Yes yes yes, no blogging on Tues...so sorry. Tues after bidding a fond farewell to Katarina in Schull we headed North. Taking Katarina's advice we went through Bantry, Ballylickey and Glenagriff and into Kenmare. We were not disappointed. Someone told me that in Ireland, every view is a postcard and so far I find that to be true. I have yet to find a terrible view. Jillian drove and managed once again not to kill us and I navigated/ photographed. And in all modesty, I seriously kick some butt navigating these Irish roads. We havent gotten too lost and oddly always end up where need to be. Which is amazing considering the narrow roads, funky signs, misc highways/motorways and of course the frustrating round-a-bouts. We got a little turned around in Kenmare, which is understandable considering that our bladders were going to explode. We unfortunately missed the Killarney National Park but we hit Killarney. Of course the song "Christmas in Killarney" that my 5th grade class sang was ringing in my head. After Killarney we went through Milltown,Castlemaine, and Bootleens, which took us onto the Dingle penninsula, where they only speak gaelic. But even with signs in Gaelic, we managed to make it through Inch, Anascul, and finally Lispole and the Dingle Seal Sanctuary.
3 words: OH MY GOD. Loved it. As Jillian is with cheese, so I am with animals. I of course annoyed the heck outta the staff and most likely my sister. But she was a sport. The center, was only 2 years old and was barely surviving their second summer. They have 12 patients: 11 Harbor seals (they call them common seals) and 1 grey seal ( which ive never seen only in books)They also have a santuary for birds and had tons of them flocking around, outside the seal pens of course. Everything from a peacock, all different kinds of ducks, geese and chickens, plus wild birds. There is a boardwalk that you are able to walk around a marsh area. The seal areas are broken up into 2 areas: the kennels and the nursery pools. The kennels ( there are 6) are each equipped with their own heat lamps, small pool and protection from the weather. They also have a contraption that is hung on the wall out of the way when not in use and then folds down to protect the animal and also to keep them stationary, almost like a box around them. I found it pretty cool. They were using it on one of the HS who spent the day at the vet due to a large prop wound and a crushed " pinky" bone. She came back when they were feeding at 4, tubed her and then put the box over her. The were tubing the others that were in the other kennels as well. 2 of them were in the midst of fish school and were being hand fed in the small pools and in my opinion were doing very well. They both were almost ready to be moved. The other 3 were still being tubed. One was the grey (name was Narnia) he was all fluffy and white still wearing his lanugo coat which he ll wear for another 2 weeks. They keep theirs on for 3 weeks where as hs shed theirs within a week to 10 days. He is only a few days old and they think he was premature which was why he was abandoned. The rest of them are all free feeding in 7-8ft deep pools. They have 3 that are all connected and the seals can move at will between them. They get fed herring and mackeral and Allie, who I talked to the most, said there was no herring in her bin, but it all looked like herring to me. Their tubing procedures is similar to the NMMCs (allie asked me if it was) their tubes are bigger (prob the same size as the csl ones we used) and they use funnels. They dont have access to Mulit milk and use a fish mash and lactate mixture. Lactate I assume is similar to electrolytes. I asked about their medical care, their goverment paperwork and their funding. Their medical care, they pay for at a discount and give mostly injections. Their goverment papaerwork is similar to ours and their funding comes from their tourist revenues. They are also short staffed (all are volunteer) and i mentioned hey I could stay. They were excited about that and i talked to Laura, who is in charge of day to day operation. I left my resume and she gave me her email. We talked about me coming back in the winter when its grey seal pup season (!). The staff stays in a house in Dingle and groceries (according to Allie who is an Aussie) are taken care of. Laura asked if i have been to Ireland in the winter. Me and Jill mentioned we come from the great State of Ohio where it snows for 6 mos. They said its mostly wet and cold. I described Crescent City and apparently its pretty much the same. Considering that it started to rain when they were feeding... which I have done... I say so. So...anyone want to come volunteer in Ireland with me over the winter???? I mean what am I doing ... i have no plans for December or January. Crazy right? Riiight.
Well, there is tons more but it stopped raining, the suns out and Jill is (finally) ready to go. The days wasting. Ill steal the computer first this evening so I can finish~ cheers. Kaitie
So I get to blog first tonight- yeay!
Anyways, After the Dingle Seal Sanctuary, we continued up the coast to Kilkee and Jillian suggested we head out to Loop Head. Loop Head, is one of the places in a story Ive read. It has a lighthouse and amazing view of its own cliffs. The day was clear and windy. I got some awesome photos. We finally continued onto Quilty. Sea Crest is a very cute working farm. It has marvelous views of Clare and on clear days you can even see the Cliffs of Mohr. Jillian decided she wanted to hear some traditional music and read about the Kilfernora Ceili Band who has been playing for 100 yrs. We went to Linannes the local pub where they play every wed night and ate dinner (Jill had Lamb stew and I had potato and leek soup) and stayed well after 1030. We got back and I read and she blogged.
This morning, after a yummy breakfast courtesy of Angela our hostess, we showered ,changed, I blogged the above and we headed out to the Cliffs of Mohr and the Burren. It was slightly raining but the sun kept peeking through. We got there and walked the path up to O'briens tower took some photos (along with about 50 other peeps) and then headed up the opposite way, towards the south. The Cliffs are a high tourist attraction and they have a visitors center and the paths are all paved. At least to the north which is where most start including us. To the south you can go to a certain point and then there are great big concrete blocks, but usually everybody (us included) climb over and around the barricades and ignore the warning signs to walk the path to Hags Head on the southern most tip of the cliffs. The area where you climb over is well worn by people ignoring common sense. Its kinda amusing. We only went a few yards from that point then took our pics and turned around. Plus there was a storm moving in. We walked into the visitors center and walked around there and then saw all we came to see and decided to leave. After the Cliffs we drove to the Clare Heritage Center to possibly look up our ancestors that had enough of Ireland and decided to come to the US. Well of course we dont have enough info on our great- great grandfather and have to do more research back in the states. We then had lunch at a local place (i had a blt and jill had smoked salmon) and then went through the Burren. The Burren (pronounced "burn") is an amazing geological area. There are castle ruins, ancient tombs and rock formations no where else on earth. Theres a famous tomb and we decided to stop and walk around. We then continued onto Ballyvaughn where the gentleman from Kilfernora said it is "the prettiest drive". He was very right. We enjoyed the drive immensly. Even stopped a few times for some sight seeing. We headed back towards Ennistymon and stopped for petrol (gas). We pulled in and filled up and my sister had to go in to pay. It took longer than normal. Apparently, she was chatting up the good-looking Irishman. She asked where he goes to have fun and he gave her a name of a local club where we are (I guess) spending tomorrow evening. Ohhh my sister. She was all smiles and excited that she still has her game. What game that is I have no idea. She is currently watching an British Talk show which is showcasing P Diddy hanging out with the royals- Jillian is finding this immensley humorous. I find that she wants to watch this when she gets back in the states and she has no cable- humorous. hehehe.
We headed back to Quilty and decided to stop and watch the sunset in Spanish point. It was worth it. Now im going to hand this thing back over to her and she can tell her side of the story.
ps Im at 990 pics...i was at 549 on tues and 679 yesterday... will I make it?