Monday, June 30, 2014

Ireland Day Five, Ring of Kerry

We began our day-long drive right after breakfast. We'd been told we just had to drive the Ring of Kerry, which is supposed to showcase all the variations of Ireland's natural beauty—gorgeous beaches, mountains, lakes, beautiful flowers, trees, rhododendrons all over the hills. But first we stopped along the back roads at this old house that's pretty much in ruins.

We also stopped to poke around this castle near Killarney, but it started raining so we didn't stay long.

This wonderful building housed some free public toilets.

Yep, that's us under the umbrella.
We stopped at a mall that was pretty unremarkable, then we headed on up to the Gap of Dunloe for lunch. I'd been remarking to Eric the night before that although we'd had some pretty good food in Ireland, I still hadn't had any traditional Irish food so we scoped out Kate Kierney's Cottage before we left. And wow am I glad we did! I had the bangers & mash and they were simply amazing. Oh and there was an Irish peat fire burning to keep us nice and warm during the rainy day.

Eric had the lamb, Bianca had some Thai chicken, and there's my amazing bangers & mash
After a while, the rain stopped and we were able to stop and get out of the car, along the way. One of my favorite places we stopped was at this old ruined castle—Ballycarberry Castle. We climbed around and down. It was pretty crazy, really.

That's Bianca and you can see the sea (it was low tide) behind

We stopped at a rocky beach. The girls played while I just rested and enjoyed the sound of the waves.

We made another stop around another beautiful, scenic view of the ocean.

Shortly after we took this picture, we were driving through a tiny village called Castlecove and I pointed out the house I wanted (I seem to always want to live in the amazing places I travel to). This was my landmark Georgian I dreamed about fixing up the rest of the car ride.

We still had quite a bit of driving to do. We went passed this lake, got stuck in a little construction, and wished we had more time to get out and walk around a little.

Well, we wore the girls out with all our driving though. It was good to get back to Kinsale.

Doorway of the Day

This will have to do...

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Ireland Day Four, Fota Island and Cobh

Portia asked us if we could go to a zoo while we're on our trip (England had a whole bunch of little zoos when we went), so we found a Wildlife Center near at Fota Island.

Fota Wildlife Center
They had a lot of the same kind of animals we have—giraffes, tigers, peacocks, and such.

But one thing that was vastly different was the way they let kangaroos roam free, as well as the ring-tailed lemurs. Oh and they always have lots of meerkats in this area.

It rained for a while so we ducked into a tent where they were doing crafts and the girls made turtle puppets on popsicle sticks. Oh and Portia got to see lots of cheetahs, one of her very favorite animals. We spent the morning there and then took a short drive to Cobh (pronounced more like Cove).

Cobh is a pretty and sad little coastal village where both the Titanic and Lusitania sailed from. (It was once called Queenstown.)

This statue broke my heart.

We grabbed a quick bite at The Market Store. I had a bacon and chicken salad that was really quite good. Everyone kept eating Portia's french toast and she finally had enough of it. We didn't go into the Titanic museum but we did step out onto the port.

The port at Cobh

The city has this amazing cathedral (St. Colman's Cathedral) that is pretty much beautiful from every angle.

St. Colman's Cathedral
Bianca and Portia both lit a candle here.

St. Colman's Cathedral Cobh

Doors of the Day

Bianca was mocking me by choosing a painted on door for her "door" photo

Confessional doors at St. Colman's Cathedral

Friday, June 27, 2014

Ireland Day Three, Kinsale

We're still recovering from the time change. We actually slept in until noon today. Since we had slept away half the day already, we decided to stay in Kinsale.

Charles Fort is a short walk away from where we were staying. It was used to defend Ireland against the Spanish and English. It's pretty much ruins now but we were able to walk around. It was very beautiful overlooking the water. We took tons of pictures; it was almost like a little photo shoot.

Afterwards, we took the Scilly Walk into downtown Kinsale to find a place to eat dinner. After checking out a few shops (where Bianca needed earrings since she'd lost one of hers) and seeing some pretty interesting stuff along the way, we decided to split up. The kids didn't want seafood so Eric and I ate at Fishy Fishy (no, I'm not kidding). And the girls went to this little cafe for sandwiches.

Scilly Walk

The view of Kinsale from the Scilly Walk

Lots of great color in Kinsale—and this big anchor

We saw some pretty interesting stuff in Kinsale, this man really was fiddling and all these little dolls were moving

Lemon Leaf Cafe, where Bianca and Portia had their dinner

Doors of Kinsale

Bianca was braiding wildflowers into Portia's hair

I love the vines on this door.

The door to nowhere?

I love those little red flowers to the right. They were red and purple and really quite unusual.

I find it so interesting how plants grow out of brick here.

More like a gate. . .