Dream trip Day 119 Rainy bus tour, stroll through the city, Japanese dinner

Woke up to rain, no surprise. No worries, there is coffee and buffet to bide the time.

After ordering coffee, I strode towards the buffet line intent on procuring a pancake from the oft empty machine.

Success! I was able to get a couple cakes out before it needed refilling. Judging by the time, this was going to have to do.

We arrived perhaps 30 minutes before end of service. They aren’t filling the bag again.

A leisurely meal whilst reading the local paper. My mom was filling in the crossword. I helped with words occasionally but more often than not, she completed  puzzles on her own.

We had learned of a bus tour through Limerick and felt that if there was a break in the rain, we may as well take the dry bus vs. staying in our hotel all day.

Fortified with a hot meal in our bellies and rain coats, we walked the half mile or so to the bus stop.

We were 2 of 4 people who ventured out in the rain. The bus driver waited about 5 minutes after we got on before we left.

“Maybe we can get a couple more stragglers,” he ventured to us via the microphone.

That was the last thing he said as he switched on the pre-recorded tour as he pulled away from the curb.

A nice Irish gentlemen gave us all the highlights of the city from certain historical houses to the cherished Thormond Park, home to Munster Rugby Club.

It reminded me of Odessa’s Permian football team, small town with a stadium fit for college teams, tens of thousands seating.

My mom is a Permian alumni. If you care to know more be sure to read Friday Night Lights, a great book about the football team and small city life in west Texas.

After the hour bus ride, the sky was as clear and open as our itinerary for the day.

We strolled down main street popping into a very tiny mall, shopping center. We didn’t stay long, it wasn’t much to see.

Keeping the River Shannon on our right, I knew we couldn’t get lost.

We found a house near the water, the roof serving as a home, restroom for many birds, mainly cranes by the looks. For sure, only big birds get the spot in the sun.

My mom soon asked me that dreaded question, “What are you going to do when you get back? You can’t travel forever…”

It’s like, what are you going to do, eat 1 month from today. Do you know? I mean, some people who eat the same thing regularly could provide an answer.

No one knows what will happen so you’ve got to learn to roll with life, take it as it comes.

I didn’t know there was a castle across the river until we saw it, so I took a pic.

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Shoot, I had to figure out where I was going to go next week! Today was our last day in Limerick, we had a train to Dublin tomorrow, then my mom flew out the following day.

I had planned as far as Dublin with her, maybe we should head back to the hotel for some Wi-Fi so I could plan my next stop.

A couple of ways I searched for destinations and how to get there was using Rome2Rio or Gopili when I was overseas. Pick a starting point and they figured out how to get you most anywhere in the world via bus, train, ferry, plane or car share.

After scanning a map, Wales is just across the sea from Dublin. Wait, so is Liverpool!

It was quite a trip to Liverpool unless I fly, so may as well take the ferry again, see Wales, why not? My 2nd grade teacher went there, said it was pretty.

Plus, what is up with that  name?! Ain’t no whales in Wales! I shall just have to find out.

Once I had figured my next stop, dinner was in order.

To my delight my mom mentioned she saw a Japanese spot next door to the Locke Bar, I do love sushi, udon so let’s do it!

We passed by the shipwreck, now the boat was under more water due to rain than when we arrived.

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Slow night at the sushi spot in Limerick, which made for a great night.

A very friendly waitress appeared and took our beverage order. When my mom asked a couple of food questions, she just sat down with us.

There was only 1 other table, “Just served that lot, they’ll be fine. Let’s get you sorted out!” she exclaimed.

She sat at our table for close to 5 minutes if not longer not just helping with our food order but filling us in about Limerick and Ireland.

After she left, as parents are wont to do, my mom winked and pointed, basically saying, ‘Hey single son, there is a lady why not ask her out?! We needs grandkids!’

Being the still single son I pointed out the huge ring on her finger, her heart belongs to another.

I typically order noodles and unagi, freshwater eel. Served with delicious tare sauce, my favorite sushi!

Our waitress did seem intrigued by my trip and I gave her the abridged version before another large party walked in.

“I’d love to stay but it is slow, this table might make rent! Have a wonderful time in Ireland!” she said as she dropped out check and swooped on the new table.

It had been quite a day so I only had a shot of Jameson and a beer before heading up to the room.

The talkative bartender was very subdued this evening, not many stories to share.

Last night in Limerick was a good one. Tomorrow, train to Dublin!

Beer: Harris pale ale

Song: Boomtown Rats   Rat Trap

 

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Dream trip Day 118 Cliffs of Mohr tour, ancient Ireland, back to Locke Bar

Today was going to be a big day as the Cliffs were one of my mom’s #1 item to see on her list of activities.

We began our day with the hotel breakfast buffet. To my surprise they had blood sausage, poached eggs, tomatoes and mushrooms on the line.  A complete fry up was an option here.

There was also a pancake machine that seemed to always be empty. You pressed a button and it squirted out mix onto a slow-moving conveyor belt. Within 1 minute, you had a nice pancake.

Alas, the bag of mix the machine used made approximately 5 pancakes, or enough for a small stack for 1. No pancakes for me today, maybe tomorrow.

I am also shocked at my ability to eat a lot of blood sausages, I had 4-5, but I figured breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Fortify yourself with free buffet, that sort of thing.

To my surprise, a van picked us up at the hotel and took us to the bus stop, one of the many services the hotel offered to tour the countryside.

Our first stop on the way to Mohr was at the ancient Caherconnell Stone Fort. Seems stone walls, dwellings have been a big part of Ireland for centuries.

 

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Even out here, actually in the middle of nowhere, was a souvenir shop complete with Irish coffee, pies, baked good and lots of green clothing.

I was more struck by the very nice house across the narrow road.

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We stopped several times along the way to the Cliffs.  Though it is frustrating getting in and out of a bus, I soon realized that if buses don’t stop, many people don’t make money.

These are very rural farm communities but due to crop failures and difficulties farming, people still live there but no longer farm.

The tour buses are also needed for locals to get to airports and around the island. It seems like a lot of winning.

Still, I saw many locals waving their hands away in the go away, shoo motion as I did friendly waves.

It’s culture on display, we gawk at how they live as we pass through on a bus and give them € for goods.

Lunchtime was at in small village in a restaurant that was more like being in someone’s house, a large house at that.

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I selected soup, was still full from my blood sausage breakfast. I did get a pint of Guinness though. 1 a day was my minimum.

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At last we stopped at the Cliffs of Mohr! To say they are massive is an understatement!

Even the non white side has a nice view!

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There are specks of people on the tops of the cliff, they are nearly 800 feet tall (214 meters)!

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There are a couple worn walking paths on top of the Cliffs so we walked as far as it felt safe, there aren’t many safety measures so everyone has to walk smart.

The wind was tremendous, wear a coat or hoodie if you go to the Cliffs, brrrrr.

We soon struck up a conversation with a fellow traveler from the US regarding the Irish cows and sheep were grazing on a very green field in front of the guest shop at the Cliffs.

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A couple of hours flies by pretty quick when the views are beautiful, time to hop back on the bus.

We made a couple smaller spots, each was very gorgeous compared to our usual daily views but things don’t look quite as pretty after taking in the breathtaking Cliffs of Mohr.

We got back into Limerick around dusk. Having had a nice time at Locke Bar we went back for a nice Irish dinner.

This time it wasn’t raining so we sat at one of the many wooden tables near the river, quay, the cool breeze was welcome vs the freezing gusts out on the Cliffs.

We returned to the hotel after some apps, I was still full from the heavy stew lunch.

I popped into the hotel’s bar and struck up a conversation with the bartender.

He was Dublin born but studied at uni, aka University of Limerick and never left. He was due to marry soon, starting an online venture too as I recall.

When I told him I was on an extended holiday he nodded, ‘Smart, most Americans don’t leave the States!’

He soon set out 2 glasses and offered me a taste of Irish hospitality, aka Jameson! I suggested giving the Caskmates variety a try. This whiskey is aged in barrels that had stout beer in them so it has a hit of beer malts.

Sláinte!

Every Irishman is a storyteller and if you’re an Irish bartender it means you are great at collecting and swaping stories about the island and UK.

Talk to your bartender about cool places to eat and drink. They’ll know the best spots off the tourist trail

A very excellent day !

Beer: Tom Crean  Irish Lager

Song: the Cranberries   Zombie

Dream trip Day 117 Bus to Limerick, Irish dancers, submerged boat

Another early morning in order to hit the bus station before noon. 1 last Irish fry up courtesy of Pat and Mary.

We chatted with them a bit, thanking them for the great walking tip. They are quite lucky that walk is a daily option.

A short walk down the road and we were at the mall, bus depot. It makes total sense though, with shopping near by, it gives you something to do while you wait for your bus or pop into a shop if you forgot to pack something.

Standing outside with several people, all who smoked, it suddenly began to rain steady.

Everybody in Ireland had an umbrella within reach and this guy had a large golf style umbrellas to aid with retrieving people’s luggage.

We lined up under an awning and the driver sold us tickets. There weren’t many people going to Limerick today so we had nice window seats.

It doesn’t rain hard, but it rains steady for hours, never letting up.

Luckily, it had stopped raining about halfway through our trip. Ireland sure was pretty and green due to all this rain!

We were dropped off at a small bus, train depot in Limerick and walked to our hotel for the next few days across town.

We began in a busy area full of shops, restaurants and other activities, but soon we were in what I felt was not a great area at night.

I couldn’t place why I felt dirty, target like, but I did walking through a number of small multilevel brick houses.

Luckily our stroll through this part of town was over quickly as we crossed a lovely bridge to get to our hotel.

Rounding a corner we spied a boat in the water but it wasn’t sea worthy any longer.

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The boat’s placement blocking a narrow channel seemed deliberate. We noted its progress each day as it would rain, raising the water level.

We got a heap of info upon check in, from a dinner spot to purchasing a bus tour to the Cliffs of Mohr in the morning.

The Locke Bar where we were recommended was a bit crowded, but we were able to snag a table with a view of the dance floor.

As soon as you enter, to the left was a lightly colored wooden floor where a small band was set up playing Irish tunes.

The band was soon joined by Irish dancers, a couple of lads and lassies, terms they most definitely use here.

Irish dance is one of the most awkward dance style to behold in person. No arm movements it’s all feet tapping, crossing, hopping, a very airborne dance.

As I learned, Irish dancing isn’t ‘river dance,’ that is the name of 1 guy’s dance show but he is for sure the man who introduced this unique dance style to the world.

We got beers and watched the show, each song had a different dance including solo jigs or couples. A fury of feets flying!

Our night was settled, let’s take it easy. We had great seats, they had beer, food and live music so we stayed.

Fish and chips this time, I presume due to the proximity of the River Shannon I felt it to be fresh.

We raised our pints and said cheers, to which a couple next to us joined in, ‘Sláinte!’ they responded, to your health. 

I soon related my tales from my friend from Limerick to my mom. I couldn’t believe I actually made it to his hometown.

We headed back to our hotel after dinner and a couple of pints. It was spritzing rain which was annoying but not enough to soak us.

I had spied a pub across the river from our hotel so I split off from my mom.

Wow I’d stumbled into an extremely local pub. Usually at least 1-2 people will nod or say hello, but not here.

I even had to change places at the pub to get served. Maybe it was my long-ish beard?

It seemed there was a wedding reception or some other formal style event so perhaps it was just a family affair evening.

I had a couple pints, watching the footy highlights on the telly. At least it didn’t rain on my walk home.

Tomorrow the Cliffs of Mohr!

Beer: Stag Bán

Song:  Black 47  Fire of Freedom

Dream trip Day 116 Muckross, Irish countryside, last pint in Killarney

Another lovely morning in Killarney, another rain shower.

No matter, breakfast and coffee were in order for the time being, let it rain.

We chatted with both Pat and Mary quite a bit today, only 1 other couple was eating. We got excellent walking recommendations.

Pat told us they went for a walk as soon as they finished up washing dishes. It was a daily activity lasting for about an hour. No wonder your head turned a bit when they said they had teenage grandkids.

So Pat and Mary walk daily through the Irish countryside, usually next to a lake, then tend to their rooms and tenants. They do this for about 4 month, during the summer.

Once winter comes, they close of the bnb and head south, usually to Spain or Italy for over a month. They check the temps and come back once it isn’t freezing.

They were winning at life that is for sure. Rathmore House bnb in Killarney is a great place with friendly hosts.

We were even told how to get to a mansion that had designed walkways through forests and around a lake. Hooray nature!

Just a short walk down the main road and we were at a bus station. So we didn’t have to do the entire Ring of Kerry tour, there are buses to each of the stops if you really want to dig into some history or explore the scenery.

We were dropped at a big visitor centre with the driver letting us know the pick up times, about 1x per hour. Last bus at 5 though so no night walks.

A walk down a short path leads you to a huge estate. This looked like it was straight from a film, Remains of the Day or other British film.

It’s just amazing to me that 1 family owned all this land and huge house. Even the quarters for the help were big and nice.

Read up on the mansion, it was under renovation so we couldn’t tour it. They had scaffolding all round the house as I’ve seen many times on this trip. Things get old, they need repair.

If you have a mansion, you have a greenhouse and it will be huge, green and lush. How do they take care of all these flowers, plants? Hundreds all lined up.

Since it rains so often, I hope they have figured out a way to use rainwater, that would be the smart thing to do with such a large water need.

Many paths led away from the mansion. Consulting a map whilst admiring roses, we located a path that lead by the lake, because if you have a mansion you need a lake.

At the start of most paths was a marker with the length and walking time. Tor Falls was walkable from here, it would just take an hour.

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At every turn was an amazing view, aided by the fog. Smoke on the water

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Imagine these are your options for walks? Way better nature options vs TV shows. I’ll take a walk with views every time.

Even the view away from the lake was great. Green pastures with cows slowly chomping grass, their tails swinging like a metronome keeping time.

As long as we had walked, we  still didn’t see half of the lake. There is about a 5 mile walk around the lake that I wish we had time for, maybe if it hadn’t rained all yesterday.

If walking isn’t your thing, of course they have carriage options which are luckily on a separate path. I figured this was how the mansion owners got to their favorite views many of which had a bench for long viewing options.

To really see everything on these grounds would take a few days walking the paths, it was a lot of acreage.

Back to the visitors centre to freshen up with water. There was a full cafe here and the food was piled up on trays. Massive portions too.

I sat and sipped water with my mom who had tea. She loved it here and talked about trying to get my dad out to enjoy the town and sites too.

It was pretty cool to be on a trip with my mom, we talked weekly but didn’t see each other in person too often.

I hoped she was having as much fun as I was on this island.

We were high on nature and fresh air, ready to take on the town! At least ready for dinner, that was for sure!

Not as a fancy dinner as last night but still good. Guinness lamb stew tonight vs beef. In fact since we’d left Dublin, most if not all the stews I had seen were made with lamb.

After dinner, much to my mom’s chagrin I asked if we could pop in for a pint. She doesn’t drink much at home, much less hang out in pubs.

It is best to work out a compromise, give a bit, take a bit, arrive at the same place.

Talk soon turned to tomorrow, the Cliffs of Mohr, another big sight my mom really wanted to see.

On my way out I made sure to get a pic of the snuggery room.  Real private.

We can’t recommend Killarney more to anyone, it is a lovely place.

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Beer: Harp

Song:  John Denver  Take Me Home, Country Roads

Dream trip Day 115 Pat & Mary, Killarney Brewery, pub singing

This was my first bed and breakfast experience on my trip. Basically it is like staying in a hostel except you get your own room. Plus a nice breakfast.

Only 2 options for breakfast here, full Irish fry up or porridge. One of our hosts took orders, lamenting that he’d have to eat porridge again as no one was ordering it!

He was super nice and named Pat stereotypically. A discussion arose between my mom and he as to his egg poaching technique, 2 master chefs discuss strategy!

Haha the trick was he had small plastic bowls that floated in the boiling water, holding the egg’s shape. This made for perfectly shaped poached eggs.

I really cannot express how friendly and genuine the couple that ran this bnb were to us. What was very cool is how he’d volunteer information like ‘stay in today for a few more hours, it will rain.’ or ‘now’s the time to head out if you are going out, should be a dry day.’

As far as I knew we didn’t have much scheduled today. I knew my mom wanted to go shopping for a certain material, wool of some sort.

We had made it about halfway into town when suddenly it poured rain, just sheets coming down. We had to make a break for the awnings, following them for a few blocks until I spied a coffee shop.

You could tell the residents as they always carried a nice umbrella ‘ella ‘ella. If you are able to find a small umbrella, I recommend keeping one in your travel bag. You never know when it will rain but you will love having an umbrella if it does.

Can’t do much in this rain so dry out, have a coffee, enjoy the day, which is what we did.

This was for sure a ladies haunt, only saw women coming in for a cup or pastries to go.

Soon the rain ended as did our coffee’s. Time to go shopping.

There was a large corner store that we popped into. My mom was looking for crystal and wool garment as souvenir’s.

It was Wexford crystal, named after a small town in the southeast part of the island. I cannot recall the type of wool or garment my mom was also hunting for, I was just along for the ride.

Shops typically carried a scroll or other type of historical looking document that detailed the history of Irish family names, suitable for framing.

My mom lingered in the store for a while, piling up items in order to meet the frequently posted sign for ‘free shipping if you bought over 50€.’ She eventually realized the folly of doing this and put things back.

Traveling makes trinket purchases more enticing as you can tell people were you got a shamrock bell or beer glass. I also nearly bought bottle opener, even though I had several.

A bit more rain but certainly walkable, we headed towards my pick for the day, Killarney Brewery. We would just make it in time for the daily tour.

We stepped into a new, shiny brewery. I had a good feeling about this place.

A cheery guy greeted us soon and arranged us in a group of 6 I think it was, less than 10 for sure.

“How’s about a taste, yeah? Best way to start the day!” he exclaimed. He poured us all a light lager to begin with, darker beers to follow.

We introduced ourselves around, a couple from the US and Canada, eh!

Our guide lead us upstairs to a small conference room with a screen on 1 wall, chairs set in front of a projector. An image was already on the screen. No muck ups today.

The brewery had made a hilarious video about the brewery and its top-secret reciepes handed down by their ancestors. I cracked up several times.

It was a pro level quality film with special effects and many location and dress changes.

Once we had learned about their history it was time to taste it!

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We sampled several beers from light lager to a dark stout like Guinness. Suddenly our host grew quiet and whispered to us, ‘do yew want ta taste something special?’ of course we do!

They had made a winter ale that wasn’t available yet but the brewers drank it. It was nice, a hint of nutmeg and cinnamon.

Why I was even able to make a contribution to the beer discussion explaining how hops are introduced to beer at 3 stages during the brewing process.

I volunteered at a brewery and picked up a lot of basics about brewing tho I doubted I could successfully brew anything tasty. Brewing beer is hard and involves a lot, lot of cleaning. Sanitize sanitize sanitize.

It was time for the next tour so we had to leave, no more beer.

We circled back into town for more shopping. My mom was looking for something golf related for my dad, a club top if I recall correctly.

 

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The town still has a horse and carriage waiting area just like taxis. There were probably 5 of them in this area willing to take you to a castle or through the forest close by.

We were very close to the Killarney National Park and would have walked it had the weather held up. As things were, it was on and off rain all day.

Not sure what to do, I suggested we pop in for a pint at a tiny pub. Can’t walk in the rain, not yet supper time.

There was a grandma behind the bar and a guy seated nursing a pint. Another guy was talking all sorts of nonsense but luckily his pint was nearly finished.

“Off with ye, Ned! Shoo shoo” she exclaimed while hand motions like she was fanning flames. This guy was already in the bag, not yet 5pm.

We chatted with the two there for a while, she was 3rd generation pub owner and soon held up a photo of her grandson, “Here’s 5th generation! My son will takeover, if ever I tire of pouring pints. Ha an easy task, he may never takeover!’

The man at the pub had quite a story we put together. He was from Missouri but had lived in Killarney for over 20 years. Came here for a college class and never left.

We didn’t get the whole story as he didn’t seem to have a job, though he told us each year he had to go before a local government official who would determine if he could stay or leave. Usually this was accomplished via some sort of requirement.

Up until recently, he said they just asked him for money, a reasonable sum he assured us. Now he was not only required to pay a bit, but he also had to buy into Ireland’s health insurance scheme.

The word scheme has negative connotations to me as I associate it with how can 1 person put something over on a group of people. Does seem fitting that over here it is used to describe government initiatives.

They do have island wide heath care though it seems in rural cities, they have a general doctor and work out payments in cash trade, no need for paperwork.

If only those in power in the US would realize it is better to spend tax money on people vs a new ship or plane.

We were soon joined by some people from Florida, a couple and their friend. They immediately bought everyone another round.

My mom was drinking a special Irish coffee the grandma made with heavy cream. All the best receipts use rich ingredients because they were making treats, things you’d have 1 or 2x per month. Now we have them weekly or daily.

Having never been to Florida, I learned the west coast was best, stay out of the north and Miami is a must visit city.

We were watching some sort of horse chariot race on the telly. The camera panned to the crowd.  Suddenly, ‘Oh who is that he’s with now? Oh my I’ve got to ring Sharon! Oh dear hahaha,’ exclaimed the grandma. Straight out of a show you’d see on the BBC.

Sure enough the phone was engaged and calls were made. It was a hoot watching the gossip mill in action.

Perfect people to run into on a dreary day.

 

Having only eaten breakfast, we determined we were hungry. Plus the rain and all, what else to do?

Due to the early hour, we were seated in a very classy joint. I got a steak, Irish beef indeed! Fancy spot with napkin rings, ice in the urinals that sort of affair.

We got out of there just as the dinner rush began.

Just down the street was a corner pub and I heard music coming. Let’s investigate!

Packed pub, all seats taken, a guy with a guitar to the left just as you walked in. He was aided by an Ipad for lyrics. You could yell out a song and if he knew it, he would play it.

Pretty much everyone sang along. John Denver, traditional Irish tunes. Bob Dylan. It was wonderful singing along, connecting with strangers through music.

Truly a special memory singing with my mom in this Irish pub. How far we’d both come in our lives to be there!

The night became funny as the drunk that we’d seen earlier stumbled in with a pint. He had the most amazing loud laugh, you could hear him over the music even.

Arrrrrrrhahahhhhhhhhhhhaaaaaaaaaaarrrrrrrrrr

He was a riot! Apparently charming too as he entertained a couple of college age girls, mid-20s, he was well into his 70s, grey hair and mustache, permanently disheveled, black suit.

Finally persuading one of the girls to dance, he made his move shortly after a spin, in for the kiss. Success haha! The town drunk was having one for the books tonight!

The ringing in our ears carried us back to the bnb. Cool times in Killarney!

 

 

Beer: Killarney Golden Spear

Song:  John Denver   Take Me Home, Country Roads

Dream trip Day 114 Ring of Kerry tour, Dingle Bay, Killarney B and B

Another early bus call so a quick breakfast of porridge and coffee. I’d say porridge is more creamy and run-y vs the oatmeal I had back home. Filling for sure.

More people on the bus today. This was the tour of the big spots of the western island they named route The Ring of Kerry.

We’d head north to Killarney, on to Waterville, and Sneem each much more picturesque than the next. All were perfect film sets, some had already been used.

Our driver was a pleasant chap who also filled us in on the Irish language and people.

The 1st bit of knowledge, ‘so what’s the deal with all these towns called Kill- something? Well, in Irish, kill= church that way you’d know who has one if you’re traveling. You’re welcome!’ the driver explained.

He often took to explaining things and asking for a round of applause or for us to cheer his name. Very entertaining host as well as good driver. These were some narrow roads not meant for huge buses.

First stop in Killarney and it is truly one of the most pleasant places I’ve ever been. I was expecting to see a milkman walking around, waving or maybe a mail guy getting a cat out of a tree. It was a Norman Rockwell painting in real life.

We just walked up and down the main street during our hour layover. I think we were to pick up another group was the reason for this stop. It was now a full bus.

Our next stop was just outside Killarney and it was a strange place to stop. Just a stream and a guy with a donkey you could take you picture sitting on. We began to realize that these tours buses will stop anywhere so long as you paid.

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There were an endless stream of handcrafted goods, foods and other trinkets available on our frequent stops.

We passed through tiny towns and our driver told us that they still farm here like they’ve done for centuries. Sheep mostly for its prized wool.

Each farmer had a unique color mark that was sprayed on the backs of the sheep. All the sheep were let go to graze up the side of a mountain and once it came time to shear the sheep, they just separate based on this mark.

The rams were just left on the mountain, free to roam and have their way with as many sheep as they could during season. You cannot contain a ram as easily as a sheep.

Before too long we had finally hit the coast, though I doubt they had many surfers, swimmers here.

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We backed into a spot on a narrow curve atop a hill, it was lunch time, though I wasn’t too hungry. The long line aided in my decision.

I’d often joked that there was a sammich in every pint of Guinness, so that is all I had. My mom ordered a barley soup, I believe.

We were served by a beautiful lass and actually got her talking about the area. She said most people here worked the summer tourist season months and survived the rest of the year off that money.

She says it gets very cool, rainy during the winter so no one really goes outside. Still seeing all the tour buses and traffic we were causing, it seemed like we were in someone’s living room with dirty shoes.

During the coastal part of the tour our guide brought up a move shot there: Ryan’s Daughter, a 1970 film starring Robert Mitchum and directed by English titan David Lean.

I had to laugh as our driver pronounced it fil-uhm, ‘Have you seen the fil-uhm Ryan’s Daughter…” haha.

Growing up, my dad quoted, ‘give me the fil-uhm!’ to me, from a Three Stooges episode, but I’d not encountered anyone who actually pronounced it this way in person until this moment.

You can still pick up souvenirs about the film along the Ring, it is quite popular here and brings in a lot of ladies who have seen it, wanting to reminiscent and see the lands. I’d never heard of the film much less seen it but it is on my list.

My family has always been film watchers and it is nice to see where something was filmed. Sometimes we tried to guess where it was shot as the credits roll to see who knows their countryside the best.

Another film shot around here was the Star Wars, The Force Awakens. The final scene on the tiny island with stone stairs and dwelling was filmed on Skellig Island.

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This view was rare our driver told us as there is usually fog obscuring these islands. The small one on the right foreground is where Star Wars scene was filmed.

Our driver told us that centuries ago, monks built stone structures on the island so they could live simply and meditate. They worshiped the sun.

Catholic missionaries showed up and found the monks in their tiny stone dwellings.

They really loved the sun so they couldn’t convert to anything not sun related. No problem the missionaries told them, we will add the sun to our cross.

And that is how the Celtic cross was created. Well at least one story anyway.

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We hit the tiny town of Sneem, a town square really. It was sadly memorable due to an eccentric man who owned a friendly goat.

Goats have a distinct odor on them, in them, it is all-encompassing and will stay with you if you touch them. I’d say the smell extended a few feet in all directions from the goat and man.

Goat was pretty cool looking, long curled horns, a blank look on his ever chewing face.

The man looked like a guy who hangs out with a goat, long dishevled hair, long beard, grin on his face. He sat next to his goat, stroking its beard and petting it. He charged a bit for a photo, that was his racket.

Goats just seem dumb but they will sneak up on you, mess you up. Watch out for goats, why do you think they put bells on them?

Continuing our film centric part of the tour, we arrived to Waterville where Charlie Chaplin kept a house close to the sea. There is a statue of him dressed up as the Little Tramp with a clear view of the shore.

True story, while staying in Waterville he entered a Charlie Chaplin lookalike contest and took 3rd! Haha the judges really got it from the press!

My mom was quite taken with the thatched roof houses we passed by. Our driver informed us that the neighbors took turns helping each other thatch their houses as it had to be done yearly and completed in 1 day.

We had a very tense moment when a tour bus going the opposite direction approached. The drivers had a protocol as the roads were very narrow.

You could reach out and touch the other bus, maybe 2 feet between us, 1 slowly driving while the other bus waited. We waved, some took pictures of the other bus as it passed.

Buses aside, everyone here drives like they are late as well as having no concept of bodily injury to themselves or others. Cars flew by in each direction, passing the bus even with an oncoming traffic ahead.

For sure driving in rural Ireland is a test and not for everyone. We were pleased several times that we didn’t have to drive.

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The ground was very rocky here. Most of the land was squared off using rock walls. Our driver explained these were famine walls.

During the Irish Famine of 1847,  there was a disease on potatoes. Most people lived off a ration of potatoes and grains, simple foods.

The English landowners still expected the crops grown on their land to be exported rather than used to feed the people harvesting these crops. It was also forbidden to shoot wild animals either as those also belonged to the landowners.

Stealing food was punished by pulling up rocks from the ground to build walls. This made the land farmable as well as giving the peasants something to do while they starved or as a form of punishment. Seemed any reason was suitable to work the rocks out of the land.

Resentment remains high amongst the Irish, that the English exploited their land, labor and food using the famine as a means to get native people off the land.

History is often grim and bleak, but it is needed to know what others have done, good and bad, so we can learn what to do and what not to do if faced with a similar situation.

You have to hope for peace, that everyone figures out a way to get along fairly. It seems that last fair bit has always been tricky.

Our bus continued on the winding road, rolling rocky hills and sea. At this point, no matter how gorgeous the view, we were a bit tired of getting on and off the bus for sometimes as few as 15 minutes.

We paused at Torq Waterfall, accessed via short walk through a rainforest.

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Always funny how doing nothing all day on a bus wears you out. I suppose it was an all day adventure beginning by 830am and it was now 6pm.

We were the only ones who got off in Killarney, our bus driver wishing us well. Paddywagon Tours does a fine job, entertaining drivers.

It was a short walk to our bed and breakfast, a couple blocks from the city centre. The main road had pubs, shops and restaurants we looked forward to exploring.

Our main priority now was to get rid of these backpacks and then figure out evening options.

Ah yes, rain! Of course, rain, rain happens a lot in Ireland. Tried waiting it out and realized that there were levels of rain and this level was ok for walking.

Eventually as it does, the rain won out so we popped into a pub. Thus began a run of Irish lamb stew for dinner which made sense as it was coolish outside. Nice to warm yourself with a hot meal.

We finished the night after a couple pints, running home in the pouring rain, but it was foolish, we were soaked. Doesn’t drying out in bed makes for a good night’s rest, I should think so.

We’d checked off a big one-off my mom’s to see list today. We had a couple of days to explore the charming town of Killarney!

Beer: Kinsale Pale Ale

Song:  Hothouse Flowers   Don’t Go

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Dream trip Day 113 English market, rain, brewery, rain, fish n chips

It was the weekend so I knew that in most cities on the Island, there would be a market and it would be a nice place to eat and see.

‘Cross the River Lee over into the shopping district past the quays. Seemed a lot of places were called quays here so I looked it up.

quay= a concrete, stone, or metal platform lying alongside or projecting into water for loading and unloading ships.

Warf would the US word I presumed, maybe pier.

This market was great! On site butchers sharpening knives, flanked by beef and sausages on the wall behind them.

We walked around the whole market, from produce, handmade goods and butchers.

The tea room was upstairs and we had just made it in time for breakfast. Coffee for me, tea for my mom.

She worked at a tea room when I was in high school. It was an arts and crafty store, with cold sandwiches.

Full Irish coming my way as well as another discussion as to how one pronounces scone.

Our waiter had an opinion and recommended we use it through the island, ‘they (motioning with his head towards the east, ole England) say it scOHn.’

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I watched a lady sitting across from us having tea and biscuits for breakfast, a bit of jelly, you know. Here I was with basically a plate o’ Irish meats.

At every entrance there are large signs that read: no photos inside the market. A large group of tourists was taking pictures and videos inside. A butcher yelled at them to turn them off, no is understood in every language but especially if said when grasping long sharp knives.

I had to laugh as the sign was only in English and Irish but it clearly had a red circle with a line through an older camera image. Maybe they should use an image of a phone?

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We walked over another part of River Lee, as far as I could see, we were on the right path.

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We passed a small walled garden with some history signs. Seems the city of Cork used to be walled off and we were standing in the last standing section of that wall.

Being invaded, seized used to be a very real threat in this country and about every place I went had some sort of wall, moat or other type of defense.

Inspecting the wall, it was very sturdy, many hours had to have gone into it. Same mentality with houses, buildings. Build the things that matter to last, build them well.

The clouds opened up so we had to fast walk it to our destination, Rising Sons Brewery.

Very cool spot, serves pizza too. I don’t think there are tours of the facilities but the bartender or someone will explain beer and their process if you ask.

It kept right on raining, hard too so a couple pints, nice talk about life and where we were headed on the island. Time passes much faster in good company. It was nice to have someone to talk to, a new perspective.

Once the rain cleared we headed towards the river hoping to see something cool along the way. We passed the opera house and art museum. Think they had Beauty and the Beast running, or maybe Mama Mia.

I don’t go for opera but Europe seemed to be the best place to see one.

We eventually ran out of road along the river so I just walked towards the highest point I could see, a church steeple off in the distance.

There seemed to be more cemeteries on the south side of the rivers, we passed by a couple. People buried here for centuries no doubt. Old lands.

Houses seemed smaller but were a couple of stories tall. Like each floor could be a separate room you know? Really not small if you have a floor to your self so long as no one was going up or down the stairs.

The steeple I’d seen was a very small church when compared with most I’d seen. Likely the cathedral was just for this neighborhood back in the days.

It sprinkled rain on and off our walk as we found another river so we turned left. Cork is 2 islands or isthmus like Florida. Land surrounded on 3 sides by water. There are 2 River Lees and this day takes place walking on the land between the Lees.

As we were about to cross the street I witnessed a transaction rarely seen in the US: a guy was standing in the middle of the road, newsie hat on his head, with a newspaper in his right hand, a bag containing rolled up newspapers was slung low around his torso on his left side. A guy driving by in a small car paused, they exchanged coins, a rolled up paper was then handed over and the driver was off with a wave.

We paused for a few moments at the convergence of the rivers, which was where the port was, home to ships. Nothing actually going on, no crains loading or unloading, just a docked huge ship.

It was still threatening rain so we experienced the Cork mall. My mom was looking for a specific type of material or wool. We walked through a couple of stores but they didn’t have the right style.

Lots of shamrocks, driving caps and family crests on sale in most shops. They needed tourist euros here for sure.

Malls seem the same, though the teens usually minding the stores look perennially bored to the point of doing something, maybe even work.

We caught sunset from the bridge over the River Lee. Stunning view, wish I had a good camera and skill to document. I’d seen plenty of wonderful sunsets and I’ve got them saved in my head. Just need to concentrate and I’m there.

Everyday we passed by a small fish n chips joint, takeaway only, no seats inside. It was basically all fryer haha. Tonight was the night to get some fish.

Thing about the fish over here is you have several options, some I’d not heard of before.

We got a couple very heavy boxes of fish n chips and found an outside patio in front of a pub. I figured if they had a problem with us eating here they’d let us know.

It was very good fish, flaky too. I dipped mine into tartar sauce, I’m not sure what the standard sauce is over here aside from malt vinegar. That is always an option.

I’m not sure how anyone is able to eat all the chips, so many chips, likely a pound o spuds. Thick cut, steak fries is what they would be called in the States. Again, same language, yet different.

We were able to not only finish our meal undisturbed, I was able to procure a pint of Guinness to wash it down with too. Only 1 guy behind the bar, plenty busy inside.

Talking and watching the people pass by. There was some sort of theatre down the street so occasionally you’d see very well dressed people, suits and elegant ladies whose shoes made that authoritative sound on the pavement.

There was also a hostel nearby so you’d see a stag group all dressed up too but in fluorescent yellow/green full length tights. Head to toe covered, no eye holes even.

It is quite a site on the streets of Cork this night.

All good things end and this was our last night. Tomorrow it was on to Killarney!

Onwards!

Song:  the Cranberries   Linger

Beer: Mi Daza XXX the Pride of the South