Sunday, July 7, 2013

Ireland: Beara Peninsula

Stone shed and fox glove, just up the road from our cottage.
(Click images to view larger)

We’ve been in Ireland for nearly 10 days, mostly staying at a cottage on the Beara Peninsula (SW Ireland, Cork County) with no internet.  Arrived in London late last night.  I’ll try to catch up on blog posts over the next week or so.  It’s harder than I thought when we are so busy traveling.

Where to start?  We built a fire on a wet night—with blocks of  compressed peat.  A sheep grazes every evening in our backyard—an orphan raised by the people who own our cottage, and it stays close even in adulthood.   Dogs are friendly. 

Megalithic graves dot the hillside a short walk up the road—elongated rings of stone, thousands of years old, sinking into the turf.  Old stone walls form exquisite flower gardens.  There’s heather…and gorse.

I drive in the passenger seat down narrow roads, shifting gears with my left hand and diving into tiny pull-outs to avoid oncoming locals, who don’t need to slow down they are so practiced.

The man at the nearby store tells us that the local cheese stinks, and that he “wouldn’t touch it.”  Black pudding (made with pigs blood) is part of the “Irish breakfast,” but none of us quite have the nerve to try it. 

My most embarrassing Ireland vacation fact:  I never made it to a pub.  We’re tired at night, the girls don’t want to go, and our cottage is a nice place to sit and have a cold one while the sun sets.  Plus, I don’t really like Guinness.   On another trip!  

All of this in a place that is fantastically beautiful.  Here are a few pictures... 

Gate and sheep pasture, just up the hill from our cottage.

A cairn on a hill above the cottage--megalithic tombs dot the hillside between here and the sea (Atlantic Ocean).

Flowers on a stone wall.

Fishing boat.

Fox glove and wild fuscia.

Stone shed near our cottage.

The girls above Allihies, an old copper mining town.  Many of the miners left for Butte, Montana when the jobs ran out.

The walking road to Allihies (Ellen and I walked here one morning while the girls slept!).

On the coast.

One of many old graveyards on the peninsula--lots of O'Sullivans and Harringtons.

The girls above the sea.

Ellen on the summit of Knocknogalaum (spelling may be off!).  Our most alpine experience in Ireland.


Sunrise, Beara Peninsula

Ancient stone circles.