Friday, September 12, 2008

Ireland, part II: Aug. 28- Aug. 29

When we left Dublin, which is on the East coast of Ireland, we headed southwest to the Ring of Kerry. On the way, we saw thatch roofed buildings, which are so cute!

The Ring of Kerry is located on the very southwest tip of the island. It is a beautiful scenery route and it took us a few hours to drive it. There is a range of majestic mountains in the center of the ring.

A large portion of the route follows the dramatic coast.

Below is a video taken while driving around the Ring of Kerry... I just like the music!

Killarney National Park in the Ring of Kerry.

A random sheep on the edge of the road. They are not fenced in and they climb all over the mountainsides... there isn't even a fence between the sheep and the roads. Dad chased this sheep and one other onto the road just as a car was coming! Luckily, the other car saw them in time and no people or sheep were hurt. Way to go Dad!

I think the red splotches on the sheep must be to mark them as the property of certain farmers (some sheep have blue splotches).

Killarney Lakes in the Ring of Kerry

Another view of the Killarney National Park

This is the Blarney Castle. Blarney is the Irish term for lies weaved in with bits of truth. Despite the silly name, Blarney Castle is one place I would not have wanted to attack in the old days. There are cages around the perimeter of the castle where they kept dogs for defense. If an attacker gets past the dogs, they are hit with arrows from above. If they are still alive after arrows and dog attacks, they have to face the sentinels who guard the grounds with the dogs. If the attackers still make it to the one entrance of the castle, there is a secret trap door in the floor. So, a person walks across the stone and poof! they are dropped into a deep unscalable pit for all eternity. If an attacker is still alive after all of that, the next step would be to enter the castle. Just inside the entrance is a hole in the ceiling. From this hole, castle defenders would pour boiling pitch and water onto the undesirable guest. Yikes!

View from the top of Blarney Castle

Legend has it that after one kisses the Blarney Stone on the roof of the Blarney Castle, they will be gifted with the gift of smooth speech. The photo at the right is of me, kissing the stone.

Did I mention that the Blarney Stone is located over the edge of the castle roof? If you look carefully, you can see a person hanging over the edge, kissing the stone.

Apparently, Dad speaks pidgeon... He cooed at a bird and it flew directly to his head and perched there until he pushed it away!

More Irish music... just push play on the video below!

Dad, bewitched in the "Witch's Kitchen." Supposedly, a cooking fire can still be seen here occasionally at night. Spooooooky haha

We were told that if one concentrates on a wish really hard while walking up these stairs backwards with eyes shut, the wish will come true. So, here I am, walking up the stairs backwards with my eyes shut.

Dad, Irish dancing in what is called a druid's circle. This circle used to be used for druid human sacrifices.

Me, with a funky tree on the Blarney Castle grounds.

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