Day 17, 18, 19 Dublin

October 31st, 2017

Back in The Republic of Ireland and back to the Euro and oh so many people!  Dublin is definitely way ahead of the rest of Ireland, both Northern and the Republic.  There are so many people wandering the tiny streets.  We stayed right in City Center so everything is right here!

Trinity College and the Long Library were on my list of places to visit.  The college is right in the city and beautiful.

                         Clock Tower

                                        Trinity College

 

                            Long Library

That is a lot of really old books.  I wanted to know why they still have these.  The whole thing is beautiful but seemed like a large collection of books that the students probably never even use.  They actually can check them out to view from the librarian in a special room.  At least some of the students benefit from this collection.

The Harp is the National emblem and it is housed in the Long Library.  It is in a case so not to be played.  It is beautiful and many musicians in Ireland play the harp.

 

We enjoyed several more pubs and of course we visited Guinness Beer.

The tour is very extensive and the building is beautiful.  There is a Pub on the 7th floor with amazing views of Dublin.  On the tour you get a cute little sample of the brownish red beer.  Of course that is not how the Irish drink their beer but not to worry, once you finish the tour you can go to one of the pubs in the building for your Pint!  Included in the price of admission.   I’m more of a 1/2 pint girls so I actually left 1/2 a beer on the counter!  Unbelievable!

 

Dublin also has several Distilleries and we visited two newer ones that are jumping on the resurgence of Whiskey.  Teeling and Pearce Lyons  Distillers have great tours and are very informative about the whiskey making process in Ireland.  I still think it taste better in coffee!

Pearce Distillery is an old church that had been abandoned.

Those are the highlights of my Ireland vacation.  My favorite part was definitely the Dingle Way where I got to walk among the sheep visiting tiny villages and pubs.  We saw very few tourists until we got to Belfast and what my idea of Ireland was before my visit was definitely the countryside that I got to see.  The Irish people are so welcoming and friendly.  For my first trip to Europe it was the best!

Day 14,15,16, Belfast

October 24th, 2017

A whole new world.  Belfast is quit old and not too vibrant.  I guess being in constant battle for so many years wears on things.  We took the Black Cab Taxi tour from recommendations and wow!  what an experience.  Our guide took us through some very troubled neighborhoods and taught us a lot about the religious fighting that has only been over for about 10 years.

Peace Wall

Leaving a message on the wall is encouraged

This wall was built between the Catholic and Protestant communities to prevent some of the fighting.  The wall had to be raised higher several times as they would launch bombs over it.  There is still a lot of bombed out buildings in Belfast but they are rebuilding and the people seem to be coexisting.  The younger people don’t have the same beliefs as their parents and grandparents so things are changing.

The Titantic was built in Belfast and they now have an exhibition on the waterfront.  It is a very beautiful building and someday the whole waterfront will probably be a big tourist hit.  I enjoyed it as I not only learned a few things about the Titantic I learned a little more about Belfast.  The Titantic was very beautiful for the times and it doesn’t appear that cruise ships are much fancier today other than they have way more amenties.  The cruise ship was definitely for the wealthy.  Today just about anyone can afford to cruise.

During the tour you board your own vessel. It is attached by a scissor like devise and you move up and down. Like a Disneyland ride!

 

C. S. Lewis is sort of famous although the people of Belfast didn’t realize he was a famous writer for a long time.  I guess fantasy was not too popular.  They do have a small park dedicated to him with some statues.

We have done so much touring during the day and then at night we have to go to a Pub.  There are lots of Pubs in all of Ireland and everyone you meet tells you about one you have to go to.  Right around the corner from our hotel is the Crown Liquor Saloon which our cab driver told us to try.  It is beautiful on the outside and very crowned on the inside.  Another one we had to try was the Sunflower Pub.  It was recommended by one of our Inn’s on the Dingle Way.  This one had live music.  We have heard a lot of Irish music on this trip.  I saw bagpipes for the first time.

Pubs are fun but sometimes you need a bit of culture.  The Grand Opera House was playing Beautiful and it was right around the corner so we bought tickets and enjoyed a night at the Theater.  Beautiful is the story of Carol King and is currently playing on Broadway.  Belfast’s version was not as professional but some of the actors had amazing voices and the story was truly beautiful!  The music was a blast from the past; I knew every song!!!

Day 13, Northern Ireland

October 21st, 2017

We made it to Northern Ireland where now we have to have pounds instead of euros.  No customs to change countrys but a definite change.  Northern Ireland is much smaller.  They still have lots of green but now we are seeing way more multifamily type housing and way less sheep!  We make it to our B & B in Bushmills after about 6 hours in the car.  We are ready to relax.  Thats good because the only thing around is the Inn where we are staying and they only have Drinks, no food till tomorrow morning where they will cook us a very nice Irish breakfast that is included in our night stay for only 60lbs!  That is a bargain because we will spend about double that for a travelodge in Belfast, without breakfast.

Giants Causeway   The story is interesting and we enjoyed the walk.  The stones are the most impressive as I have not seen that.  I still like Big Sur better for cliffs but this was beautiful.

The hexagon shape of the rocks is very unique.  We were there early but before we left the buses of tourists arrived and soon it was people everywhere.

Sometimes I see things that make me just have to snap a photo.  This girls is walking on these rocks, very close to the cliff and she has a kid on her back who could not have seen anything.  The child is facing forward and covered with clothing.  I guess the kid doesn’t like nature!

Old Bushmills Whiskey  is right here and we have not tasted any Irish Whiskey yet so we do the tour!  Very interesting and very much like Kentucky Bourbon in that they get their barrels from the Kentucky Bourbon Distillers after they are done with them.   Cindy enjoyed the tasting.  I think it is similar to what I think lighter fluid tastes like, but it is alcohol so I’m not passing up the tasting.  I did add ice to mine which the bartender discouraged.  I like my Irish Whiskey in Coffee!

 

 

 

Day 11 & 12 Exploring the coast in Ireland

October 20th, 2017

We were planning to explore the coast of western Ireland but again the weather is changing our plans.  Storm Brian is approaching the area so we find a B & B in Ennis and book ourselves a total tourist thing.  We are going to have a medieval  banquet in a castle.  Bunratty Castle served us up a great meal that we had to eat with our hands.  Spareribs, chicken, soup, bread and lots of wine.

Next stop is Cliffs of Moher .  We decided to just do it.  We arrived to winds of at least 40mph and the place was almost empty but we braved it and walked along the cliffs (behind a stone wall that I used to keep me upright).  It is beautiful but I still think Big Sur has it beat.

I think this was suppose to be for evacuation purposes but ….

Well that will be all of the Cliffs we get to see as they are still not taking boats out and we have things to see.  So northward we go.  We stop in a cute little town that is definitely a summer beach town complete with waterslides and clam chowder.  There was a walk along the shore and they have an area that appeared to be a swimming pool from the tides.  I particularly liked the sculptures!

Beach towels!   Creative.

 

 

 

 

Dingle Way, after 90 miles! The rest of the story….

October 19th, 2017

First let me tell you how our last day ended!

We get into the car. Cindy remembers to drive on the left, I didn’t!  We drive the 8 miles to our B & B.  It’s the same place we spent the night before heading out on the trail.  We have a key to the house and our luggage had been delivered.  We get upstairs, unpack, sort the laundry, and get into the shower!  Today was pretty wet and now it’s kind of cold so a loooong hot shower feels so good.

Our Innkeeper has given us very detailed, handwritten directions to the laundry so we head out!  We get to where the laundry is and don’t see it.  The traffic is very heavy, like all these people got off work at 2:00 in the afternoon.  We can’t find it.  We drive up and down the road and nothing.  I finally get Yelp on the job!  Yelp finds me one a mile away.  Fine we will go to a different one.  We arrive there and nothing, which in my travels I have had this experience with Yelp before.  Poor Cindy, she is driving in this crazy traffic, on the wrong side of the road and it is raining really hard now!

Finally I say, let’s go back to the other one, the directions said it’s next to the gas station so I’ll just go in and ask.  We pull into the station..

It is right there in front of us, in the parking lot.  This is the WHOLE laundromat!  Seriously!  It is outdoors, in the rain with nowhere to set your laundry or anything.  The station attendant is standing there under the awning smoking so I ask!  Can I buy detergent inside the station?  No, but it comes with detergent when you pay for the machine.  Only the small machine is available but it is a pretty big front loader.  So we grab our laundry, put the 4 euros in and yep, the washer starts!  This is just too weird.

We also had not eaten so I look around and don’t see anything right there and I am not sure about leaving so we have a very gourmet meal from the station!  3 euros got me a 12″ roll with a sliced up chicken breast, a bag of chips and a water!  They even had a little area inside to sit and eat it!  Everything you need, no frills!

Our wash finally finishes, the other people finally finish with the dryer and it’s our turn to dry.  Try pulling clothes out of the washer into just your arms without dropping something!  At least we only dropped a couple socks into the ground.  This is kind of gross but not as gross as stomping in the muck on the trail, it will be ok.

Clothes dried in 30 minutes! Excellent but where do I fold them?  I’m standing in the station lot, with my head inside a dryer folding clothes and stacking them inside!  Cindy gets a bag, and stuffs the small things into it!  Well we did get the laundry done.  No more muddy clothes, and they smell clean.  I guess you don’t really NEED all those luxury amenities after all!  NOT.

Cindy decides since we are at a gas station we should fill up, that way tomorrow we can just be on our way.  When we rented the car they gave us a diesel and said diesel gets better mileage and diesel is cheaper in Ireland and it is.  It’s €1.20 per liter where unleaded is €1.30.  That’s a big difference.  So she pulls to the pumps, I just sit there cause this whole laundry episode has me exhausted and it’s cold.

She stucks her head in the window!  ” I screwed up!”

Unleaded into a dieiel car!  Bad!

Yep, she put in about 3 liters and so we have to wait at the same station 2 hours for the guy to come and empty the tank and put new fuel in!  €250.00  plus tax to remove fuel, €4.00 for the 3 liters of unleaded and €65.00 euros for a new tank full of diesel!  (It comes to about $400.00.) So much for saving by getting a diesel!

Tomorrow we start the other half of our vacation!  Stay tuned!

Dingle Way Day 9, The home stretch!

October 19th, 2017

Today we only have to walk about 7 miles!  Yippy.  Maureen says are you sure you don’t want to ride with the luggage?  That’s because it is raining!

Our final morning. Let’s do this!

We retrace our steps back to Castlegregory and begin the Dingle Peninsula Trail to Camp where hopefully our car will be waiting for us.  Our first nights Innkeeper has brought the car to Camp so we don’t have to repeat that first section of our trip!  She says the key will be in a winning lotto envelope behind the counter.  Love small towns!

It’s raging but we are on roads so not too bad but soon it gets exciting.  The road turns to mud and soon we see a river!

A saving grace

This skinny little bridge is our way to the other side where our track continues.  Then we come to where we are supposed to hit the beach, the rain has slowed.  But there is a huge body of water on our trail or a 15 foot mound of sand next to it!  Cindy chooses the water, I choose the sand.  We both make it.

 

This beach was was a bit more interesting with tide pools and cool rock formations but pretty dirty with litter.  There also were a couple rivers to forge!  My feet were already wet from the rain.  This will be my last day with these boots anyway as they will always smell like sheep poo.

Our instructions said look for the opening to a roadway and a church steeple!  Yeah, I think we are almost to Camp.

A beautiful church and tiny cemetery and we are on our way.  Good thing cause the rain gear is coming back out as the sky is opening up.  Only a couple Km’s. I can’t wait!

We find the gas station, see our car and step inside.  Our envelope is there and we have keys!

Cindy removing the rain gear before she attempts to drive on the wrong side of the road!

Wait till you hear what happens next!  Today is not over!

Dingle Way Day 8, our longest hiking day

October 18th, 2017

Another B & B, another Pub and now our longest walk.  The trail picks up right near our Inn and soon we are on the beach.

All 10km of sand

 

Behind us

The clouds were threatening and the forecast didn’t look good but so far so good.  The sand was packed pretty hard and the waves were calm so we had a nice walk for several miles then we come to a spot where a small river was!  The only way was to cross at the lowest spot which was about 6 inches deep!  Yep, wet feet again.  The good news is yesterday’s sheep shit is rinsed away.

Thats Cindy,  we saw 4 people and one dog in the whole 10km.

The mountain views were pretty nice again. The scenery never gets old. It is so open and green.

After two hours we found a spot to exit the beach.  It wasn’t the trail spot but we thought we could cut off a mile or so.  Didn’t happen!  Finally we came to the listed pub where we thought we would have lunch.  Opens at 5:30 pm.  Good thing we have power bars and fruit from breakfast!

Soon we are on our way again and walking along roads and trails between villages.

Ponies. There was a small herd of these ponies in a backyard type pasture.  They had no interest in us because look at all that grass!  These two were living in each other.  It was very sweet.

These horses were open range grazing razing along the roadway on both sides.  It was beautiful to walk amongst them and just watch.  This is about the time my body started acting up and we are only just over 1/2 way!

Our third horse encounter

This guy was in a pasture separated from the sheep.  He must have been lonely because he came right up to the fence and let us scratch his nose!  Then Cindy takes out an orange and fed it to him.  He seemed very appreciative!

Then another beach and another 5 km.  I’m thinking this town is never going to show up!  We finally make it to town and Cindy reads the notes for our B & B!  Only 1 km outside of town.  WHAT!  We arrive and Maureen our Host, welcomes us cheerfully. She was cheerful  not me.  I need to get these boots off and lay down!

 

 

Dingle Way Day 7, Time to hit the trails again

October 17th, 2017

Ophelia came. She was not scary and most of the day was just a nice stormy day where we sat inside and watched the waves.  It was beautiful and the Pub right around the corner opened up about 5:30 so Irish coffee and pints were the order of the day.  It is really fun to check out the pubs in these sleepy towns.  The locals really do come, sit, have a pint and use the free wifi!

Today’s hike was the one I had been dreading as it is over the Masatiompan Mountain with an elevation gain of 720 m and 22km long.  After two days of rest I think I’m up for the task.  Our innkeeper relieved me when he said “it is not a good plan, it’s still quite cloudy and foggy up there and the trail is going to be wet and very slick.”  He suggested the southern route which won’t be as beautiful but will be much safer.  It’s only 10 km and 400m elevation gain.  So we prepared and he had to drop us off near the beginning of the trail.

We get there and he says it’s easy, keep the telephone poles on your right, straight up that road to that mountain and keep going to the top.

The view looking back into the valley

Because this wasn’t the official trail we have no markers.  There is a path until you get to the top!  At the top we had to rely on the poles and kept a farm and a road in our view as we knew we had to follow the road into Cloghane where we pick up the trail and find our B&B.

Spectacular view

The farm, which when we finally made it there looked abandoned

Today was a short hike and we found our B&B soon.  After getting into our room we decided to take a walk along the bay.  This is a pretty spectacular spot and we can see the beach where we will be walking tomorrow.

Beautiful view from patio

 

Just love the animals.  This group of rams were sure we had food, when they realized we didn’t they continued with their day

Dingle Way Day 5, 6 Change of plans

October 16th, 2017

We were hoping to ride with our luggage and do another backwards walk but I have a tummy ache and didn’t get much sleep and our luggage driver can’t take us till noon!  Guess we will get two days off.  I’m thinking that’s a great idea.

So we move with our luggage to Ballyfreitter and along the way our driver tells us that StarWars movie was filmed on the hill above our B&B.  That’s pretty cool. So when we arrive, Cindy says she wants to walk to the top.  I tried to go with her but a nap was calling so I stayed warm while she walked to the top.  I saw pictures. It’s beautiful.

Note:  Hiking alone is not a good idea.  She made it back but she ducked under a string and got a shock.  The farmers like to keep their sheep in their fields so they have electric fences everywhere.  I had seen them, knew what they were and stayed very far away. Cindy didn’t know that those little thing strings are actually very strong electric wires.  Ouch.

Dingle Way Day 4, Walking backwards

October 14th, 2017

Today was supposed to be a day of rest and Pub crawling BUT….  Ophelia is coming!  So Cindy talks to the Innkeeper and he gives a ride to a vista point between Sleahead and Dunquin and we can do tomorrows walk backwards!  Yeah!

Dunquin! Ok that’s pretty amazing

But then he drives off!  We are about 18 miles from Dingle and that is where my suitcase will be spending the night.  Ok then!  Looking for the little man

These are our markers

We find the marker right across the road and immediately we have to cross a stile.

This one is pretty fancy.

We climb over and head up the trail, soon we are looking for our next marker because the trail disappears which has happened as we are on a mountain in a goat field!  Cindy reaches into her pocket and only has instructions to yesterday’s B&B!  Great!  So what do we do now?

Ok that’s pretty amazing so we continue along the rock wall keeping the ocean in sight.  We had just drove up the coast so we knew that was where we needed to be.

Goats everywhere

The day was beautiful and the mountain wasn’t too wet so everything is good. Cindy is forging the way and I’m blindly following with a few “I don’t see the yellow walking man!”  Every time I say it he shows up.  It’s amazing we never see anyone on the trail but there is always a slight impression that someone was just here.  Today was our first time passing someone, a large group going the right direction!

Not moving!!!!

They were laying right where I thought the path should be and it was way dryer than Cindy’s chosen path but these guys just stayed there so I had to follow my leader!  What’s a little more gunk on the feet?

We pass a farm below where the farmer and his herding dog were giving a demo to a tourist bus.  The dog was running so fast and barking.  I think it was his passion.  The sheep seemed annoyed cause he kept moving them to the fence and then away.

Then we come to a very nice waterfall and the little man marker is right there on the other side!  Yep, we crawled across the rocks, they were huge with big gaps and lots of fast moving water. And, yes the boots got the muck washed away!  Cold feet though.

Finally we come close to the road and the ocean. Today’s walk promised walking on the beach but the beach was way down there. So we walked and followed the markers across the road and down a dirt path. Remember yesterday it rained?  The trail was for ATV use and they love mud.

This is what parts of it looked like

This is what boots look like after walking for only a few minutes on the trails

We finally found the beach and walked for an eternity.  We have about 7 miles to home.  The next town is only a mile away.  We could call a taxi. Nope! We came to walk and walk we did.

Ophilia isn’t due until Monday so we will be walking tomorrow🙃