Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The Blasket Islands, and some shopping in Dingle

Our new home base is the Arbutus Hotel in Killarney, an extremely nice place.

Across the street is McSweeney's, a nice pub and restaurant where some of us would eat in the evening.

Casey's establishment does a bit of everything, from selling liquor to fixing televisions.

Beer delivery time at Murphy's pub next door to our hotel.  I managed to get pictures of the deliveryman bouncing kegs of beer off the "pillow".  Every such pillow I've seen has been just the same, with the same fabric pattern and colors.

Checkered flags again.  The local team's colors must be green and yellow.

Scenes from the bus window as we drove to the Blasket Centre, a museum all about life on a small island just offshore.

We've seen plenty of rain since we arrived in Ireland, but today we saw our first Irish rainbow.

Out on the coast the wind blows almost constantly from the same direction, so all the trees are permanently bent.

Along the way to Blasket, we stopped to see the "bee hive" huts (actually, just one hut).  The hut is a dry-stacked stone structure built long ago.  It needs to be sturdy to stand up to the wind.

It's hard to get a picture that coveys how sharp the turns are on the road that hugs the coast.  Our driver, John, is an expert at maneuvering the bus through the tightest possible spaces.

Sheep all in a line, and all with blue markings.

The coast as we approached the Blasket Centre.

The lobby of the Blasket Centre.  The Centre is on the mainland just across from Great Blasket Island.

The Blasket Islands are just off the coast of Ireland; the nearest, Great Blasket, is about three miles distant.  There was a settlement of about 150 people on that island, with even smaller ones on the others.  The people were all native Irish speakers and lived as farmers and fishermen, selling fish on the mainland and raising potatoes for their own consumption.  Dwellings were primitive, and the people's life was like something out of the past.  The small community on Great Blasket produced a number of gifted writers, more than would be expected from such a small population.  As a result, Blasket life is recorded in considerable detail.

The population dwindled in the 20th century, to about 50.  The island was abandoned in the early 1950s, with the people moving to the mainland or emigrating to the US or Australia.  The Blasket Centre presents information on their lives and their community.  The abandoned village on Great Blasket Island can be seen from the Blasket Centre -- it's just three miles away.

Our guide explains a three-dimensional model/map of the inhabited portion of Great Blasket Island.

Some of our tour participants are enjoying the view from an all-glass room that faces Great Blasket Island.  The island itself is in the background.

The heritage center as viewed from the sea.

Art work inspired by the strong, constant wind.

The community on the other side of the Heritage Centre, further from the sea.

Great Blasket Island, from the grounds of the Heritage Center.  The three "modern" buildings added late in the village's life are especially easy to see.

Jack with our bus driver, John.

It took three photographers to make this shot.

We visited another bee-hive-like dwelling.

The path to this dwelling was lined with fuchsia bushes.  We were surprised to see them blooming so late in the year.

On the way home we stopped in Dingle for a rest stop and for shopping.

A street busker, complete with a tiny "house" on a cart, a dog, a donkey, and some musical instruments.  He and his menangerie were pretty entertaining, so I chipped in.  Later I saw him heading home, with the donkey pulling the cart.

Murphy's again.  Most of the Murphy's we've seen have been pubs, but here's one that's an ice cream parlor.

A seafood only restaurant Really, seafood only? Don't order a steak here.

The Irish seacoast from one of the few sand beaches around.

After dinner Edmund gave us a dramatic reading of several Irish ghost studies.

Here's the path we took today.

Tomorrow we're off to Galway.

1 comment:

  1. Really great photos, Ireland is beautiful. Thanks for posting Rick and Jack, we are enjoying following along on your journey. The Blasket Center is a stunning building too!

    Julianna, Joel, Griffin and Sophia (Richard and Theresa Verboort's family)


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