Wednesday, June 16:  The Drive of Many Stops

I got up, rose out of bed, only to fall back down and go to sleep again. An hour later I tried again, with success. Everyone else was up, and going down the stairs to the breakfast room, so I caught up with them and walked inside. The room was very spacious, with big windows and the same salmon pink design. I looked at the menu and got poached eggs with toast, and milk. The same man who showed us our room brought it to us, so we dug in. The egg was great, and even better on toast! After we were all finished, we went back up to the room to plan the day. Mom and Robert went out to get tickets for some Irish music in a church, but we didn’t know it would happen. I did some homework in the lobby, until they came back. They managed to find some, so we went back upstairs to look at maps and stuff. Now it was decided to get in the car and drive all over the Dingle peninsula, stopping at places to look at stuff. So we got in the car, and left the town. The first stop was at some hut made out of rocks, with a whole visitors center and stuff. We pulled into a gravel parking lot, and walked into the gift shop/ ticket office. We bought some admissions, and then walked back through the lot and into an audiovisual room. It talked about the house, and how it was made out of only rock and no mortar. After it had finished all of us went to the thing, to check it out for ourselves. It was very cool, and spacious inside. It had no roof, just a tip at the top, making it look like an upturned boat. The thin rocks were piled up on each other facing downwards, to let rain fall out. The scientists don’t know HOW old it is, but that it IS old. I went inside, with just a hole for a door and a hole for a window, but a big tour bus was here, and a bunch of people came pouring out, so we left. The next quick stop was to be at more rock ruins, only without roofs. Down a dusty skinny road we made it, and got out.

There was nobody else there, just some cool cows sticking their heads through a fence. At this place you could see a small line of rocks, some circular where huts used to be. We clambered around a bit, then hopped back in the car. Since it was about 12:30, that meant it was lunch. We were passing through a colorful little town, and parked on the road to find a place to eat. There was a pub that just opened, so we walked inside. We sat at a tall little table, and looked at the menu. Robert and I split a lasagne (that’s how they spell it) with chips, and I got a Fanta. What is really good about Irish pubs, is that smoking in restaurants and eating areas indoors is against the law! A great difference from Italy and France, where people smoke a ton. Then our meal came, so we ate it. The lasagne was great, and the so was the chips. Then we all packed it up, thanked the bar man, and got back in the car, and drove on. This wasn’t scheduled, but there was an amazingly pretty beach down in the rocks, and it was a nice day, so we checked it out. The sand was great, and was in kind of like a sheltered cove. I waded in, but then Robert and I noticed something in the water. It was a turtle! And it was HUGE! My mom recognized it as a leatherback, like in Tobago. But it was dead, and they were endangered. It must have died of old age, because its shell and head were still there. We left the massive thing, and then climbed some rocks. After 20 minutes we had to go back in the car, and drove along the water, to the next stop. Before we did that, we took a quick stop in a pottery store, with a huge amount of vases, and were very big. I don’t remember what the place was called, but it was very famous, and even made a vase for the Pope!

Across the street we went to a big hill with all kinds of boulders at the top, and but Robert wanted to climb it, so we set off. After 15 minutes of walking up, we came to the top, where all of the rocks were, to take a look around. We could see the beach we were on, and plenty of the Atlantic. There was also all kinds of other mountains around. We then hurried back, because it was chilly up there. Onward we drove on from there, to stop at another visitor’s center, but it was a special one. It was an expensive center, and was 15,000,000 EUROs to build! It was dedicated to the Blasket Islands, places where people used to live, until the 1950s. The people there wrote a lot of stories on life on the island, with a total of 40 books! We walked inside and bought tickets. Past a modern stained glass, we went into the audiovisual theatre, where a show was starting. It talked about all of the people who lived and wrote there, and the history of the island itself, and was very interesting. In the beginning it was accidentally speaking in English and Irish at the same time, but eventually stopped. When it was over we explored the rest of the museum, with pictures of the books they wrote and how nowadays the Dingle area is one of the few places that speaks Irish too. I was pretty tired after that, so we all got BACK in the car, and went to the next stop! 10 minutes of driving on the coast and we came to a woman’s house, who lived where there were more of the “bee hive” rock huts, and she charged people to see them. She was nice, so we payed her and looked around. There were a lot of these, and most had roofs. One had a little underground tunnel that they used for hiding when invaders came to steal their cows, which happened a lot. Robert and I could fit! Since this was our last of many stops, we drove back to the town of Dingle and went back up to the room. I did my usual work, and then we set out for dinner again.

Looking for something inexpensive, we spotted a cafe’ that looked good and cheery. We sat at a table, and recognized the same people in the table across the room who were in the audiovisual at the Blasket islands place. I got a Lasagne with chips, and water. The lasagne didn’t taste Italian, but some kind of meaty recipe that I liked a lot. We were all done we left, and journeyed ALL THE WAY ACROSS THE STREET (how brave) to a church where the little Irish concert was happening. We waited outside the rock building for about a half an hour until they let people inside. We grabbed seats near the front, but it didn’t make a difference because it was kind of small! Then a man came in and bowed, and did some songs on a huge harp. He was so good! It was weird how he plucked the strings. After a few songs he left and two people, one with a guitar and the other with a violin, who were also great, and funny in between songs. Next a woman and a man with 4 guitars, were playing. The woman sang and played the penny flute a few times. The man alternating guitars was amazing, with a mini-guitar, a 12 string, a metal one, and just the a regular guitar. Then everybody came on the stage and did more Irish songs, and those were the best! When it was over everybody in the audience clapped and they left. I really like Irish music, at least the lively ones, but after a while they become repetitive! We then walked back outside and hurried home, sleepy. Tomorrow we’re going to Kenmare for 2 nights!