Schlepp and Willie Go to Ireland

For as long as I've known Karl and Caro, they've wanted to go to Ireland.  Once they even had tickets but Caro's mother got sick.  This time round, Karl's mom needed surgery.  As luck would have it, the surgery was scheduled just after they got back.  (Karl's mom is doing fine, by the way.)  

Here we are at the fabled Cliffs of Moher (pronounced like "more") looking north.  Its probably 800 feet to the water but people still went right up to the cliff's edge.  It was our first day in Ireland and since the sun was shining, we just had to get out.  Even with jet-lag, it was great.  Karl did better than in England with driving on the "proper" (that is, left) side of the road.  You never know when you'll get a sunny day so its best to take advantage of every minute.  After all, this is September and not high season.  There's another picture looking to the south in the 2005 calendar.  

True to form, the next day was cloudy, windy, cold, and damp.  But we headed out for the Burren anyway.  Its a strange glacier-swept tableland of unusual rock formations, with few trees, little soil, and ancient ruins.  Here Karl photographs us near Black Head--the wind has us plastered to the side of the rock--we didn't even need a ledge to sit on.  Below is the picture Karl took. There are small dolmens, stacks of rocks, piled up everywhere.  I'm sure it is a place of powerful magic.  

The next day our hostess at the Berry Lodge (great food!) suggested we take a look at Loop Head, a very out-of-the-way spit of land that juts out into the Atlantic.  As you can see, once again we had steep cliffs and thundering seas.  We also had a beautiful day with light wind and plenty of sunshine, although clouds did come by a time or two.  You can see another picture of Willie and I at the Loop Head Lighthouse in the 2005 calendar.  

After we left the wonderful Berry Lodge, we headed south to the famous Ring of Kerry.  We had to cross the very wide River Shannon and that meant taking a ferry.  Willie was soooo excited because he hadn't taken a ferry since last year in Victoria.  They always remind him of home in the Isle of Wright.  As usual, we had to go explore and soon we found the engine room door.  

We stayed at Glanleam House on Valentia Island.  Here Willie and I raise the interest of an Irish sheep.  Not that you can tell from this photo, we were on a scenic cliff overlooking the harbor where the first trans-Atlantic telegraph cable came ashore.  

Valentia Island had craggy coasts that caught the Atlantic waves, which in many ways is much like my home in Oregon.  If you turned around you could see a lighthouse just a bit away.  

But there were also quite coves--this is just a little way around the corner from that rocky coast and you can see the lighthouse I mentioned.  Children play on the beach and the old dog Johnnie from Glanleam House barks and runs with them even though he's deaf now.  For a moment you would almost think this is a Greek Island.  

Well, if you've gotten this far, your modem has been hard at work downloading a bunch of pictures.  Follow this link to see the amazing subtropical gardens of Glanleam Gardens, wonderous castles, mysterious leprochaun lairs, and magical faerie rings.