Ireland - Day 5

July 17, 2009 (click here for pictures) We left the Parknasilla Resort before 8 this morning. We didn't see anyone anywhere stirring around the hotel-rich people must sleep late. We started our circle of the Ring of Kerry in Sneem and were at the Staigue Fort in no time. Since it was around 8:30 no one was there-and really probably not many visitors make it here. It was up a 3 mile, 3 foot wide road-which seemed like it lasted forever! When we arrived we jumped out to explore (after last night, we didn't want to get stranded so we left the car running). The forts were in the shape of a ring, I think that is how the Ring of Kerry somehow got its name. Inside this fort were three sheep-like animals. They were scared of us and started climbing the walls but we did get a few photos.

We went clockwise through the ring and since we started early, we never met any traffic-except at the end when we counted 15 tour buses but we were on "big roads" then so it was less scary. We took a detour around the Skellig Ring, mainly to stop at the Skellig Chocolate Factory. On the way up there, it was another curvy narrow road with tall bushes on both sides. When you met someone else, you had to find a place to pull over quickly. We turned a corner and met a delivery truck-this was after not seeing any other car for miles-so it was very unexpected. Needless to say, we made it but had to clean out Robby's seat afterwards! Kidding! After everyone stopping suddenly, we backed up and found a place a let him by. At the chocolate factory, we were their first guest of the day. The lady gave us sample after sample of chocolate-even ones we were a little scared to try (ginger) but we kept eating them so she would keep giving us some. We took our chocolate down the road to St. Finan's Bay to have our snack. We tried to get a back picture and hopefully, we ended up with one. There was a dog that came up to us and brought Robby a rock to play catch with. If Robby didn't throw it, the dog started to bark and since we needed him out of the picture, Robby would have to push the camera button, throw the rock and run and sit down before the picture took. Needless to say, it took quite a few takes to get a decent picture.

We moved quickly around the ring and even took a detour to Valentia Island. After a little drive around the island, we opted to catch a ferry back to the mainland. The ferries are fun and they don't waste any time. This one was a little bit long than the other day-maybe 6 minutes. We needed ice and found a grocery store to stop at. We picked up a few things and headed on. We had finished the ring and decided to go up to the next peninsula and see Dingle. And Dingle was a happening place. There were many tour buses around. We took a walk around the city and even saw the statue of their famous local dolphin, Fungie. We consided driving the Dingle loop (only 30 minutes but possibly quite crowded) but decided not to since we still had a few hours to drive to Limerick. After our walk, we headed back to town and had our sandwiches before hitting the road again.

The drive to Limerick was pleasant and pretty straight. It took over 2 hours but there was lots to look at. The views that we have seen today have been gorgeous. The hills, the pastures, the cliffs, the ocean-it is just beautiful. We stopped by the Blennerville Windmill to take a picture and soon were in Limerick. We actually drove right by our hotel and drove around the city a bit looking for it before we found it. It is just a big city hotel but Robby has street parking now and we are right on the road that we need tomorrow.

This evening, we went to Bunratty Castle Medieval Dinner. We entered as the gave us Bunratty Mead (not any good). Next we went upstairs to have some Spiced Parsnip Soup (delicious potato soup), Spare Ribs with Honey and Whiskey Sauce (good but a little salty) and Breast of Chicken served with Potatoes and Veggies (good but I was full by then). For dessert, it was a Rastin which is fruit of the forest mouse on a biscuit base (let's just say chocolate cake would have been better!) Their was no silverware-only knives which was plenty and white and red wine also set on the tables. It was like a cruise ship because you sat with strangers-on one side we had the normal New York family, on my other side a New Yorker who asked if she could eat the broccoli off of a strangers plate and on Robby's side there was an Australian lady who continuously "shhh"ushed the crowd. We were glad we had one set of people to chat with! It was highly entertaining and there was even a show. Everyone was dressed in medieval clothes and sang along with the harp and violin. It was fun and we were stuffed when we left. We quickly made it back to Limerick and started planning for our day tomorrow.

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