Thursday, May 23, 2024

Ireland Day 8: Cork May 9, 2017

 Day 8 in Ireland was mostly about Cork, Blarney Castle, and geneaology. 

Blarney Castle is such a tourist attraction that we didn't really want to go, but I felt oddly obligated as part of my Irish heritage.

I wonder how many humans have stepped on these stones. So worn!

Do not let the obligator and staged picture of us in Blarney Castle fool you, we were in a constant stream of visitors herded single file through the tourist route. 

Just to kiss the Blarney Stone - or more correctly, just to let Jean Luc kiss the Blarney Stone.

If I remember correctly, the Blarney Stone is behind the window with the grates over it.

The grounds were nice too.

Tough morning with shopping ahead so time for a coffee break.

And peek into The English Market in Cork.

My last name can be spelled Lucy or Lucey. We saw these trucks all over the country but especially in the south.

We are the same family. I have not been able to trace my great great grandparents back to Ireland. One record has a man by my gg father's name in a birth registry at the Saint Mary and Saint Anne's Cathedral in Cork, so I went there. 

It is just weird to stand in a church where your great great grandfather may have been christened in 1844 at the start of the Irish potato famine. What did this family think was in store for them at that time? A normal Irish existence? They along with a million others would immigrate to the USA to avoid starvation and persecution.

Another possible church they may have used was St. Mary's Dominican Church 

Both were impressive and left me wondering about my ancestors. 

Although it was getting late and we still had to drive to Dublin for an early flight home the next day, we made a quick pit stop to walk around the Rock of Cashel.  Originally the seat of the kings of Munster, according to legend St. Patrick himself came here to convert King Aenghus to Christianity. Brian Boru was crowned High King at Cashel in 978 and made it his capital. In 1101 the site was granted to the church and Cashel swiftly rose to prominence as one of the most significant centres of ecclesiastical power in the country.

It was truly impressive and a nice break to stretch out legs.

Our last night in Ireland, at least for this trip, was at a hotel near the Dublin airport.

The next day, we returned out trusty rental car - no accidents were had - and boarded the long flight home. Goodbye for now, Ireland.

Ireland Day 7: Hike and stone circle May 8, 2017

On Day 7 we walked around the town of Killarney a little, taking in a beautiful church. 

Then we did a nice hike in Killarney National Park

Ross Castle is in the park. We did not go in.

But it was still impressive from the outside.

Nice day for a hike with good views!

We motored on to Kenmare. 

Interesting petrol station offerings.

Kenmare is a cute town with lots of shops.

But what I wanted to see was the Kenmare Stone Circle.

It just fascinates me thinking about why the stones were arranged this way. What were the ancient ones doing here?


Our destination for the night was Cork in County Cork. This is likely the county my ancestors lived in. Hopefully we would find some trace of them.

Checked into our lovely B&B and grabbed some dinner and a drink.

I'm sure my ancestors were not drinking Rhubarb Tart IPA.

Ireland Day 6: Inishmore Island

On Day 6 David and Tracey treated us to a grand excursion to the Aran Isle of Inishmore.  The journey involved a short drive from their house to the ferry terminal at Doolin. From there we jumped on the Happy Hooker.

Just kidding. We got on a large ferry with probably 80 or more passengers. It was a very fine day - warm and sunny - which appeared to be a lure to the locals. We were concerned the young adults imbibing in copious drink were oblivious to the strength of the sun on their quickly-reddening fair skin. Anyway, it was a lovely day for a boat ride across calm seas.  

As we had 3-4 miles of the North Atlantic Ocean to cross, there was even time for Drew to nap.

The Aran Islands are a group of islands off the west coast of Ireland. Our destination was Inishmore the largest of the Arans. 

We rented bicycles to explore the island after fueling up with a donut. 

 All the Arans are quite barren now but at some point they must have had enough soil to support growing enough food to feed a population large enough to create and defend a massive network of stone structures and walls.

The biggest complex is Dun Aonghasa, an impressive Bronze Age hill fort positioned close to a sheltered harbor at the narrowest point of the island and on the highest cliff, where it could dominate the island. 

(not my photo - credit here )

The walls are up to 5 meters high and 6 meters thick. That’s a lot of rock to move 3000 years ago without machinery. 

The bedrock is jointed limestone.

It forms vertical cliffs that have no guardrails! 

On the return ferry ride we caught a glimpse of the famous Cliffs of Moher. Maybe someday we’ll be back to visit them up close. 

What a splendid day. I’m so happy to have had a local guide to take us out to these islands. I don’t know that we would have taken this excursion had it not been for David’s suggestion, but I’m sure glad we did. 

We bid our friends goodbye and off we drove to our next B&B in Killarney.