Friday, 28 March 2008

and last but not least...we found a Leprechaun

We looked everywhere around Ireland for a Leprechaun...and an hour before we were to come back to Berlin, we spotted one in the Dublin airport

We thought he was so cute, we brought him back with us!

Meeting Penpals in Dublin

We met up with Nicole's penpal, Andrea and her daughter Kelly in Dublin. Nicole and Andrea have been writing to each other for about 12 years. So, it was great to finally meet up, put accents to faces and chat.

Nicole will plan a girls weekend to Dublin at some stage soon, do lots of shopping and head out to Temple Bar with Andrea and some of her girlfriends and sister.

Kelly had been very sick with the flu all through Easter. What an awful time to be sick..during school holidays!

Thursday, 27 March 2008


In Dublin, we did a Viking Tour...a lot of fun, and we did Viking Roars at unsuspecting people at traffic lights! The highlight was when the bus drove into the water and floated in the harbour!

checking to see where we are going.

3 ruthless Vikings

Our bus/boat

Years ago many boats were sunk to the bottom of the harbour. Now they are in the process of bringing them back to the surface and removing them and cleaning up the harbour.

At St. Stephen's Park

St Audden's 12th Century Church in the Viking area of Dublin.

A Viking Ship frame.

At the Millenium Spire (finished in 2003)


There are a lot of photos in this post, this place was gorgeous!!
Clonmacnoise is a monastic city. The site has many old churches, high crosses, round towers and gravestones surrounded by a walled field.

St Ciaran founded a monastey here in 548AD. It lies in the middle of Ireland, on the River Shannon. Monks from all over Europe came here to study and pray here.

Over the centuries the site was pillaged and burned many times by both Vikings and the Irish. There is a cemetery beside the ruins that is still being used today, it was lovely to walk around, and read all the tombstones.

Ruins of the Castle built in 1214. It was deliberately destroyed around 1300.

One of the arches in the stoned walls that surround the site

Gravestones, churches and the Round Tower

The Round Tower.

The Pilgrim statue, in prayer

No comment

The site is still used on certain religious days throughout the year.

The cemetery with more recent plots.

One of the High Crosses. The "real" ones are inside the museum now to keep protected, the ones on display outside are copies.

Cliffs of Moher

This is one of Ireland's tourist destinations...and you can see why.

These cliffs drop straight 203 metres straight down to the Atlantic Ocean.

As part of the EU initiative, there are now well paved walking tracks, wheel chair access, and sensible slabs of rock to stop you being blown off the top.

In the distance you can see the Aran Islands....will get there next trip...maybe some awesome wool to be found???
The tourist shops were cut into the hills. The boys thought it was cool to be standing on the roof of the shops! sky! :)

Crag Cave

Crag Cave is formed of limestone, and has heaps of Stalagmites and Stalactites (do you remember at school the teachers told you the ones hanging from the roof have to hold on you could always remember which was which?)

The cave was discovered by cave divers in 1983 when there was problems with water pollution and they were trying to find the source of the local river.
Testing of the cave dates to be over a million years old.

This was the first cave the kids have been into...they really enjoyed it. Alexander said he was scared of the red light security cameras, they gave off an eerie glow (too much Star Wars I think)

The straw like Stalactites were really impressive, and so brittle, you could see broken ones that had fallen off (not holding on tight enough).

There was even a stalagmite shaped like a statue of the Madonna...although I couldn't see it myself!

Bunratty Castle

Bunratty Castle was built 1425. It is an impressive castle, and has many rooms fitted out as they would have been. The textiles and wood furniture were really stunning (sorry no photos allowed inside)
The trees around the castle and the grounds were covered with Raven nests...and the ravens were everywhere...kind of gave it a spooky feeling.
Here is one of the Ravens on the edge of the tower.
You always need cannons to defend your castle!
Beside the castle was a Folk Park. it is a reconstrction of how the homes were utilised 100 years ago. The fireplaces had peat moss burning, and some of those chimneys needed a good clean...A couple of them were so smokey, that it was unbearable to be in there for more than 30 seconds.

There was a small field with these cool haystacks. We like the way they are off the ground!

The old school house was a dreary place to be, compared to today's class rooms. This school could hold up to 80 kids.

...and we complain about the size of the boys cloak room at school, this was worse....but then back in those days they didn't have swimming kits, PE kits, book bags, library books, music stuff....

Dingle Peninsula

The Peninsula of Dingle was so pretty, lots of great places to walk, rock hop, and gorgoues views of the Atlantic Ocean and the South West coast of Ireland.

At Dingle, we went on the boat trip in the Harbour. This is an absolute must if you visit Dingle....because you get to see Fungie the Wild Dolphin. It is something you must see to believe!

Fungie is a wild dolphin, who hangs out in the Harbour, and has done since 1984. Fungie is a bottlenose dolphin. A few boats go out at the same time. The crew spot Fungie, the captain of the boats move around to where Fungie was spotted. The boats then put their pedals to the floor with about 20 feet between the boats, and then Fungie catches up and races between the boats. It was amazing to see, the kids loved it! If you click on Fungi at the start of this paragraph, you can see some Fungi footage (not's from You Tube).

After awhile Fungie got sick of racing and disappeared from our boats...and made his way to the next couple of boats that were on their way out. The boats promise for you to see Fungie or you got your money back...somehow Fungie makes an appearance to all the boats! Too funny!!

On our way back to the shore, the weather turned, and we had rain, and then hail. It was quite cold, and it was great to get back into the car with the heating on! We are really glad we got to see Fungie, and happy to part with our money!

Heading West from Dingle is the Dunbeg Fort, another dry stone wall fort. What a view this family had (although it was quite windy and cold...I wonder how they went during the Winter months!) It was excavated in the late 1970's,There is an inner ground tunnel which lead to the hill above. It is believed that this was an escape route when it was attacked by enemies.

Great view...
Inside the Inner wall
More great views

Further West are the Beehive Huts. These were enclosed farmsteads of free farmers, around 4000 years ago. There were smaller huts built inside the main wall for the families, with doorways leading into each other. The outer wall would keep the animals from wandering, being stolen or killed by wild animals.

The way the stones have been constructed was really interesting to see. The stones slant slightly, so the water could run outside the walls, and not inside. The stones would have continued up to a dome shape with only a small opening on the top, which could have an extra stone laid across when it rained.

Watch your head...that would hurt!

We stopped at Connor Pass, a gorgeous lookout point. About 1km down the road is a small waterfall with great walking tracks to an inner lake, Pedlars Lake. Nicole's toes were still frozen from the Boat Ride, so she stayed in the car and read more of the travel guide. Phil and the kids went rock hopping along the path and had a great time exploring!

The View from O'Connor's Pass
The small waterfall
Pedlars Lake
Rock Hopping