Monday, February 2, 2009

Ireland

The Cliffs of Moher, County Clare.

Slea Head and Blasket Island, the very tip of Dingle Peninsula

The Blarney Stone


Drombeg Stone Circle, County Cork

Closing night, Carran's, in Cork City
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On Galway sands they kiss your hands./They kiss your lips at Carney./ But on the Lee they drink strong tea/ and kiss the stone that's Blarney.
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I remember seeing a cheesy postcard or some such with a cartoon representation of a leprechaun kissing a stone labeled Blarney. They were out on a field somewhere and the stone was just that, a rock in a field with grass growing underneath it. Now I knew enough that not all Irish people are four foot nothing and sport ginger beards, green hats and long pipes (actually, on second thought...) but for some reason the idea of the Blarney stone being a boulder in a field somehow stuck in my subconscious.
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Fast forward to last Thursday and my surprise that in order to actually kiss the Blarney stone, you have to lie down on slippery rain soaked ramparts over a hundred feet up at the top of Blarney castle, literally bend over backwards while a rain soaked dude (bloke - chap?) holds you by the waist and basically shoves your face into the castle wall while his buddy takes your picture (ten euros, if you please).
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Reality: one. Preconceptions: zero. And the tower of Pisa is not held up by Greg from Baltimore like in those pictures you always see.
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But Ireland. What to say. It was lovely. Of course. I drove most of the south western peninsulas (the rental car has a handy reminder sticker on the dashboard: Stay Left <--- ) and the weather broke for those three days, so I actually saw the peninsulas Beara, Iveragh and Dingle. I was expecting it to be much colder, but the gulf stream keeps the lucky Irish in a mild and wet winter, where many people have sub-tropical plants in their gardens.
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My thanks to the Warpcon people (Noirin, Karen, Steve, Eoin - did I spell that right?) and their hospitality. It was, like the Guiness, smooth and rich.

41 comments:

Beth said...

Fantastic photos David, glad to hear you enjoyed your visit to Ireland. Perhaps I'll make it there myself some day...Canada is next stop for me for the Creation con in April.

Ange said...

What gorgeous photos, I especially like the first one.

When I was a kid, I learnt about the Blarney Stone from a story in Richard Scarry picture book. I thought it was a bit weird, kissing some strange stone to be given the gift of the gab, and having to be dangled by your feet to do so. But this was a story where the main character was a pig. Didn't mention anything about being charged ten Euros for it, though.

So, thank you for setting me straight, after all this time. :)

Meg said...

Yes, Lovely photos, glad you had such a great time in the land of my ancestors! Is the climate close to our lovely Pacific Northwest? (I'm a bit biased, Galway being Seattle's sister city and all.)

And you got to spend St. Brigit's day there... Beannachtai La Fheile Bride!

Falada said...

Good to see that you took the time to explore some of Ireland. Thank you for the great photos!

The cliffs of Moher look like some gorgeous matte painting, and the one of Slea Head reminds me of a trip I made some years ago, driving along the same roads, staying in friendly B&Bs, hiking part of the Kerry Way, and watching the waves at Dunmore Head, trying to imagine the shores of America on the other side...
Ach. Nostalgia.

So, tell us: What are you up to now?

Scary said...

Thanks for the lovely pics. I am glad to hear you are having fun traveling around. : )

Please come back to Dragon*con. : ) : )

Cody Kimmel said...

You've got some spirit orbs floating around in your Dromberg Stone Circle photo. They can be placated with whiskey, and do not charge ten euros to be captured on film.

Library-Gryffon said...

I remember my surprise when we moved there -- palm trees and 52ºN can cause a bit of cognitive dissonance. 8)

So glad to hear you had a good time, and that the sun actually came out. (Old Irish weather forcast: "If you can see the mountains, it's going to rain. If you can't see them, it already is.")

Stefanie said...

Wowzers! Beautiful pictures!

I almost had a chance to go to Ireland when I lived in Europe. But after 9/11 all military civilian flights were canceled including our trip. By the time we had clearance to go, we were already being shipped back to the States.

Anais said...

Waou la chance^^!

Cela a du être supeperbe..

J'espete que vous en avez bien profité!

A bientot.

Nellie Lovett said...

Wonderful photos, thanks for sharing!

I wonder, when will we see you here in Czech again?

Um... but the goat is driving me mad 8-? I should stop asking about that, right, or I'll look like some mad goat myself... :)

AngelAmidala said...

I agree....great photos. My grandparents were there many years ago seeing the places my great grandparents grew up (they came over from Ireland)...and we even have a picture of my grandmother kissing the Blarney stone...something we thought we'd never see!

Rike said...

I join the chorus of "great photos".

The next time you get to go to Galway, I can really recommend taking a tour through The Burren.

grammarwoman said...

Ah, such gorgeous pictures - I'm glad to hear you had a great time! My husband and I had an incredible honeymoon in Ireland, and we've been pining to go back ever since.

Did you get a chance to tour Waterford before it closed? Or take one of the Dublin tour buses around town?

Niamh said...

I'm delighted you got to see the Cliffs - they're one of my favourite parts of the West (I'm completely biased - I'm a geology student and you can see the Cliffs from the back door of our 2nd house in Clare :D).

Gorgeous photos. Glad you got some good weather! It's absolutely miserable here now - we actually have snow! We're so unused to it that it's causing a bit of chaos at the moment.

I really hope you can come back again! You would be most welcome :D Especially in Dublin *hint hint* ;)

All the best,
Niamh

Elyse said...

Wow, really loved the photos, especially the first one. Heh, if you'd only asked about the Blarney Stone. They've been doing that, well, forever, I think! ;)

Glad you had a great time in Ireland :)

Carpenter said...

HEY WHY DO YOU HAVE A GOAT?

Thanks for answering this question.

Michelle Lunsford said...

From those pictures it looks like you got to see some lovely Irish countryside. Thanks for sharing.

Rosehawk said...

Wow, really nice pics. I went to the UK a few years ago and got to spend time in England, Scotland and Wales - loved those counties and now after seeing your pics, I wish we had had enough time to visit Ireland as well!

Sounds like you had a lovely time, thanks for sharing.

Erynn said...

That's an incredible shot of the cliffs of Moher. When I got there I was entirely too fried to get off the bus. I spent ten days in Ireland a few years back and I think one of the things that surprised me most was all the palm trees along the coastal areas!

Jinx said...

Did you notice the stone circle at the base of the Cliffs of Moher (if you look North)? That was THE most amazing thing!

And the walls....there are walls around the walls.... I always felt like the car gravitated towards them. (Left! Left! L E F T!!!!!)

I'm glad you enjoyed your trip. The photos are great. Reminds me that I need to get all my 35mm film scanned in & posted.....

Tori said...

Awesome pictures!

Note to Ireland: Can you send some of that green our way? We're currently 4" of white with brown under that!

Anonymous said...

Hi David glad to see the weather cleared a bit,Sorry to here you got taken for €10 at the castle thats why they call it Blarney.
I hope you dropped on lahinch cos the surf looked big at the bottom of the cliffs pic. I hope you can make it back again.
Senois

Christina said...

That first picture is just incredible beautiful.

Halessa said...

Fantastic! Great pictures of the emerald island, the picture of the Cliffs of Moher is absolutely beautiful, I was there in 2003! Ah, and btw, whilst you had a great time in Cork, Kavan Smith told some interesting stories about you at the Pegasus 4 in London :P

Panda said...

I must say say sir it was a pleasure to meet you. I was just wondering would I be able to get a copy of the picture of you, me and my drinking horn?
Thanks
Panda

Anonymous said...

DAD! Where are you?
I'm in danger.
Donato

Anonymous said...

Yiddish
Over
Ultimate
Snake
Unibrow
Cane
Killer

Rosehawk said...

Hey David,

I am not sure how much I am going to be on-line this weekend, really depends on the weather so incase I don't get on-line much......

Just wanted to wish you a very very Happy Birthday! Go out, celebrate and enjoy!

archersangel said...

very nice pictures

Falada said...

As it is the 7th (at least in my part of the world): HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

And best wishes for the year to come...

Nellie Lovett said...

HAPPY BIRTHDAY! :)


(I guess it's the first time I wish happy birthday to someone at half past two in the morning)

Ivana said...

Happy Birthday David!!
Wish you all the best and a wonderful day with your family!!

Ivana

TheDancingArchaeologist said...

It's your birthday?
Many happy returns!

P.S - great photos :)

Rweethareyet said...

Happy Birthday, David.

Annabel said...

Happy Birthday, David! I hope it's a great day and weekend for you. Thanks for sharing your Ireland photos- they're lovely and I'm glad you had a nice time there.

Kdvb1 said...

HAPPY BIRTHDAY DAVID!

Happy Birthday to you,
Happy Birthday to you,
Happy Birthday dear David,
Happy Birthday to you!!!

Or a made up one:

Happy Birthday to you,
Save Atlantis is what you do, (ok..well Zelenka anyways)
Every week we love to see you,
We'll all miss you boohoo!!!

Should I sing the "How old are you now?" part? Naw...I'll be nice...I know I don't want anyone singing it to me...lol.

You should go to the Vancouver Creation Convention in April so I can say "Hi" again. And, you can say, "SQUIRRELS!" like at Dragoncon. *grins*

Oh yeah! I thought it was interesting that Zelenka means "little green one" in Czech. There's a website where you can adopt virtual dragon eggs and help them hatch into virtual dragons, so I will be naming a green one Zelenka Drak in your honor.

God Bless!
Kimber

morjana said...

Hi, David!


Všechno nejlepší k narozeninám!

Happy Birthday to you!

Another year through the Gate
Travels and travails
Love and laughter
Joy and tears
Family, friends and
Gaters
Celebrate your life
Wish you happiness
On this your birthday,
Our dear David!

Tar-ara Istandil said...

Ahoj :-)
It's a little bit late *shame on me* but I wish you the best! Happy Birthday! :)

Btw., it's pity you weren't on PegasusCon, because you would have had quite a big Czech support there ;-) (well, just 14 people, but I think quite unforgettable :-). We were thinking of you.

Měj se nádherně a ještě lépe :-).

Library-Gryffon said...

Happy Belated Birthday!

Stargatelvr said...

Super Shiny pictures!

Josie said...

You and I visited a lot of the same places in Ireland, actually! And the Cliffs were fantastic. Was it raining when you were there? :-P You got a much more dramatic picture of the Cliffs than I was able to get, but at least it was a warm clear day for me... And barring the manhandling and the 10 euro photos, Blarney Castle is amazing, no? The views are incredible, and it's such a fun place to explore!
Anyway, thought I'd share.
Cheers!