We took a 4 hour tour with Denis Ryan ( see review ) on Sunday June 12. When he arrived at our B & B with his red umbrella and long white hair, I knew he would be easy to be with. I rode in the front seat with him, and my husband sat in back. No microphones, just quiet conversations.
I consulted my journal to be able to write this, but am not sure of the exact oder, but here goes. We went to the former Lord Ventry's estate ( now a school) to see the ogham stones. I knew you read from the bottom up, but learned that then you read from the top down . The ground stones had an amazing shape,-- almost like an elongated baking potato but the writing is well worn.
We rode along the Slea Head Drive, and stopped for pictures. My first glimpse of the Great Blasket Islands thrilled me. Denis told us a lot more detail about the islands, and answered all questions.
We also stopped at the white stone monument for more pictures. The Sleeping Giant Island really does look like a man.
At Dun Beag, we all walked down the path to the fort. Denis pointed out the spaces in the stone path that now exposed the underground escape tunnel We explored every inch of the fort, and looked down the cliffs to the crashing waves
It was a joy to have Denis and all he knows to ourselves. We didn't have to rush to meet a schedule, and were able to stay at different places as long as we wanted.
We also explored a cluster of Beehive Huts. He pointed out how the builders left a stone or two sticking out for a foot hold while they were building them, in order to reach the top.
A tour bus pulled up, and the people got out and took pictures and left. That's too superficial for me. I was surprised to realize the huts could be more than one room. All day we had an off and on misty rain, but I don't melt. It was quiet and snug inside one of the Beehive huts.
It cost us each 2 Euros to go into the group of Beehive Huts, but I got to meet Maura, the older woman whose land they are on-- As a native New Yorker, I was happy to hear that she uses the admission fees to fly to New York to visit her children and granchildren every year,
As we rode along, I mentioned my cat, Riley, so Denis played a song "Riley" that his a capella group sings.
We also saw a GAELTACHT Summer School, where teenagers come to do total immersion courses in the Irish language.
Of course we went to the Gallerus ( sp) Oratory, and spent time inside, and learned about the graves and the kneeling stone.-- and the construciton, and I used my usual dozen questions we also went to a small beach whose name didn't make it into my journal notes
We stopped at a small shop for pastries and tea. It had a gaily painted sign outside, with the letters painted in a sort of modern day illumnated style. Very good food, and good conversation. And they have a book store there too.-- and the name of this shop ALSO didn't make it into my notes.
After Denis dropped us off at our B & B, we rested a while and then walked along the Strand to the Marina Inn for dinner. I must lhave liked it, but it must have been ordinary not special pub food. Now, I'm not saying it was bad food, but that meal isn't one I remember in great detail.
We lost our table when they started mving things around to set up for the musicians. We had another one given to us. We never saw the name of the group of musicians, but they were very good. The pub got so crowded that we could barely hear the music. We went outside and sat on a bench that backed up to the llarge front window, and SURPRISE, without the crowd noise, we could hear better. So we stayed there and enjoyed the music. Eventually we started walking back to our B & B for the night. Jameson's certainly sooths the body