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Published: August 23rd 2017
August 19 We are heading off down Sleahead Drive on the Dingle Peninsula in the southwest of Ireland. First stop Inch Strand Beach. Weather is windy as always, but no rain today. Really cold out on the beach, so anyone swimming had a wetsuit on. You wouldn't go to Ireland to lie on the beach, I think! A highlight of the day was holding a brown lamb at Caenn Sleibhe. He seemed to enjoy it as much as we did! Beautiful mountain and water views today, which we had to appreciate given the bad weather ahead. At the Blasket Center we learned about the hard life of fishing and farming on Blasket Island, just off the coast. Just a few hundred people lived here and scraped by until too many of their young people emigrated and the whole island had to be abandoned in 1953. Late lunch in Dingle of seafood chowder and the Irish brown bread (whole grain) that we have come to love. Back in Killarney for the night.
August 20 was rainy, which was a pity, because we were off to Ring of Kerry for the day, supposed to be the scenic highlight of the trip. We
did enjoy a sheepdog demonstration: impressive ability of the dogs and shepherd to work together using spoken or whistled commands. Each dog is trained to a unique set of commands, so the shepherd can use two or three dogs at once, each doing a different thing. Then a little hike in to Cahergall fort (round), where we could walk around atop the wall and feel vertigo. Lunch at Skellig Michael Experience, a jagged rock of an island with monastery established 1500 years ago. The monks lived in crude beehive huts of stone and carved 2300 steps out of the rock. We watched a few minutes of the Gaelic football semifinals between County Mayo and County Kerry at O'Shea's pub in Sneem. The match ended in a tie, so instead of using a tie-breaker, they are playing the game over next week! Dense fog cut out many things we had planned to do including the great views on the whole drive. We did get a close view of Torc Waterfall! We could imagine little leprechauns lurking amidst the dark, moss-covered trees of the damp forest. I think I forgot to mention when we were in the northwest of Ireland about the
mountain, Craigh Patrick. On Reek Sunday it is traditional for people to climb the mountain BAREFOOT as a sort of penance. It is dangerous because the weather can change and trap people on top.
21 August. Today's highlight was Blarney Castle, where it is traditional to kiss the Blarney Stone to obtain eloquence. Jean wanted to do it, but it was a harrowing, steep climb up 127 steps in a narrow winding staircase. She fell once before we reached the stairs, but she stuck it out with our help and got the photo. Back in Dublin tonight at our AirBnB near Merrion Square.
22 August. At ten Wayne and I did a three hour historical bike tour with Evan and a couple from France. Then a tour of Kilmainham Gaol with Jean. This was the jail where republican rebels of the Easter Rising were executed without trial, setting off the Irish war of independence in 1916.
23 August. Finished off our Stay with a morning at the Dublin Zoo. Very nice, large enclosures and natural environments. The orangutans were very active on their high wires. Good, close views of many of the animals. It paid to get
there at the 9:30 opening. Jean's favorite was the meerkat exhibit. Uber to airport for flight home!
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