently they found some dogs to play with on the farm. 
I found more cows and great views and some peace. 

Then I met Brendan at the schoolhouse, a replica of one from the 1930s and 1940s.
He taught me some Gaelic and we talked agriculture in Ireland before the girls arrived.  
We thought about punishing them for being late to class.

Schoolteacher Brendan, continued to give us a Gaelic lesson and taught us the word feirmeoir, farmer.

We stopped for lunch and some Guinness before making our way further into the park. 
This was a beautiful, great stop along the way.

We headed up a mountain where the road was so narrow, it was basically a shoulder.
We all had a few heart attacks running into tour buses and almost hitting the rocks on the side of the mountain.

But when we got to the top, we saw Ladies View.  The view at the top is a scenic point in the Ring of Kerry.  The name derives from the admiration of Queen Victoria's ladies-in-waiting during her 1861 visit to Ireland.  We look like ladies, right?

We were in Killarney for two nights before we headed around the coast to Dingle.
Remember, back roads and random stops are some of the best parts of a trip.

As we were enjoying the coastline, we came upon a small beach.
I drove onto the sand and parked in front of some kids playing a game of beach soccer.

And the views at this stop were amazing.  

I kicked off my shoes, grabbed my camera and headed to the water.
Barefoot on the beach was the only way to go at this stop.

There were more kids playing and enjoying the cool water.

We continued on our drive and came upon this view.  
Again, we had the best weather and sunshine that illuminated God's green earth and his favorite color.

Then we made a treacherous stop at this corner on a cliff.

We parked at what seemed to be a rest stop for a few travelers and decided to stretch our legs.
We climbed this hill for awhile, and because I am so out of shape I forgot to turn around and see the view for a few minutes.  But when I did, this is what we saw!  The picture does not do it justice.

We climbed over a fence and some rock walls to what seemed to be a forbidden part of the trail up this hill which I eventually ended up calling a mountain.

If we would have tripped, this is what we were dealing with.

But the views were amazing.
This edge of Ireland is considered by some as the westernmost point of Europe.  While controversial and others say the honor goes to a place in Portugal, we think it's this place.

As we enjoyed our Irish roots, we were looking west towards America, our home.

So when you go to Dingle, you go Dingling which is exactly what we did all day long.
We made several stops along the Dingle Peninsula and enjoyed historic sites and made new friends.

This is the Gallarus Oratory, one of the early Christian Churches built between the 7th and 12th centuries!

When in Dingle, you also get Murphy's Ice Cream!  It's handmade, the old fashion way, right in Dingle.  
They even have Irish Soda Bread ice cream which was actually really good!

One of our stops in Dingle was a local brewery owned by Paul and his wife.  Paul was kind and told us that when we left Dingle, we needed to drive through the Conor Pass and enjoy the views.  This would save us time on our way to the Cliffs of Moher.

On the only foggy day we went through the Conor Pass, which is the highest mountain pass in Ireland.  Carrie said it reminder her of "Land Before Time" and said a taradactle was going to creep over the mountains and get us.....

Once we were through the scary pass, we headed to the ferry on the River Shannon.  
I have always wanted to drive a car onto a ferry and take it across a river!

As we were about to open the car doors, a semi zoomed past us just a few inches away from our car.  They really make it tight on the ferry!  And we weren't sure where this guy came from either....he didn't have a vehicle.

We eventually climbed our way out of the car and headed to the top of the ferry to enjoy the views.

Carrie waved goodbye to her favorite place, County Kerry.

Our next stop along our route was the Cliffs of Moher.  
It's an overwhelming view. 

When we were in Dingle, our friend at Paul told us to stop and see his friend Billy in Lisdoonvarna.
Lisdoonvarna is home to a matchmaking festival, a historic downtown with a castle a few steps from their roundabout and Billy's Roadside Tavern where the locals come to relax and gossip.

After Billy's we made our way through The Burren, home of the "great rocks" and more scary roads and scenes from "Land Before Time".

Galway was our last city before making our way back to Dublin.
On our way to dinner that night, we heard music coming from this old church.
We stopped in to listen to the choir practicing for their Sunday Services and a charity event the following week.

Galway is full of pubs, restaurants, shops and people.  Every block had live music and sometimes people dancing.  We met interesting characters, yet again, who made us good drinks, good food and pointed us to the best shops.

Galway to Dublin is a two hour drive on a motorway which was good after a 
long week of curvy, scary roads where Jesus was posted.

We returned the car with no dents and no scratches!

After checking into our hotel for our last night, we had to make our way back to the pubs for some local, delicious Guinness one last time.  Our cab driver took us to a street full of pubs with the best Guinness in town.

The people we met that night weren't Irish, they were Scottish.  Characters and the nicest people just the same but they were wearing kilts.  The Irish and the Scots were playing a soccer game the next day and they were all out celebrating, win or lose, they always celebrate.

This guy was our absolute favorite.  He sang, danced and kissed us, "oh you Americans, I love ya!"

So while drinking the Irish Guinness and whiskey, we enjoyed our last night with the Scots.

I would return to Ireland in a heartbeat.  
She's a country full of history, Guinness, whiskey, good food,
 kind people with lots of craic (crack) and character.

Ireland is covered in God's favorite color, green, and incredible views unlike any other.

Thanks for reading and enjoying the views with us!

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