All this – this here – USA 2

Oversleep??? I thought I would oversleep??? Please- the walls were so thin, I could hear Ds Blackberry go off. There is a baby crying, a dog barking, and around 6am, a farm truck starts up and a tractor.

Breakfast is of course, a buffet and a full-Irish. I order eggs (fried- and hard- I cant handle runny yolk). When they come, they are not just runny (they cover my plate when I cut into them) but they smell funny and seem slightly off in taste. But the kicker is finding not one, not two, but three hairs in my eggs. Im all done.

We head back to the rally, where the booth is open. D and V buy shirts for themselves and their closest friends, while I hang back. I do get one shirt, so that means tomorrow I may actually wear something clean! YAY!

We head to Muckross House, Gardens, and Traditional Farms. We do a self-guided tour of the house, in the interest of time, but end of hooking onto a tour in progress somewhere along the way. The house is large, and some of it is impressive. The master bedroom is massive, with a great toile canopy bed and a sitting area around the turf fire. The house was also by Queen Victoria during a visit to the country. In order to prepare for her visit, the owners added a fire escape stairway outside her room (she was afraid of fire and heights, allegedly), and did major renovations on all parts of the house. She stayed for only 2 nights, in the end, and he went bankrupt in his efforts to prepare the house for her.

The owners last name was Herbert, which makes me think of my first serious boyfriend, Eric Herbert. Who knew it was Irish? Oh well. Happy with my bloody Englishman anyway.

We forego the Gardens for the Traditional Farms. We had no idea what to expect, as there really isnt a lot of information on the exhibit, but we go anyway. The self-guided tour takes you around a path outside in the woods to a replica village, leading you to traditional cottages and farms. The stops are a small 25 acre farm, a larger 50 acre farm, and a 100 acre dairy farm, along with a Crossroads where the village would have met for music and dancing. At each cottage, we are greeted by livestock, and house animals, and by the lady of the house. She fills us in on her routine, and tells us about her house and her farm. In both of the smaller houses, she had just finished preparing bread over a turf fire, and slathered it with butter made at the dairy farmhouse. Of course, she insists that we take some. And honestly, its the best bread ever. Yum-O. At the dairy, we watch the lady of the house prepare the butter by separating the cream and the skin- she does this by hand, and its pretty impressive to see. In front of her house, there are 2 large dogs- you have to see the picture to understand that I mean LARGE dogs. They almost knocked me over trying to get this picture. I think they are Irish Wolfhounds, but Im not sure. If anyone else knows, let me know.

There are no other tourists here, which is a shame. So many people go into the house for the tour and miss this part of the grounds, which we felt was a much better exhibit. You really enjoy sitting around the fire to get to know the locals this way.

From Killarney we head to the Gap of Dunloe in Magillicuddys Reeks (fun to say). We park there and take another trap ride into the Gap, which goes between Purple Mountain, named so because of the shade of the heather and the slate on the mountain, and Bull Mountain- I dont know why. The scenery is gorgeous, and we pass a few houses on the ride, where our trap driver tells us they have just received electricity 10-12 years ago and telephone service 5-6 years ago. So rural-so unspoiled. Its really quite amazing.

We head to Dingle, where our next B and B is. I am so nervous after last nights experience- please, God, dont let this one suck like that one did! The views on the ride to Dingle are awesome- patchworks of green, sparkling lakes, spots of white here and there where sheep have made their home. Our B&B, Emlagh Lodge, is beautiful. I will never ever stay anywhere else in Dingle, even if I come a hundred times. It is right in the water, and there is a path that goes behind the garden and leads you into town. After checking in with our hostess and finding out her favorite spots for dinner and music, we head into town. We eat at a nice little place, where I have fish and chips- which are phenomenal, but a little too boney, and then we head to some pubs for some trad- thats traditional music. At our first stop, we decide its just not cool to come all the way to Ireland and not taste a Guinness. The problem is that none of us are drinkers, and typically would never have a beer. So we decide to order a half-pint and each take a sip and then well be done. Well have tasted it, and then well be all done. D says he doesnt really like it, so one sip is enough for him, but V likes it OK. I am swayed by dark stuff. After 2 sips, I back away form it. I have not had anything alcoholic in so long, I am afraid that the 2 sips will keep me giggly and tipsy all night long. Of course it doesnt, and after listening to some very good music, we head home.


Posted from USA:

posted Monday July 2006

cachet