Ireland

Trip Start Jan 12, 2007
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Trip End Jan 22, 2007


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Thursday, January 18, 2007

Greetings from Donegal, where it snowed yesterday! Well, we missed the actual snowing, but saw the remants, I feel one step closer but not quite there. I can't believe we've only been here 6 days - we have seen and done so much, and covered so much amazing coutry. I will write more when I'm warm and comfortable, but for now... some pictures =D
OK I'm comfortable! What a great trip, I would recommend Ireland to anyone, except those on a really strict budget, it is even more expensive than England, yikes. But it was a really great break for us.
We arrived in the south, Cork, and drove straight out to Blarney Castle, as it was close and on our map. They were lovely grounds, great stomping ground for faeries I reckon with gnarled tree roots and moss everywhere. We kissed the stone yes, I tried to kiss a bit that so many other people wouldn't have, is it possible? Strangely I still haven't got the gift of the gab, I think the group walking ahead of us got it all! But the castle was cool, as it was the first we saw, like everything you get a bit over it after the 15th or 16th one.. We move onto Killarney, a great little charismatic town, brightly painted (as the pix of Sugan, the hostel we stayed in will show). The weather was bloody awful, gale force winds, driving rain etc... so we stopped in at the pub for a few. And the next day ventured into Killarney National Park, I love National Parks. We were determined to appreciate it so stepped out into the gales, and headlong into the wind and rain (I learnt here my jacket is not waterproof!) but we couldn't really make much headway. The lake was full to bursting and really pretty, but we are short on pictures as the camera definitely isn't waterproof. The views from the pass through the park are supposed to be amazing, but I can't comment, as the driving rain obscured all but 2metres visibility. We should have stayed another night to see... but we pressed on.
We mosied around the 'Ring of Kerry' which was grand, very scenic, and very quiet. We definitely had all the perks of off peak season, no traffic, no sharing, no booking ahead... and the downs - no tourist information, the signs to attractions had been taken down(!) so we did many loops looking for things, rain... rain.... We stayed on Valentia Island, in a pub - with Borat, or perhaps his cousin, very entertaining.
Dingle Peninsula was one of my highlights, it is one of the areas where they speak Gaelic, excellent just to listen to, and a challenge to decipher when they were speaking English. Dingle was the most colourful cute town in the world, I'm sure, every building is just cute, and decorative. the pubs were lively (for winter) and the traditional music was superb, with up to 10 musicians playing at a time, all sorts of instruments, even an Irish bagpipe of sorts. We got boozed, made friends with the locals, and almost did the jig (Michelle I so wished you'd taught me that weekend at Marion Bay!) The penisula was full of the old beehive huts (400AD), so amazing that people lived in these little things, and that they were built so well as to still stand, and forts and the Gallarus Oratory, which is a really spectacular building, it's walls are just perfect and it's still standing 800 years later.
We went for a major mountain climb over the Connor Pass, where I thought there was snow but it was only ice, damn it, but it was still great, a frosting over all the mountains.
We ended up in Clare County for sunset over the Cliffs of Moher, which were beautiful, and deadly, with gale force winds threatening to whip us up over the endge, and crazy people sitting on the edge for a picture. My nana-ish fear of heights will save my life many times I'm sure. The Clare also has the Burren, which is just miles and miles of rocky country, sounds dull, very unique, I'm not sure I've seen anything like it, impossible to get good poictures of it, because it looks like bopring grey rocks - but it's not, you'll just have to trust me, or go.
I can see why Kevin had a golfing holiday in Ireland now, there are so many courses, and they are so perfect, the whole country is green, sometimes you don't even notice it's a golf course! and there are castles and all sorts of interesting things dotted throught the courses, very cool, if only I played golf?.. Australia is definitely not right for golf courses. I think we need to move to more appropriate sports for the climate.  
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