Saturday, September 17, 2011

Sun, wind, rain -- that's Ireland!

As of today we have been in Ireland for 12 full days. Greg & I have both been writing about our daily activities each evening before we go to bed, but we are usually too tired to truly write an effective blog post. Thus I have not posted since we were in Charlotte airport ready to depart to Dublin!
the first pub we visited in Dublin
The trip is going well overall. The scenery is breathtaking and it's great to spend some time in the small towns versus big cities. However, you cannot underestimate how tiring it can be to move from place to place every day, especially when that involves driving for a few hours on narrow, windy roads. I've already driven over 1200 kms (left-hand manual transmission) and we're only about halfway around the country!
driving the Ring of Kerry
I think we have been very lucky with the weather. While it did rain part of the time we were in Dublin, most of the day we passed through Glendalough and the Wicklow Mountains, the day we stopped in Cobh/the night we arrived in Kinsale, and it absolutely poured at Staigue Fort and our first night in Dingle and has been raining pretty steadily for the past 24 hours; otherwise, despite Hurricane Katia's visit bringing with it 120kph winds, it has been beautiful! Temps average 14C/57F during the day and just a bit cooler at night.
view from the Rock of Cashel over the Plains of Tipperary
We always carry our full (jackets & pants) Goretex rain gear as well as beanies, gloves, waterproof pack covers, etc. and are usually wearing our fleece jackets. The only clothes we brought are long-sleeve pullover polyester shirts and the same travel pants we took on our RTW trip (virtually everything purchased from REI, our favorite outfitter). All of our clothes are lightweight, breathable, quick-drying, etc. -- perfect when you sometimes have to do laundry in the bathroom sink!
brace yourself - at Dun Aenghus on Inis Mor, Aran Islands
I have written most of this post while on the Aran Island of Inis Mor (Inishmore). We traveled here by ferry on the 15th (leaving the car behind in Rossaveal) and rented bikes to tour the 9 mile long by 2 mile wide island. Of course, we did not cover the whole island, but did ride about 10 miles round trip to visit Dun Aenghus, a dramatically-located prehistoric fortress which is now slowly crumbling into the ocean far below. This is a great place to "escape" for a few days!
making friends on Inis Mor
Well, it is time to pack up and drive from Westport to Donegal. I will try to post more about the places we've visited asap.

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