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Emerald Isle - Part 2

Cliffs of Moher.

Jerpoint Abbey – Cistercian Monastery.

After saying our goodbyes to _graywolf_, we headed south and West to the Burren.

Cows and sheep finding forage even in the most inhospitable of places.

The burren was an amazing place where most of the soil (like that in a lot of Ireland)there (a thin layer over the rock) has been mostly created from sand and seaweed by hardworking farmers over the course of many years.

Mbala spent most of the trip where he usually is, behind his camera making most of these pictures possible. :)

Typical Irish traffic jam.

Beautiful coastline.

This one's for you, Thorn.

700ft straight down. There's a fantastic sign that tells you not to go past it, covered in stickers and graffiti. I skirted on by and looked over the crumbly edge at the seabirds wheeling below.

Panoramic view of the cliffs. The wind was incredibly strong, it's the first time I've ever stood in winds so strong they could knock me over.

There are so many places we visited I don't really have photos of that I wish I did - this is one of them. By accident we managed to turn down a road into the Gap of Dulow. It is apparently near impossible to find if you're looking for it, so we were in for a treat. Hours of misty mountain driving on a narrow, one lane dirt road abandoned by just about everyone and everything. It was as if it was out of another world altogether. The rain and drizzle, rivers overflowing the road, and hairpin turns with nowhere to stop kept us from getting any good photos.

An ogham stone at Ardmore. An odd, ancient form of writing/recordkeeping.

Leac an Scail dolmen in Kilkenny county. Like many places we visited it was delightfully abandoned and out in the middle of nowhere, so we had lunch inside of it, serenaded by nearby cows munching on grass, eyeing us warily.

Rooks were everywhere. Love them so much, weird vulture corvids.

We visited another cliff area, more private than Moher, where we had the whole stretch to ourselves. We spent some time watching the fulmars dance upon the winds, marveling at how they manage to avoid crashing into the steep, rocky sides in the hurricane level winds.

Another view from Ardmore.

We drove along little backroads around the Dingle peninsula, off the ring of Kerry. We drove onto Valencia island and got lost crossing up over the coastal routes. It was wonderful and exciting not knowing where we were going or where we'd end up and feeling quite alone.

Abandoned churches.

The more shy, reclusive hooded crow. These guys seemed to avoid more populated areas - more like typical northern ravens vs. crows and jays.

We stopped in at the national raptor center as it was closing and got to enjoy the company of a variety of hawks, owls, eagles, and other awesomness. We took a tour of an interesting cave where I was able to touch my first straw stalactite - I've never been into such a large cave that I would be able to get so close to all of the formations. I know that most places protect the caves to keep the caves healthy and natural but there is something really powerful in being able to touch something with your own hands, to connect to it and enjoy.

I know I am forgetting many things since it was such a whirlwind adventure and my brain is a bit fuzzy at the moment, but thank you for coming along with me regardless!

A fitting end for the trip.


( 14 comments — Leave a comment )
Dec. 8th, 2010 02:07 am (UTC)
Dec. 8th, 2010 02:14 am (UTC)
i am loving these photos. i am dying to go!
Dec. 8th, 2010 02:15 am (UTC)
So, so cool! Any photos from the raptor centre? (Sorry, one track mind! x_x)
Dec. 8th, 2010 02:41 am (UTC)
Yes - I took some photos of their cage setups with you in mind. :) I don't think anything was spectacular (most was quite old and out of date, including things like using wire mesh) but it might be of interest to you! I'll bundle up photos and send them your way. :)
Dec. 8th, 2010 02:25 am (UTC)
Beautiful! I really hope to visit Ireland someday soon. Sounds like you had a great time!
Dec. 8th, 2010 02:53 am (UTC)
Thanks for sharing this with us, again!

If you squint your eyes and look at the photo of you looking over the 700ft ledge, it almost looks like you are a giant looking into the ocean from a grassy beach! =P
Dec. 8th, 2010 06:51 pm (UTC)
I'm amazed!
You know, they really should rename Giant's Causeway to Foxloft Causeway. :)
Dec. 8th, 2010 06:59 pm (UTC)
Re: I'm amazed!
I agree. Let's get a petition going! =P
Dec. 8th, 2010 03:02 am (UTC)
Wow. o_o
Dec. 8th, 2010 03:52 am (UTC)
Can't wait to go. You hit another place on my to see list, the Burtrn! And the Bristish Isles have the best corvids!
Dec. 8th, 2010 06:16 am (UTC)
I did the same thing years back when I visited the Cliffs of Moher. It was a little frightening being able to go all the way to the edge. Fun times! Love the pics. :)
Dec. 8th, 2010 02:14 pm (UTC)
Beautiful! Thanks for sharing! :D
Dec. 9th, 2010 01:18 am (UTC)
Wow! You're so lucky to have been able to visit those places. Love the bird photos too. Thanks for sharing. :)
Dec. 11th, 2010 02:27 am (UTC)
Lovely. It's been since 1977 that I visited Ireland.
( 14 comments — Leave a comment )