Sunday, August 30, 2009

Around Ireland

This year Lou and I decided to tour our own backyard and take a trip south, primarily to see Kerry and Cork.
As much as anything else, I was really looking forward to some time off to relax and the scenery was going to be a great bonus.

Seemingly we haven't had much of a summer this year - surprise surprise - but I wasn't expecting Mediterranean weather; as long as it stayed relatively dry it would be fine by me.

Not a chance.

As we left the house the sun was shining but the further south we ventured, the worse it became and it was decidedly overcast when we reached our campsite at Mountshannon in County Clare by the edge of Lake Derg. No sooner had we pitched and settled down, the rain began and did not stop until the next afternoon. I don't mean the ordinary kind of rain, I am talking deluge.

Kayaking on lake Derg was supposed to be on the agenda but the waves were rough and the rain still consistent. Instead we took to the road towards the Cliffs of Moher. On at least 3 occasions we were met with a back log of cars waiting to cross 30 feet or so of flooded road up to a foot deep in places. Some roads were closed off entirely.

Unfortunately this was the weather forecast for the entire week ahead and although some of the scenery is truly spectacular, it was enjoyed for the most part from the comfort of the front seat.

In particular, the ring of Kerry is most beautiful and if you have the opportunity to make this trip, I heartily recommend it. On our way south, we dipped west into the Dingle peninsula which is replete with village after village of picturesque shop fronts and a hive of tourist bustle which is very charming indeed.

We stopped for the evening at Cahirciveen due to its proximity to the islands of Skellig and booked onto a trip, weather permitting. Can you see where this is going? Skellig islands are two small, steep and rocky islands lying about 16 km west of Bolus Head on the Iveragh Peninsula in County Kerry, Ireland. They are famous for their thriving gannet and puffin populations, and for an early Christian monastery that is a UNESCO World Heritage Site with one island containing a sixth-century Christian monastery perched on a ledge close to the top.

This was one of our main points of interest and the forecast looked good to go the next day. As we were eating breakfast in the hostel we stayed in that night, the operator informed us that there would be no crossings today and the rest of the week due to a hurricane forming in the Atlantic.

The forces of nature were certainly against us on this holiday and although we enjoyed ourselves to a degree, the weather brought a literal and metaphorical dampener on things. Next summer we shall certainly be looking for a holiday abroad.

Photos on Facebook

Saturday, August 01, 2009

The Sound of Settling

We moved into our new house on Tuesday which was quicker than we expected as the lease was from the 31st July but a welcome date change nonetheless.

It has been a tiring week of moving, lifting, shifting, arranging and sorting through boxes which has left little time for much else although I did get out to the cinema on Tuesday to watch Moon.
Moon is written and directed by Duncan Jones and this is his first feature length film. His full name is Zowie Duncan Haywood Bowie so you can guess who his famous father is.

That's all rather irrelvent though because Moon is an excellent old-school science-fiction drama where astronaut Sam Bell (Same Rockwell) is coming to the end of his 3 year contract where he is alone on the moon, solely responsible for keeping machines working on mining supplies of helium-3 to send back to earth. However, due to his isolation, he begins to hallucinate and a strange, gripping story unravels as he finds he is not alone.

It had a limited run in the QFT but I would recommend renting it when it comes out later in the year.

It is incredible that we have been back in Northern Ireland for 6 months now. The time has moved so quickly and there are a lot of friends we haven't seen enough of since our return which will have to rectified before the summer ends. Speaking of which, it seems we had the usual 2 weeks of good weather before the usual Summer Scattered Showers prevailed. It's times like this that makes you miss the seemingly endless summer down under.

The house is more or less as we would like it now although there's always little things you forget you need, once had but gave away and need to buy again so we are constantly making lists of things and visiting shops more often than I'd like (never).

The weekend is a welcome break to pause and take in the new surroundings, relax, stretch and take account of things. I hope you're having a good time whatever you're up to. See you soon.

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