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...a glimpse into life on Vancouver Island, needle felting, photography, food, gardening, etcetera...etcetera
"Happiness always looks small when you hold it in your hands, but let it go, and at once you learn how big and precious it is."
Maxim Gorky

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

The mysterious Slea Head drive...


The morning in Dingle started off with the bestbreakfast we had yet...The Quayside B&B serves Dingle smoked salmon on a bagel, fresh fruit, porridge, yogurt and even Bailey's Irish Cream for your coffee as well as the full Irish breakfast.
 Fortified, we headed out to take the drive out to Slea Head, the most westerly point of land in Europe.
This narrow, winding road takes you along some of the wildest coastline in Ireland and makes you gasp for air at just about every corner...not for the meek driver...there are some spots where there is only room for one small car held on the road by a rock wall which keeps you from tipping over down a 200 foot cliff into the ocean.
On the way there is an incredible museum dedicated to the famine victims who dwelled in these landlord owned cottages in the 1800's, many of whom lived and died in terrible conditions.
This area was one of the hardest hit and many people experienced some of the most horrific suffering, due to the remoteness of the place and one can only imagine how hard life was in the climate along the coast.
It is humbling and well worth a visit.
Oddly enough is the animal park within its rock walls, I suppose to showcase the native breeds of the area.                                                                                                                                                                                  The thatched roofs are amazing and detailed in ways that I didn't know was possible with thatch.
There are 'dummies' inside and out of the cottages, which lends an earie feeling to the place as well as scaring the bejesus out of unsuspecting tourists who come upon them!
Anyway, the drive was incredible with views out to
the jagged Skellings and wicked ocean below. The strange thing was that we were driving along trying
to figure out where the turnoff to Dingle was and thinking we had at least another hours drive back when things started to look familiar and all of a sudden realized we were indeed back in Dingle!
More strange magic on the road in Kerry.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Dingle...as fun as it sounds...


Upon arriving in Dingle we were up for a pint and some lunch and stopped in at a great little seaside pub. On the bay, a pint of Guiness, seafood chowder and the Vicar at the bar....oh Ireland...After lunch we parked in the village and went out in search of a b&b and came across a man and a donkey cart. At first we thought he was a tourist gimmick so I went to have a chat and take a picture or two, but uopn further investigation, learned that he was just a guy living on the road with his donkey, Connagh. Thats what he does...wanders around from town to town, doing odd jobs in exchange for food and pasture..so there you go..."not all who wander are lost" as J.R Tolkien says. We found a beautiful b&b (Quayside B&B) overlooking the harbor and frankly it was one of the nicest places we had stayed yet...the owner was a nice young lad from Dublin (I even picked up the accent!) and his wife who was born and raised there. Decided to have a looke around and found a great repubulican pub just within stumbling distance of  the Quayside which was totally empty but for the da, myself the barkeep and one other regular.The walls were covered in everything IRA. We had a pint, watched the nuns stroll past (REALLY!) and then asked the barkeep about music at night...he said to come back around nine and there would be some good trad music. After some smoked makerel fish and chips we headed back to the pub (O'Flagherty's) and the place was packed! Luckily there were a few seats near the action and the music was great...one fella played about 4 instruments while a woman played a wooden flute. After the set, the instrument guy walked around and collected empty glasses! Turned out he was the owner as well as the entertainment. When the intermission started, we decided to walk about town to see what else we could find . We learned that the meek hardware store during the day becomes the local local at night complete with blinds closed and nails and hammers put aside for pints and shots of whiskey. Ended up in the Dingle pub for some young lads playing trad and a good night had by all.