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Six years of adventure with pics to prove it.

New Castle, Armagh, Enniskillen

Filed under: Ireland,Photos — she_travels at 4:28 pm on Sunday, May 27, 2007

New Castle is a very cool place. The picture below tells the story.
Sea! Village! Forest! Mountain! WOW!

There is very little sand on New Castle beach..instead it’s all this stuff and larger rocks.

Armagh is the place with St Patrick Cathederal.

This is another of those, sun there, rain here pics. See the spikes of the Catherdal in the sunshine?

Another hill I dragged my parts up to see the view.

And one can’t forget “St. Patrick’s Cathedral”

Enniskillen is an island in a Lough. Its kinda a funny place. It has a natural moat.

I was sitting on a park bench thinking “this could be many a place in America. A place with water, a hill, houses…no big deal. Then….ya turn around and what do you see….

Castle…. not so much America anymore. *Smile*

Right then, now you are caught up with me. I am currently just out side of Sligo house sitting. I arrived here yesterday from Enniskillen where I took the two pics above. I will be here eleven days. There are tons of county roads to walk along with many a thing to see so…more pics forth coming.

Whew! its 11:30pm and it just now dark. S’pose I should take myself off to bed.

Ahh the Puffins!

Filed under: Ireland,Photos — she_travels at 4:02 pm on Sunday, May 27, 2007

By now I have been in Bally Castle for three nights. Sunday morning I get up thinking I should be able to get out of town.

Wait a second I have already posted the Golden Puffin story. Pics only then.

I only have two and neither are of Puffins..they were WAY to far off..what I did get was birds flying from there nests to inland…tons of them, flying back and forth. Cleaning the salt all their wings according to the dude at the Puffin look out.

All those white dots against the green are birds flying just past this spot to bathe in a fresh water lake. Their nests are on the cliffs in the pic below.

GlenAriff

Filed under: Ireland,Photos,Walks — she_travels at 3:41 pm on Sunday, May 27, 2007

While still and again in BallyCastle I board the bus to travel south. The place I seek is GlenAriff Forest Park. I am given to understand the town at the seashore (bottom of the glen) is Waterfoot. I bounce off the bus to find three shops with only one open. The good news is…I have spied the brown sign directing me a mere four miles up the road to land at GlenAriff Forest Park. Woohoo, an hour up the hill and I am good to go. It is now 12pm, the bus will be back at 415. Plenty of time. Right….? HA!

Right side of the road I am walking up.

Left side.

Looking back along the road I am on..the rain just stopped where I am and has not yet hit the buildings in the distance, see the sun on them?

Right side of  the road. Waterfall in the back.

This pic does not show what I wanted it to. While standing there I could see the cliffs behind the tree in the middle which looked out of place almost alone. Add the purple flowers scattered on the hill..perfect shot. Hmm, perhaps a bit more sun would have helped.

I thought this a cool shot! Looking back toward the sea, where I started up the hill.

Ya can’t see the bands of rain. It was not raining where I was standing but..it was coming.

This is what that ol’ boy who gave me a lift to Cushendun was talking about. The “Glen” is obvoius here. Cool huh?

The wacky path leading a person through gullies, forest, across and along the creeks.

This bit of the path was up one side and believe me down on the other.

I loved this shot!

You can just see the white dots in the distance against the blue of the sea. That is where I walked from. I got a lift back to BallyCastle with an aussie couple who was staying at the same hostel. We payed attention to the mileage on the way down the hill. It was 8.8k…5.7 miles. The road sign was wrong. oops!

BallyCastle

Filed under: Ireland,Photos — she_travels at 1:44 pm on Sunday, May 27, 2007

BallyCastle was a place I was having a hard time getting out of. I kept finding things I wanted to do. First up. a stroll about the town and beach.

Another photo op I could not pass up. The shop fronts, the square, the church and the sheep on a green field behind it all.

BallyCastle beach….there are the most amazing rocks on this beach. I later was talking to a guy in the park about my not understanding why someone has not thought to collect rocks, polish them, create jewelry and sell it to the tourists. He just gave me one of those looks saying, “There ya have it, your very own export business.” I gave him a “who me” look  and said “No way man, I quit workin!” I do however have a sack of rocks in my bag.

Next up…a thing called BallyPatrick Forest Park. They made a one lane paved track around the area so people can drive about, there are spots to picnic and plenty of space. The track is a loop if six miles. Being off season they do not allow cars in…this means I have the whole of the six miles to myself.

This bit of path runs along the car track, it is all of a mile added to the original six. You can just see where they have been cutting the grass.

The flora grows like mad here…I liked this shot cause all the lighter green is new growth on this tree.

The bridge is the main road over head. There is a bit of a creek here they put cobblestones on so people have to drive under the bridge and up the creek at the same time.

I loved the way the sun was shinning through the forest. You may be able to see the line of the irrigation ditch. This is forestry land…they plant, grow, harvest, and replant.

Another view from yet another hill I hauled my hinnie up. See the bit of lighter brown toward the bottom on the pic? That is cut forest.

I loved this shot, a bend in the road with many a green tree and one not like the others. By the by ~ at this stage in the game I had had my coat, coats, on and off about four times.

This is what happens when you leave nature to itself in this part of the world. Do you see it under the tree?

So, I walked the six miles having a vague notion it was a loop but not in possession of a map. The bus driver dropped me off at the car park entrance with advice that he would be coming back the other direction at 4:15. I was wondering part of the time if it truly was a loop or if I was going  to have not a clue as to where I was once the track stopped. The two things I had going for me where “I can always go back the way I came” and “This is a one way track, right..?”

In the end it did loop sorta..the track came out on the main road about 3/4 of a mile from the car park entry. So…I walked back to the car park wondering what to do next. I had about two hours before the bus would be back this way. I had come from BallyCastle in one direction and had not seen any of  the other direction on the road…I vote to see the new direction.

Now, I must back up to Leenaun for just a minute. One of the gals working for the hostel in Leenaun hitchhikes about forty miles to spend her days off. She has been known to “hitch” to Galway, a far bit farther than Clifden. Ok, now think of me, I have just walked about seven miles….with intent to see what is around the next corner, I have been rained on twice and the rain is getting heavier by the minute…there are “shall I stick my thumb out” thoughts going through my head…about the time the rain turned to hail I figured the gods were talking to me. Stick my thumb out, I did.

Several folks did nothing but splash me with rain and hail. I was about a mile past the car park at a place called “the vanishing lake” Yeah, something about the lime rock layer under it the water can and does just blink out of sight. A car stopped, now mind you I have never hitchhiked but I have seen it done in the movies, the car stopped, just like in the films I ran up to it, opened the back door and said quietly, “I am only going as far as Cushendun”. The lady in the driver’s seat said “Yes, that’s fine”. I thanked her several times and mentioned I was in need of a cup of tea. The gentleman in the passenger seat noticed my accent and asked “where in America” I told him when he decided to give me a bit of a lesson about “The Nine Glens of Antrim”. I was tickled to death to find out “Glen” means gully a glacier made. They were delightful people and do you know that lady dropped me off at the door of the only “Teahouse” in Cushendun.

I thanked them again several times and turned to find a cuppa to warm my everything. I finished my tea as the sun was coming out so I decided to see what the track along the river was all about.

A view from that the track in Cushendun.

Having just enough time to finish that short bit before the bus showed up. The driver gave me a funny look while asking “Did you walk down?”  “Nahh” I said “got a lift”

Next up…the ever on going walk to GlenAntrim, “The Queen of the Glens”.

Portstewart, Giant’s Causeway

Filed under: Ireland,Photos — she_travels at 11:47 am on Sunday, May 27, 2007

The first two photos are Portstewart then four of the Giant’s Causeway and four of the famous rope bridge. Once upon a time the bridge was much different, the fisherman used to catch salmon from it. For reasons I don’t understand the salmon run between the main land and that tiny island. Crazy fishes shoulda gone around.

See the cloud in the very back, under it is a bit of a shaded area…Scotland!

Yet another bit of coastline. There is so much coast and all of it is different. Some are nice beaches, some are rocky stretches of yuk, others are fierce cliffs and crashing waves.  Its great fun. By the by ~ this is called White Rock Beach. I found more than one white rock while walking it. They come from the white cliffs around the bend in this picture. I have one in my bag..its the strangest thing, a soft rock.

Crazy rocks at the Causeway.

More crazy rocks.

Wacky huh?

Stacks and Stacks of crazy. wacky rocks.

Nice clear water!

I preferred the cliffs here to those at Moher.

Yes, I walked across it..it moves a bit..the more energy you put into your stride the more the thing bounces.

Connemara

Filed under: Ireland,Photos — she_travels at 6:42 am on Sunday, May 27, 2007

The Connemara region is north and a bit west of Galway. Knowing then what I know now I took four days to see what other people saw in six hours on a coach tour.  I stayed just outside of a tiny village called Leenaun the first two nights. The village is at the inland end of the only fjord in Ireland. From what I understand it is always cold and raining here, well unless it is snowing. All the pics below are from those two days.

Wait, I was wrong this pic is along the coach tour just before entering the Connemara region. I could not pass up the little boats and water across the rock wall image.

Looking toward the sea. The things you see in the water are mussel farm rafts.

I was headed up into the forest for a walk when the sheeps decided I had taken on a new profession: sheep herder.

Part of my attraction to places such as these is you can see the weather, good or bad, coming at you. This bit of rain turned out to be not so bad but I did get wet. There are days I spend a fair amount of adding and subtracting clothes. One can truly get all four season in one day in this place.

The track I was walking along a part of the mountain above the fjord.

This is the true meaning of living in a valley.

Flowers and more along the rock wall, along the road. Yellow strips on the outside and a solid white line in the middle.

And…a sunset. Did ya know the sun doesn’t set here until 1030pm…its light out until 11p.

I hopped back on the day tour coach the third morning I was there bound for Clifden.

The town of Clifden as see from a near by hill.

What remains of Castle Clifden. I was walking along something called “The Sky Road”. I think it got its name cause it goes up..and up and..up. There is a story a few entries back about the guy I met at the vista view on the Sky Road. Dude is from Oregon.

I hopped on the tour bus again the next morning to see Kylemore Castle while heading back to Galway.

The guy had this place built a zillion years ago decided to put it behind the lake against a mountain. There is a better angle of the hill behind the castle in the last image.

He had a walled garden made with flowers on one side and veggies on the other.

Mountain behind the castle.

Cool pic huh?

The Burren, Cliffs of Moher

Filed under: Coach Tours,Educational,Ireland,Photos — she_travels at 5:40 am on Sunday, May 27, 2007

The only way to get to this part of the country is by Coach Tour or car hire (rent a car). I choose  a company offering a walking tour of the Burren as well as the Cliffs. Had I known then what I know now, I would have stayed a few nights in the Burren area and re-boarded the bus the following day. I didn’t know you could use the tour coaches in such a way until later.

The Burren is geological wackiness, as one walks it you feel as though Finn McCool and his marry band of giants were piling rocks. In some places nature tossed enough dirt on the pile to have grass. There are spots that seem to be “step-ish”. Our guide was a younger guy whose family has owned the land we were walking for 250 years. The whole of the Burren is used as free range land. They grow cows because “the soil is so rich we don’t want to waste it on sheep.”

The Burren. You can see just past the edge of the pasture land what remains of an old home site. The bit which looks to be a roaming line up the hill is a wall. Yes, a rock wall just as all the fences are here. During the potato famine the government decided to start a “work for food” program. The locals built walls in exchange for food. The walls on the Burren serve no purpose other then the work for food program.

That bit of water goes out to the sea.

I am not sure of the attraction to the Cliffs of Moher but holy hannah are there a ton of people about.

Nice view huh?

Galway

Filed under: Ireland,Photos — she_travels at 5:00 am on Sunday, May 27, 2007

I am not sure how many of these pictures will work but I think I found a way to up load a few. So….

Do you see the blue O2 sign across the street? Just above the O there is another tiny blue sign…that my freind’s is what they call a street sign in this part of the world. Those streets that are marked,  have tiny signs on the corners of the buildings. It makes navigation a bit of a challenge.

Saturday Market..see the church in the background..it’s huge and old. Most of the churches, and there are many, in this part of the world are old.

This river empties into the sea behind me…all the river/ creek water here has a brown tinge to it, they say its cause of all the bog land.

I saw this old guy feeding the ducks and had to say something. So..I asked what kind of birds the big white ones were. He said “Swans”. This gave me the opportunity to continue the conversation. He went on to tell me he comes down every day at lunch time to visit the birds. We talked of my being from America and him having visited San Francisco. He reminded me so much of the lady in Mary Poppins I decided to sneak a picture after walking past him.

Colorful shops along a street in Galway.

This was to funny to pass up. I didn’t have my camera with me the first time I saw it, took me three days to find the shop again. I keep thinking I should take more pics of shop fronts.

Last Minutes

Filed under: Ireland — she_travels at 3:56 am on Saturday, May 26, 2007

I have all of twenty-seven minutes left on the password I bought two days ago. It will not work other than on this computer so…how about a little story….

I was having a bit of breakfast this morning when an older lady sat down at the other end of the table. She was looking behind me when another older lady sat down with us. I assume it was the person the 1st lady was looking at. They got to chatting as older ladies do, in what sounded like an British accent but not quite.  They both looked up and behind me when another lady sat with us. By this time I was wondering what was up, one of the ladies musta seen the question on my face because she said “We are sisters, we come here twice a year with all the siblings to visit our parents that are buried across the way.”

“What a wonderful thing.” Says I, “How many siblings are there? ”

“Eight, four sisters four brothers”

“Wow, that is a big family and you were all born here in Enniskillen?”

“Yes, we are scattered now, in England, Scotland and around Ireland.”

We talked a bit longer as several of the others of the clan showed up. It looked to be the beginnings of a party with so many of them, along with at least two grand children. Now that my friends, is family!

I would have sat and listened to them for longer but I was due to be out of my room. They are fair serious about check out times in this hostels. By the by ~ This hostel is part of something called “The Clinton Center”. It was opened June 5th 2002 in honor of President Clinton’s dedication to peace and prosperity. It is a conference center downstairs with the hostel above.

I am off to catch a bus to a tiny place called Manorhamilton to met the people I will be house sitting for, they are leaving tomorrow to New York.

Places, Peoples

Filed under: Ireland — she_travels at 11:40 am on Friday, May 25, 2007

I seem to have found a bit of time..there is not a sole in this place but me…the system doesn’t seem inclined to kick me off even though I don’t remember having paid for so many minutes. Let us not look a gift horse in the mouth.

I am going to put much effort into sorting out both the picture situation and the blog entries once I land in Sligo for eleven days. I am not convinced I can fix it all so I will run though a few things now being I have the time and the minutes.

I was outside of Sligo visiting with the people I will house sit for. Once leaving them I took a bus to a place called Derry or LondonDerry on some maps. It is not my favorite of towns but there is an  interesting thing. It is the only town in Ireland to still have the wall which  was once around all villages. Yes people, the movies you see with walls it’s all true in this place. The wall was very cool but the town itself sorta had an odd uncomfortable feeling so I bailed the next morning.

Next was two nights in Portstewart, an adorable  coastal village with a single strip of shops facing the ocean. I walked the forty minutes along the coastal path to Portrush one afternoon. I have the wacky habit of sitting down next to folks or walking up to them while thay are at something of interest. This afternoon I found a guy fishing off the rocks facing Scotland and his lady friend sitting reading a book. I navigated the distance between us across all kinds of wiggly rocks. Once the guy noticed me I said “Anything biting?”

The minute I open my mouth here someone says “Oh, your American, what part of America” I have started telling people “the middle”  cause many don’t know which state is where. If they ask for more information I tell them Colorado to which they reply, “skiing”. Then they go on to tell me how many of their family have either been, are coming back from or immigrated to America. I tell ya every one I have met has been, is going or has family in America. Things were so wacky over here for so long between people dying from potato famine or needing a better job than what was offered here or just cause so many were killing each other off. About everyone has been to America.

I met a lady the other day, she asked me about the bus. I told her it would be along at 11:06 (did I mention? I live by the bus schedule)…her eyes glazed over “Ahh America, I do love America”  I asked why she didn’t move but never really got an answer.

From Portstewart..oh wait I hit “The Giants Causeway” while staying there. Find some pics it’s amazing truly wacky what the lava did in that area. As many of you know I have an allergy to children..even so on the walk down to the Causeway I happened upon a school group with a tour guide. The guide was what we all believe the typical Irish gentleman to be, kindly older guy with a twinkle in his eye and one of those flat-ish hats to keep the rain off his balding head. He could throw his voice far with an accent that makes those of us from elsewhere want to listen until he speaks no longer.

He was telling the children part of the Finn McCool’s story. I didn’t hear all of it but what I did hear was “and the camel was covered in lava..” with a flourish of his umbrella he pointed out across the land saying “and there he sits today”.  Indeed there was a rock formation where he point looking much like a camel with his legs curled under him. One of the children next to me gasped whispering “Is he real?” I don’t believe any but me heard her..I noticed much later she was speaking with another adult in the group asking about the camel.

I followed them for some amount of time, mostly because the guide was a hoot. We moved farther down the path when he told us the story of Finn McCool the giant. Seems old Finn had a revel Giant over in Scotland some where so he build the Causeway for a way to get across the water to fight the other guy. When he arrived in Scotland he found the other giant to be much larger than he so he quick hightailed it back to his wife in Ireland. Finn’s wife having heard Finn’s story suggested he hop in the basket she had next to the house and put a baby bonnet on his head. When the Scottish giant came over to fight Finn he saw the baby in the basket. He decided at that point if the babe was that large what was the size of Finn himself so he high tailed if back to Scotland tearing up the Causeway as he went.

There are the same rock formations in Scoland as there are in Ireland. If ya ask the professional rock people they will tell you its all about super heating, squishing and wacky earth moment that made all the rocks in an area six sided shapes.

From Portstewart I landed in Ballycastle…I kept finding things I wanted to do from there so I ended up staying four nights. I was going to leave Sun am but much to my amazement the buses don’t go south on Sun, sure you can go north but not south. I ended up going out to Rathlin island to see the Puffins. Cute little back birds with orange feets. They look a bit like those winter birds in tuxs..what are those?  The good news is I will have a mention the in island paper along with winning an award. Yes folks, I am “the American lady that spotted the golden puffin” this year. They first saw him last year but in five weeks of this bird season no one had spotted him… It was me. I am now famous with the awarded puffin pin on my lapel to prove it.

I wanted to stay in Larne one night but was unable to find a place I wanted to pay for so I hopped back on the bus for New Castle thinking I could find a hostel there…you can image I was shocked to find out the only hostel on town was chock a block full. I wandered the town a bit when I happened upon a place called Claire Lodge, not knowing what it was I walked around the corner. There was a guy in the road looking at me funny that said “you will not get in the, but I have a key”  I said “I didn’t know what Claire Lodge was so I though…” Let’s get the boss.”  Who was I to argue.

The guy unlocked the door to find another man at the entry. The first guy said “I found her roaming..” The second guy looked at me so I said “The hostel is full and I need a place to sleep, I have no idea what Claire Lodge is.” The second guy took my hand and said “We have room.”

Me still being very confused followed him back, he showed me the room then said his wife would be down. Sure enough I stayed the night. They fed me dinner and breakfast ..and I got to listen to an old guy tell me all about his wondrous visit to New York long about four years ago. Claire Lodge you ask..it’s what they call a holiday home for the elderly. It was a hoot and those people saved my bacon that night.

Dang..I gotta go.

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