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Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Emerald Isle 2: Tipperary to Dingle Town

Guinness man at Tipperary

This is the first of several retrospective postings to complete the European section of the photoblog. which we are continuing because of the rich photographic feast they contain. In addition to Emerald Isle 2 you will find two additional new Irish sections at the links below, or in the listing at the right.

Emerald Isle 3: Dingle, Kerry and Beara
Emerald Isle 4: Cork, Kilkenny, and the Canal

The day after arriving at the Rock of Cashel, we set off for Dingle traveling across Ireland on small country roads at high speed bouncing between the hedgerows, passing through Tiperary, Emly and Kilmallock photographing the towns and nipping up to any vantage points to take in the almost saturated greenness of the Emerald Isle on a treacherously uncertain summers day.

Scenes from Tipperary Main Street

View and panorama of the cemetery with Celtic Crosses

Catholic roadside shrine to English- Irish war victims

The church at Emly

A castle become a farm in the fields

Scenes from Kilmallock a walled town with town gates

The Kilmallock ruined abbey

All day long the weather was changing rapidly. A shower here, a patch of sunshine there, so that it was almost impossible to predict whether or not we would be able to camp as at Cashell or whether the whole place would be damp and miserable by nightfall. This seems to be something characteristic of Ireland that must have something to do with its proximity to the end of the North Atlantic Conveyor giving restless moist winds and the relatively flat rolling landscape that makes it hard for the weather to settle on any terrestrial pattern.

Two panoramas of the Irish countryside showing rapidly changing weather conditions

A series of panoramas of the Emerald Isle heading to Dingle Peninsula

We skirted Tralee, which according to accounts was little loss, driving on up the coast late afternoon and then ascending the high excruciatingly narrow mossy Connor Pass over the Dingle peninsula, whose summit looks like a microscopic version of the pass linking Kashmir and Ladark in the Himalayas.

The beginning of the peninsula looking out to sea

As you begin the ascent there is a quizzical sign in several European languages warning you that if you are a bus to turn around now because you won't make it up the very narrow one lane section that goes over the summit.

The road to Connor Pass turns upward and warns buses to turn around!

Panorama looking back to the coast

Winding on up

The coast recedes

The grassy top of the valley has several small tarns

The final leg of the pass is almost Himalayan in appearance

Craggy highlands very rare in Ireland

The road narrows!

A final look back to the north coast.

The other side is fogged out and raining

By the time we arrived in Dingle, which is a very fancy, colourful Irish tourist town, the Irish perfidious rain came down and we found ourselves literally outside the Hideout Hostel for 45 Euro with a free overnight parking space outside, which is where I did the previous posting, so we had a comfortable night in soft beds and a warm room with a hot shower and a nice little kitchen and free breakfast - a bit more sumptuous that a wet night on the grass in a camp site.

The Hideout Hostel our resting place in the rain

Dingle main street

A row of pebble stone houses

The harbour area

The yacht marina and fishing boat harbour

However after arriving in Europe and using rental cars and camp site we had many problems that beset us in keeping online, both technological and cultural, which is part of the reason this blog has only been completed in full after our return to New Zealand.

We brought with us a 240v inverter which was designed to recharge any equipment, but was over-designed and died on the first day of use in Ireland, leaving us with real recharging problems which then made looking for free wi-fi in the towns we went through very difficult when we found that, unlike the backpacker hostels through Latin America, 100% of which offered free wi-fi, camp sites, even when charging a fortune and having expensive bars, games rooms and restaurants, as many do in Europe, failed almost completely to live up to the electronic age throughout our trip through Europe.

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