Monthly Archives: June 2014

catching up…

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.

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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!!!!!!


Took advantage of the nice weather today and went for a bike ride to Crosshaven.  We stopped at a local market for yummy breakfast burritos on the way.  Crosshaven is a nice village on the opening to Cork Harbor.  It was originally a Viking settlement and has five beaches within a 2 mile radius.  We walked around a bit, had a coffee and walked out to the point.

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The worst pub in Cork

Yesterday was a tough day.  My 20 year old cat, Clawdia, has been on steep downward slide for the last week.  We went to the vet yesterday afternoon and decided it was time to let her go.  Here is a picture of her owning the couch back in Corvallis.


Clawdia was named by parents because of her ninja-like ability to claw through even tough materials, like leather, with a single swat…  although that same ability also led to her transformation to de-clawdia.  She has been with me for the past 17 years.  She moved with me eight times! So we criss-crossed the US a few times and she recently made it all the way to Ireland at 19.5 years old.  She has been a wonderful companion (to me, she didn’t really like many other people until she was too old to care).  Here are some pictures from the life and times of the Queen Bee:

Old school…  back in the days before wayne.


Just after her giant mass, affectionately named Patricia, was removed.


hanging with Bret.


Practicing yoga.


Her ritual, window-mediated chat with our chicken, Steve Holt.


Helping me finish the edits to my dissertation.


Pretending she doesn’t like chubchub.


I’ve been going through all my pictures looking for this one picture that I know I have of her.  It was taken early in the morning in my dining room in Corvallis.  The light coming through the window was rosy and perfect and she is totally relaxed taking in the sunshine on the white carpet.  I can almost hear her broken purr motor going just thinking about the picture.  It is just the way I like to think of her… but I can’t find the picture anywhere.  The same thing happened to me shortly after Wayno died.  I took this stupid online quiz about what kind of animal my soul mate was.  I got ” a dog wearing sunglasses.”  I remembered I had a picture of Wayne looking ridiculous with sunglasses on. I searched high and low for this picture,  but I only just found it today.


I am sure the picture of Clawdia will come back to me just when I need it.  Maybe people who read this can send a good thought her way today.  She probably doesn’t deserve it from many of you, but do it for me anyway.  Thanks.

So….   Long story short, I was in a tough place last night when we left the vet at 6:30.  We were walking home and we decided to stop at a pub for a pint.  As it so happens (actually all the time), there was a pub right in front of us, the Harp.  Bret had previously spotted the Harp because it is right on his daily commute.  At some point we googled it and found a review that described it as “the worst pub in Cork,” so that is actually how we have referred to it every time it has come up on the radar as a possible destination for the last five months.  On a night like last night, the worst pub in Cork sounded like a fine destination.


At first The Harp seemed a little lack-luster.  Two big rooms, a lounge and a bar with a pool table.  Lots of TVs, nothing special.  Bret got us a round of Beamish and we sat at a table.  Then, we made a new friend, Terry.  He must have pegged us as newcomers, so he introduced himself.  He asked us our name several times and got a serious hoot out of the fact we were trying to visit 52 pubs while in Cork.  He tried to entice Bret into a game of pool, but realized he had to leave.  It took him several attempts to actually leave.  He came back once to deliver us a round of fruity, rum drinks in beer mugs that he had purchased for us.  Yeah, I know… totally random.  Maybe he thought we needed drinks that matched the pink of my bloodshot eyes.


Then he came back to let us know that it was a beautiful night and we should go to the back of the pub where we could smoke fags (first time we’d heard that expression here) and enjoy the outdoors.  I thought maybe there was an outdoor “garden” which lots of pubs have.  They are generally just outdoor smoking areas with tables and sometimes some shelter from the rain.  Although, I came to the conclusion that Terry was really just talking about a parking lot. He gave up on the idea though when we told him we didn’t smoke.  Then he came back and shook our hands one more time and asked us our names.  Then he really left.  It actually isn’t the worst pub in Cork.  Every pub has its place.



I had an opportunity to go to Edinburgh for a couple of days for work to see the opening of a new wave tank which was very impressive.  See a news article about the opening here.


They showed some fun waves as well as some more traditional waves that would be used in testing. Shown here is a fun focused wave.


I also got to visit a smaller tank that they are refurbishing


and got to go for a hike up Arthur’s Seat with my coworker, Florent, after the official event.



On the Dingle Peninsula

Next we spent a couple of nights in Dingle.  We have been there so we went back to some of our favorite spots


and found some new ones as well including this traditional music/storytelling/dancing session


and of course we did some hiking and found some great sights



Some friends came to visit and we took the opportunity to explore the Southwest of Ireland a little bit more.  Me, Erin, Emily, (y)Emily, and Dan took to the road with our first stop Cahersiveen.  We stopped along the way and saw some spectacular sights.


Cahersiveen was a great little town on the Ring of Kerry which was touristy but not excessively so.  We rented bikes the second day we were there and toured Valentia island.  We took the ferry to get there and had terrific weather and spectacular views.


Including great views of the Skelligs Islands.


The next morning we went to Ballycarbery Castle.  Built in the 16th century, it is in a perfect state of ruin.


We then headed over to Cahergall Stone fort which dates from 600AD.