During the first part of our grand tour of Europe we travelled relatively slowely, taking in the places we visited to a pretty good extent. Somewhere, about half way though our trip, around the time we left Italy, we started on a more rapid pace. This can tire a backpacker quickly. During our time in Greece, we decided that we needed to recharge. The recharge was deciding to skip Scandinavia and head over to Ireland. This would allow us to end our trip in an easier and relaxing manner, not trying to fit in three or more countries.
I am happily writing you from western Ireland. We flew into Dublin for a three day stay. A very interesting city, we saw the sights and dealt with the rain. The most memorable part of our stay in Dublin might have been our roomate, Dane, a kiwi from Christchurch on the south island of New Zealand. He was there staying in a hostel until he found a flat, working odd construction jobs for the next year. We had some fun conversations with him every night. I had forgotten how hard it is to understand a thick New Zealand accent. I just remember all the 'buggers' he talked about, his trip to New York City (his only experience of the USA) and how many of the buggers he met were in a dear state. By dear, he of course meant dire. Good times those southern hemisphere english speaking mates.
After Dublin we decided to spend three days in Killarney in the south west of Ireland. This is another case of us planning three days and staying longer, ten days actually (we are still there). The landscapes in Ireland are rugged and scenic. My favorite part of being in Killarney, other than its small size (15,000 people), is that it is less than a five minute walk to the Killarney National Park, 10,000 hectares of land.
I can see people who like to walk, like my Mom, really enjoying it here. The park is no what I think of as a national park, like in the USA. I would describe this park as a giant city park with foot paths, areas of mowed grass, and old ruins, in addition to what I think of in US national parks -- the wildlife and landscapes. All in all, it is a great place to have a stroll and get some pictures.
More to come on the southwest of Ireland... until then check out the last weeks adventure in pictures.
Funny, but only because it is true.
The Spire on O'Connell street
The Guinness Bottles
To the train station...
St. Mary's Killarney
Killarney National Park...
deer jumping the fence
Ross Castle, its only about 500 years old, no big deal