Traveling Nancy

Traveling around the world as far as I can go.


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More on Nancy at Durty Nelly’s in Bunratty and A Good Laugh

In the post about my last night in Ireland I wrote about my last night at the jam session at Durty Nelly’s in Bunratty.

Well, I have a bit more to tell you.

One of the singers was Erica Sunshine Lee who is the Georgia Female Country Artist of the Year.  Her webpage is ericasunshinelee.com. Somebody took several videos that night of everybody singing.  In one of them they were singing ‘Wagon Wheel” and you can actually see me in the background.  They sent the links to the videos to me yesterday.

Anyway, here is the video.  I hope it gives you a good laugh.  The original YouTube video disappeared so you can see this very short Instagram video from Erica.

I sure wish the sound quality on this video even came close to how wonderful the music and their voices were that night.  It is a night I will never forget.

 


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Last Day in Ireland – For Now

Yesterday was my last day in Ireland, at least for this trip. We spent the day in Bunratty. First we visited the Bunratty castle and village that they have set up here. As much as I am not crazy about the tourist thing, it was really wonderful.

Last night I spent the evening in the middle of a jam session at Durty Nelly’s Bar.   The musicians were not there to entertain others but to enjoy themselves. It was absolutely unbelievable and I hardly have words to even express what a fitting farewell it was for me.

Off to the airport for a 20 hour trip home.


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Carran to Corofin

Here are Julianne and I  before we left on our hike today from Carran.

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Here is just another ancient ruined castle.   I haven’t tired of them yet.

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It was great meeting a man today who is driving his tractor. He was giving us directions to find some of the sites on our hike.

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We had so much fun listening to him.

I have no idea with the structure is but I love the tree that was next to it.

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We did quite a bit of road walking today. Here we are entering the western end of the Burren National Park and walking through Hazel trees.  Is the smallest national Park in Ireland.  This spring day was actually a warm one.

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Here is a close-up of the trees.

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We took a detour and walked an extra kilometer, mostly uphill, to the triple walled the fort of  Cahercommaun.   It was probably built by a king and 800 A.D.  They may have used it as a center to collect tributes for King Caher.

The inner  ring was built with mortar and 16,500 tons of stone.   You can see how thick it is from looking at the top view of the grass growing over it.

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They found the remains of six houses, workshops, and sheds.  There were two principal houses and have an underground  passage. It led to the vertical cliff and was probably an escape route.

There were 3 separate walls.

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Fifty-five spindle whorls found during the excavations suggest that wool production was an important part of their economy. The combing, spinning, and weaving of the yarn may have been carried out by female slaves.

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We ate lunch our snacks lunch at the fort and then went further down the road.  We had to watch for where to cross into the field over the rocks and wee found the Creevagh Wedged Tomb.   There was no information shared about this one,

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Okay,  I know most of you have seen turkeys before. I just thought it was interesting to watch these two doing the mating dance.

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She really wasn’t wanting to have anything to do with him.
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Parknabinnia is the most accessible of more than a dozen tombs in this field. The ridge around the fields was once held in high spiritual regards for the people that lived here.

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Perhaps you can get a sense of the size of this tomb with me standing next to it.

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I read that there are megalithic quarries in the remains of the Stone Age settlement in the fields near this tomb.

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We had a view of Lough Inchiquin.

We passed a couple of other old ( probably an understatement )  buildings that I really liked. So here are the photos of them.

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And another…

 

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I think this is a great wall.

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I finally got a picture of a bird in the field. There were three of them. Does anybody know what it is?

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I can’t remember if I’ve already said that we are in hearing cuckoo birds almost every day. When we were in Ballyvaughan, We saw posters about the Cookoo Festival that they have every year in Amaya to welcome back the cuckoo bird.

Toward the end of today’s hike we saw the rooms of an old Georgian house that used to belong to the Blood family. The notorious Colonel Thomas Blood is famous for stealing the English crown jewels in 1671. He was caught, but used his charm and instead of being hung for his crime he was pardoned by the King of England  and given a royal pension.  Sounds like some of our politicians.

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We crossed over the River Ferguson several times.  We were supposed to be able to see an intricate design of weirs and fish ladders  that were constructed with an old water wheel. But I never did find them.

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We ended today with another great dinner in a great pub in Corofin.

Well, this is the end of my postings about our hikes. We have walked about 360 miles in wonderful Ireland.  Some of the days were long and hard  and may have been better to split into two days,  But as sore as I was at the end of those days, I always recovered to walk the next day. There are several places it would have been nice to have spent more time. Tonight I will be packing up my poles and my boots. Maybe by the end of the week I will be back to doing my short hikes in Portland.

Most importantly,  I want to say again  how friendly, helpful, fun to be with, and generally delightful the people of Ireland have been.  I will so miss listening to them talk.  So many of them go way out of their way to help us.

I know that I left many things out each day when I wrote the posts. It was just hard to remember everything.

Another thing I have been thinking about in the past couple of days is how palpable the connection the people of Ireland have with their past. Many of our bed-and-breakfast have been  in the homes of the ancestors of the people who run them.   But it goes beyond that.    I have traveled in many countries with long histories, but there’s something about the connection here that feels much stronger to me.

We actually changed our plan for the last day of this trip. Tomorrow we will be going on to Bunratti for the day because Julianne thought we would enjoy it there.  I hope to find a pub that has some music just one more time.   Then home from Shannon on Tuesday.

I am really, really looking forward to seeing my family and my friends in Portland.   The feelings about Ireland will be with for a long time.


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Ballyvaughan to Carran

Jerry, our host in Ballyvaughan,  drove us to the beginning of today’s hike.  After walking for a short time away from Ballyvaughan, we could look back at the beautiful green fields behind us.

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The comparison between the green fields from the rock walls just overwhelms me.

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The fields of limestone have verticals cracks that are called “grykes” and they are sometimes hidden and sometimes not.

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We entered what is called an open karst landscape with exposed bedrock, stonewalls, and occasional bushes and trees.  Karst is a landscape formed from the dissolution of soluble rocks including limestone, dolomite and gypsum.
When we reached a plateau we were surrounded by a limestone landscape that was dotted with windswept trees. It was  mystical.

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This rock was so beautiful.

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I love looking through it.

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You can see the green fields  in front of us and the limestone in the distance.

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The trees are all being blown in the same direction. When we walked the wind always seem to be in our face.

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Soon we were on a wide track which is known as a ‘bog road’ and as we walked along we could see signs of turf cutting all around us. The peat is a commodity in the Burren and is dried and used is heating material.

The field of flowers in front of the bog was beautiful.   I gained an appreciation of all the bog we had walk-through on previous days.

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Here you can see some piled up on the side of the track.

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The blog area is shared by many people. Each person has their own section that they can cut and dry.  I think the bog is about 4 to 5 feet deep and it takes a lot of work to cut it out, turn it over, wait for it to dry,  and get it ready to be useful.

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I loved seeing another group of possum plants like we had seen several weeks ago. I had to do a couple close-up photos.

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Of course, there were more beautiful flowers. I wish I knew the names instead of just calling them purple …

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And tiny blue…

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And pink..

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We came  to the stone Fort or Caher of  Cahermacnaghten which was the location of the School of Brehon Law.   It was run by the  O’Davorin  Family until the 17th century. Prior to English rule Brehon Law  was Ireland’s on indigenous system of law and it dated from the Celtic times.

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We descended into a small valley of  Lissylisheen.  In this area people had to build structures to collect rainwater for the cattle because almost all of the rivers run underground.

Then we came to Kilcorney  where we could see some caves in the cliffs  across the field. The largest of them is known as “The Cave of the Wild Horses.” It is at least 1 km deep. Local story tells that in times of flood, a herd of wild horses with magical properties will race from the cave mouth. One possible explanation for this story is that after a lot of rain the groundwater table off and rises so much that the cave fills with water and streams out of the cave mouth onto the valley floor above.

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We walked an extra couple kilometers to see another ring fort.  This one is called Caherconnell Stone Fort.   This one is bigger than most forts and was built in the 10th century A.D. by high status, possibly royal family (those that ruled the area).  It was in use right through the start of the 17th century with each phase of occupation producing houses and associated features and plentiful artifacts.  The owners may have been ancestors of the O’Loughlin family that owned Caherconnell in later medieval times.

The  walls around the fort are of drystone construction which is similar to other fortes we have seen.   On the outside it’s slopes slightly inwards, making it more stable.

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It would’ve needed regular maintenance to  keep it in repair. This work may have been performed as a kind of labor service by Lester families who were bound to the residence of Caherconnell.

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Near the entrance on the inside they found the remains of some human burials. One held the remains of a toddler and a baby, while another held the remains of a woman who was at least 45 years old when she died. It is believed that these ancestors died in the sixth or seventh century and were deliberately included in the new, 10th century cashed settlement.

Excavations in the area found a fire pit dating from the seventh century A.D., well before the Cashel was built in the late 10th-century.

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The remains of two structures were uncovered and natural hollow or ‘doline’  and we’re probably used for food storage.

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On the west side of the fort part of the cashel wall collapsed a long time ago as evidenced by the fine old Elderberry Bush that grows from the tumbled wall material. Early modern folklore often attach supernatural tales to such cashels and  refers to them as ‘fairy forts’.

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Superstitions help the ring fortes because people were afraid to enter them.

This is a quer stone which was used for grinding.

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A ‘Kid Cro’ (The stone build shelter for kids, goats, or lambs, no more than 200 years old).  It is a reminder that additional outbuildings and domestic orders probably stood adjacent to many cashels.

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They are continuing to excavate and learn. There is so much more information about this fort even now, but that is all I can say.

We had one more place to visit on this hike.   So we walked a bit further until we arrived at Poulnabrone Portal Tomb.   Over 90 megalithic tombs unknown to survive in the Burren.  The earliest of these court tombs and portal tombs were built  and the fourth millennium BC.  The portal to build here at Poulnabrone is one of two constructed in the Burren  and the best preserved in the country.

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At the time this tomb was constructed, the local landscape would’ve looked much different than it does today.  Open Pine forests with some elm and  and hazel were widespread.   There would’ve been little grass.  Much of today’s barren land is the result of  extensive soil loss and later prehistoric times.

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The remains of 33 adults, children, and infants we found here.  It is likely that the bones which were very fragmented were buried someplace else and moved to this tomb in about 3000 BC.    The area has a very spiritual feel to it. .  The area is not fenced off so anybody can come in to see it. We learned from one of the groundsmen that people have come in here and broken rocks, build fires, spray-painted it, and totally disrespected the area in other ways. One of them actually asked him if it would be okay if he took a nude photographs of himself in front of the tomb.   This was the same man who taught us about how people stood up the rock slabs in the other areas we saw and how I probably shouldn’t be adding rocks to the cairns.

Julianne, our host for this night,  pick us up as we were walking towards Carran.  Our B&B is a couple of kilometers from the only local place to eat. So she drove us back there to have dinner.

At  about 10:30 PM Julianne took me with her to a place called Vaughan’s Pub or ‘The Barn’ for short.  It is a place where people do Irish dancing on Sunday night. I even got to do one of the dances, the only one with easy steps, with them. I had such a great time.

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The  music was wonderful.

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Most of the dances were very complicated, but I had so much fun watching people dance.

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What a fabulous way to end my day.


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Fanore to Ballyvaughan

Even though my original photos are deleted from my camera, Mary was able to Airdrop some of her’s to my iPad.  I wish I had all of mine, but I so appreciate Mary sharing some of hers with me.

Also, most of the photos from past days  (except for the ones I had to delete to make room for new ones) are still on my iPad.  That is such a relief.  I should be able to download them from the iPad to my computer when I get home.

So here I go with Mary’s photos.   This hike was three days ago so it’s difficult to remember things exactly.

Patrick took us up to Faunarooska for the the beginning of our hike.  On the way he pointed out Faunarooska Castle.  It had been built in the 17th century and was one of three cylindrical so called tower houses in the Burren.  Patrick told us that an American purchased it with the intention of renovating it.  Soon after the purchase, it totally collapsed.  That was 1985.  It has been for sale ever since the.  So, if you ever thought about moving to Ireland and purchasing a totally ruined castle, it is currently for sale for 25,000 Euros.  Mary has seen posters advertising the sale.

First we came across a ruined dwelling. We see many of these.  The rock work is very interesting.

 

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I love the flowers growing in the rocks of what’s left of the dwelling.

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Here is another home. At one time this was probably a nice little house .
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It even had a fireplace.

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Although it was cloudy and windy where we were walking, we could look back at the Aaron Islands and see the sun shining there. Notice the lighthouse on the far left end of the islands.
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The field around us were filled with one stone. There were deep crevices between the stones.

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Many times we came across fields that had some of the flat stones standing upright. We thought that perhaps this was something that had been done when the pagans were around.  Actually just yesterday we found out that people today stand the stones up to leave their mark. It has become a real problem. It’s just a form of vandalism. If people keep doing this it will ruin the Burren.
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At the same time about how people have been going around turning up the stones, I learned that I probably shouldn’t be putting stones on top of Cairns in the Burren.  We should just be leaving things exactly the way we found them.

The path that were walking on his part of the old Green Road from Fanore into the Burren.  You can see that the rock walls curve in the distance. Some it probably depends on the placement of houses.

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The yellow arrow painted on this Irish rock stile reminded me of the Camino.

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We were headed down into the Cather Valley.

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We came upon the 15th Century Rathborney Church and graveyard.

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The arches and windows in the church were still intact  and it was great to look through them.

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Most of the gravestones on the outside of the church were unmarked. We have no idea  what is underneath this mound  behind the stone cross and  next to the church.

 

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There were several graves inside the church and many around the grounds. There were some memorial plaques inside the church. Most of the old grave stones around the church were not marked.  There were also some newer ones so it looks like it might still be used.   We sat down in the graveyard and have our lunch.

After we had walked about 7 miles,  We came upon the 16th century Newtown Castle which is  being used as the Burren College of Art.

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This is Newtown Castle - Burren College of Art.

It is a circular castle.  Although it wasn’t opened, it was very interesting to see from the outside.

One of the arts students has created an art project looking like Rapunzel’s hair hanging out of the window.

image Somewhere along the way on our walk we came across this great little cottage.   Memory is fading so I can’t remember exactly where it was.

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We also could see another very old stone structure in the field. It looked like another  church.   We found the sign on the gate going into the field with the stone structure was.

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We could hardly resist. So I went across the street with two men were working on a house. They told me that they think it was an old monastery. I asked them about the bull and he said that he sees the bull was in another field  and it would be safe to walk past the gate.  So of course we went in to see it.

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We have no idea what century the monastery had  been built. If my memory is correct, I think it was actually before the Newtown Castle and closer to the church. Since it was so close to the 15th century church and graveyard, perhaps they were connected in someway.

Toward the end of  our walk we wandered through a path that wound its way through what they call a hazel wood.  The path curved and meandered all the way through this words.

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Then we came out onto an open line stone plateau. There were arrows showing this which way to go. Of course, I got turned around and was back at the wood path.  But Mary called out to me and on we went.  We were supposed to be looking for fossils on the rocks, but we didn’t see any.

Our notes also told about a Ballyvaughan workhouse. Apparently work houses were introduced by the British in Ireland in the mid-19th-century as a means of providing relief from extremely poor people.  They were intentionally run and uncomfortable establishment, almost like prisons, to deter any thoughts of getting an easy meal. Families were separated and not allowed to have contact and the inmates had to work 10 hours a day.

The work house in Ballyvaughan and had space for 500 inmates ( at a time when the parish and only 250 inhabitants). It was opened in 1852 and closed in 1923. Most of the remains of it are now buried under the sports field that we passed on our way into town.

We  walked by this very cute house.

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Ballyvaughan is a very small town.  I like the store’s and building’s fronts.

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We stayed at the Ballyvaughan Lodge.   The people were wonderful and in the morning we had a fantastic breakfast.


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Black Head Loop

It was certainly a fantastic way to spend my 72nd birthday. We walked the Black Head Loop from the Fanore Bridge and back.  I am so privileged to be in Ireland on my birthday. I’m also so blessed to have the ability to be doing these walks and not injuring myself on any of them.

Before I begin showing you rocks again, I will share a little amazing history about the land.

It is really hard to believe that 9,000 years ago (7,000 BC) Ireland was predominantly covered in a blanket of woodland. Early inhabitants (Mesolithic hunters, fishers and gatherers ) had little discernible impact on the forests. However, around 6,000 years ago the forests started to slowly disappear from parts of the country, particularly in the west and the south midlands. It is not fully understood why these early forests started to decline but scientists believe that two main factors may have been the cause – the growth of blanket bogs and the development of farming. The growth of the blanket bogs began approximately 6,000 years ago (4,000BC) and coincided with forest clearance by early Neolithic farmers, to accommodate tillage and pasture. As farming techniques developed through prehistory, and with the advent of iron tools in the later prehistoric period, the process of clearing Ireland‟s forests continued. However, the picture is not simply one of land-clearance – pollen profiles for the prehistoric period show cycles of land clearance coupled in many cases with recovery of forests and by the start of the first millennium AD much of Ireland was still covered with forest.

For reasons that are still unclear, it appears that some tree species declined drastically in the early centuries of the first millennium AD. Elm had been in decline since 3,000 BC, probably due to a disease that only affected Elm, and had virtually disappeared by the 7th century AD. By this stage too, the early law tracts indicate that the great woods were now confined to marginal land and upland areas. The general picture from these texts is of woods and copses, very often privately owned, whose resources were limited and needed careful protection by the law. Scots Pine also suffered a serious decline towards the end of the first millennium and may have been extinct by the 12th century. As the population increased over the following centuries, the demand for timber also increased and the exploitation intensified under the Anglo-Normans and, later, successive English monarchs. Nevertheless, there were extensive forests in Ireland before 1600. However, these forests were largely gone by 1800. There is no single reason for the ultimate decline of Ireland‟s forests but it is generally agreed that there were several contributory factors which began in the mid 16th Century.  Here I will stop the history lesson and begin my wonderful day.

We begin our walk today at the Fanore Bridge where Anne took us in the car.  Of course, it began on a rocky trail.

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We were actually walking along something called the Green Road which is an old cattle drover’s road from Fanore to Ballyvaughan,   Cattle, horses, sheep, and donkeys still Gray’s here all year round.

Have I told you yet that the word “Burren”  comes from the Irish word  “Boireann”  which means rocky place.  This is an appropriate name when you consider the lack of soil cover and the 130 km² a spectacular tourist Carboniferous limestone hills and valleys that characterize the area.   I love all these rocks.

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You are probably going to see more photos of stones today than you ever wanted to see.   The trail  continued with stones and rock walls all around us. Patrick told us today when he was driving us to her drop off point that they have uncovered a wall that was 5000 years old. That is  mind boggling.

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There had been green fields below us.

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They were apparently replaced by limestone pavements dotted with erratics – large boulders left behind by the glaciers after the last ice age.

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The last ice age was ages ago, so these rocks were here before the trees.

Were these rocks put in a row for a reason -perhaps another Pagan spot.

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Looking back to Fanore and Galway Bay was beautiful.

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Walking by  rock walls was amazing.

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Patrick, Anne’s husband  told us that if we climbed up high over the rocks we would find a fort.  So up we climbed.  There were so many  places where you could look through the rock walls.

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Loved the flowers in the rocks.

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And in the ferns…  I think this one is called a Cranesbill,  but what do I know about flowers.

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And everywhere…

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were more…

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We kept climbing up along the rock wall.

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Finally we arrived at the fort.  We think it is called Cahedoonfergus.  We don’t have any idea how old it was.

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It is really hard for me to get the right perspective when I’m photographing the fort.

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We stayed up at the fort for a short while and then started our walk back down. It is a bit easier to show you the perspective of our walk as we went down. Here is Mary going over one of the spots we had to climb.

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This was a pretty deep step.

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When we got back down to the bottom, we stopped and had a bite for lunch from our packs. I usually eat my almonds, dried fruit, and M&Ms.

As we walked on I turned around and looked back into the valley where we began.

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Then I kept walking on the path with what looked like sheets of limestone below me.

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All the views were just amazing.

We could still see the Conamara over the Galway Bay.

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We came to a path That I think was the narrowest Path I have ever walked.  I loved it.

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For centuries in Ireland Catholic mass was declared illegal by the ruling English. It was punishable by death for priests who broke the law. Mass was often held in secret in remote areas.

We  could see the  16th century Gleninagh Castle (inhabited till 1890)  in the field below.

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I love the green fields around it.

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Our directions said that we might be able to spot the hidden rooms of the Gleninagh a Church,  but I never saw it.

Eventually we came to the old ‘Mass Path’ leading up from the valley below.   We climbed 750 m. until we came to a wall crossing the lower land between the Gleninagh Mountain  and the Cappanawalla.  I tried a panoramic to show both.

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We continued climbing gently up the side of the  Capanawalla for about 250m. Until we came to a path that had a rocky cliff on one side and green hills just over the wall on the other side.

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How can anybody resist the green fields.

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Today many of the stiles we crossed were stone.

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We passed an area with an enclosed natural spring. These places are important for the animals which are grazing here because there are few natural lakes and streams in the Burren because of the porous limestone.

We passed by some sheep that have been sheared.

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A few kilometers later we passed another ancient ringfort called Cathair an Ard Rios which may translate as ‘the fort of the high door’.  Ringfort are also called caters.   They can be made of stone or earth.  I learned that they were constructed from the Iron Age up until the early Middle Ages (800 B.C. – 1000 A.D). Some were still in use through the 18th century. It is been estimated that there may have been this many and 50,000 of these ringforts throughout Ireland.

Inside Cathair an Ard Rios were the remains of two buildings side-by-side.   Local lore says that these used to be a chapel and a shebeen (an illegal drinking place).   You might say that all your spiritual needs for looking after at this location.

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Close to the end of today’s hike we hiked  through a small Canyon. It is known as Kyber Pass.

 

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The Kyber Pass has probably been named so my local man who had seen service in India with the British Army.

We also walked by the Caher River which is unique in the Burren because it flows entirely above ground.

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We didn’t get back into Fanore until after 7:30.  I am still the tortoise who can turn what is stated as a six hour hike into almost 10.  So, even though I am walking long distances like 20 km, I know I’m still not ready to walk with the Friday group. I’m still too slow.

Mary took me out for a wonderful birthday dinner at Vasco Café.   They were about to close but they actually stayed open for us.

Tonight’s sunset  was even more spectacular than yesterday.

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I certainly had a fabulous 72nd birthday.


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Doolin to Fanore

We got a ride yesterday morning to avoid some of the road walking at the beginning of the hike. But it caused a bit of confusion for us later in the hike today because of where we where being dropped off. We were a bit lost and had to get directions from Hillwalk.  It all worked  out in the end because we enjoyed seeing the cave that I will tell you about later.

We began our day at Doolin Cave and waited for them to open. When we walked down the path, we noticed that there was a goat on the roof of the building. They actually have a greens on the roof to feed the goats.

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Anyway, Doolan Cave is home to the Great Stalactite. At 7.3 metres (23feet) it is the longest free-hanging stalactite in the Northern Hemisphere. The Great Stalactite, suspended from the ceiling like a chandelier, is truly astounding. It is hard to believe that it was formed from a single drop of water over thousands of years.

The cave was discovered in the 1952 by Brian Varley and Mike Dickenson, two members of the Craven pot-holing club who were over from the UK to chart the caves of the Burren. They came across Doolin Cave or Pól an Ionáin (as it is known in the Irish language) by accident on a Whit Sunday morning. They noticed a stream disappearing under the edge of a cliff in the glacial valley where the cave is located and decided that would follow it. They undertook a knee-wrecking crawl and to their amazement they discovered one of the greatest natural wonders of the world hidden a quarter of a mile under-ground.

These two young men had just discovered the longest free hanging stalactite in the Northern Hemisphere. It is an astounding 23 feet (7.3m) long and weighs an estimated 10 tons. The Man who owned the land of the time refused to have the site set up for people to see the cave. He passed the land on to his son who also refused to have anything done to give access to the cave.  In the 1990s the land was bought by John and Helen Browne, Doolin locals who decided to open this magnificent wonder to the eyes of the world. It took many lawsuits and even went to the Irish Supreme Court. The Browne family opened the cave to the public in 2006, they are the guardians of the Great Stalactite ensuring that it is protected and looked after for the next generation.

There were no explosives used during the construction of Doolin cave. The cave passages were enlarged by hand using a technique known as ‘Plug and Feather’ in order not to damage the Great Stalactite.   They are taking many measures to make sure that the stalactite is protected and the environment around us also protected.

We took a tour down into the cave.  It is an amazing site.  It grows very, very, very slowly and hasn’t grown much since the time of the Pharaohs.

This is where we entered the cave.

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I hope you can see how small the opening is where Brian and Mike had to crawl.   They crawl down their bellies along the underground spring for what I think  was hundreds of meters.

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I lost count of the number of stairs we have to walk down in order to see the stalactite. Here is a photo of it.

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It actually grows longer from the bottom.

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These stalactites won’t get any bigger because their base is too small and the will just break.

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But the base of the big one is very strong.

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We were lucky because there was a pool of water down the bottom and we can actually see a reflection of the stalactite in the water. That is not always possible.

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The guide took a picture of me with it. So of course I have to post that.

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After we left the cave,  we went to see a castle that we could see from the road.    We learned that it was called O’Brien’s castle. It is from the 12th century.  It is reported to be hunted.  The young woman who worked at the cave told us that she and her friends have gone there on Halloween.   She told us that everybody’s  cell phone quit that night as soon as they entered the castle. They were all broken.

We walked up to the castle and discovered that there was a white stallion standing by the castle.   It was hard to get a photograph because we were way below the castle.

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We learned that there also used to be a goat at the castle, but it died.  The horse  seems to like when visitors come. Mary and I think they want to get another goat.

We left the castle made the turn that we thought we were supposed to make on the road. They gave us a view from the other side of the castle.

I think the stones we see next to the castle may be gravestones.

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The stallion had come around to the other side of the castle.

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This is where we made a mistake and our walk. We weren’t supposed to even get near the castle. Our walk started someplace before the cave. So,  that is why we were lost. But the benefit was that we got to see the castle and the white stallion.

After we walked for a while and discovered that we had no idea where we were, we phoned Hillwalk (The company that planned our hikes).  It took about three phone calls before we finally figured out where we had to walk. So the kilometers that we took off by getting the ride in the morning with just added back on by are going the wrong way.

I thought this sign was in Galic, but found out that it is in German.

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Finally when we had found our way, we were walking along the path in the Galway Bay in view.

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I liked this door.

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I enjoyed walking when we were walking on the path.

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And I still love the walls.

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It’s hard to believe how strong they are.

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Another purple flower.

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The horses come up to greet us.

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When we got close to Dolin, we could see the Aran Islands across the bay.

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And the mountains of the Connemara.

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Our last stretch into town was on pavement again. Her directions said it was 2 km, but it was actually  much more than that –  at least twice that far. My feet were really tired.    The first place we saw when we got to town was O’Donohue’s Pub  so we immediately stopped for dinner.

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Then off to our bed-and-breakfast to get my boots off and rest my feet. Just like on the Camino I can’t believe how tired I can get. You would think after walking for so many days I would be able to do 12 miles with ease.

I stayed up late last night doing the post from the day before. Sunsets here are really late.  It is usually light until at least 10:30 .  But last night I actually got to see one since I stayed up so late.  Sunset over the Comemara.

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