Monday, November 12, 2012

The southwest region of Ireland

After the marathon, we hit the road early the next morning.  We had a lot of driving to do, which is good, seeing as how my whole body was suffering post marathon, and my two big toenails were as black as the night sky, with one threatening to fall off.  (spoiler: the little guy is still hanging in there.  Still black as could be though.)

Our first stop was the rock of Cashel.
It was really cold that day, so i watched the hour long history of the rock of cashel just to enjoy the heated room, but low and behold, it was actually interesting.  You can actually see the ornamentation change in some of the additions that occurred during and post the plagues.  Hence the dark, creepy little faces.  Apparently, the black death was a sad and depressing time.  Who would have thought?

After that, we headed down to Cork, which was sadly plagued by traffic construction.  We took a ferry to the town of Cobh, where the titanic made its last stop before the whole unfortunate meeting with an iceberg.
While we were in Cobh, we got the first news that hurricane Sandy was worse than expected.  We stopped in a bar and watched the news for a while, and i was stunned.  I was worried for my friends in New York, and had no way to contact anyone, and the 5 minutes of internet time i had in the morning i had wasted to blab about something as insignificant as a marathon.  Luckily, a few days later i was able to confirm the safety of my friends, who all pulled through the hurricane like champs.

*a note.  while the number one thing people in ireland wanted to ask me about was the election, multiple people showed concern over Sandy, and when i would say i was from Chicago, they would ask if Chicago survived the hurricane (obviously, the scale of our country is sometimes underestimated.) Luckily, i was confident Chicago had survived.  

After Cork, we headed towards the ring of Kerry, with a stop at a little church in the middle of no where (and i mean NOWHERE) called Gougane Barra.
The church is on a little island, and you walk over a bridge to get to it.  There was no one for miles around.  We were greeted by two sheep dogs from a nearby farm that seemed very excited to see us, and escort us to the church.  We went inside and lit some candles for family members who never got to make the journey home (not that my family is from Cork, they were from Co. Louth!) 
Gougane Barra was way off the beaten path, but it was by far one of my favorite sites.  It was so beautiful, and peaceful, and sheltered from all the bad things in the world.  

It was hard to pull me away from Gougane Barra, but the excitement of dodging sheep on a dirt road helped console me.  We made our way to the ring of Kerry and set out for the Atlantic Ocean!  When we finally saw it, i made Matt stop the car so that my brother and i could run out on the rocky beach - he had never seen the ocean before!
Our destination was Dingle, but we took our time as it was the most beautiful and scenic drive i have ever taken.  I highly recommend the ring of kerry if you like road trippin!
And then we made it to Dingle :)

Next up - Shannon, Galway and Sligo!


  1. This looks so beautiful! I hope you're enjoying your time away :)

    I would frame that last pic

  2. That last picture is gorgeous!! And that little church is just too cute. I really want to do a tour of Europe someday, there is so much history over there.

  3. I can't get over the fact you ran a marathon here. These photos are gorgeous!

  4. Great pics. Looks like some awesome places to hike and/or run!

  5. OH man!! so jealous! can't wait to read more :) looks like you're loving the trip!

  6. It looks simply amazing! My family is super Irish and everyone has been to Ireland except me:( Your photos make me want to go even more!

  7. I'm so happy you made it to Dingle. It is one of my favorite spots over there. Your photos are gorgeous!

  8. Wow....what an epic trip......SOOOOOOOOOOO jealous!

  9. Just gorgeous! Somewhere I've always wanted ti visit...

  10. Beautiful pictures. My husband is 100% Scottish so we eventually plan on making the trek to Scotland and Ireland. Hopefully in the next couple of years. His dad goes 2-3 times a year. Supposedly he gets treated like royalty in Scotland. Who knew?

  11. Ireland is so beautiful! It's definitely on my list of must-visit places. You're very lucky to have the opportunity to run a race in a new country!

  12. Sounds like a great trip. It was weird, the outer clouds were west of me. You could see them. I posted a picture of them.

  13. Everything looks so amazingly beautiful.

    I forgot how the whole hurricane thing happened while you were out. :( What did people want to know about the election?