Mike Tayse and Family Go to Ireland, part one

Mike Tayse and Family Go to Ireland

So a few months ago, Naomi suggested that we all go to Christmas in Ireland.  I never really thought it would happen.  Anyway...Naomi convinced my mom, her grandma, to bankroll the idea, so here we are! Mom, Maureen, Abby, Naomi, Caleb & Katy, Sarah, Megan, Heather, Liz, and myself, all off on our Irish adventure. Who'd a thunk it really?  All the planing: airplanes, cars, lodging, etc, was done by my sister and Naomi, and they did a great job!

Some interesting facts about Ireland:  about 50% of the land is for pasture-they take their lambs and cows seriously, about 5 million people live here, sun rises later and sets earlier than home, it's slightly bigger than West Virginia, it never gets too cold or hot, in winter the temperature runs around 40-50 degrees F, every now and then, they get a dusting of snow, I'm told.

Above is a castle in a small town called Cashel Rock.  In this castle Saint Patrick married a king and conducted the occasional church service! I walked in the footsteps of Saint Patrick, which is pretty nuts.  This was the first town we stopped at after leaving the airport in Dublin.  The crazy thing is they(Ireland) has this 'kinda thing all over.  Just driving around you see old, still partially intact stonework, towers, walls, and such.  Some buildings in the town made use of the old stone walls surrounding the city for their own exterior walls.

Above is this place called Staigue Fort.  It's in County Kerry, and is perched between two small mountains, and overlooks a small ocean bay.  Built before the arrival of Christianity, around 100 AD.

This is a shot of the front, and only entry door into the fort.  It looks like Ms. Abby is taking a picture here.

This is the front door seen from inside the fort.  The stones are set in the entry to keep sheep out.

This is a shot of the inside of the stone fort,  I'm standing on the top ledge. looking down into the fort.  The top is about 5 feet wide and the bottom is about 12 feet thick.

 Inside the fort are steps that you can walk/crawl up to get to the top.

Another inside shot.

Above are pics of the wall you can walk around on.  That's Naomi  in the background.

That would be me, standing on top of the stone fort wall.  If you look the other way....

....from the top of the fort, you're looking out towards the ocean.

After roaming about the fort we went into a small town(Smeen) where we had a small lunch at a restaurant perched upon the side of a river and small waterfall.  

Then we went down the coast about a mile or so and found a nice place to stop and walk down to the sea. It's hard to see here, but there was quite a few people about, getting ready to do a yearly, post Christmas day celebratory dip in the ocean.  It was Saint Steven's Day, the air temp was in the 40's, so it probably wasn't too bad.  I did not do this.

Just driving around you see stuff like this pretty frequently.  


These be the Cliffs of Moher

About a 2 hour drive on curvy roads you get to the Cliffs of Moher.  Ir's where Ireland stops and the Atlantic begins. "Kinda where Europe stops too. These pictures are a pale shadow of what they really look like and in person they are every bit of amazing and spectacular.  "ya just stand there marveling at the sight.  The cliffs drop down about 600 feet.  They had a sign/saying that the Irish don't believe in putting fences in front of national monuments(I saw some though), but they do believe in natural selection!

I couldn't get close enough, mosltly because I'm too chicken, to really get a good view of looking down the cliff faces. I got close enough to make myself sick to my stomach.  Just gorgeous!

If you went up the coast the other way you ran into this outcropping that had a small tower/castle stuck on the end of it.  You could still walk up it.  The cliffs make this curvy line up the coast and the Cliffs of Moher park has provided two paths, one real safe and one that's a bit unnerving at points.  I did a bit of both. My sister Maureen said we really only waked a bit more than 2 miles, it just seemed like more, because of the ups and downs. 

Above are some more shots from the the Cliffs, some looking away from the ocean, and some up the path.


You go down this nice lane with moss covered trees and you come to.....

...this deserted church and abbey, near the Ross Castle.  I think it was first built in late 1500's.  I believe it's called the Muckross Abbey. 

I believe this would have been the front window.  I couldn't quite get back far enough to get a good picture. It 'kinda sloped off into a field intended for grazing.   

This is Liz standing in the back of the church, in the cemetery. 

It's hard to get a sense of scale here.  I tried to step back as far as possible to get more of the height of the tower and the room. 

The church/abbey had all these rooms with hallways and winding steps connecting things up. 

You can walk around inside and it's nicely kept up, no garbage, leaves etc. Probably some townspeople keep it up, it's still used as a cemetery out around the back.  Nice peaceful place.  It has a real nice courtyard in the middle with this real old tree growing up in the middle.   That would be mom on the right. I think Liz took the pic. 


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