Posts Tagged With: Ireland

Dingle Peninsula, Ireland

Dingle Peninsula

The drive around the Dingle Peninsula has magnificent views of steep sea cliffs, rolling mountains and sandy beaches. The Slieve Mish Mountain Range runs down the neck of the peninsula and then rolls down to the sea creating lovely vistas.


The Beach from Ryan’s Daughter

The 1970’s film Ryan’s Daughter was filmed on the Dingle Peninsula and the beach in a scene from Ryan’s Daughter is still wonderful view. The 1992 film Far and Away was partially filmed on the peninsula as well.
Brian de Staic Ogham Jewelry
There is wonderful shopping on the Dingle Peninsula as well. One of my favorites is Brian de Staic and his Ogham jewelry. Ogham is an Early Medieval Alphabet used to write the old Irish Language. Brian de Staic makes lovely pieces with your name on them while you enjoy your drive down the Dingle Peninsula.

DSCN3393The Beauty of the Cliffs
There are over 2,000 monuments preserved on the Dingle Peninsula. There are over 6,000 years representing eight time periods; Mesolithic Period, The Stone Age, The Bronze Age, The Iron Age, The Early Christian Period, The Viking Period, The Medieval Period and the 1600’s through modern Times are all archaeologically represented on the peninsula. See a fort from the Iron Age; standing stones from the Bronze Age; monastic sites form the Early Christian Period; or circle rock art from the Stone Age.
The Dingle Peninsula truly has something for everyone. Photographers and nature lovers will especially enjoy the ocean bluffs and vistas on the drive out Slea Head. There are sheer drops where the rocks meet the Atlantic Ocean. There are sights not to be missed. I enjoyed this drive every bit as much as the drive around The Ring of Kerry.




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Ring of Kerry


Above: That’s me with a view of some of The Ring of Kerry scenery


Above: Me in my new hand knitted Irish sweater at Torc Waterfall


Above: The Muckross house

The Ring of Kerry holds breath taking vistas of mountains fields of green, and views of the beach and ocean. You will see stunning fields of lush green grass that give Ireland the nickname Emerald Isle. There is also a good bit of history to see in the old famine houses, forts and old monasteries. I recommend getting a guide book if you are planning to drive the Ring of Kerry so you will not miss any of the points of interest. There are several churches with interesting cemeteries and statues along the way you might miss without a guide book.

Ring of Kerry is a place to truly cherish the solitude and the grader of nature. There are lots of opportunities for scenic photography. The Torc Waterfall is a short walk through the forest up a slight incline to a beautiful waterfall. The Muckross house completed in 1843 is a wonderful house to take a tour of. It was the home of Henry Arthur Herbert and his wife, Mary, a watercolorist. The rooms are furnished with period décor from the 19th century.

There are some quaint small towns along the way that offer a pub for lunch. All the pubs I visited had soup and wonderful Irish meals. One of my favorites is a toastie. A toastie is made like a grilled cheese sandwich but includes ham, onion, tomato and cheese.

It is recommended due to the narrow roads to drive around the Ring of Kerry clockwise, buses go counterclockwise. That way you do not get stuck behind a tour bus. It takes about four hours to drive the 109 mile Ring of Kerry.

The Ring of Kerry is a relaxing drive around the Iveragh Peninsula and is not to be missed. It is Ireland’s most popular drive in the country. We had a debate on the tour I was on as to which was best Ring of Kerry versus Dingle Peninsula. The results were split almost evenly with a third choice of loved them both. It truly is a personal preference. I voted that I loved them both.

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Bathrooms of Ireland


To left – is the double button.
Everyone has to use the bathroom at some point in their travels. It is always a bit of an adventure in foreign countries. Every time I leave the US I find something to marvel about in the bathroom. Ireland did not let me down!
I have found that when I enter a bathroom in a foreign country there are two things I have to take note of. First where is the necessary paper – sometimes it is behind you, under the sink, hidden in a cubby, or just hanging on the wall.

Paris Texas DSCN1543

Second is to figure out where the flushing mechanism is. This means you have to look high and low.  (To left – note the paper behind you and the high tank flush.) Sometimes, it is a pedal on the floor, or a button on top of the tank, levers on the front or sides of the tank, pull chains from the ceiling if the tank is high or any manner of other hidden combinations. I have been in some countries that do not flush as continuous flow of water over a trough type contraption. The Irish do provide the necessary paper in the bathroom. I have been in places in Europe where you had to pay for the paper or carry your own. The Irish have two buttons on top of many of their toilets. One button gives you a small flush and the other delivers a full flush to meet your individual needs and conserve water.

In Ireland you do need to carry your own facecloth, washcloth, as very few hotels provided them. During my stay in four hotels, all of which were four and five star hotels, only one had facecloths. I usually buy some cheap white facecloths that I can leave behind when traveling.
As a nurse I am always concerned about hand washing, it is scientifically proven to be the best method to prevention of infection. In Ireland I was impressed with the cleanliness of the bathrooms, availability of soap and individual paper towels to perform proper hand washing. Occasionally, there would be one of those electric hand dryers similar to what we have here, but
the majority of places had individual paper towels. I did see one or two of those old rolls of real towels where you pull out some fresh towel and then it retracts back into the machine. I have not seen them in use in the US for years.
All in all, Ireland gets an A for adventure in the uniqueness of some of their bathroom. To get an A one must be clean first and have something I have not seen before, the double button was the new thing for me!
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Kilarney, Ireland – Jaunting Carts




Kilarney, Ireland offered a wonderful way to see the town and countryside.  If you get the opportunity take a Jaunting Cart Ride!  It is a horse drawn cart that goes through town into the countryside.  It is a marvelous way to take in some fresh air and enjoy the Ireland countryside.  We were fortunate to see a herd of deer.








The thatched roof is a dying art and we saw this beautiful example on our Jaunt.








The  Jaunting Cart ride took us out to see Ross Castle circa 1410.  You can just see the ears of our horse at the bottom of this photo. We were able to take a break and explore the castle.

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Waterford, Ireland


Waterford, Crystal

Waterford is the fifth largest city in Ireland and has been famous for Waterford Crystal for many years.  I recently learned while in Ireland that Waterford Crystal is no longer made in Waterford Ireland.    Waterford Crystal is now made in many countries in the world.  There are also workers that worked for Waterford in Ireland that have opened their own companies using the old Waterford techniques to make quality crystal. There are those that say the “new” Waterford is not the same as the “old” Waterford Crystal, I tend to think it is personal preference in how the piece makes you feel.   The town, of Waterford, was quaint with lots to offer in the way of shopping.
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Dunbrody Famine Ship


Dunbrody Famine Ship
If you are a history buff the Dunbrody tour is a must!  The reconstructed Dunbrody Famine Ship is open to tours and is quite fascinating.  The ship is in the water and gives you the feel of how the passengers lived with the cramped conditions.  The highlight of the tour is when Mrs. Annie White, a steerage passenger, and Mrs. Mary O’Brien, first class passenger, join your group to share their stories of passage to America.  These actresses did a wonderful historical interpretation performance of life aboard the Dunbrody.  Even on a rainy day, this is Ireland afterall, it was a wonderful tour!

Dunbrody Famine Ship is a three masted ship originally built in Quebec in 1845 for the Graves family by Thomas Hamilton Oliver, an Irish emigrant from the County Derry.
The Graves family, of New Ross, were merchants and they commissioned eight
such ships to carry cargo from America and Canada to Ireland.  The ship was fitted out with bunks and facilities for passengers desperate to escape Ireland during the Potato Famine.  Usually the Dunbrody carried 176 people but in the height of the Famine in 1847 the passengers climbed to 318 in number.  The tour guide gives an explanation of the times, the ship and the Potato Famine.   For more information about the Dunbrody tours

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As a seasoned traveler I, Jan, have exp_2DSCN2122erienced many types of travel.  I know when I first started with various forms of travel it was often difficult to find recommendations and suggestions.  So I decided to share some tips of the traveler here on my blog!  Feel free to post comments and enjoy the travel in the minds eye!

First up IRELAND:

Wow, talk about Green!  I always heard how green Ireland is but the shades of green are spectacular and varied!  A recent visit to Ireland to Ireland included Kilkenny, Killarney and Kinsale.  Ireland is rather shaped like a plate in that it is flat in the center and mountains surround the edges.  Farming in the number one industry and the green pastures offer constant proof.  Approximately 10% of the population is employed in farming.  There is a current population of 4.6 million people, 8 million sheep and 6 million cattle.

     Ireland is made up of Northern Ireland and The Republic of Ireland in the south.  My recent visit was to The Republic of Ireland.  Northern Ireland is part of Great Britain and in The Republic of Ireland where I was it is a sovereign nation of The Republic of Ireland. The monetary system is the Euro.  One of the reasons that it was so easy to travel around Ireland is the vast majority of Ireland speaks English as their primary language.
    Folks always ask about the weather – There is a saying, “Don’t come to Ireland for the weather – it rains in all four seasons!”  I found several t-shirts that commented on the weather – most involved rain.  I found Ireland to be very pleasant mild and as expected occasional mist more than rain. After all, to be so green there must be some rain.  There was also some mist, rain and sunshine.  Historically it is 40 and 50 degrees Fahrenheit in the winter and 60 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit in the summer.  The weather can change quickly turning from mist to rain followed by bright sunshine and back to rain all in a day.   The weather is due to the effects of the gulf stream on the island and as with most islands the weather changes quickly.  I was there in October and found it to be quite lovely and wore a sweater most evenings and some days.
     When traveling from the US stay awake the day you arrive and try to go to bed at 9 PM or later local time to help your body adjust.  Just plan some light sight-seeing that first day and enjoy some of the tea and scones during your breaks, a personal favorite of mine!
     More to come on specific towns visited and general travel tips for Ireland.
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