Saturday, September 22, 2012

Inishowen Peninsula
Yesterday we arrived in Buncrana, where we will be for five weeks.  The weather continues to be wonderful. Again, "What's this stuff about rain?" 
We took a long drive around the Inishowen Peninsula today. What a beautiful country. And the people continue to be friendly, polite and forgiving of our ignorance. I suspect that, in part, this may be because, historically, they have never been a privileged society.  They have never been in a position to look down, and so generosity seems lateral. Maybe.
Here are some pics of the peninsula: 

Friday, September 21, 2012

Western Ireland
We did go to the races last week and bet on what we thought were some fine looking thoroughbreds.
 And although it was fun, we each lost our 2 euros.  It was an experience to watch the hoi polloi, a real mixed crowd. Most were far more experienced than we.
From there we had planned to head up the northeast coast, but we changed our minds and headed west: first down to the Ring of Kerry and the Dingle Peninsula. From there we continued north through Connemara County Claire, and now we've been in County Donegal for the last two days. Tomorrow we head up to Buncrana where we'll be for the next five weeks.
Here are some shots of where we've been:


Friday, September 14, 2012

This last week Amy and I have been around the southeast side of Ireland, mostly in Wicklow and Carlow counties. The weather has been wonderful. We keep asking, "What's this stuff about rain?"

Tomorrow we start heading to the north of Ireland. Our first stop is the race horses in Curragh. We've never been to the races before, but they seem to be quite popular. I'm planning on putting my 2 euro bet down on the one that Amy says looks happy. From there we plan on seeing some ancient sites called Hill of Tara and Bragh na Bonnie. Then we'll make our way to the top in Buncrana where we'll be for five weeks.

Here are some shots of where we've been:






Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Ireland -Its people
                             Today's Topic: Neatness

Although Ireland is not by any means a wealthy country, it has a fastidious and tidy nature.  The people and the towns are clean, and the people take pride in their spartan lifestyle.

Even though in Dublin city we did find the ubiquitous, spay-painted graffiti, this seems an anomaly. In the small towns, the majority of Ireland,  we found the walls and streets to be cared for.

We witnessed this in the quaint village of Enniskerry where we saw townspeople on their hands and knees in the street's gutters with dust pans and hand brooms brushing up the street's litter. "Will you look at that," I said to Amy.

This pride in town was most public in today's Irish Times which published the results of the country's tidy contest. It devoted a two page spread, listing each town's score of cleanliness, each town rated: With the winning town receiving a 10,000 euro prize!

This a country with a history centuries-old and a country which is determined to preserve it. And although the people are in an unstable, financial world of limbo, their sense of place and its value are things within their control.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Yesterday we went to a loud and raucous pub to watch on a big screen the National Irish Hurling Championship game between County Galway and County Kilkenny.  We had never heard of “hurling” before, but here in Ireland it’s as big, if not bigger than soccer (football).
It’s something like lacrosse, but the sticks have flat blades not nets, and the game is just as rugged and physical. We didn’t understand all of the rules, but we got the gist. After much back and forth, in the end the score was tied, and everyone started walking off the field. I asked a guy, “Now what?
 “It’s a replay.”
“They play the game again.”
“The whole game?”
“Yah, next week.”
Everyone was happy to do the thing again, and as we left, there were no sad faces in the pub.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

              WE'RE OFF TO IRELAND!

                                                              MORE TO FOLLOW