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Ireland

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)

Kilkenny to Cork along the coastline

Ireland 2008


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large_1297706_14329766571866.jpgFisherman (Dunmore East)From Kilkenny we drove to Waterford [Waterford-travel-guide-939352] and further to the small port town ofDunmore East. At the harbour we watched the fisherman repairing their gear, interesting stuff for us landlubbers.

Then along the coast to Dungarvan and thence to Youghal. Youghal has a bell tower which was originally the city gate, the road leads here under. Unfortunately not open to the public just as Tyntes Castle, this is a 15th century tower, I would have loved to take a look inside. Instead wehad a cappuccino at the harbor and went on to Midleton.large_1297706_14329766992912.jpg We visited the Old Midleton distillery, only looking at the buildings from the outside, it's also a Jamesons distillery and we already did a tour in Dublin [Dublin-travel-guide-936355].

Next stop: Cobh, from 1849 till 1921 it was called Queenstown, yes, the Titanic's Queenstown. We visited st. Colman’s Cathedral, very impressive and then on to Cork [Cork-travel-guide-935857], taking the ferry, ignoring our route planner (sometimes the best way to go!). Cork has Irelands largest building, officially opened on the 17th (saw that on TV) hard to get a nice picture of it though. We planned to stay the night in Cork, the book already warned us for lack of private parking in Cork so we just drove around a bit to look for a B&B with private parking. We found Gabriel House, the the girl at the counter tried to persuade us to stay more than one night and thinking about all the things to see in this area and after seeing our room we decided to stay two nights, no problem the girl told us (yes problem it turned out to be)

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Posted by Stefmuts 22:26 Archived in Ireland Tagged landscapes churches cork kilkenny high_cross Comments (0)

Dublin-Kilkenny through Wicklow mountains

Ireland 2008


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large_1297706_14329748781751.jpgIt was a bit of a hassle to get out of Dublin. We drove throuhg Wicklow mountains national park to Glendalough [Glendalough-travel-guide-1309844], one of the must sees on my list. Glendalough is famous for its Monastic Site with Round Tower and the two lakes. But first we drive though the winding roads of the Wicklow mountains with highland like views (sorry if I offended Ireland by that comment, I meant it well). We had to stop a couple of times because of sheep on the road. The famous round Tower at Glendalough is on the cemetery. We have to pass a double gated entrance to get there. The tower is 30 meters high and is said to be the one of the most beautiful in the country.Round towers wereclock towersthat also served as a repository of valuable manuscripts and watchtowers to guard the cemetery against grave robbers.large_1297706_14329749016433.jpg The entrance is mostly placed at about 4 meters above the ground and can be reached by usinga ladder that could be brought in to make it difficult for intruders.The tower is nice but I'm actual more interested in the beautiful irish crosses.

At the cemetery there are also the ruins of a church and several outbuildings. We walked along the Lower lake up to the Upper lake where we went to take a look at the Poulanass waterfall and ruin of the Reefert Church. At Upper lake the trail went further up the slope to another few ruins, but we had seen enough. We walked down the other bank of Lower lake back to the starting point.

On the way to Kilkenny [Kilkenny-travel-guide-937251] we passed the ruins of a abby, we stopped the car to take a look around. Unfortunately the local youth has established its base here, empty beer cans and candy wrappers.

In Kilkenny we found B&B Olinda, bit dated a toilet with issues and bring your own towels but good enough

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Posted by Stefmuts 03:49 Archived in Ireland Tagged landscapes ruins dublin kilkenny high_cross Comments (0)

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