Standing Stones– Mysterious Scripts

Since time immemorial, people have been fascinated by and pondering the meaning of stone circles and standings, especially those that seem to have patterns or writing on them. Naturally, our thoughts gravitate to something like Stonehenge on Salisbury plain, but in fact there are far more such stones, and more impressive ones in some respects, in Ireland. On the south side of Dingle Bay, there are the Dunloe Ogham stones. If you look carefully you will see the man-made strirations… Read more

Let’s Go for a Jaunt

The Ring of Kerry is one of the most beautiful of all areas in Ireland, by all accounts. Gorgeous lakes, pastoral scenes, and a national park, Kilarney National Park. First, here is one of the smallest lakes in Ireland’s equivalent to the Lake District in England… There were jaunting carts aplenty traipsing through the park, so we went for a ride. The same family has been providing jaunting cart rides for over 220 years here in this area. Our driver… Read more

Kenmare and Macarons

Kenmare is a cute little tourist trap with lots of shops, including sweet shops in county Kerry (from whence the name of the famous butter— Kerrygold). For those of you who don’t know what a macaron is or looks like, doubtless there are all types, but the French ones are the most famous, and the Irish, not to be outdone, produce just as sweet and colorful ones. The town is also famous for its lace making (which is how some… Read more

No Blarney about Blarney

Crossing into County Cork, we arrived at Blarney Castle, certainly one of the more familiar tourist destinations in Ireland. The extant castle dates to the time of Dermot McCarthy, which is to say about 1446. One of the regular features of castles, and churches in Ireland is round towers. These were originally perhaps bell towers, but they were also where the monks went to hide and protect themselves from Vikings and other invaders, and simply became part of the regular… Read more

Pub–licity

On our way from Dublin to Blarney (on which more later in another post), we stopped in Urlingford, at Hayes Pub. It is a beautiful traditional pub where they very kindly opened early and served us tea (or beer) and scones. Yummy. Here’s our friendly barkeep and owner…. By traditional I mean it has traditional furniture, mirrors, taps, etc. It’s quite fetching. Pubs are not just places to go and have a beer, they are in fact community gathering places… Read more

The Music and Dance of Ireland

Depending on your age, when you think of the music of Ireland, you may well think of Van Morrison, or this guy…. Or you might think of some of the New Age music of Enya, or her family band Clannad. But of course long before them there was the traditional folk music and folk dancing in Ireland, still represented today by bands like the Chieftains. Thanks however to Riverdance and Lord of the Dance, traditional Irish music has revived and… Read more

A Nash Night

Certainly one of my all time favorite groups was Crosby,Stills and Nash, a combination of players from three prior major rock and roll groups— the Byrds (David Crosby), the Buffalo Springfield (Stephen Stills), and the Hollies (Graham Nash) and sometimes Neil Young (also Buffalo Springfield). Nowadays, Nash and Crosby are feuding and each of these guys is doing solo tours. In the case of Crosby and Nash, they are touring to back recent excellent albums of new material— see Croz,… Read more

The Church of Ireland (Anglican) in Donegal

It is not a pleasant tale to tell of the history of Irish repression by the English going back to Cromwell. Cromwell is not loved in Ireland, considering how many Irish people he killed. And this is not ancient history for the Irish, because they didn’t get their independence really until the 1920s. The scars are still visible. And just to be clear, I’m not even talking about northern Ireland, I mean the Republic in the south. Nevertheless, and in… Read more

The Burren–Poulnabrone

There are a number of Stone Age and Neolithic sites to be seen in Ireland, and they are all quite interesting. We are going to spend some time in the Burren in this post. Here first of all is some sign posting to get us started. That’s enough signs for a while. This limestone formation is truly bizarre and interesting. It looks like someone created a bunch of ruts or even crevices in a field of solid limestone. And not… Read more

Stone Cold Home

If you live in Kentucky like me, you’ve seen a lot of this. Stonewalls stacked up perfectly, with no mortar. All these stone walls in Kentucky we owe to the Irish migration in the middle of the 19th century due to the potato famine. They brought their stone masons, their whiskey (aka bourbon), their Catholic priests, their jockeys, and their horses. I have just described not only the Bluegrass region of Kentucky, I’ve describe a good deal of what characterizes… Read more

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