A Travellerspoint blog

Ireland

County Clare ~ 23 to 25 Oct 2010

all seasons in one day

I took myself off to the west of the country to see the famous Cliffs of Moher. I did a most unLeelike thing and went by tourist bus!! It was relatively cheap and easier in the unpredictable autumn weather.
Magnificen..f_Moher.jpgSolid_sentries.jpgView_from_the_top.jpgPICT0784.jpg
Its a photo of a photo but you get the idea of the Cliffs of Moher's impressive height

Its a photo of a photo but you get the idea of the Cliffs of Moher's impressive height

I_was_there_.jpg

A stop along the way at Poulnabrone cromelech - most impressive, on the stark and windy boglands.
PICT0730.jpgMoi at Poulnabron cromelech

Moi at Poulnabron cromelech

What is Poulnabron

What is Poulnabron

Poulnabron.jpg

Rural Ireland is about green farmlands and animals
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When we stopped at Doolin, a delightful, typically Irish village, I was hooked and decided to stay overnight. I asked the bus driver if I could join up with the tour again the next day, for the return journey. Of course, me being so lovely, he agreed it would be no problem at all ;p And then I met the most charming people at the Aillee River Hostel where I stayed and extended my visit for another 2 nights! Freedom!! It's so sweet! John offered to be my personal tour guide and instead of having to take the bus to the cliffs, he took me on a winding route, through lovely countryside, stopping for whatever photo opportunity I requested, and there were many!! I have taken over 1200 photos since I have been in Europe!!
Aillee River

Aillee River

Doolin junction

Doolin junction

Down river

Down river

Castle of Co Clare

Castle of Co Clare

Guess the wind blows a lot here!

Guess the wind blows a lot here!

Home for 3 days

Home for 3 days

Jack the gatekeeper of Doolin

Jack the gatekeeper of Doolin

John, most gracious, humurous personal tour guide

John, most gracious, humurous personal tour guide

Now what do you think this sign means

Now what do you think this sign means

One of 5 local pubs

One of 5 local pubs

Our cosy backpackers

Our cosy backpackers

Penny walls - thus called as the folk who built them during the famine years were paid a penny a day - times were hard

Penny walls - thus called as the folk who built them during the famine years were paid a penny a day - times were hard


My mates from Aillee River Backpackers

My mates from Aillee River Backpackers

PICT0824.jpgCottage on the way to Tulla

Cottage on the way to Tulla

Not much allowed here in Ballycuggeran beach!!

Not much allowed here in Ballycuggeran beach!!

Upper Doolin

Upper Doolin

Windows!

Windows!

I enjoyed 2 awesome evenings in vibey Irish pubs, the one night with a fantastic group of musos (2 were visitors just jamming with the locals). The pub was packed to the ceiling, the Guiness was flowing, the singing was enthusiastic and at last I felt that I had experienced the Ireland I loved. I could leave with a happy heart, getting a lift back to Dublin with John which included a meander through more of the countryside, through places with such names as Lisdoonvarna, Killaloo, Sallygap, Shankill, Enniskerry and Bray. I believe there is also Trim, Cocktown and Muff, but we didn't go there!!
One of my Irish pub nights

One of my Irish pub nights

We did stop in at Liscannor, to see the sacred well of St Brigid. I was astounded – there is a small cavelike structure where the walls are completely adorned with with a multitude of offerings for lost or ill loved ones. Quite amazing and emotive. You can read more about it here - www.unc.edu/celtic/catalogue/stbrigid/St_brigids_well.html
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Also had afternoon tea in Ennistymon, with scones, jam and cream, looking out over the stunning river and gentle falls. The An Gorta Mor (The Great Hunger) Memorial was erected to the memory of the victims of the great potato crop failures of 1845 to 1851. The monument depicts an account found in Book 4 of the archived papers of the Workhouse preserved in the local library. The account centered on a note that was pinned to the torn shirt of a barefoot orphan boy who was left at the workhouse door on the freezing cold morning of February 25, 1848. The note read:
Gentlemen,
There is a little boy named Michael Rice of Lahinch aged about 4 years. He is an orphan, his father having died last year and his mother has expired on last Wednesday night, who is now about being buried without a coffin!! Unless ye make some provision for such. The child in question is now at the Workhouse Gate expecting to be admitted, if not it will starve.
Robs.S. Constable

One side of the memorial depicts a child standing before the workhouse door, while across from that is the head of an anguished mother and two hands clenched in frustration or anger above the sorrowful text of the pleading note. If you are fortunate enough to visit the memorial, breathe a prayer for the unnamed souls it commemorates. A sad time that has much influenced this indomitable nation. Now that potatoes are in great supply, you can get a meal served with at least 3, if not more, different offerings of the staple vegetable!
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And so it´s on to Killaloe and the majestic Shannon River, where we stop for a warming bowl of soup before heading back to Dublin. An evening spent around a cosy fire, singing songs accompanied by John's guitar playing and enjoying a delish home-cooked meal. Aaaaah, this is my Ireland!!! Thanks John - a most gracious and kind friend indeed!
River Shannon

River Shannon

Posted by Gypsy Lee 23:45 Archived in Ireland Comments (2)

Back to Dublin ~ 21 to 22 Oct 2010

all seasons in one day

I didn't get enough of Dublin, so I am back! Take some time out to experience more of this wonderful city. My young German friend, Ula recommended the Avalon Backpackers and it was great!! Good vibe, clean and comfy room, all to myself. I just loved the sense of humour in the signs!!
my home for 3 nights - very cool backpackers

my home for 3 nights - very cool backpackers

Avalon signs3

Avalon signs3

Avalon signs2

Avalon signs2

Avalon signs1

Avalon signs1

Went on a walking tour on a cold and drizzly day, accompanied by an enthusiastic student of History who lovingly shared his city with us. Stunning old buildings, interesting stories, and so much to see.
Trinity College

Trinity College

Interesting Dublin doorway

Interesting Dublin doorway

PICT0707.jpgPICT0699.jpgPICT0691.jpgPICT0674.jpgPICT0672.jpgMore Dublin architecture

More Dublin architecture

Beautiful old buildings

Beautiful old buildings

Dublin in autumn

Dublin in autumn

No need to tell you about the popularity of Irish pubs!! Say Ireland, think pub! Dublin has it's fair share of them with the Temple Bar area being most popular for visitors, but not necessarily a true reflection of the traditional Irish pub - nonetheless a good time was had in a few here.
Popular Irish pub area

Popular Irish pub area

PICT0669.jpgStocking up on the good stuff!

Stocking up on the good stuff!

With a few uninspiring days I was feeling done in, somewhat deflated. Where is the Ireland I have in my imagination – perhaps my expectations were to high?? It's been a dream to visit for more than 15 years and I felt I hadn't yet had the Irish experience of this dream. I sent emails to a few farms that were on the Workaways volunteer site in the hope of extending my stay, but didnt get any positive replies – Dian warned me that the people are a bit slow to respond!! I think my somewhat “down” mood was influenced by a rather strange woman I met in the hostel. My 28-odd hours with her (and odd they were) gave me my “down the rabbit hole” experience which I can only share in person – remind when we see each other again!!! (or take a peep here www.flickr.com/photos/41901122@N00/403490722/)
My backpackers for a night

My backpackers for a night


So I plan a get-away to County Clare, on the west coast - more Irish than this I cannot find and it must surely be the perfect place to visit.

Posted by Gypsy Lee 23:23 Archived in Ireland Comments (1)

Glendalough ~ 19 to 20 Oct 2010

all seasons in one day

Yesterday I said a tearful and emotional farewell to Richard as he flew back to Manchester and then on to York. I hope I can visit him and his growing family soon.

Well I can't come all this way to Ireland and not experience more of the countryside - Glendalough, a small village south of Dublin, in Co. Wicklow, comes highly recommended. This glacial valley with its spectacular scenery, famous Monastic site and scenic walks was a pleasure to visit.
St Kevin's Monastic settlement

St Kevin's Monastic settlement

St Kevins' cemetry

St Kevins' cemetry

The Round Tower

The Round Tower

St Kevin's Kitchen but it's a church!

St Kevin's Kitchen but it's a church!

Moi - I was there!

Moi - I was there!

Map of the area

Map of the area

Look at the detail

Look at the detail

Long forgotten burial places

Long forgotten burial places

Ancient cross

Ancient cross

Ancient arches

Ancient arches

All fall down!

All fall down!

I stayed in a most comfortable youth hostel, a room all to myself. It was very quiet though...didn't see many other people, except for the staff. But I enjoyed that!! Took a long leisurely walk up to the waterfall and on the way down was accompanied by Ulla, a very cool young man from Germany – we travelled back to Dublin on the same bus and he led me to another great youth hostel, Avalon.
View from my room

View from my room

So pretty

So pretty

Shady lanes

Shady lanes

River

River

On the Wicklow trail

On the Wicklow trail

Moi - still there!

Moi - still there!

How beautiful is this river

How beautiful is this river

Autumn colours ablaze

Autumn colours ablaze

The only down for me in Glendalough? The barman at the hotel where I had a delicious Irish Lamb stew looked at me as if I was an alien when I asked for a doggy bag!! Eventually, all he could rustle up was a small plastic bag....no good, man!!

So much more to read about this historical place ~ www.glendalough.ie

Posted by Gypsy Lee 23:04 Archived in Ireland Comments (1)

Dublin ~ 15 to 18 Oct 2010

semi-overcast

And so I leave Lisboa for a 3 hour train journey to Porto where I will catch my very cheap flight for probably one of my most anticipated trips and the most emotional. A meeting in Dublin to see my darling brother Richard for the first time in 12 years, and only the 4th visit in about 38 years. Add to this a visit to Dian & Geraldine, friends from SA that I haven't seen in about 10 years; and to top it all the realisation of a long-time dream to go to the Emerald Isle...this makes for a very precious trip.
The train at Porto metro

The train at Porto metro

Cattle truck to Ireland

Cattle truck to Ireland


Thank goodness for the English - Dublin arrivals

Thank goodness for the English - Dublin arrivals

Richard and I were graciously hosted by Dian & G and entertained by their delightful children, Caleb & Hannah. They sure crept into my heart and were most entertaining.
Delightful Caleb and Hannah

Delightful Caleb and Hannah

Rich and I had only 3 days together but we packed in some excellent sight-seeing of Dublin, from the open-top bus. It was chilly and overcast but we were happy! Took in the most fascinating tour of the Guiness Brewery, permanently housed in a 7 storey building on the land that Alfred acquired in 1759. He signed a 9000 year lease!! Do you know they produce 2 million litres of beer a day, probably half of which is consumed by the locals!!
My big Boet and moi on the hop on bus in Dublin

My big Boet and moi on the hop on bus in Dublin


Rich and I at Guiness Breweries

Rich and I at Guiness Breweries

Moi and Molly Malone

Moi and Molly Malone

Men! As always hand on the ass

Men! As always hand on the ass

Is that some extra weight I see in the cheeks

Is that some extra weight I see in the cheeks

Guiness Brewery - an amazing exhibition

Guiness Brewery - an amazing exhibition

It was great to just sit around a table with Rich and talk about “the good old days” - there were many of them and what good flesh for the bones of my book!! Fond reminiscing about the folks, Oupa & Ouma, growing up in care-free Rhodesia...just connecting with each other so gently and laughing a lot!

Thanks Boet for taking the time and effort to come over. Thanks D & G for your kind hospitality. Hope to see you all soon!

Posted by Gypsy Lee 11:42 Archived in Ireland Comments (0)

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