Irregular Posts; Ireland 6, Dublin

Tuesday June 21 Good Solstice Evening, Leaving Kenmare with a full stomach and with a bag of Jerome’s pastry, we again drove to some scenic spots on the Ring of Beara that we had not been able to go to before.  The photographer Eoghan Kavanagh suggested one in particular, the Glen of Inchiquin. Eoghan has a gallery near Foley’s Guest House and Pub in Kenmare.  His large prints draw viewers to the gallery window where he showcases his medium format camera images of the region.  Fine art images are printed on watercolor paper and mounted without mat in a white shadowbox frame.  He also shoots with a Seitz Round Shot.  This film camera rotates and exposes panoramas; no blending and stitching in Photoshop.  There was no way I could be there in the proper atmosphere to capture his evocative images.   But… The Glen has a very tall multi-finger waterfall cascading over black cliff faces, and into a stream that roars down the glen.  Sheep graze lazily along the path as you walk by.  Some have been shorn and are clean and white.  A bright colored “paint” on their neck identifies the owner.  The shaggy ones with now faded and dulled paint await their haircut. There was a small stone circle on this narrow lane road.  At the parking place below the hill top, Patrick Leary sat at his old car.  He was waiting for any tourist to come by to view the circle.  It cost two Euros each.  “I have postcards also, one euro each.”  One was a shot of him herding his sheep in a glen.  The...

Irregular Posts; Ireland 5, County Kerry

Saturday June 18; Kenmare, County Kerry Good Evening, Driving Rings in the Southwest.  Three days in Doolin for the Burren and the music, three days in Dingle for the Slea “Ring”, three days in Kenmare for the Rings of Kerry, Skellig, and Beara.  They are the same but very different. Doolin was a small village with three sections.  Traditional music and the barren Burren are the draw.  Very few buses filled with day tours.  The Burren doesn’t have many attractions that would interest daytrippers. The landscape is a limestone flatland that was left by the last ice age.  Flowers and plants from the alpine, Mediterranean, and Europe grow in the same square meter.  Crevices that are a couple of feet deep separate the limestone strands.  Acidic rainwater slowly dissolves the stone and the runoff carves little channels and tiny ponds onto the flat ice scrapped stones.  Ancient Neolithic remains are found all over the place.  Only a few are named and documented because there are so many of them.  They are all different but the same.   Typical tourist attractions include the Cliffs of Mohr and the Aran Islands.  The Cliffs can be done in a couple of hours from the road.  The Islands require at least a day to ferry to and walk about.  Inisheer is the smallest and closest.  It is less visited than the larger two, but it is more rural Ireland.  Walking the tiny lanes between the fields with cows and sheep was a pleasure.  Occasionally, you had to step aside to let a horse cart, loaded with daytrippers, pass by. Dingle is a large...

Irregular Posts: Ireland 4, County Kerry

Tuesday June 14; Dingle, County Kerry “Where is the music tonight?” I asked Mattie.  “I saw birthday balloons and two buses at Mc Dermott’s.”  He and his wife Carmel are the owners of the Rainbow Hostel in Doolin where we have been lodging for a couple of days. “Mc Gann’s.  I saw the musicians heading there.  The singer, Sheila, is one of the best in the country.  The guy on the Irish pipes is very, very good.” Mc Gann’s and McDermott’s are the pubs in this end of Doolin village.  They are on a diagonal over a narrow medieval stone bridge.  Friday night, we ate good pub food Mc Gann’s, and had lively music and a pint at McDermott’s.  Saturday night we reversed the order.  The musicians at both were quite good and the pubs were lively with talk and occasional impromptu dance. Now it was Sunday night and I feared that it would be on the quiet side.  Wrong!  Mc Gann’s was packed.  We wedged in and bumped into Carmel three rows deep from the barman. “What are you drinking?”, after she got the barman’s attention. “Oh…Smithwick’s; a half pint for Meg and a pint for me.” In a moment, the barman began handing her the glasses. “Thanks, so much.” I said.  I raised my glass to her, and then to Mattie across the small noisy room.  The musicians, just returning from a break, took their seats in the musician’s corner.   Sheila, the matronly singer, was well into her fifties.  The thirty-some piper had long black hair that hung to obscure his face as he pumped the bellow...