Friday, 22 June 2012
From Wales we took the ferry to Dublin, Ireland. We rented a taxi to take us to our car rental agency. The taxi was set up with three seats facing forward and one facing backwards. I got the full effect Marylou’s going through the safety procedures and pointing to the exits in case of emergency.
We drove from Dublin to Kilgorglin where we rented a cottage for the next three nights. It was so nice to have a base for several days so we did not have to pack up every morning. This was the scene from our front door! Wow!
Wednesday morning we had pancakes, eggs, and fresh fruit for breakfast. We spent some time singing (all four of us LOVE to sing and Lois brought along copies of some of her favorite songs) then Lois talked a little on ‘God’s Kindness.’ We left around 10am and found a bank to get money changed from pounds into euros. The cashier that changed money for me was helping the cashier in charge of changing money. I nearly had a heart attack when she asked me the following question: “Are you over 60?” Uhm, do I look over 60? While we were in town we stopped at the library use the internet. Beside the library was the tourist information office. I was walking into the office just as Marylou and Ruby were walking across the street to the bank. The lady in the office was quite chatty. She said to me, “I see you are wearing a dress and your two friends are also in dresses. Are you triplets?”
The remainder of the day we made the trip around the Ring of Dingle making stops along the way to see interesting things. On Inch Beach there were these things that resembled go-carts but they had sails and were used for cruising on the beach. They looked like SO MUCH FUN!
We stopped at a ‘famine cottage’ that showed how the Irish would have lived during the famine. Lois and Marylou were especially interested in this. Their fifth generation ancestor, Catherine Dunne, was a little girl when she and her parents took their family across to America. Enroute, her parents died and Catherine was fostered by an Amish family.
Our car automatically whipped into the parking lot of this little house with a sign in front advertising fresh coffee, tea, scones, and pie. And what a cute place it was! It appeared that a lady converted the ground floor into a little cafe. A fire in the fireplace would have completed the cozy feel.
Another stop was at the Gallarus Oratory. Built 7th or 8th century, it is one of the best preserved Irish churches. For a while we were the only ones there so we sang two songs inside the tiny church, “A Might Fortress Is Our God” and “Thou Wilt Keep Him in Perfect Peace.” The acoustics were excellent which makes singing all the more fun!
Thursday morning we left soon after 8am and took the ferry to the Cliffs of Moher.
I was especially impressed with how the architects designed the restaurant and gift shop. Brilliant!
In the evening we toured the Bunratty Castle in County Claire and took in a medieval banquet. After the meal, the servers, who also doubled as the entertainment (and yes, they do have to audition before they are hired), sang beautifully for us.
Friday we toured Mucross House, a furnished mansion built between the 17th and 18th century.
My highlight of the day and maybe for all of Ireland was our visit to a working sheepdog farm. After watching the farmer’s hired hand shear sheep, the farmer took us to the hillside and set three of his five sheepdogs into action rounding up a flock of sheep into the pen. Oh my goodness! I was totally in awe! Each dog has a separate word for the same action. For example: every dog has a different word for ‘go right’ or ‘stop’ or ‘behind.’ If every dog had the same word they would each do the same thing. The farmer has to remember the set of commands for every dog. I was especially impressed with the absolute obedience of every dog. The farmer told us that his sheepdogs will only listen to him. In the same way, his neighbor’s sheepdogs will only listen to their master. Another interesting thing he told us was how he would ” be a fool” to leave his dogs unattended with the sheep. He called his dogs “trained wolves.” Unattended the dogs could wreak havoc in a flock of sheep and ruin his flock.
** I have a short video of the action. Whenever I can figure out how to upload it, I will.**
We took the scenic trip home and had a interesting time albeit not in the positive sense. The roads were already narrow and winding with no shoulders. We came upon a large group of bikers going the same direction as us. Even when a girl fell down, there was nothing her fellow-bikers could do because there was no place for them to stop. For supper Marylou made her famous bean burgers with a sauce made of mayonnaise, cilantro, and tomato. In Wales we were introduced to ‘mushy peas’ a mixture similar to zipper peas, lima beans, and English peas all cooked well then slightly mashed. We found some canned mushy peas which were not too far from what we had eaten earlier. I’ve always kind of been suspicious of bean burgers; however, Marylou’s fabulous entrée ditched that preconceived idea to the curb. They were fantastic and the sauce was so good that, as the saying goes, the half has not yet been told.
New saying: ‘Go small’ for ‘slow.’
By this time, our driver and navigator were so proficient at driving on the left side of the road. While I was glad for them, I kind of missed the entertainment.
To be continued!