Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Postcards from Ireland, Days 8, 9, and 10

These are going to be like those postcards people send you after they get home, that don't even have stamps or postmarks from the place they visited.

The internet service at our guesthouse, while never terribly reliable, was all but useless our last few days (next time you read an article about how much better broadband is in Europe than in the US, don't believe it). 

Also, I needed to make sure I got my pub quota in before I left.

On our last day in Dingle, two of my friends and I decided we'd try to get to a tower we could see on top of a hill across the harbor from our guesthouse.

No one seemed to know what the tower was, or how far away, but undeterred, we set off on foot, braving the very fast cars on the very narrow roads lined with very prickly blackberry and stinging nettle brambles.
Once we got off the main road, we had very few cars to worry about, and enjoyed the farms and the witchy little houses we passed by.

We had a time limit. I had planned to meet my travel companion at 2:00, so that we could be sure to make our 4:00 bus to Shannon.

By the time we reached the base of the "trail" (really just a climb straight up the hill along an old stone wall), it was almost time to turn around.

But having got that far, we couldn't go back without seeing the tower up close.

So we scrambled up the hill and saw the tower (a navigation aid built in the 18th century) up close, along with its entourage of sheep.

And were rewarded with the view from the other side, Where the earth dropped away over sheer cliffs to the water below.

 We spent a little time enjoying the view, then power-walked (to the tune of "Christmas in Kilarny") back to town, arriving only half an hour late. Erin and I caught our bus and made our way to Shannon Airport and back home.

 Arriving in Logan Airport on a drizzly afternoon and waiting for a bus that would trundle me through the ugly sprawl and Friday afternoon traffic of outer Boston was quite possibly the most depressing way to end a wonderful vacation. A friend of mine asked if it was relaxing, and I paused a moment because, while not restful--we were going every minute from 7 a.m. until midnight or later--it was relaxing. I never had a single moment of anxiety the entire ten days. Maybe it was the sunshine (yes, I had to go to Ireland to get a tan this summer), or maybe it was the freedom from responsibility for anyone but myself, or maybe it was the beer, but yes, it was very relaxing. I'm homesick for it already.

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