Explore Discover Inspire

Six years of adventure with pics to prove it.


Filed under: Colorado,Interlude — she_travels at 1:05 pm on Thursday, July 12, 2007

As you can see “the blog, the blog” is closer to being up to date but as yet is not quite there. I have been sorting through 400 photos, resizing and writing text. Cork, Dublin, the trip home plus bits of Colorado are still waiting in me to sort them out. Whew!! what a job.

I am back in Colorado house sitting/pet sitting for several clients. For the few days between house sitting gigs I have been staying with friends. In exchange for cooking I have use of the “Lower Level Suite”. I tell everyone showing up for food, “It’s an experiment, I very seldom prepare the same recipe twice.”

My friends mentioned the other day they both like Mac and Cheese. I found a recipe with both a swanky sausage and smoked cheddar. This would mean no updating of the blog today cause I am off to the market to start another culinary experiment.

Beenhive Loop

Filed under: Ireland,Photos,Walks — she_travels at 12:05 pm on Monday, July 9, 2007

It was not really called the Beenhive Loop but it was something very close. Since I can’t remember the real name… I have looked on all the maps I have but… no loop.

I got up the next morning feeling not great but ok. My Momma always says “exercise fixes everything” I had been on and off of buses for several days, perhaps a bit of a walk would sort me out.

I set out in the direction one of the maps the info lady gave me suggested. The weather was promising to be typical Ireland, alternating wetness, rain, overcast and if I was lucky I might get a ray of sunshine.

Just past the market I found a sign saying Beenhive Loop. This was not on the map I had but loops are always good in my book. The idea of turning around has always rubbed me the wrong way. I was not sure if this loop was the one the info lady had been talking about but I had all day so…why not.

Being a loop one could travel either direction. I didn’t think much about which way I would go, my feet took me left.  I was following a black top road up a hill, it turned to dirt just before coming to a huge fence with signs saying “no entry”. I stood there for a moment in the rain wondering where on earth my loop had gone, when I saw there were two fences to the left … one could walk between them. When the wire fence on my left changed to rock I could see the village behind me.

Cahersiveen, the water is a inlet of the sea.

Looking to my right from the same spot above.

The road, both dirt and black top, were gone..this was when I realized I had found my kinda walk. See the path up and over what was once a rock wall?


I came out of the tree area above to find this.

And this.

Then realized I was in a rather large open field..what now? I had walked over a stiles to get into the field. I could see the brown post with a walking person in yellow on it but where did the path lead?

Hmm ya can’t really see it in this pic but a the far end of this field is this…

This was when I understood…the loop is marked with brown posts and stiles. I started looking for both along the way.

Another change in path.

Ireland on the whole is so civilized. This sign doesn’t say “Keep Out” or “No Trespassing”. It just suggests that you beware the bull.

One of my arty pictures. I snapped this for mom who has always had a thing about dead trees.

More open field, valley and mountain.

Rock wall with Fushia covering it… there are many a sheep on the other side.

I loved this spot. Overgrown rock walls on either side. The blurry bits are rain drops on the lens of the camera.

You can just see the Dingle Peninsula under the clouds.

I liked the look of the low clouds coming off the trees. By the by – all the pine trees are forest land. They plant, grow, harvest, replant and start all over.

The contrast of the flowers and the blueish mountain were worth a click of the camera.

Even the trees don’t mind growing on rock walls.

You can’t tell just how steep this hill is but I had just climbed up the rock path. At this point I was only half way up the hill.

Look sunshine!! woohoo

The path I had come up was along the bit of pine tree up the hill, then following what you can just make out as a fence line. This still was not the top. The good news….

The view from the top was worth it.

And worth it..

And worth it. That is Valentia Island out there.

Just me and the sheep on the top of the hill.

Gotta love a view!

Cahersveen from the other side of the hill/mountain.

Going down the other side. The ground is so wet and the grass so deep it springs back to your feet,  like a grass covered trampoline.

The whole of the loop took me 4.5 hours. It was such fun, I had rain and wind, I had sunshine and stillness. I was hopping down the hills giggling. Seems my Momma was right “Exercise fixes everything” Though ice cream comes a close second with mom.


Filed under: Coach Tours,Ireland,Photos — she_travels at 10:10 am on Monday, July 9, 2007

I was so disappointed with the communication between myself and the people in Dingle, I decided I would get out two days before I had originally thought. I did not see the magic dolphin. I did get on a local bus to Tralee connecting to Cahersiveen on the Ring of Kerry.

There was a two hour wait in Tralee. The luggage storage was 4 euro for any amount if time and the only place within walking distance was Dunnes. Dunnes is a Target with a Safeway in the basement. Some times the two are combined in the same building sometimes they are a block apart..sometimes ya never do find the other bit. This one was more Target than anything else.I had sandwich makings with me so I bought a knife to slice bread and spread mayo.

Back at the bus station I found a spot out of the rain to make a sandwich…I had water with me as well. People were looking at me a bit funny but I was hungry. I would have liked a cup of tea with milk but had no way to heat water. Nor had I milk.

The bus from Tralee only went as far as Killorglin. I had to get off to wait on a bus coming from Killarney to get to Cahersiveen. Did I mention everything begins and ends in Killarney?

I had arranged a hostel in Cahersiveen while waiting on the bus in Tralee. Good on me..huh? The hostel was almost directly across from where the bus stopped. As I always do, I dropped my bag on the bed after checking in and popped down the street looking for something saying information. I wanted to know two things, was the local bus running the Ring of Kerry and were there any good walks about.

I found the library first. This was a good thing cause often times you can use their computers for free. Indeed this was one of those, 50 minutes for free daily. They also pointed me in the direction of the information place.

Not any distance down the main street I found the building I was looking for. The information lady was very nice. She called the local bus people to find out the Ring of Kerry bus route didn’t start for another week (high season in Ireland is July and August). Not to worry plan B was to ring the tour company I used to get to Dingle..see if they are going the same direction, if they would stop to pick me up and what would it cost. I didn’t know at this point how long I wanted to stay in Cahersiveen so I was holding off on calling.  The info lady also gave me several maps of walks in the area.

Later that evening I was felling pretty crummy, not at all wanting to go anywhere or do anything so…I crawled into bed with a book and read for many an hour. I think I was still bent out of shape from the odd experience with the crabby people in Dingle.

No worries, I was armed with maps and energy the next morning.

Shop Fronts

Filed under: Ireland,Photos — she_travels at 2:43 pm on Saturday, July 7, 2007

Speaking of….

Dingle Peninsula

Filed under: Coach Tours,Ireland,Photos — she_travels at 2:40 pm on Saturday, July 7, 2007

The bus system in Ireland is a bit lacking in spots, you may have noticed this from past posts. Hey, by the way while doing the research for the Dingle Pen I found out there is a  bus once a week to Tarbert. No wonder no one knew where the stop was..it’s an after thought.

The evening of the day I went to the Gap of Dunloe I sat for hours trying to figure out the best way to see most of the Dingle Peninsula. Several people came over to see what I was up to, being pointed my direction from the desk person at the hostel. The bus system doesn’t do any of that part of Ireland, I would have gone by way of my thumb but I was running out of time so… I decided to ask the tour companies if there was any flexibility to them much like those in the Connemara. Sadly what I found out was…sure you can get off the bus and get back on but every time we have to save you a seat you have to pay us again, full price. Bummer!

I thought about hiring a car but since I had no idea when I would be back to Killarney besides car rental was around 50 euro a day plus some wacky insurance…that was a me no can do.

Plan C became…hop a tour coach to Dingle while seeing the bits I could not get to in a bus, stay a few days then take a bus to Catherciveen, hang a few days then hitch a ride to see the remainder of the Ring of Kerry on a tour coach.

Inch Beach…its truly huge!

This picture was taken from inside the bus…its kinda cool. The reason I had a moment to click the camera, there was a very large truck coming down the hill we, in the coach, were going up. It took an amount of time to get the two big vehicles sorted out.

Begging Seagull ~ Nice view

Another pic through the coach window…look at the island…do you see it?

Fuchsia…lots of Fuchsia.

Dingle town.

They have a famous Dolphin in Dingle Harbour, the reason for this shop front. If ever in Dingle…go see him, I am told he is a hoot to watch on a good day. I didn’t stay in Dingle as long as I had planned cause I just was not getting on with the locals.  More about Fungi below.

In 1984, a young bottle-nosed dolphin started to appear at the mouth of Dingle Harbour. The now world-famous dolphin has remained in Dingle since, and has become both a friend to the locals and a great “attraction” for visitors.

Christened “Fungi” by the local fishermen, the male dolphin lives and plays within a small area at the mouth of Dingle Harbour, overlooked by the lighthouse. A small cave under the cliffs at Burnham is thought to be his home, and from dawn till late night, Fungi is always around to welcome boats, trawlers and yachts to the Town.

He is a curious and friendly animal, and has been photographed bringing gifts to divers of still living fish, clasped gently within his jaws. But to show his freedom, Fungi never accepts gifts from divers, or fish thrown from returning trawlers.

Fungi rarely ventures far from the mouth of the harbor, a fact that has baffled scientists and specialists. A simple explanation given is that at the time of his arrival, the body of a young female bottle-nose was washed up locally. Dolphins are thought to show great fidelity in their relationships, and may only have one mate for life. Every June and July, schools of dolphins are to be seen in the area, although usually further offshore, and once or twice Fungi has been seen playing with these groups. His much-publicized fling with a young dolphin, named Smokey, was expected to cure his love sickness. Unfortunately, Smokey left, and Fungi stayed.

It is rare that humans can interact with these beautiful animals, but Fungi has swam and jumped and played with us. He has remained wild and free, existing in his own area at the mouth of Dingle Harbour, playing in the bow waves of boats and launching himself out of the water to startle and excite the crowds. He has warmed the hearts of the thousands of people that have traveled from near and far to see and swim with him.

Gap of Dunloe

Filed under: Ireland,Photos — she_travels at 2:00 pm on Saturday, July 7, 2007

Killarney is the jumping off point for many a tour. Both the Dingle Peninsula and the ever famous Ring of Kerry begins and ends in Killarney. Ahh, but the tour I am about to tell you about was more adventure than tour, this would be the way I like my tours…hidden in a bit of excitement.

So..on to the Gap of Dunloe.

1st up ~ The three lakes ~ Lower Ross, Muckross and Upper Ross.

After a short vintage car ride to Ross Castle, we are pointed in the direction of the water. At the lake there are several other people choosing seats in what seems a smallish boat. In the boat I was directed to,  were four Germans and their bikes in the front, two Germans with their daughter,  an English couple and the Irish boat driver. I choose a seat in the middle behind the bikes so I could face forward.

From the boat, looks like rain…

The guide told us we were going up, around and to the other side of this mountain range.

Meeting of the lakes… Lower, Upper and Muckross. Cool old bridge huh?

Yes, I really was with other people in a boat.  Nice spot, huh? The guide asked us to get out and walk while he maneuvered the boat under the bridge.

Seems to me Leprechauns should live in this place.

I liked the sun on the water. This was a bit of river between the upper and lower lakes.

They tossed us out of the boat about 2 hours later. This is looking back the way we had come from a place called Lord Brandon’s cottage. Lunch was offered for a price, I brown bagged it.

Me..and trees!

Just past this tree,  there are four  Jaunting Carts waiting. We are loaded in to the carts, off and away through the Gap of Dunloe.

Yes, it was raining but not so much did I care. This was looking back the way we had come.

Killarney ~ Part one

Filed under: Ireland,Photos,Walks — she_travels at 3:47 pm on Friday, July 6, 2007

I know, I know. Killarney is a tourist haven but the good news you can walk from city center to the Killarney National Park in a matter of 15 minutes. The only way to see parts of the Dingle Peninsula and the Ring of Kerry is by tour coach. All those coaches begin and end in Killarney.

One can walk from Killarney to Ross Castle. One can rent a bike to roam the paths of Muckross Abby. Both of these places are in the Killareny National Park where mostly there are no cars allow, you must be on foot, bike or a thing called a jaunting cart (horse and buggy ish). They do allow boats on the three lakes, and thank goodness for that.

I found the hostel not from from the bus station in the city center. After dropping my bag on the bed I was away to explore Killarney.

A bit of town..Ireland is so very colorful, the shop fronts make me giggle.

At the time of this photo I didn’t know what the horse and cart were called nor did I know where they were going. I did understand they were hanging out here to take tourists out for a ride.

This Cathedral was very close to the city center. I was distracted by children playing in the distance while taking this picture. I figured kids must mean some sort of park so…I followed the sound. I know, you are thinking “but..but you are allergic to children”. Still where there are kids….

On the other side of the Cathedral I found a fairly busy road, along that road was a bench with four older gentlemen seated. I headed for them, thinking either I would land myself a fairly interesting chat…

What I found beyond them was a creek, with a path on the other side. Not seeing a bridge I asked the four older men how one arrives on the path. Two pointed to their left, while a third said “Follow the sound of the children, a wee bit down the road there is a bridge.” I thanked them and was on my way.

Down the road, over the bridge, past the play area with children I found this.

The creek is just to the left and the road just to the left of the creek.

You can just see the cars to the left. The four gentlemen are seated on bench in front of the first car. I know where they are and can’t see them. I took the picture cause of the bridge. I followed the path for maybe 20 minutes. It looked like it would stop on that road but turned a slight corner, to find this.

I had no idea where I was or where I was going but man! what a nice day to be out. I knew where Killarney was so as long as I didn’t loose that direction….course you can ask anyone anywhere for directions. This was a tea room, I noticed later it was not far off that busy street I crossed.

Past the tea room I found this..

Can you even believe what I happened upon by whim. Did I mention this was Saturday afternoon about 2p.

You can see the path I was following, the lady in white is on it, as is the jaunting cart. I still had no idea where I would end up. Just before I took this pic I was chatting with two older ladies who had four little dogs with them. We talked of their coming out for a walk every day, my love of dogs and the house sitting I did in Sligo. At one point I asked where the dogs stayed while she was on holiday. She said “Oh, its so sad, I have to put them in a kennel, I am going to Spain tomorrow..” She paused then continued “Would you like to house sit for me?” I told her I would be delighted but I was running out of time and really wanted to see the Dingle Peninsula. She understood, wrote down her number saying she always takes a holiday in May if I wanted to come back next year.

A bit farther down the path I saw a sign to Ross Castle. Why not..right?

Just to the right of this was a place they were calling Ross Island.

The path to Ross Island.

The Flora is crazy, nuts and growing!

One side of the island.

And the other side.

Rowing team on Ross Lake.

I noticed on the way back toward town this view of the Cathedral.

I bit father down the path I found a trail along the creek. It was not the same bit of creek but it was water. I followed it until I saw the roof of the tea house. Past the tea house I saw the trail I had come up on then decided to head for the road instead. When I got to the road I turned back to see the sign I had passed. I had been walking the paths of Killarney National Park. What a great result from simple roaming.

I am telling ya, don’t plan the whole of the path..just make little choices as you travel the path.

Off to the races

Filed under: Boggles,Ireland,Kind Strangers — she_travels at 3:05 pm on Friday, July 6, 2007

You will notice  my repeated use of the words wander, roam and meander. I know there are people who need a plan, they need to know where they are going, where they will be sleeping. They need to know the path between points A and B. I,  on the other,  had spent just short of eight weeks wandering, roaming and meandering most haphazardly the hills, dales, towns, villages and cities of Ireland. For me this is the very best possible way to experience a place.

With the above info you can understand just how I landed at the greyhound dog races of Limerick, Ireland.

The town of Tarbert lies just north and south of Kilrush. One can take the ferry across the huge Shannon Estuary to arrive a mere mile outside of town. This is exactly what I had done. Arriving in Tarbert I was once again looking for the hostel listed….and once again I was surprised to see…no hostel.

The time was long about 1pm..plenty of daylight to shift to plan B. What might plan B you ask…why the Eirann Bus system of course. In all the towns and villages I have been in there is at least a stop. You know the look, a pole in what ever color with the bus logo. In Ireland the pole has a framed schedule of that bus stop.

After meandering about town attempting to locate the bus stop with no success I stopped in to the local market.

“Excuse me” I said to the lady behind the counter “Where might the bus stop be?”

She gave me an odd look, then focused past me. I looked the direction she did at the same time hearing a voice behind me say “Perhaps in the square just up the hill”

“Do you know the bus schedule?”

Another sorta blank look with a “Maybe across the road at the pub”

I stepped back out the door to the pub… with not better results there. This was the point when I started to realized I may be in a bit of trouble…not bad trouble but a hiccup none the less. This little town of Tarbert which has a ferry has no idea where to find the bus stop much less the bus schedule. Does anyone think this odd? Then it occurred to me…I had to walk from Kilrush to the ferry (with a bit of help). I was the only foot passenger on the ferry and I had to walk in to town. You would have thought I would know buses are not all that frequent. Ahh well here I was…now what.

I was walking past a cafe with people in it at the very moment I decided to take matters in to my own hands. Stepping through the door I noticed it was a very small place. There was a couple sitting at the back, there was a couple sitting against the side wall. The wait person came out from the back, notice me and left. I sat down to wait. When she came back she was going to give me a menu, I stopped her saying “I am looking for the bus schedule. She said, “I can call someone that may know.” I replied saying “Or if you (raising my voice) or anyone knows some one that can get me out of town…. “. I stopped there to wait.

From behind me someone said “Where are you going”

I replied quickly “Direction doesn’t bother me, where a bus stops.”

The lady at the side wall said something, then the lady behind me said something. I don’t remember either comment. I do remember the lady behind me said “I can get you as far as ?” I didn’t hear what town she said, I still didn’t care.

Come to find out she had just finish having lunch with her mother on this most beautiful Saturday afternoon and was on her way back to…wherever.

We piled in to the car with me expressing my gratitude for being saved. During the car ride they found out much more about me than I did them. Mary (the daughter) must have decided during the conversation that dropping me at the bus stop alone was no longer the plan. She did not mention this to me, or her mother. She parked in front of a terrace house and dialed her cell phone. After talking for a minute she told her mother he was walking the dog and would be along, “Oh there he is coming up the street..” I am so much who I am I said “ya mean the half naked guy”. She replied yes. He was only wearing shorts and was walking a black greyhound.

Mary jumped out of the car as did I. Introduced me to MJ (the guy) the dog they call “big Black dog”. Mary asked if I wanted help with my stuff and said she was taking her mother home. Mind you at this point I am still a bit fuzzy on what is going on but hell Mary seemed to have a handle on it. I did ask just before she left “Will you be back?” She said “You think I would leave him alone with a strange American woman.”

Mary was off. MJ and I went in the house. I tossed my bag in a corner. He offered tea and apple tart. It’s all so civilized and bit odd but what the hell right? By the time Mary got back 10 minutes later MJ and I were old friends. What a cool guy he is, perhaps the easiest going guy I have met in a long time and has done about everything once. Truly enjoyable company.

Mary asked after sitting for a minute if MJ was going to the dog races. Again me and my big mouth “Ya gonna take the lost American to the races?” Mary asked it I wanted to go. I told her I had never been, sure, but don’t let me talk you into something you were not already going to do.

It seemed the two decided dinner would be had before going to the races. So, dinner it was, up the street. MJ had his favorite,  I don’t remember what it was. I had a chicken sandwich they put stuffing on..dang good chicken. I don’t remember Mary’s entree but the thing she had for dessert was…wow worthy. It was a butterscotch banana something that had to have sweet and condensed milk. One bite was plenty for me.

Once back at the house from dinner we sorted out jackets in case it was chilly after dark, hopped in Mary’s car and were off to the races. What a hoot!! I had no idea what I was getting in to. Mary and MJ own two racing dogs, the black one at the house decided she would rather play than work. None of their dogs were racing that evening but we had a grand old time. I picked three out of five winners but only bet on four. I came out several euro ahead of when I went in. It was all great fun!

I spent the night in MJ’s spare room. The following day being Sunday I didn’t want to intrude anymore than I had. When MJ took the dog out for a walk, I went to the bus stop. I am headed south still. Killarny here I come.

Sligo…Kilrush to Tarbert

Filed under: Ireland,Photos,Walks — she_travels at 1:35 pm on Friday, July 6, 2007

Ok,  let us back up a few weeks…

From Sligo (house sitting gig) I was headed for Ennis, south. I was surprised to see the bus station was a bit of a hike from the city center. I thought about asking to leave my pack at the bus station but I didn’t want to come back for it. (sidenote ~ one really should listen to their instincts.)

Two hostels were listed in Ennis, being a Thursday I did not call ahead. Silly me! One of the hostels was closed for restoration and the other had turned in to a bed and breakfast. Not, affordable space for me. While roaming about town I happened upon a shoe store, I asked for an empty show box thinking I would send my computer to Colorado. On my trudge back to the bus stop I happened upon a post office.

In the post office I asked if she would send a box of the size I had…she said it would be 16.20 euro if under 2 kilos. I found a spot out side,  unpack the computer and repack it in the shoe box with some socks. I had duct tape with me (do not go backpacking without duct tape) Once back in the post office I asked to insure the box for $1200, the lady behind the counter looked at me like I had spoken Russian. This was a very bad sign. She was very kind saying…we can only insure for up to 35 euro ($49). I may have taken the risk had she not said there needed to be a label on the box identifying what was in it. Need less to say, I dropped the empty shoe box in a bin and the computer back in my pack.

I have no idea…oh wait I do know why I decided to hop back on a bus to Kilrush. It was the ferry across the Shannon Estuary, instead of going back up and around all that water.

Kilrush the town was set up a bit differently than all the other towns and villages I had seen. This is the main street…it’s HUGE. parking on both sides…it reminds me of places in the states.

Most of the in town housing all over Ireland looks like this. They are called Terrace houses, one of the bus drivers said Americans call them townhouses. He suggested Americans have a much posher name for them, I suggested we switch names.

While wandering about the harbor in Kilrush I found a company offering tours out to see the dolphins. I went out with them the following morning. I didn’t get any good pictures…those dudes are FAST! There was a British gentleman out with his parents on the same boat. I noticed he had a very nice camera. Once back on the dock I asked if he had managed get any good images. He said “Loads” I handed him my card and said if he had the time would he email them to me. I have not seen them yet but I hold out hope.I didn’t get to looking for a bus schedule until the day I decided to leave Kilrush, come to find out the bus doesn’t go the direction I wanted to. I could have gone back the way I had come but that just seems like cheating. So… I decided to walk the 6k to the ferry dock.

View of the road I was walking.

My blues and greens again with a bit of black and white mixed in.

I was about an hour and a half in to my stroll to the ferry dock when I saw a silver car blast past me, stop suddenly and turn back my way. When she was close enough she asked “Are you going to the ferry? Do you want a lift?” I was not going to say no, instead I said “Yes please, thank you very much.”

She got to chatting about how hot it was outside and the fact, no one should be walking about “with that load”. She worked in the area,  lived very close to the ferry and was on her way home for lunch. I had no idea how close to the ferry I was and I still don’t remember.

I thanked her again when we pulled into the ferry dock. I could see the ferry not far off past a long line of cars. She told me once all the cars were loaded the guy would motion me to board, I pay him.

While waiting I got to talking to a gentleman from Colorado Springs. He thanked me for paying my taxes cause he was in the service for some amount of time. He married an Irish lady, she was on the ferry with his bday gift.

From the ferry, seems Ireland is not all green, all of the time.

When I got off the ferry there was a sign saying 1 mile to Tarbert. This was taken along that road. It was truly a beautiful day. Ireland had had five days running of sunshine. We had another two before the nasty weather came back.