Tribe of the Ring Fort

Thursday, February 09, 2006

A Day in Dingle (Sarah)

Lucky us! We live within an easy drive of the Dingle Peninsula, which despite its unlikely name, is one of the most beautiful spots in Ireland even in January. January is probably one of the best times to go, actually, because the area's beauty has most definitely been discovered and is overrun with tourists in summer.

To reach the village of Dingle, you either drive around the peninsula on the southern shore, or you can take the dramatic drive over the Connor Pass. The road has been widened since our first trip here in 2000, which makes it even easier to get there. I miss the old road, unpleasant as it was to meet with a bus or truck on what was essentially a one lane, steeply inclined, switchbacked, on the edge of cliff drive. Much of the old road, and some of the new, was bordered by waist high stone stiles. On that first trip, sheep were using the flat topped stile as a comfortable resting place. The road was so narrow, that I was able to stick my arm out our open car window and touch the sheep as we drove past. At one point, a small waterfall came down over the road, sort of like a natural car wash. That's gone, too. But the two areas where you can pull off and park are as dramatic as ever.

Below, the first 2 pictures are at the first pull off, where you can hike around the steep hill and discover a still, deep (some say bottomless) mountain pond. The second pull off is mostly for the scenic landscape. On that first trip, the clouds were low enough that we were driving through them, and didn't see much of the far landscape. On this trip, it was a lovely sunny day, perfect for scrambling around on the hill & then taking a boat ride into Dingle Harbour.

When we got into town, we grabbed a great fish & chips lunch. Then we walked across the street to the docks, and joined a tour of the harbour. The big selling point is Fungi the dolphin, who has been living here for 23 years. If Fungi doesn't appear, no payment is taken. In fact you don't pay until AFTER Fungi shows up. We were out for about an hour, and it would be worth paying even without seeing the dolphin. There were only 7 other people along for the ride. Those boats must be packed in the summer. I'd love to go back in summer to take out a kayak. After the boat ride, we repaired to a pub for a pint & a snack, then home. There's a lot more to explore around Dingle, including a drive around the head of the peninsula that features a lot of very cool archeological sites.

At the Connor Pass

Top of the Connor Pass

Statue of Fungi in Dingle

Dingle Harbor

This is the best picture I have of that damn dolphin. For a few more pictures, NOT taken by me, check this link:

Desperate & Lonely First-month Thoughts. posted by Barry


Where comes the sun
True that grey is the order of the day here, and that some wavelength of the unfrozen precipitation spectrum is gonna be falling on your head. But it is mild, mild, mild. Absent heavy rain (often the mist sub-spectrum doing the falling), when the winter wind blows I swear it’s refreshing.

Wed 2:35am
Just getting the urge to drive to the wi-fi hotspot and inject Patriots news. Not the first time. I walked there at 1am to see the GameCast of the Patriots-Jaguars game.

You are on the new outside if you are not connected to the Internet. Well, perhaps I/we are feeling this acutely because we’ve moved across an ocean from friends and family. But it felt that way from Montpelier as well, only not so much as you’d ruminate on the subject in the middle of the night. So many functions of society, culture and business have it as their medium now. And while we are bereft of it, we feel odd and outsidish.

The job hunt. Notes to friends and relatives. Even local phone calls, through the VOIP miracle of Vonage. All dependent on internet access. Connection to the collective. I suspect we’ll be Borg-like within a few centuries.

So, we’ve been able to resort to the cyber-scavenging, thanks to wireless. There is a name for us, I’ve learned: wijackers.

Need a vacation
Been on vacation since December 16. Need a vacation. What? You try moving to a new country sometime, sans servants, see how fully it relaxes you.

Just give me a friggin day off! Oh, and, throw in the drugs. Thank you…

Barry at the end of a Fortune 100 work week: “my God, what am I gonna do? Just get me outta here…”
Barry at the end of a week fully free of the corporate yoke: “my God, what am I gonna do?...”

Incentivising (note: sophisticated continental spelling) us
In case it wasn’t obvious to any of you, the collective federal governing body of the U.S. has its head up its butt, along with that 2-by-4. “Fellas, how ‘bout we put money in people’s pockets to accelerate their already-profligate fossil fuel consumption? Tax incentives to buy the largest class of SUV! Yep, thought you’d see the idiocy and cravenness too! Oh, and, tax the hell out of that Prius. Yahoo!”

The conservation incentive instances we’ve encountered so far run the opposite direction, and restore a bit of faith in humanity.

A sample of the conservation incentives we’ve encountered so far.
1. engine size = size of car tax
2. engine size = size of insurance bill
3. got trash or paper-products recyclable materials? pay up
4. dryers over here collect the water in plastic reservoirs below the drum. Instant possibility of re-use for plant-watering et cetera. (Not that extra water is needed around here…but most other places this would make a difference.)
5. shopping carts are all linked together by a sturdy plastic-covered chain, at the end of which a small slot accepts the 1-Euro deposit necessary for you to get a cart.
6. supermarket chains such as SuperValue simply do not provide shopping bags. But you can use--re-use--the sturdy cardboard "flats" that hold the cases of veggies, fruits etc sold there, stacked along the wall by the checkouts. Or your own bags.

Occasionally, for a moment. Think it has something to do with the pieces of me concerned with keeping up with the Joneses and with security in old age.

Do not go quietly unto your grave
That line of thinking helps. Helps the flickering bits of nausea. What do you want to reflect on at the moment of or in the knowledge of your impending death? That if only you could have had another meeting? Me neither. That helps.

I’ll tell you when this all becomes worth it. Think I’ll know. For now, all I know is that I’m convinced I’ll sooner or later experience moments of life-satisfaction.

“Just [up and] moved here? Yer mad.”
-- Steve down at The Maid of Erin.

Oh yeah. The playgrounds.
Best playgrounds I’ve ever seen. They got this see-saw that also goes round and round. Got the before-the-lawyers-got-their-hands-on-it version of those things where the kid grabs a handle, sprints off the platform, and hangs on while he/she for a pretend inter-skyscraper joyride. Got these comfy shallow bowls hanging from their swingsets; you get in and do some fairly extreme swinging; the bowl’s always falling from each apex just in time to beat your fall.

Evil Flames
Irish coal fires vs. U.S wood fires: I prefer the wood fires. These Irish fires, they look more sinister. More like Hell. More what you’d expect to see licking at you throughout your eternal damnation. It’s all those black orbs at the center of the flames, I think.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Feel free to add your comments

You can leave comments on our posts by clicking on the "comments" link at the end of each post. You will be asked to complete a word verification. This prevents programs from leaving advertisements or links on our blog.

And now that Barry's started posting, we'll let you know who is writing in the title. Quite frankly, I think Barry is much more entertaining. But I put up pictures.

January 14 in Cork City

We went to Cork on the weekend of January 14, because Susannah had Friday off from school (teacher in-service). Had an absolutely amazing Indian dinner, a very nice Italian dinner, and took Susannah to the Fota Animal Park, which is a well-kept zoo with some of the animals roaming free. The cheetahs do NOT roam free, but when Susannah ran by the cheetah enclosure, one of the cheetahs started hunting her - running along side of her - INSIDE the very high fence of course - and looking like it thought Sus would make a perfect snack. The day was sunny, but on the cold side for Ireland so we didn't see as many animals out and about as the last time we were there. But we had fun. Barry found a bar that got American football, but the Patriots game was on too late here. They lost, so I guess he doesn't care much until next fall. We were in a pub for lunch on last Sunday, and there was a rugby game on the tv. Wow. I mean, have you ever seen rugby? The guys have thighs like tree trunks. Very thick, muddy, tree trunks.

Cork was PACKED with shoppers. The January sales here are a big deal, which kind of worked out well for us buying a few things for the house. We're being pretty stingy, though, until we get jobs and also because we just bought a car. We've acquired a Mazda station wagon, which Susannah likes because it's bright red. It's much nicer than the cars we got rid of in
Vermont. Now we have to deal with getting provisional driving licenses, and then full licenses. I'll write more about the process of acquiring licenses when we're further into the process. I'm sure it will be another bureaucratic laff riot.

Here are some pictures from Cork, although I didn't really take any shots of the city itself.

Susannah liked the hotel because there was an indoor pool.

On the train from Cork City to Fota Animal Park.

Those large rodents are capybaras. Nothing at all like the R.O.U.S.s in the Princess Bride.

Sus and Barry. And zebras and an ostrich.

The cheetah that thought Susannah looked like a tasty tea time treat.

What am I doing in Ireland?

Sunday, February 05, 2006

short update

Well, we are scheduled to get broadband at home tomorrow, February 6. Hopefully all will go as planned, and I can update this site with further postings and pictures. Until now, to get online, we've had to take the laptop, drive downtown, and park in a very specific spot in a parking lot, and then we're able to access someone's wifi connection. We're often here at night, as it's a busy spot, or we'll lurk in the car until someone leaves one of the three spaces where we can pick up the signal. It all feels a bit furtive and slightly seedy, especially since a friend told us this practice is known as "wi-jacking". Yup, livin' on the edge, that's us.

Update on the electric bill: bills are sent out every 2 months. So yes indeed, all of our bank stuff like checkbook, atm card, etc., has gone to Vermont. Luckily, Martha has retrieved it all, and is mailing this stuff to us. Judging by how long it's taken to send/receive packages from overseas in the past, we should have a checkbook in three months. Letters, though, reach us surprisingly fast - about 2 days from New England.

Check back soon for pictures from Cork City and the Dingle Peninsula. And yes, Funghi the dolphin is still alive & swimming around the harbour.

(!!awkward segue alert!!) Speaking of fungi, the big news in Ireland this week is the recent outlawing of fresh magic mushrooms. Apparently, up until now these have been illegal in any processed form, but available over the counter in about 50 shops around Ireland as fresh produce - until last Friday. And no, we didn't stock up on Thursday. We didn't know where the shops were. Just kidding, Mom & Dad.