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Monday, September 29, 2014

The Fine Art of Glass

We’ve left Killarney and are heading for Wexford.      We’re making it an all day trip, so have time to stop in Waterford to visit their museum and workshops.  

I was fascinated by the entire process of creating their beautiful pieces.   I’ve seen glass blowing before, but never the entire process.

The pieces are then sanded to eliminate any rough edges.

The next step is marking the piece for cutting.

The cutters go through a ten year training program before they can go on to make the exacting cuts needed for each piece.

Here are a few finished pieces

This final piece is one of only two 9/11 Memorials they made.    The picture does not do it justice.     It’s a very touching piece.

Typical of Irish roads and the GPS ability (or lack thereof) to get us from point A to point B, our journey was considerably longer than it should have been.     Oh well…….      We did find a small harbor town to walk through.     These boats in the harbor awaiting high tide caught my eye.

Time to lounge around in our lovely new apartment....

The Last Ring

The Ring of Dingle is more about the coastline than Heritage Sites.       It’s a beautiful 50 km drive that takes you all day because the camera keeps yelling “stop, take a picture”.       So, this post is pictures with very little in the way of narrative….

Why doesn't Festival Foods have a beautiful display like this?

The streets in Dingle were colorful

This place makes the best sea salt ice cream.     They claim it is all fresh local products, including sea salt from the Dingle bay, free range eggs, milk from the near extinct Kerry cow, etc.

Want a hat like Princess Kate, they make them here

This is a Beehive Hut.    It is made of stone and were used by free farmers of the early Christian period.    The small size of the sites suggests they were occupied by a single family.    They would have been inhabited from ancient times to 1200 A.D.

Granted, I am not a fisherperson, but you have to admit that boat captain had better know what they are doing !      We saw the fishing lines (thru binoculars) so it may have been a fishing charter.

I am always held captive by the sight and sound of waves hitting the rocks on the coastline.    Hopefully we can find a cottage somewhere in the U.S. to rent where I can experience that joy 24/7.    I wonder how many days I can sit there without allowing the world to break in?     Can't wait to find out.......

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Kinsale - A Favorite

We are off to Cork where RJ believes his great grandfather lived prior to emigrating to the U.S.      Unfortunately, the librarian was unable to provide much help.     Records for that time period just don’t exist.
The English Market is nearby, which I really wanted to visit.   What an exciting place.     I would shop here regularly if it was available.   A few things I just wouldn’t buy, but that just makes it more exciting.    

The pig’s head looked very freshly skinned!

Olive anyone ?

We (or rather RJ) drove south to the seaside port of Kinsale.       We both fell in love with this town.     It has full coastal charm with its shops and harbour and energy.     RJ said that if we had the suitcases in the car, we would change our plans and spend several days here.     I totally agree.    Kinsale is my favorite spot in all of Ireland!

Charles Fort was a very interesting place.     It was preserved just enough that you could actually visualize the soldiers living here in the 17th century (or in our old West)    It was an intregral part of Irish history as recently as the Irish Civil War in 1923.

 On the way back to Killarney and our apartment, we arrived at a sunset location at close to the magic time.       The clouds were great and the promise was there for a memory provoking photo.      We waited and waited.    The colours were just starting to get great when….. you have it …   the cloud formation changed and we lost it.    Here are the “I’m waiting” photos…..

and a few other miscellaneous photos.

 We met two great couples from Canada this evening.      We were listening to some local music and they asked to share our table.      This is one of my favorite parts of traveling.     Meeting people, whether locals or other travelers, makes the experience so much more fun.      I’ve never been one to ask strangers if we can join them, but I’m going to make an effort to do so.    

A Time for Rings

We are leaving Clifden and driving south to the Ring of Kerry area.    First, though, we made a stop at the Cliffs of Moher and the Burren area.      The Cliffs of Moher stretch for 8 kilometers and stand 214 meters above the Atlantic.    To give you some perspective, in this first picture, there are people standing on the first cliff....

The Burren Coastal Drive takes you into totally different landscape views from the rest of Ireland.     Rocky and desolate.

We arrive in Killarney just as the All Ireland Gaelic Football championship game is being played in Dublin.      The Killarney team wins the national championship – for the 37th time.       Our Host has a long history with this team, his father played for many years and Colm is very active with the present team.        He had left the apartment open for us since he was obviously in Dublin!
Our first full day starts leisurely.      I did some catch up computer and photo work.     RJ went searching for a grocery store and then we are off to Killarney National Park.     
Muckross House is fully furnished and basically is an example of how the wealthy lived in the late 19th century.

There is a waterfall on the property, so of course we hiked there.     A half hour each way.     I keep telling myself the exercise is good for us, this information offsets the fact that we find out we could have driven right to it!     

 Can you imagine what it must  have been like to wake up to these views everyday.    Then again, our corner of God's Country is equally beautiful..........