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Towns and other points of interest 

Ireland: Waterford to the Ring of Kerry - Sept 15 to Sept 16

Date

Town

Comments

Sept 15

Sunday

Waterford

Ireland

8:50 – 9:30

Stopped at the Waterford Crystal Showroom and Retail Outlet.  Many wonderful things here made of crystal:  full-size grandfather clock, full-size letterbox, globe, animals 3 feet or so high, and of course the many chandeliers.

Sept 15

Sunday

Cobh

Ireland

Drive past

We did not stop in Cobh but Caroline did give us the following information.  This is a trans-Atlantic port and was the Titanic’s last port of call – she took on many steerage passengers here. 

In 1915 the Lusitania was torpedoed by a German U-boat.  Bodies were brought to Cobh and were buried in a mass grave.  The German reason for the sinking was that they believed she was carrying arms.  The location of the Lusitania is known but is in Irish territorial waters, and for some unknown reason the Irish government forbids and salvaging of the wreck..  People question the reason for this.

Sept 15

Sunday

Cork

Ireland

Drive past

The River Lee separates Cobh and Cork, a city of 125,000.  On the Cork side of the Lee is a small castle with a tower.  There used to be one on the Cobh side but it is gone.  St Finbar started the city of Cork and the Cathedral is named for him.  However, it is Protestant – Church of Ireland.  There is also a Roman Cathedral in the city.  Murphy’s Brewery is situated here, but is in disfavour with many Irish because they were recently bought out by Heineken Ireland.  Murphy’s is the main competitor of Guinness. 

Sept 15

Sunday

Blarney Castle

Blarney

11:15 – 2:00

This was lunch & loo stop.  We went to the castle right away as did many of the group, climbed the many stairs to the battlements at the top, and waited a few minutes in line to “Kiss the Stone”.  One has to lie on one’s back and hang head over an opening 100 feet or so above the ground, and press one’s lips to a stone embedded in the battlement wall.  What a gimmick!!  Fortunately Trafalgar covered that cost.  Well, it seemed that way, anyhow!  After we got down we enjoyed our lunch at a picnic table in full view of the castle.  Before the bus left we wandered through the aisles of the Blarney Woolen Mills, now a retail establishment.

Sept 15

Sunday

 

Sept 16

Monday

Ring of Kerry

Ireland

In the southwest part of Ireland there are three peninsulas jutting out into the Atlantic.  From east to west they are Bera, Inveragh and Dingle.  The Ring of Kerry is the road around the Iveragh Peninsula, and this is the route we began at Killarney at 3:45.  Down the middle of the Peninsula runs the McGillacuddy range of mountains.  We drove down the west side, crossed over at the end of the Peninsula and drove up the east side and re-crossed to Killarney again– this on Sunday and Monday.  Our first stop on the Ring was in the area of the Lakes of Killarney, we on high ground overlooking the lakes.  It was hazy, so the view was a bit obscured.  Caroline had arranged for a photographer, and we had a group photo done.  Land here is quite valuable: a lot can cost €75,000 – 100,000!  We pretty well followed the River Laune, which flows through Killarney.  This river is famous for its salmon fishing, but the cost of a license is very high.  Last year during the Hoof & Mouth epidemic, fishing was prohibited.  The mountains are anywhere from 2000 to 3000 ft high, glaciated, rounded, U-shaped valleys.  There is some agriculture in the river valley, but mostly sheep on the wasteland and hillsides.  A few cattle. 

The town of Killorglin was gearing up for its annual Puck Fair.  Puck is a wild goat.  One of them is captured and becomes King Puck for three days while the villagers and visitors enjoy their celebrations – going from pub to pub!  From Killorglin the land became bog land, and we saw lots of examples of peat cutting, with the bricks of peat piled up for drying and pickup.  There is no farming in this area, though there was grazing of sheep where the land permitted it.  The hillsides were mostly bracken (ferns), gorse, rocks and ledges.  We passed Wynn’s Folly – one man’s failed attempt to build a magnificent home but quit when the money ran out. 

Fog started rolling in as we neared the ocean.  There were several areas showing peat bog holes, very dangerous as they are deep, cold and filled with water.  The dryer bog allowed some reforestation.  In this area was a peat-fired electrical generation station.  We passed Daniel O’Connell’s birthplace, and saw monuments to St Brendan the Navigator and the Old IRA, as well as Daniel O’Connell’s church.  Arrived at Bayview Hotel, Waterville around 6:00 PM.  Supper at the hotel.  Lois & I had a chance to walk the beach before supper and picked up some shells and pretty stones for our grand-daughter – she liked them better than the gifts we bought for her!  A couple of photo stops along the way were fogged in.

We left Waterville Monday morning at 8:08, and our first photo stop was on the Kumakiska Pass, 700 ft above the sea.  Again, fog was our enemy, and though we were able to see and photograph a pretty little harbour and some sheep on the hillside, we could not see the three islands – the Bull, Cow and Calf.  They were in the fog bank.  Continuing on we saw many ruins of houses and churches, abandoned during the Famine of the mid 19th century.  The roofs had all caved in, but the stone walls and gable ends were standing in many instances.  The land here is rough – very rocky with bits of grass where possible.  The rocks are sedimentary, tilted at 45° - 55°. 

Then into the Valley of the Hidden Hoard, so named because a Viking raider buried his loot here but died before he could retrieve it.  The visibility decreased to two to three hundred yards when we were supposed to view an excellent vista – looking toward the Bera Peninsula.  We did get to see 4 wild goats, one of which may be King Puck!  The mountains are further back from the coast and we begin to see cattle and stone fences.  In the village of Sneem the houses are painted a variety of pastel colours.  Beyond Sneem are many softwood trees – not enough to call a forest, but more than a grove.  The trees grow partway up the mountains, but mountain tops are bracken and gorse.  The trees are a result of reforestation.  There is some harvesting of trees as I saw some brows of 8 foot logs. We then went back into the mountains; saw a few lakes and beautiful views, a river valley with flat alluvial plain but no farming, a rock quarry, Moll’s Gap, Killarney National Park and then the Lakes of Killarney from the east side.  Arrived in Killarney at 10:12 and had time for loo and shopping at the Outlet store.

 

 

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