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Great Blasket Island
Fri 5-Sept 03 Dublin - Bill Bailey!
Went to see the English comedian Bill Bailey again (from Black Books fame), this time in the Ambassador Theatre, Dublin. Very funny and clever as expected, although a bit disappointed that the set was about 85% the same as when we'd seen him in Kilkenny back in May. Still enjoyed, and his music stuff is absolutely brilliant!
Sun 7-Sept 03 Dublin
Sat 13-Sept 03 Dublin - "Barry Murphy's Comedy Circus" @ Vicar St.
This evening went to our second "Barry Murphy's Comedy Circus" at Vicar Street, Dublin (the third one overall). This is a Comedy evening of both established and up-and-coming comedians/comediennes with some improvising/ad-libbing and friendly rivalry. This time it consisted of:
Barry Murphy - very funny with a dry sense of humour when himself; just as good as his German alter-ego 'Gunther Grun' calling all Irish 'Pixie-Heads'!
Reuben - Glad to see him again - a very talented and funny Mime artist, including some improvisation in a sketch with Tara Flynn which was hilarious
Tara Flynn - other than the voice of O2's voicemail service, also a good comedienne!
Anne Gildea - very strange funny poetry!
The best however, without being biased (honest) was a New Zealand duo called Flight of the Conchords - a folk music comedy act, including "Frodo - Don't wear the Ring", supposedly an outtake from 'The Lord of the Rings' soundtrack. Absolutely hilarious and stole the show even though the (Irish) audience were quite rude to them, 'baa-ing' and repeatedly asking for the haka!
An extremely funny evening again - Think we'll have to try and go again next month!
Today we decided to go and visit Rathfarnham Castle, in the suburb of Rathfarnham, Dublin. Very picturesque on the outside, being one of the few whitewashed castles we have seen (or white-painted in this day in age!). Actually a fortified house rather than a castle. The tour of the 'castle' itself was very interesting, even though most of it is still being repaired (or in need of it). Some very impressive stained glass windows.
Fri 19-Sept 03 Dublin - Adare (Co. Limerick)
Finished work early (3:30pm) and headed off towards Adare, Co. Limerick. Were going to Co. Kerry tomorrow to visit the Great Blasket Island, and so this was a convenient midway point for tonight. Stayed at Abbey Villa B&B in Adare .
Got on the road again early, heading down to Dunquin at the bottom of the Dingle Peninsula. It had been raining over night and didn't look too promising for a trip out to another remote island, but the weather improved as the day got on. Got to Dunquin wharf just after midday and were able to get a ferry across to the Great Blasket Island straight away - only a 25 min trip across. The Blasket Islands (there are 5 or 6 of them) are the western-most point of Ireland and of Europe - the next stop west is the east coast of the USA!
Horse and Wagon going around Dingle Peninsula
Great Blasket Island is a very pretty and peaceful place, with lovely views back towards Dunquin/Dingle Peninsula, as well as across to the Iveragh Peninsula (Ring of Kerry) too. There was a ghost-town (or ghost-village) which were mostly roofless and abandoned since the 1950's, a nice sandy beach and even some more fluffy donkeys! The village had housed about 160 people, in fairly harsh conditions. In 1953 a boy was injured on the island, but unfortunately there was a bad storm that prevented any contact with the mainland for several weeks and so they weren't able to get any medical attention for him and he ended up dying. Hence the final decision by the Blasket Islanders to abandon the island for a better life on the mainland - many also left for America.
(Mostly) Deserted Village, Great Blasket Island, Co. Kerry
Great Blasket Island
Great Blasket Island, looking
back towards Dingle Peninsula
View from Great Blasket Island - roughly in direction of Dunquin
We started on a short walk up the hill and ended up walking around the a large proportion of the island. Lots if ruins scattered around the place - little cottages as well as stone shelters for drying cut peat (to burn for heating). Had scones and cake at the 'Cafe' (really just someone's house!). Although only there about 3 hours, it was a very pleasant visit and we were definitely glad we had made the effort to head back down to do it.
Great Blasket Island, with Dingle Peninsula (Slea Head) in background
Great Blasket, looking towards one of the other Blasket Islands
After getting back onto the mainland we headed to The Blasket Centre in Dunquin to learn a bit more about the Islands and their literary tradition that produced an inordinately large number of writers. Very interesting. Stayed the night in Dunquin.
After another very good cooked Irish breakfast at the B&B we started heading back on the long trip to Dublin - we had to return the rental car this afternoon too! In an effort to try to find some of the many Ogham stones that litter Dingle we detoured off to Kilmalkedar Church, where we did find a reasonable Ogham stone and an interesting Celtic Sun-Dial. We then visited the Riasc Monastic Settlement nearby (or at least the remains of it) that we had also missed on our March trip down this way. Despite being in ruins it was still quite impressive, with some more good Celtic art carved into the rocks.
Headed back onto the main road and pointed the car in the direction of Dublin.
Kilmalkedar Church and Ogham Stone, near Dingle, Co. Kerry
Riasc Monastic Settlement (remains), near Dingle
Celtic Rock Carvings
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