Fire Cloud...
An irregular marking on the exterior of Native American pottery: usually resulting from burning fuel coming in direct contact with the vessel during firing

Saturday, 30 June 2012

The Cliffs of Moher

The GPS takes us to a ferry on the trip between Killarney and Galway.

Getting off the ferry, we are directed to a one lane reural road that ha a few old stone buildings. The road is a bit of a roller coaster.

Eventually we find our way to the cliffs of Moher. O'Briens castle stands atop a prominent cliff.

The sun tries to peek out at times. The wind is very strong.It's very cold for June 30th.

On the trip to Galway, we see many castles.

Today will be a long driving day. We will see a famous mountain and abbey in Sligo, the Giant's Causeway, walk a vertiginous rope bridge over the sea at Balley castle and rest in Belfast.

Friday, 29 June 2012

The Ring of Kerry

We spent about nine hours going around the driving tours known as the Ring of Kerry and the Ring of Skellig.

It was a wrthwhile drive and a way to get our fill of the beautiful green hills and seascapes of Western Ireland.

We had lunch in a small fishing village. The seafood was fresh and very good.

Some of the old stone buildings are in good repair. Others have fallen into a state of disrepair.

Horses  like apples.

The sheep are sprayed various colors as a way to establish ownership, we believe.

You can see boats in this harbour from a high vantage point.

The Killarney National Park is a appears to be a rain forest environment with abundant moss and ferns.

Thursday, 28 June 2012

The Rock of Cashel & Blarney Castle

Dublin to Killarney

It's a lovely drive from Dublin to Killarney, especially onto the back roads where the new GPS leads us.

Our first stop is the Rock of Cashel or Cashel Castle, which is undergoing renovations.

The castle became a religous center about 1100 A.D. Like most castles the wooden parts were rotted away during a long period of neglect. We learn a new meaning for the term "corbels".

There are many fresh graves and tombstones on the grounds.

This smaller structure outside the castle walls  was built by an Abott as a more defensible residence.

We stay about an hour and linger to watch a video that describes some of the history of Ireland. It details the reason for the numerous stone towers that dot the countryside.

Next we stop at Blarney castle and cilmb a tall and circilar stone stairway to reach the Blarney Stone.

The term "blarney" entered the English language when Queen Elizabeth I, frustrated with long negotiations with the castle's owner, said that his talk was full of meaningless and eloquent "blarney".

Mrs. Phred kisses the stone.

Taylor kisses it too. Brooke and I decide that the practice is probably unsanitary.

A view from atop the castle.

Inside the castle, it seems like a very cold and uncomfortable way to live.

The is an educational "poison" garden which features all manner of poison plants. Only about five people a year are killed by poisin plants in the USA, provided that you ignore the hundreds of thousands that die from plants used improperly like heroin and tobacco.

Another view of Blarney Castle.

Two workers are renovating the castle face.

This is our hotel in Killarney. It's name the "Old Wier Hotel"  We have dinner at a pub just down the street. The kids have duck for the first time. The hotel features breakfast and good wifi. We learn that the Arbutus tree is commen in County Kerry. It's strawberry tree. Today we will drive the "Ring of Kerry" and hope for some sunshine.

The heavy summer rain has ruined many music festivals and flooded towns, villages and roads. Cork was badly flooded yesterday, but fortunately our GPS guided us around the flooded city.

Dublin: Lunch at Eddie Rockets

Dublin, Ireland

We start our second day in Dublin with a visit to Saint Patrick's Cathedral.

Today we'll be driving and stopping to see the Rock of Cashel, Blarney Castle and the Muckross Friary.

Jonathan Swift wrote Gulliver's travels. They have a cast of his skull in the Cathedral. They once thought that the size and shape of one's skull determined character and intelligence.

Swift suggested fighting hunger in Ireland by killing and eating a quarter of all children under the age of two. He was trying to make a point about hunger.

Later we visit the Guiness Storehouse. I don't like beer very much but Guiness Stout is an exception.

We ninish the tour up in the Gravity Room which has a fine view of Dublin. We have tickets for four perfectly pored beers, but I have to give three of them away to a thirsty looking couple.

The kids like the retro hamburgers and shakes in Eddie Rockets so we go back there for lunch.