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!