"It is in the wild places, where the edge of the earth meets the corners of the sky, the human spirit is fed." Art Wolf

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

The last days in Ireland

On our way down the road after climbing Skellig we stopped to make sure our legs didn't get too stiff. These were our last two days on the tour and our last opportunities to be Vagabonds.  Dee made the sure we made most of them.

Nice art work on the table base.  We visited the home of Daniel O'Connell know as the Liberator because he liberated the Irish majority from their political obscurity back in the early 1800's.  

We also took the stop as another opportunity to visit a bathroom.  Thought I would post and example of the "Big" flush/"Small" flush choices you get.  I think IKEA has some similar choices in their stores but, hey, they're from Sweden.

Dee sent us around the hose grounds in search of fairy houses.  I found some things humans had built to look like they thought fairy house might look. I do believe in faeries but having recently been to the woods of western Oregon and Washington, places where some Irish faeries must have emigrated, I knew that real fairy trees don't look like they were made by a human.....If you doubt me go back to some of those Washington blogs.

I did find some of their tiny mushroom crop.

Daniel had a tower built out on the grounds. Think his century's version of a man cave where he could escape from a house full of children and think and produce great articles of grand oratory.  The stones inlaid in the floor created patterns like its own labyrinth for thought.

A two story tower at that.

Coming back around the grounds towards the car park I passed the back door of the small cafe and their storage area for the fresh vegetables. 

Arriving back a few minutes early, Dee sends me out the lane for a quick view of the nearby beach.  She knows I can walk fast on level ground.  

Turning back around I look at the house and imagine growing up in a house such as this one with fairy gardens, the beach and mountains beyond to go climbing.  It just needs a few horses.

Another afternoon stop to experience an old stone circle hiding in plain sight out on a farmer's land.

As we look around it is clear why the folks thought this was a good place for energy and spirits.

Looking back down towards the circle from higher rocks.

Can you see the Druids and their robes?

Another quick bathroom stop.

Thursday afternoon we also made a stop in a small park to get our personal introduction to the Irish Sport of "Hurling"  Dee demonstrated how to make contact with the small and very hard, ball.

Tom took a turn practicing picking up the ball with the stick. No hands allowed at this stage.

We also got to participate in a relay race of sorts that involved several maneuvers one of which was to walk balancing the ball on the stick.   Egg in Spoon games are much easier. There is no rim on these sticks.

Surprise, another Castle!

Which now looks like this.

Then we drove to our last hiking adventure of the day into the forest park of Gugan Barra.

Carefully hoping across the boulders in the creek.

So we could see one more vista before we sleep tonight.

And so we come to our last evening together.

In the morning Liz and I get up a little early to greet the sun and roam about outside exploring the grounds around the lake, chapel and hotel.

The sunrise fought off the clouds occasionally to spill onto the mountains.

Breakfast and then it is off to the Blarney Castle and the Rock of Cashel before making the final run back to Dublin and saying our good-byes.

Some of the later owners of the castle found it a little uncomfortable to actually live in and built nearby.

No, neither Liz and I, nor many other visitors, saw a need to crawl around on the floor and bend over backwards to kiss a rock.  In our case, we both felt that we could tell stories as well as we needed to at this point in our lives.  It did appear that the gentleman made some attempt to clean the rock between seekers of the gift of "Blarney" but Monica reported that she saw the residue of "lipstick" still hanging around the rock.  eeew....

Narrow stairs.  Hard enough for knights and folks with swords but I kept thinking about the servants that had to carry foods and other goods up and down from level to level throughout the day.

Liz and I passed the two "traveler's" wagons before we made our way back to the van.  Later in the day as we were driving back towards the city I saw another colorful wagon parked along side the roundabout, along with a trailer and some tenting and a horse.  Some travelers are still out and about in Ireland.  

Our last stop was to see the Rock of Cashel.  By the scaffolding you can tell that part of the cathedral is undergoing some reconstruction.

Still it is pretty impressive.

Even if surrounded by busloads of people and guides speaking different languages.

Not everyone buried on the grounds are ancient.  Makes you wonder who you have to know?   I found several "Ryans" buried on the grounds.  I claimed them as long lost relatives to my Grandfather Ryan's family some of whom came over during that famous famine era. 

Housing for the parish.

From the Rock of Cashel we climbed back in the van for the last leg of our journey to Dublin and our drop off points around the city.   Liz and I didn't even try to leave the hotel Friday but grabbed some dinner, made reservations for the shuttle to the airport to pick us up at 6:46 am, finished packing our bags and headed to bed.

Bye Ireland.....