Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Ring of Kerry

Really, it was more like the crescent of Kerry for us since we only got around to seeing about a third of it.  By the time we toured the seal sanctuary, drove off the Dingle Peninsula and onto the Iveragh Peninsula, it was early afternoon and we were already hearing protests from the back seat of our low slung rental car.  

We kicked off the day with more misty, overcast skies.  Heading east from the B&B in Dingle, we stopped at a seal sanctuary.  There was the added bonus of several types of birds to feed - quite entertaining, even when you're 11 and 17.

The younger daughter isn't a big fan of aggressive, food seeking water fowl... flashbacks of bread grabbing geese down at the town's creek back in Texas that had her climbing atop a picnic table to get away from them.

The sanctuary had a resident goat or two, so she enjoyed feeding and petting them since the birds were giving her the willies. However, the teen wasn't bothered by the feathered residents crowding around her and even picked up some smaller ones a time or two.

The little seal pups were so cute.  Some of them are a couple months old while the one I filmed below was brought in the day before after it was found alone on a nearby beach by local residents.

My favorite video was when I caught the mischievous goat trying to help himself to the bowl of bird food the teen had placed on top of the railing and knocked it off.  If you listen carefully you can hear the teen exclaim in disgust, "Oh my God, you idiotic goat, I hate you."  

From there, we drove for what seemed like hundreds of miles on backroads to get to 2 of the 3 early medieval ring forts on the peninsula.  Along the way, we somehow managed to get a bit turned around despite the assistance of GPS, and stumbled upon the ruins of a castle.

While taking pics of the castle as the husband and girls climbed over part of it, I looked across the field and spotted some other ruins.  I don't know if they were part of the original holding.  I'm always intrigued by things of this nature and can't help but wonder about the history behind it.

We rediscovered our original trail and took a stroll around the ring forts, Cahergal and Leacanabuaile.  There's not much to see anymore, but that's understandable in such a cool, wet climate with a dry stacked stone structure built in the 900s.  

In order to access the ring forts, we parked our car and followed a hand lettered sign up a dirt track past a few homesteads and fields of sheep to reach our destination.  You get lots of exercise in Ireland while seeing the sites.

We were wondering if the shorn sheep, pictured on the left, is bothered by the cool and wet weather.  It does look kinda pitiful without its coat.

After driving back to Dingle that afternoon, we had an early supper at the Chowder Cafe, a tasty spot where most everything on the menu was locally sourced.  The menu tells you which local businesses or farms provide fresh eggs, meat, milk, fish, etc.  I was tired of greasy pub food and enjoyed an open faced crab claw meat sandwich... yum!  For the second day in a row, we sat down to tea and a waist expanding dessert - so very tasty and a perfect way to wrap up another day of touring.

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