Monday, July 13, 2015

Ireland: Rock of Cashel and Dingle Peninsula

After we left Dublin, we headed west across the country toward Dingle.

We made a pit stop part way across the country to visit the Rock of Cashel. This is supposed to be the location where St. Patrick baptized the King of Munster in the 5th Century. The cathedral there is in ruins, but very beautiful.

Some day Rob will be able to take a selfie and smile at the same time.  :)

There are still a few spots available in the cemetery... but only for people who had their names put on a waiting list in 1930 and are still living. Craziness.

We then had planned to drive through Kilarney National Park and see some waterfalls, but due to a charity bike ride, we were diverted (detoured) through the Black Valley.  This place was crazy.  A one lane road with two way traffic, switch backs, blind hills, and sheer drop offs.  It was a nail biter. This was the last area in Ireland to get electricity... in the 1970s.

Rob did really well at driving on the left side of the road while sitting on the right side of the car and shifting with his left hand. I had trouble just remembering my left from my right all week.

The place we stayed in Dingle was actually in Ballyferitter at a B&B.  We basically had an apartment here with a full kitchen, 2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, and a sitting room.  Our host stocked the fridge before we arrived and left us a rhubarb pie for our tea time.

The house is old with wavy glass in the windows and some of the issues that are normal for old houses, (we couldn't open some of the windows, and the house felt damp,) but the views were wonderful, the black cat outside was very tolerant of Amelie's "affection," and our host was very accommodating.

We spent a day exploring the Dingle Peninsula.  First stop was the Great Blasket Center where we learned what life was like on those islands in the background.  They are no longer inhabited, though you can take a ferry over to explore.

We chose to stay on the mainland and go for a hike along the coast. 

I guess there used to be a stone pier here or something.  There were broken steps leading down to the water's edge. We held tightly to the kiddos a lot in Ireland. We even got to climb over some stills through the sheep pastures before eventually deciding that our only options were to take a much longer hike than we wanted, or to turn back the way we came.  We chose to turn back when we reached a field where the grass was up to my knees (or Jacob's waist.)

Then we had to take a break to build some stone cairns.

Excellent project for Little Bears.

After our hike we headed into Dingle town for lunch, but first stopped to see these Beehive huts. While they may date back to as early as the 8th century, most are believed to be from the 12th century or later.  But nobody knows for sure.

In Dingle we visited this statue of Fungi the Dolphin. (There is actually a dolphin that lives in the harbor and is the town mascot, but we did not catch sight of him.) We also ate lunch in a nice Pub while the Gaelic Football match between Kerry and Cork, or as the sign said, "Us vs. Them" was on the television and the place was packed. I think Kerry did win, though we left at the half. Also, as a side note, all of our kids like fish and chips.

Before returning to our B&B we took the kids to a beach called Ryan's Daughter.  I guess there is a movie by this name that was filmed here, but we haven't seen it.  It was only in the 60s out, but our kids managed to get soaking wet and sandy anyway so we went "home," got cleaned up, and then spent some time at a playground and grabbed some takeout to go with our Irish soda bread and rhubarb pie for dinner.

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