Thursday, March 13, 2008

The Homeland Part 2.

So after our star-sighting and ferry ride, Beeps and I got back into our car and proceeded up the coast of Ireland. We actually purchased one of those road maps at a local shop that tell you not just the main roads but the little dirt roads that go to who-knows-where. We weren't worried about getting lost though, after all, it's an island, where the heck could we go? There are actually very few highways in Ireland. And the secondary roads are basically 2 small lanes with NO shoulders. And most of those are lined with stone walls or hedges. So picture an oncoming tourist bus. Where do you go? Well you just slow down and move as far over to the left as possible and try not to hit the wall. Needless to say, our poor rental car ended up with some attractive scratches down the side. But don't tell Avis.

But overall the trip was fine and we actually took the dirt roads just to see where they ended up. It was during those times that we discovered out-of-the-way castles, beautiful vistas, and sheep in the middle of the road being herded by black and white collies.

Our next stop was in Westport. A cute, almost European version of West Chester, complete with tons of pubs and shops. It was also near Westport that we went to Croagh Patrick. It is said that this is the site where St. Patrick himself climbed the mountain, fasted for 40 days, and then at the end of his fast, he threw a bell down the mountain banishing the serpents from the land. Thousands of people make the pilgrimage here every July 31st to climb the mountain, many barefoot. We did not climb the mountain ourselves, but we did get far enough up to see some amazing views.

From here we continued up the coast to Donegal, stopping at many roadside attractions: castles, historical sites, ancient ruins, Yeast's grave, etc.

More good times to come.