Category Archives: Ireland


We tourists love to see boats, and the older and rustier they are, the better we like them.

I first visited Ireland in 1976. It was a poor country, and I didn’t see anything which looked at all like the town of Dingle looks now.

That may be a pity for visitors who come looking for an authentic Irish experience, but I bet it’s a relief to the people who live here that the worst of the poverty is behind them. Continue reading


Filed under Ireland

DINGLE WAY – an Irish walk with character

Any dry stone wall looks good to me.

The ‘Dingle Way‘. It sounds like a gentle amble. It’s not a macho name like ‘Inca Trail’ or ‘Kokoda Track’.

And indeed, although along its 179km length there’s some slogging through mud, some scrambling over rocks and some modest climbs, it’s a walk that any active person can manage comfortably. But there’s more to it than just the walking. This is Ireland, and it’s a place with character. Continue reading


Filed under Hiking, Ireland

GREAT BLASKET ISLAND – the abandoned heart of Irish heritage

Great Blasket Island extreme left. It looks fine from here, but getting there is the problem.

The weather was against us today. We were planning to take a boat out to Great Blasket Island, off the coast from the most westerly part of Ireland. Continue reading


Filed under Ireland

CAPE CLEAR, IRELAND – where cars go to die

Cape Clear Island - the most southerly part of Ireland.

Cape Clear Island makes its own rules, it seems, especially about motor vehicles. Continue reading


Filed under Ireland

KILLER GARDEN – Blarney Castle

Welcome to our garden - just don't touch or smell anything!

Blarney Castle, keeping (pun intended) up with its neighbours in other parts of the world, loves to point out the ways defenders could kill attackers.

Holes for boiling oil pouring and dungeons for burying people alive are lovingly labelled.

Blarney goes a step further; the garden below the walls features poisonous plants – wolfbane, castor oil and that greatest of all killers, tobacco.

Castor Oil plant - death by laxative?

I knew lupins were damaging to the environment, but are they harmful to us too?

We were amused to find an empty cage, which formerly housed the marijuana plant. By the cage was the following sign:

Please, Officer, can we have our pot plant back?

Entrance to Blarney Castle and Gardens costs EUR10.

The writer was the guest of Failte Ireland.


Filed under Ireland


My first kiss - cold, awkward and uncomfortable.

In my ignorance of compulsory Irish travel experiences, I assumed that the Blarney Stone was sticking out of a wall somewhere, and that those who wanted to gain the Irish gift of eloquence could stroll up and give it a kiss.

I didn’t realise you needed to be a contortionist with nerves of steel. Continue reading


Filed under Ireland

COBH, IRELAND – Titanic tales

Every town should have (1) colourful fishing boats (2) a spectacular cathedral (3) a link to the Titanic

If we found Cork a little colourless yesterday, we had no such problem with its neighbouring port town Cobh today.

A large proportion of the bright paint in Ireland has ended up here, and the town enthusiastically stresses its 90 minute-long Titanic connection. Continue reading


Filed under Ireland