Ireland Report #4

Heading into Week Three, I’ve spent most of the last four days with the class.

I am sick of girly girls who can’t believe we’re spending all our time in Ireland talking about birds, trees, and books and beer-loving boys who’ve yet to pick up the required books. In case you didn’t catch it, kids, the title of the course is “Irish Literature and the Environment” — which means birds, trees, and books. I’m so very sorry that I don’t go out clubbing with you every night or stay up past 4 only to complain my way through the day’s field trip, so very embarrassed that I actually remember what we discussed in the museum yesterday… ARGH.
Fortunately I’ve found a group of slightly less shallow (although quite satisfyingly goofy) girls who’re happy to go a-wandering or a-reading whenever the opportunity arises.

So, we left Trinity around 10 Thursday morning, stopped in Cashel for a tour of the Rock (which has a choral hall, cathedral, chapel, round tower, and graveyard atop its peak, each built in a different century…) and lunch, and made our way down to Dingle. I’ve been to Cashel before (during the grand tour in 2000 with Mom) so it wasn’t all that exciting. At least I took some good notes. Then I slept a good chunk of the way to Dingle, which is a colorful little town not unlike Ojai. Apparently it’s Santa Barbara’s sister city, so the comparison isn’t too far off the mark. The “downtown” area is less than a square mile, with one side right along the water of the harbor. We missed seeing the famous Fungie (a dolphin that frequents the harbor and swims alongside boats) but took a few pictures with his bronze twin ashore.

As far as scenic stops, we’ve taken in the audio-visual presentations at the (1) Blasket Islands Visitor Centre, (2) Gallarus Oratory, (3) Muckross House in Killarney National Park, and (4) Coole Park Estate, accompanied by scenic nature walks and/or tours at each. In short:
1. A very clean, modern interpretive centre covering the history, culture, and current ecology of the Blasket Islands. Small group of islands about 3 miles offshore, comprised of one big (Great Blasket) and five small islands. Apparently there’s just one person living there full-time now, but up until about 1950 there was a little Irish-speaking village that was rather forcibly evacuated. Yay.
2. Medieval elongated beehive-style house, built with corbeled stones and nothing but. Also with carved grave marker. Whee.
3. Large national park composed over about 50 years of two Anglo estates, lots of mountains and trees, lakes, deer, and birds. Working historic-style farm with endangered breeds and craft workshops.
4. The artists’ retreat run by Lady Gregory at the turn of the century. Insert famous names here. And nature walk with turlough (vernal pool).

Right, time to stop, internet cafe’s are expensive. Now we’re in Galway, more reviews later.


~ by jackelopette on August 27, 2006.

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