A Travellerspoint blog

May 2018

Deflecting to Carrowkeel passage tomb cemetery

Ireland 2008


View Ireland on spec (2008) on Stefmuts's travel map.

large_1297706_14345715699880.jpgIn Roscommon there is a castle ruin you can visit, the outside walls are still there but inside not so much. No entrance fee like most places here in Ireland. Back home they would have put a big fence around it and a ticket stand, here you just have to close the gate (because of the sheep) In Boyle we visited another Abbey, here restoration in process. You get a ticket at the entrance, but again no entrance fee, I guess they just want to know how many visitors they get a day. On billboards you can read all about the history and how the restoration works, explaining the numbers on the bricks (It's just a big jigsaw puzzle)

At Lough Arrow we drove into the mountains, a roadside sign made us curious 'megalithic cemetery'. It was just a small sign and we didn't know what to expect since I hadn't read about it in my guide (turns out there is a small section on it hidden away in lots of text about the area) The road got smaller and smaller and then a gate.large_1297706_1434571615908.jpgBoyle Abbey, The big puzzleA sign on the gate asking to close it behind you (sheep again) told us we could still continue our drive, though I got more and more the idea we were driving on private property but there were no signs telling us so. A bit further up the road there was a small parking area and a sign saying busses could not continue after this point. We were not a bus so we went on. The road was more like a path here but the tire marks in the dirt told us we still were on the right way. On the end of the path again a even smaller parking area and from there we went on foot.

We followed the path up hill to what looks like a light grey pile of stones but it's not, it's the first of a number of passage graves (14 says Wikipedia), three of them are in reasonable state. The first one from the path is the most beautiful of the three. Above the entrance is a light opening and in front of the entrance a keystone, one could maneuver around it and enter the tomb but I only stuck my hand with my camera inside.large_1297706_14345716595992.jpg It's still a grave so it didn't feel alright with me to enter, though a box of matches was placed in a crack near the entrance. The tomb is placed in a way the sun shines inside on the summer Solstice (21th june), I looked it up on the internet. The second and third tomb don't have the 'skylight' above the entrance and at fourth tomb there isn't an entrance to be found, caved in perhaps? Here on top of the hill you can see more tombs shattered around the area but we think we have seen the best preserved ones so we leave it there.

We went on to Drumcliff by Sligo [Sligo-travel-guide-1311086], visited the cemetery where W.B.Yeats is buried. The cemerery also has a beautiful high cross and a nice view on the mountain Ben Bulben. Then Donegal, again to late to visit the castle. We found a nice B&B near Killybegs

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Posted by Stefmuts 03:36 Archived in Ireland Tagged landscapes mountains nature tomb megalithic Comments (0)

Skipping the cliffs of Moher & visiting the Burren

Ireland 2008


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large_1297706_14339646699663.jpgNext morning at breakfast we met an Italian couple also staying in the B&B, their route is opposite ours so we could exchange the must sees ahead. First we went back to Quin [Quin-travel-guide-938508] to take a picture of the abby right across the streed from the pub where we had dinner last night. Then its off to the famous Cliffs of Moher. At Lahinch we started following the coastal route again. At the Cliffs of Moher we found out that parking only already cost €8,- I really thought that was crazy much! So we skipped those famous cliffs. A bit further up the route, at Doolin we could see the cliffs in the distance and I must say I don\'t think they are specially more beautiful than the ones at Portmagee [Portmagee-travel-guide-938466] although those are not 8 km long. At Doolin we could take a boat trip to the cliffs but it was rough seas, we just got off a boat (Skellig islands tour) and we kind of had it with those cliffs. Off to the next site!

Well actually we are already at the next site, the Burren, it means rocky place, and so it is.large_1297706_14339646703953.jpgAnd across the pub, the abbeyThe limestone pavement as they call it looks really weird but beautiful. It is such a special landscape that there actually was a film crew filming. We visited Aillwee cave, how that was discovered is a nice story: In 1940 a farmer saw his dog disappear in a hole, he went home, got some candles and went in after the dog. The animal was alright sitting on a ledge in a cave with stalagmites and stalactites. the farmer took the dog and went home not telling about the cave for 33 years. In 1973 he finally told about what happened and the cave and today it is open for visits. The cave was formed by an underground river carving a egg shaped corridor, after the river dried up the sides caved in which gives it the special shape it has today. Entrance fee was €15,- but besides the cave you can also visit the bird park with lots of birds of preyand a cheese making farm.

At Poulnabrone we visited the famous dolmen, it is said to be a prehistoric gravesite (I was told the dolmens in the Netherlands weren\'t graves so i\'m not sure this one is) We had to wait for a whole bus Dutch seniors to leave but then we had the dolmen all to ourselves.

Next B&B in Clarebridge is right next to the pub, great!

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Posted by Stefmuts 03:34 Archived in Ireland Tagged landscapes cliffs nature coastline Comments (0)

Skellig Islands

Ireland 2008


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large_1297706_14339634653674.jpgToday we have scheduled a boat trip to the Skellig islands. We had some coffe in the pub and then to the harbour looking for Shaunie. Various tour boats are ready to go, but Shaunie's not there yet. He will be here shortly they said and after a bit there he was. We are all together eleven and Shaunie, ready to go. It's already 10:30 and we still have some way to go. There are some damp leaflets with information on the islands and the birds living there on the boat, and we soon found out why they were damp.

My travel guide said we would only circle around the islands, but we actually got to visit Skellig Michael. Probably because the breeding season is over we could visit. On Skellig Michael there are a lot of steps leading to the monastery on the top. Its a 6th century monastery built with only the flat rocks found on the island. I was pretty much out of breath when I got up there but it's a really nice site. I can imagine it would have gotten very lonely for the monks living there. Despite the harsh circumstances it withstood the test of time pretty well.

At 13:30 we had to be back down to continue our boat trip.large_1297706_14339635112370.jpg We sailed around Little Skellig, entirely inhabited by seabirds, gannet (lots of them) andof course gulls. Sadly the puffins already left to go south, I would have loved to see them. At a bit after three o'clock we were back at Portmagee [Portmagee-travel-guide-938466] and after a hot drink at the pub we went on our way, on the N70 to Tralee [Tralee-travel-guide-939228] and on towards Limerick [Limerick-travel-guide-937749], we stopped at Adare [Adare-travel-guide-933754] to take some pictures of the Friary and the Castle and again in Limerick to take some pictures of st. John’s Castle, it already was too late for a decent visit. We found our B&B in Doora, next to the church, you can't miss it. We went for dinner to the next town, Quin, the local pub had great food and lateron live music.

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Posted by Stefmuts 03:33 Archived in Ireland Tagged landscapes birds nature island coastline skellig Comments (0)

Macroon-Killarney-Portmagee

Ireland 2008


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large_1297706_14329816662129.jpgFrom Macroon we drove to Killarney [Killarney-travel-guide-937281] there we followed the route called the Ring of Kerry [Kerry-travel-guide-1308572], first stop Muckross Abbey. Lots of horse carriages but we walked up to the abbey, it's only a short walk. The abby is under construction so we didn't get to see the whole splendor of it. Next Muckross House a big 19th century manor with a beautiful garden. It's what I imagined Stephen King's Rose Red would have looked like. And Torc waterfall, pretty impressive and not even that far off the road. At Ladies view you have a nice view on Upper lake, it is said Queen Victoria used to stop there to enjoy the view every time she was in the area.

We drove along the coastline with lots of photo stops and a lunch stop at Caherdaniel. After Waterville we kept following the coastline to Ballingskelligs and to the far end to get a glimpse of the Skellig islands. In Portmagee we found a really nice B&B and after putting our stuff in our room we went back up the cliffs to get that glimpse. A farmer had made a viewing point on his grounds, you had to pay a fee and then you can go and enjoy the view. Unfortunately the view was a bithazy but tomorrow we take the boat to get a look up close

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Posted by Stefmuts 03:31 Archived in Ireland Tagged landscapes churches coastline abby killarney macroon portmaggee Comments (0)

Exploring Cork area

Ireland 2008


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large_1297706_14329804356471.jpgAfter breakfast we went to explore the coastline south of Cork [Cork-travel-guide-935857]. First Kinsale, a pretty harbor town. At the far end of Old Head of Kinsale, they have built a golf course, if you lose your golfball hereI thinkyou have a problem. At the entrance of the golf course are the ruins of a tower andan ancient wall which runs on both sides of the roadto the cliff edge. Abit moreinlandthere is another tower ruin which I also viewed from the inside.large_1297706_1432980438793.jpg

On our way to Clonakilty [Clonakilty-travel-guide-935578] we visited Timoleague Abbey, it's a ruin but the cemetery is still used by the local people. One other tourist got a blessing from one of the many pigeons, thank god elephants don't fly was his reaction.

NearClonakilty the Drombeg Stone Circle is located. This stone circle aged around 150 v.C. consists of 17 upright stones and has a diameter of 9 meters. Partly because of the stories circulatingabout it in the area it has withstood the test of time, locals used to stay away because of witchcraft and sorcery. Besides the circle there is also a kind of stove from the same period and the remains of a settlement, but the latter is less evident.

At Baltimore we walked up to the Beacon, it's a white painted stone beacon locally known as Lot's wife after the biblical woman turned into a pillar of salt. The view from this point is magnificent.large_1297706_14329804588635.jpg Another beautifull view at Mizen head,the most southwestern tip of Ireland. From the carparkwe walked to the lighthouse. First through the visitors' center and then a steep path and an old bridge (in scaffolding) to the far end. The actual tower of the lighthouse is no longer there, but you can see the outbuildings and living quarters of the lighthouse keeper. At the far end there is a beacon and from the small platform you have a fantastic view of the rocky coast.

It was getting late so we decided to go back to Cork, had diner at a chinese restaurant and then back to the B&B. There we got an unpleasant surprise, we were put in our room ! They packed our stuff and put it in the hallway. Apparently there already was a booking for our room for tonight and our second night was not registered,and no more rooms available. The girl we had arranged this with was not working tonight and could not be reached. They could arrange a stay at a hostel but we declined, instead we took the B&B book and the map and called a B&B in Macroon. They had a room available and no problem we were this late! Everything turned out ok

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Posted by Stefmuts 22:28 Archived in Ireland Tagged landscapes lighthouse cork Comments (0)

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