you always have a clean shirt, a clear conscience, and enough coins in your pocket
to buy a pint!
|Map of Ireland|
This is my third trip to Ireland. This time I wanted to see the south and
rustic and rugged west coasts of Ireland.
It was a drive and bed and breakfast adventure, booked through Sceptre
Tours. Sceptre is an Ireland specialist
and I highly recommend them.
I took all photographs with my Canon 5D
Mark III and 24-105mm lens. Post editing
done mostly with Adobe Lightroom 5, and some additional edits with Photoshop
CS6 and some plugins.
First off, the roads are primitive. There are a few superhighways in Ireland, but
for the most part, there are two and even one lane roads with speed limits of 80 to 100 km/h, which is just too darn fast for me. I was lucky to drive around 3/4 the speed limit
and feel I had control of the car. And,
oh yes, they drive on the left and there are those horrible traffic circles or
rotaries to contend with. By the end of
the trip, I was actually getting good driving on the left and using my left
hand to shift. So much so that my first
night back in Phoenix, I drove out of Harold’s in Cave Creek on the left side,
getting loud helpful tips on my choice of lane from some local cowboys coming
at me from the opposite direction. I’m
ok now, promise!
|Celebrating Cork's Hurling Victory over Kilkenny|
From Dublin, we zipped south through
Kilkenny and had lunch at a pub and watched the big Killkenny vs. Cork Irish
hurling match. Hurling to these American
eyes is pretty strange. They hit a ball
with a stick kind of like a lacrosse stick but without the net. One point getting it through the uprights and
three points scoring a goal in the net.
Then on to spend a few nights in the lovely southern coastal
town of Kinsale, just south of Cork. First off, the Cork lads eventually
won the hurling match, so all of Kinsale was pretty happy. It was while
in Kinsale, I met the Irish musical group called “Geese in the Bog.” I
included a short video with photos I took of the boys. In the middle of
the video is about 16 seconds of their music; a video I shot with my Canon 5D
Mark III. Just click on the description under their photo above and to
the left to open the video.
|Kinsale, Ireland: Kitty's Pub|
Kinsale is a great coastal town. Before the discovery of the Americas, it was
considered the end of the world. It’s
pretty much the end of Ireland on the south coast. Like every Irish town I’ve ever been in, it’s
filled with pubs and all of them have characters and music. I was in Jimmy Heaven. Haha.
|Cattle and Chicken Farm in Kinsale|
Short day trips from Kinsale included
Cobh (pronounced “KOV”), the Titanic’s last port of call and where nearby the
Germans sunk the passenger ship Lusitania back in 1915. Also, Cork and the English Market, where two
little boys were at their parent’s butcher shop for the first time.
|Jim Kisses the Blarney Stone|
Just northwest of Cork is the town of Blarney. Every
American knows this is where the Blarney Castle is
and of course, the Blarney Stone. I had to pucker up and give it a
smooch. Let me say this… getting to the Blarney Stone is a heck of a
climb up very narrow steps. Then you have about 5 seconds to kiss it and
get a photo. As a side note, some Irish locals in Kinsale told me that
the Blarney Stone was where the help, ah ahem, relieved themselves. Glad
I didn’t lip lock on it that long.
|Kenmare at Night|
From Kinsale, our base camp moved to the
west of Ireland, a town called Kenmare.
Kenmare is right between the Ring of Beara to the south and the Ring of
Kerry to the north. A bit further north
was the Dingle Peninsula. I got to be
quite comfortable at the Coachmen’s Pub in Kenmare. Great food, great music, and great beer! I rotated among Murphy’s, Guinness, and
Beamish. All fine Irish Stouts.
|Michael Likes Irish Whiskey|
Around the Ring of Beara we stopped in
the little town of Eyeries. One of the
local girls used the town water pump to get well water for the day.
From Kenmare, we went to the Cliffs of
Moher, then off for a night to the tiny west coast town of Doolin, famous for
attracting Irish musicians. All the
seafood was caught that day and I enjoyed some fish and chips and a wee bit of
Guinness. Guinness, by the way, is crap
in the USA. It’s too bitter. In Ireland, oh my oh my, it is smooth and
pours like chocolate milk.
|Eyeries Girl Getting Water out of Town Pump|
From Doolin, our little car took aim from
wet to east of Ireland for the town of Navan and nearby Trim, famous for the
Trim Castle (where Braveheart was made) and the Hill of Tara. It was in Navan, while at O’Brien’s pub
having our final Irish dinner, that we met a waitress whose best friend from
university in Galway works at Ri Ra pub in Las Vegas. It just so happens that when in Las Vegas, I
eat and drink at Ri Ra (next to Mandalay Bay) so I’ve promised to look her up
when I get there in September.
|Chapel at Hill of Tara|
Then back to Dublin airport and the six-hour
flight to New York and the nearly six-hour flight from New York to Phoenix. Whew!
Long trips, but when I look back at my photos, it was so worth it.
Here's to a long life and a
merry one. A quick death and an easy one. A pretty girl and an honest one. A
cold pint and another one!
…and my entire collection of photos from
Ireland South and West on Flickr!