Yesterday was the most delightful blur of frenzied touring and jam-packed experience. One more day to chase the sun through mountains and along the coastline of the Wild Atlantic Way.
This time we were headed toward Killarney and the Ring of Kerry, but on an abbreviated scheduled. This means my prior blog posts about Irish race car drivers, high speed hair-pin turns and playing chicken with tour buses on one lane roads while listening to an obscure playlist that made my head spin was all put on steroids! And I only grabbed the dashboard in horror once (ok, maybe twice).
It began with crashing a wedding.
Oh, it was the most gentle of crashes, sneaking in on tip-toed feet to snap silent pics of flying buttresses and stone columns. But we did, I confess.
The church was incredible - the stone inside felt gothic and primal. A contrast with intricate mosaic work and delicate stained glass.
Remind me next trip not to wear a bright pink raincoat when touring. It's hard to be clandestine in pink.
Next stop, Killarney National Park. The stunning moss glowing on the forest floor was breathtaking...towering trees dripping in green looked primordial. We hiked to the waterfall and watched brisk waters plunge down over massive boulders. It was drizzling and cool and perfect.
I could have spent the entire day in this park. Check it out here: Killarney National Park
Up, up the mountain we went, jumping out of the car for scenic vistas, crumbling castles, breathtaking mountains. Then a lunch stop in Sneem, where a lovely lady named Ann treated us to dairy-free home made ice cream!
It was better than winegum, and I do believe should become a permanent part of these tours. When you're in Sneem, visit Annie's Homemade Ice Cream & Cafe Ask for the mango sorbet.
Our last stop was at the Kerry Bog Village, where I met owner and creator John Mulvihill. I felt like John was a long lost cousin! I was immediately at ease and chatting over Irish coffee. It wasn't long before John took us on a private tour of the facility.
Hand built to recreate the famine houses of long ago, the Bog Village gives visitors a real-world view of the harsh conditions of Ireland in the 1800s. Just the day before, I learned that my great, great grandfather, John Logue, likely came from Ireland to Philadelphia on a famine ship in 1860 at the age of 26. Seeing this village truly brought home the devastation and tragedy that my ancestors experienced.
John's family is dedicated to researching and preserving the history of the famine, and there is a book in progress which will provide first-hand narratives and is the result of years of painstaking research.
Check out the Kerry Bog Village here: Things to Do in Kerry.
The brightest spot of the day was meeting Bubbles. I've photographed and painted sheep, cows, dogs and hares since my arrival here. But my fondest wish was to meet a donkey. Bubbles is the sweetest, most gentlemanly donkey around, and he stole a little piece of my heart. I can hardly wait to paint him.
The piece of art at the beginning of this post is from a view of the Stacks Furniture Store in Listowel, where we met and have come to love the Stack family, a kind, generous and loving clan who have embraced us as two of their own.
But no time for tears now! It's only Sunday, and it's paint o-clock.