Up one level 2004.august » Ireland

The effects of Empty Nest Syndrome are powerful indeed. My sister, having graduated college earlier in the summer, had a three week gap between her summer employment and a year-long stint teaching in Ecuador. In fear, and seeing an opportunity, my parents figured out they could get time with me as well for a trip -- and the next thing I knew, there was a receipt for a vacation in Ireland. We flew in to the west coast -- Shannon Airport -- with reservations for a rental car, hotels on the first and last night of the trip, vouchers for nights in B&Bs, and flights out of Dublin (the east coast) 10 days later. It was a great trip.

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DSCF0002 Our first day, in Castleconnel.  We had reservations only for the first night and last night -- and this was very nice, because we arrived around 6am, with my sister rather sick. DSCF0003 Another shot from the first day.  Ireland was very very green.  And the weather cooperated. DSCF0004 A walk by the River Shannon made it clear why there was such a belief in the Faerie; this was only one such case (the bottom of the tree is completely and inexplicably hollow). DSCF0005 The first round of the stone circles we would visit on our trip. DSCF0006 Naturally, I was distracted by the canine community that used this former bit of early civilization. DSCF0007 ...cause they splash and dash... DSCF0008 The most substantial stone circle in Ireland, and the best preserved one I've seen.  The tree gives some indication of how long it hasn't been used... DSCF0009 What made this particularly novel was that the center of the circle had been made flat -- and then they imported a sandy-clay soil to cover it.  As a result, it remains a cleared area not because of preservation efforts, but because wildflowers are the most substantial thing that can actually take root. DSCF0010 The Cliffs of Mohar... staggering.  Note the human for a sense of the scale. DSCF0011 You were free -- although warned -- to wander the cliffs as you felt appropriate.  For some, this meant the cliff-edge.  (Presumably, for some, this mean even farther, but we didn't see any of that) DSCF0012 At points along the cliff edge, towers.  This tower, however, had a ridiculous admission price for all of a two-story advantage. DSCF0013 I really tried to get the colors...  The water had all variety of tones, from Carribean-dead-water to rich darks.  The landscape, typical lush Ireland. DSCF0014 When my father and I travel, we tend to return with pictures of us posed (on either side of) warning signs (example, DSCF0015 A theme I like to capture is mixed use space.  All over Ireland, we were presented with images of the ancient with mundane; old and new; and cows & sheep everywhere. DSCF0016 DSCF0017 Another theme I like is the act of people touring.  Father shoots sister, with a dramatic backdrop. DSCF0018 The Burren.  If the moon had an atmosphere, and ocean, and my mother. DSCF0019 The Burren was your typical mixed alpine tundra and lunar landscape. DSCF0020 I acknowledge that the sky contributed a bit to the effect. DSCF0021 Nestled between the large softstone rocks, pretty little flowers. DSCF0023 They say the Burren is a human result of over-aggressive agriculture.  Doesn't entirely explain the (not-so-occassional) giant upright rocks... but then, these people were into giant rocks. DSCF0024 Old and new gates.  On the way to a giant cave structure discovered within the past hundred years, that turns out to be the only preserved den site of the European Brown Bear in Ireland.  The bear has been extinct for almost a thousand years. DSCF0025 The Dolmen, within the Burren. DSCF0026 A person next to it, for a sense of scale.  The top stone is estimated to still be about 10 tons (smaller than it used to be, from the sheared off bits on the left) DSCF0027 Purpose?  Presumably burial. DSCF0028 The cows often had more personality than the tourists. DSCF0029 A Babba Yar -- fertility goddess, embedded in the wall of an old ruined church. DSCF0030 My mother was big on the Babba Yars.  The church itself was no longer servicable, but the graveyard in and around it was still active for some of the old families of the area. DSCF0031 My mother needed proof of alcohol consumption. DSCF0032 So, naturally, we were included. DSCF0033 Trinity College, Dublin.  Originally built DSCF0034 Not suprisingly, the campus was more Harvard than MIT.
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