Wednesday, April 9, 2014

through the Skellig Ring and on to Dingle

While bidding adieu to lovely Kenmare was bittersweet, we were excited for what the day had in store for us. Amanda had organized an extra special B&B for a couple of days - we each only spent an extra €5, but this place was phenomenal... just you wait.

Farewell, Kenmare! Until next time!
While we were beside ourselves with excitement for some serious R&R, the drive from Kenmare, through the Skellig Ring, and on to Dingle, was anything but a let-down. 

Much appreciated reminders!
Thankfully, we were on the same page when it came to cemeteries... both so intrigued by them! We made plenty of pit-stops to see the incredible detail and different Celtic knots. We were also so fascinated by the length of time many of these markers had been there -- some were HUNDREDS of years old!

Just LOOK at that incredible detail! It's so beautiful!

Quick pit-stop to stretch our legs!

Even through a drought, this land is gorgeous.

There are view points all along the drive on Skellig Road. Actually, pretty much anywhere there's a road near water, you're bound to find a view point within 30 km or so. We stopped to check out these incredible cliffs. From our point, we were able to see the Skelligs and Puffin Islands. Honestly though, I was more amazed that you can literally see forever. FOREVER. It's a wonder to me that people once thought the world was flat... I'd fear we'd sail right off if I were them! 

Apparently these cliffs are not only an incredible treat to the eyes and ever-so majestic, but according to geologists, are also approximately 400 millions years old... you know, give or take a few million. As I said earlier, you can see forever over the Atlantic. The smell and freshness of the air is indescribable. And though, I don't care much for heights, they probably wouldn't be quite as awesome if they weren't 1,000 feet high (300 meters). Definitely worth the stop.

I loved the commentary signs all over the place. ...not to mention the incredible views EVERYWHERE.

Right there, huh?

Oh, that's what those sharp wires mean?? I had no idea.
Just to build the anticipation a bit (and because I don't want to make the format on here all wacky and my photos downloaded just a few out of order...) I'm going to let you in on our stop at Portmagee. That's right, Portmagee. :) 

The welcoming committee.
So, as I mentioned a few posts ago, Amanda and I were determined to find the very best Fish and Chips in the south of Ireland. Now, don't get me wrong, I'm sure EVERY place we tried really was delicious, but we made the mistake of trying Wharton's first and NOTHING measured up in comparison. We did try another spot here in Portmagee, but again, just didn't quite make the cut. We also stopped at a cute little Nautical trinket shop. Otherwise, we just enjoyed the view, fresh air, and the opportunity to stretch our legs!

Our darling first sight of Portmagee.
Sometimes I just can't help myself.
We left Portmagee with one goal in mind: to make it to Dingle before sunset.

On our way, we not only saw some unbelievable gorgeous sights, but also a life-altering event...

Just across the bay from Portmagee -- you can see just a smidge of it on the left of this photo!

So, we parked the car and set out to take a few photos. The sun was high, the temperature was just right, and o man, EVERYTHING was absolutely beautiful. While exploring and capturing what we could, we heard this pitiful, borderline scary cry. A wail, if you will. Then we heard it again. We followed the sound and found a heard of sheep and one was giving birth! What a treat?! So, not only was the day and everything about it perfect, we were able to witness the birth of sheep, only the sweetest creature around. Ah, I was ecstatic. 

If you can see the people in the left of this photo, they're the ones that physically helped the mama sheep give birth. Amanda and I were mere bystanders watching from a distance. 

The sheep are colored for a number of different reasons. One reason is for ownership - if a farmer sees a sheep with a marking that doesn't match his sheep, he knows it's not his. They're still tagged for legal reasons, but the marking makes it easy to quickly identify that they aren't yours.

There is also coloring that is a result of mating... tups and rams are often either put in a harness that leaves a color on the ewe when mounted, or the ram has been marked prior to mating on his belly that will also leave a mark on the ewe so farmers are able to keep an eye on them and see which ones might be preggo. Later in the season, yet another color is thrown into the mix and the ewes that are re-mated gets that extra 'flair' so that the farmers know she'll be a late lil mama.

Unfortunately, the wind shield didn't help, but the sunset was breath-taking!

It looked like there was a fire on Dingle.

So close! Wait... Palm trees in Ireland?!

The Greenmount House.
This was, by far, the most wonderful and relaxing couple of days I think I've ever experienced. Ever.

As you can see, the room and entire facility was absolutely gorgeous. They didn't skimp on anything. We had views over looking the peninsula and a HUGE jacuzzi and lovely shower. We had room to spread our things out and a designated place to kick up our feet. 

Our room at the Greenmount House.

Pizza at the Blue Zone.

It had been a while since our fish and chips in Portmagee, so we were ready for a bite to eat when we decided to venture into town. It was a Sunday, so food was hard to find, but we made our way to an upstairs restaurant called, Blue Zone. The ambiance they had created was very different. They had couches and coffee tables in their main room and a bar in the same room. We got a courgette and spinach pizza that was absolutely delicious. (It was as good, if not better, than it looks in the photo above.) We sat in the blue lit room and geared up for a night of fiddle hunting. 

Fiddle hunting we did and fiddles we found. :) We also ran into a few couples we'd seen elsewhere on our journey. This small pub was packed to the point that we hovered and nearly fought over our tree stump seats. The music was magical. The cidre and stout were everything we'd hoped they'd be. 

It was, yet again, a near-perfect day.

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