Finally in a place with regular internet connection and can start posting about my summer “abroad!” We’re now in London, but we spent a week in the Irish countryside and it was spectacularly gorgeous. And so, my adventures…
Hm, it’s a bit of a one dolphin town, huh? -C.
We flew into Shannon and were coached to the Dingle Peninsula, literally the edge of Western Civilization until either the Spanish, Portuguese, Vikings, Chinese, or Irish (depending on which history book you read) made things very aggravating by stumbling across an entirely new set of continents. We went straight from the airport to Bunratty Castle, where we were toured about by a cute, hyper old Irishman.
We stayed in the Rainbow Hostel, which was a farmhouse until the family converted it into a hostel. I’d recommend it. Despite the cramping one expects of any hostel, it offers a great kitchen area for mixing and mingling, lovely walks in the Irish countryside, and is about five minutes away from Dingle itself.
We also got to see some ruins like the Gallarus Oratory and a church linked to St. Kevin which had an Ogham stone (ancient Celtic script) with a oath hole in it. Apparently, if you needed to swear some sort of vow, you stuck a finger through the hole, touched somone elses, and it was binding. This one was often used for marriages in the absence of priests!
Dingle itself is a small seaside town, whose most famous resident is a dolphin named Fungie who showed up sometime in the 1980s and seems to have stayed on ever since. Don’t expect a metropolis, but take advantage of the country! The town itself is very pretty, all brightly painted houses, pubs, and the gorgeous Irish sea. It’s also home to Murphy’s Ice Cream parlor which is rather proud of it’s general Irishness (the cream is made from a breed of cow found only in Ireland and fed on Irish grass, etc.), but let me tell you, it pays out! That stuff is to die for!
We spent the next day bussing around the Dingle Penninsula, and it is beautiful country! We stopped by Famine Cottages, relics from the Potato Famine that ravaged the country over a century ago, but the effects of which are still felt. We had slightly more upbeat adventures though, such as when a small dog decided to dash onto our bus and howl bloody murder when Dr. Chapman promptly removed him!
How did my bra get under YOUR bed?! – L.
That night we stayed in a castle (yes, you read that right) that dates back to the 15th century. The family was reduced to the state of peasants by Oliver Cromwell and forced to live in the stables. AND it’s haunted by two ghosts, one a lady who’s father pushed her down the stairs which snapped her neck and the other a soldier who fell asleep on watch and was pushed off the tower by his officer. What it is with pushing people down things in this place I’ll never know…