May was definitely been a big month. I probably will never get caught up with writing about all the adventures. Lots of fun, friends, and traveling. Kim and Rocky’s arrival started the great adventure. They arrived the day before my 40th birthday on a rare beautiful day in Cork. We started off in style by visiting a couple of our favorite restaurants and pubs, and getting a new pub to add to the list, Crane Lane. We got to see a couple of live, local bands in an awesome venue.
Of course, that left us a bit tuckered for the actual big day. We got a leisurely start and made our way to Killarney, stopping for a lovely walk in Macroom.
We made it to Killarney just in time for cocktail hour. Here is Kim with her favorite kind of Irish beer, the half-pint of stout.
We spent the day taking in the town. We were not that impressed with the actual town of Killarney. It seems we came the same weekend as a bunch of race car enthusiasts, so neither the crowd nor the other tourists were all that interesting. We did find a sweet Italian restaurant at which to celebrate my bday. If you are really lucky, Bret might even some day show you a video of my post-dinner reenactment of my afternoon happy dance at finding a nice-looking Italian restaurant for dins.
The next day, we got to an early start for a hike through the gap of Dunloe. As Bret mentioned, the gap of Dunloe is a narrow pass between the Macgillycuddy Reeks and Purple Mountain- not that we were actually able to see either as it was a windy, pouring rain, low ceiling kind of day. The Gap of Dunloe is the Anglicization of the Irish name Dun Loich which means, “Loich’s stronghold.” Loich was the leader of the Fir Bolg who were some of the first permanent residents in ancient Ireland. The Fir Bolg, or ‘men of bags,’ are apparently descendents of another group which abandoned Ireland for the mainland and were enslaved by the Greeks and forced to carry bags of clay. After 200+ years of enslavement, they later escaped Greece and went back to Ireland via Iberia.
Anyhoo… it was a wet hike through the gap and perhaps and even wetter boat ride back to Killarney.
We dried out on the car ride to Schull. Schull is a small town on the southern most peninsula in Ireland. That night we stayed at a really lovely B&B, the Grove house. It turns out there is a film festival in Schull later in the summer, and the Grove house was expecting to have Dame Judi Dench as a guest!
After a leisurely breakfast the next morning, we toured the peninsula and made it down to the southern-most point in Ireland, Mizen Head and found our own private beach to explore.
We then drove back to Cork city along a scenic route, which may have included a wrong turn that nearly led us to kill the rental car transmission. We did eventually find the Drombeg Stone Circle that we were looking for. The stone circle dates back 3000 years! It is a recumbent stone circle, which means it has a big rock laid horizontally flanked by two upright rocks.
There is also an ancient home site next to it.
We hit the road again the next day. Kim, Rocky, and I bussed up to Dublin for a quick visit with our cousin, PD, who just finished his freshman year at Trinity College Dublin. Then Kim and I had to bid farewell to Rocky and head off to ITALY for our sisters trip!!!!!!