As I sit at the computer writing on this very wet Memorial day holiday in the U.S. I’m thinking back to the great weather I experienced in Ireland. It was partly cloudy and dry almost every day. The temperature reached the mid 50’s every day and we only had rain one day and that was light and only part of the day. Even the tour drivers commented on what great luck we had coming to Ireland that week. Here, as I look out my window the ground is saturated and my area is under flood warnings from the excessive rain we’ve had this spring. Nothing to do but write.
And so we turned North from the Dingle peninsula. The Rose of Tralee International Festival, celebrated each year in Tralee, County Kerry takes its name from a song about the love of a man for a beautiful maiden in Tralee. The idea for the festival started in a bar, presumably over pints of Guinness as an idea to bring more tourists to the area in 1959. The contestants come from all around the world and are chosen for their “personality and suitability to serve as ambassadors for the festival,” not for their beauty. We also stopped at the South Pole Inn in Annascaul. An historic public house (pub) Started by Tom Crean an explorer who went to Antarctica three times under the command of Robert Scott and Sir Earnest Shackleton.
There were many places where we simply pulled off the road to look at the scenery. Not all of these photos are in order of when I took them but it pretty much gives you the idea that Ireland is a beautiful country and just when you think you’ve seen the most beautiful spot you get proved wrong.
There are many ancient ruins scattered all across Ireland and one of the reasons I selected this tour is because it stopped at plenty of them. In the next photos is Lathair Mhainistreach an Riaisc or Reask Monastic Site. Probably dating from the 6th century and the most readily available building material they had was stone. Many of these places have been reduced to low stone walls by locals using the stones to build their own houses and long before people took an interest in their history.
At the town of Tarbert we took the ferry across the River Shannon estuary, It was about a mile across and then we continued North. We visited the Cliffs of Mohor, a fairly well known site of staggeringly beautiful cliffs from 300 to 700 feet in height where Puffins nest. Unfortunately it is very commercialized but that didn’t detract from the beauty.
Somewhere along the way we visited a sheep farm and were given a sheep dog demonstration. We wound up in the town of Ballyvaughn where I had fun talking to a couple of donkeys.
Before reaching Ballyvaughn however, we stopped at Poul na Bron Dolmen. It is an ancient Portal Tomb which when built would have been covered in earth and stone. They were used to store the ashes of ones family.
Another ancient site is of an ancient Tower house. There are tons of these scattered all across Ireland. This one was well preserved.
Here is a spot that we stopped along the side of the road just to admire the scenery. I’ll leave you with these photos and pick up the trail again next time.