Luckily, I finally got some good walking weather. I set out from Hag’s Head near Liscannor this morning and hiked north along the coast on the Cliffs of Moher. There was serious mud, and serious wind, a bit of rain, and a charging cow, but mostly it was lovely, and I’m very grateful for that. Here are some photos for your enjoyment. There is a lot of very cool geology here!
As I wrote, I’m in a legally Gaelic speaking part of Ireland. English geographical terms cannot even be listed on maps. So why the local residents permanently opted for “Dingle” instead of its Gaelic counterpart An Daingean is a mystery. Anyway, here are some photos. Dingle is a colorful place. Hope you enjoy.
I’m spending time in Gaelic Ireland, where English is not the norm. All the locals I’ve spoken to have families going back hundreds of years; inn owners work the inns where they were born, as did their parents and grandparents. It’s not a very modern life here, and town size is measured by the number of pubs. Farming is prominent – one gentleman pointed to a heard of dairy cows and grinned “There’s Kerry gold!” – and evenings are spent drinking, joking, and playing music.
During the daytime, it’s very quiet. Except for the howling wind.
And is it Killarney? Nope, see the first photo below.
My plan had been to walk from inn to inn, but the weather has bested me: biting wind, horizontal rain and mud may deter me, but not others more intrepid than myself. However, they hail from Germany, Norway, and Colorado, so infinitely more prepared than I.
The clear photos below were taken during moments of respite.
Today I joined a group tour to ancient Brú na Bóinne. I despise group tours, but usually it’s the only way for me to reach archeological sites, so I gotta (I never rent cars outside the US). However, today’s tour guide, Mary Gibbons, was a treasure; I could have skipped the cold, rainy, too-too-brief visit to Brú na Bóinne and just listened to her all day. She covered prehistoric Ireland up to Brexit (including choice swipes at Boris Johnson). Good fun.
We also visited the Hill of Tara, which is known to me from Eoin Colfer‘s highly entertaining Artemis Fowl series; but don’t read it – listen as audiobook.
Back in cold, rainy Dublin, I picked up a (delicious) vegan bento and retreated to my room to try and dry out.
Even though I am no fan of Guinness, still I felt compelled to visit its fifty-acre Storehouse/shrine while in Ireland. I guess I thought it would taste different (re: good) here at the source, but nope, not to me. However, after what I learned today, that is apparently because I have not mastered the complicated, many-stepped process of properly downing a pint of the ruby red stuff (it involves breath control, timing, etc., etc., sheesh). Weirdly, although the place was packed with about a zillion people, there was A LOT of unfinished beer left at the final tasting . . . The glass I photographed below was left sitting untouched on a table, and I was unsuccessful in finding a taker when I was done. A mystery!
Coolest factoid of the day: the original lease for the site, dated 1759, was for 9,000 years.
After the brewery visit, I wandered a bit and found an excellent little vegan restaurant on the banks of the Liffey, took photos of signs and lampposts, got pooped on twice by big gulls, discovered that the internet lies sometimes, and then headed back to my hotel. Around two this morning, neighbors adjacent to my room began a multi-houred, extremely loud argument, so I got less than four hours of sleep. I’m calling it a day now at three p.m. Gonna kick back and finish my latest Tara French novel, and that is a-okay, especially now that I’ve seen the Dublin Murder Squad headquarters with my own two eyes.
After decades of dreamy Irish fantasies – those lilting voices! – I’ve finally arrived.
[Warning, numerous literary references headed this way.]
So far, I’ve tapped my feet to live Irish music in a rowdy pub; crossed the Liffey by Ha’penny Bridge; joined a reading of Joyce’s Ulysses at Sweny’s (and got my bar of lemon soap, as all pilgrims must); walked in the footsteps of Jonathan Swift, Oscar Wilde, and William Butler Yeats; heard loads (and loads) about Saint Patrick; and visited Dublin Castle, where I spotted non-fiction versions of Tana French’s Dublin Murder Squad detectives. Wowza!
Not once have I heard “top a the mornin’ to ya,” but lots of “oh he’s a feckin’ idjet.” Perhaps I’m in the wrong neighborhoods.
I’ve been trying to write this post for days, but it keeps veering perversely towards the philosophical. I write and delete, write and delete. I will spare you; here simply are just more photos from Turkey.
FYI, this will be my last “blast from the past” posting for a while. Next week’s post should begin, in real time, “I am delighted to be writing this post from Dublin . . .”