Two Weeks in Belfast: Susan's First Trip to Ireland- Part 2

It took me a full day to figure out how to make my way across Ireland by bus and train to Dublin, and the following day I crossed the border into Northern Ireland. By this point, I had been rescued by kind strangers on quite a few occasions. I remember climbing aboard a bus in Belfast only to realize that the money I had exchanged when I landed in Ireland was no longer the currency in Northern Ireland. As I stared at the change in my hand trying to make sense of this, an older gentleman in the front seat leaned forward and, without saying a word, deposited the money needed to allow me to take my seat. He smiled and gestured me to a seat, then gave me a quick lesson on the different coins and their value.

Finally I made it to Giro’s Cafe and my group. There were about eight of us who came to the work camp, from Germany, Italy, France, and maybe Australia. We worked with the young people from the collective. For two weeks we tackled projects in Belfast and in the countryside outside the city. One of our first projects was to organize a “jumble sale”. Once I realized this meant rummage sale in my vernacular, it became a bit less confusing. Still, trying to make change when the crowds descended and I didn’t know my pounds from my pence or my shillings made for a very taxing day!

Another project our group tackled was preparing for a punk rock festival at a farm in the countryside. We headed out several days before the festival and stayed in an abandoned wing of the farmhouse. The setting was lovely and primitive. Since I came to Ireland from a rental in an old farmhouse in Vermont without electricity, the lack of creature comforts did not bother me, and I found it quite romantic to be sleeping in the straw and rationing water from the rain barrels. We mowed the field and set up parking, dug a hole for a bathtub to be be used to collect spring water for the festival goers, and finally the night of the festival arrived.

I was a recorder player and a folk music fan; I don’t think I had ever heard punk rock before. It was a long, loud night, and I kept wondering why this music all sounded so angry. Part of the answer to that came not long afterwards when the group went on an outing to see some of the sights of the Northern Ireland countryside. We spent the day touring the Giant’s Causeway and walking across the Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge (not yet a major tourist destination in the 1980s). On our way back to Belfast in the evening, our van was stopped by a British Army patrol on a small back road. The back of the van was filled with a motley crew of German, French, Italian, and American young people, but the soldiers took just a cursory look at all of our passports. Then they asked Petesy and Andi to get out of the van. The van had no windows in the back where we were sitting. We could not see or hear what was happening, and we never found out. All we knew was that our friends were gone for a very, very long time, and when they came back their mood was black.

Belfast Mural 1989

Belfast Mural 1989

We rode in silence back to the city. By this time in the trip, I had walked past soldiers on the street with machines guns trained on passersby; I had visited the grave of Bobby Sands who died on a hunger strike in prison; I had viewed the political murals painted across the city; and I had commemorated internment night with a several story high bonfire watching police and IRA members clash until one boy was killed with a rubber bullet. However, the anger and resentment of whatever had transpired during our routine traffic stop on our way back from a day of sightseeing taught me more about what life was like for the Northern Irish than any other lesson.

For the young men and women of Giro’s Cafe, their refusal to identify as Catholic or Protestant but simply as Northern Irish made no difference to those who controlled too much of their lives. They were still targeted by patrols, they were still on the dole because there was little work to be had, and they were angry and resentful. Despite their difficult situation, they were willing to take in a group of us and allow us a glimpse into their lives that summer of 1989, and for that I am grateful to them.

How Not to Travel: Susan's First Trip to Ireland- Part 1

It was 30 years ago this month that I set off on my first trip to Ireland. It was practically my first time traveling anywhere actually, and somehow, my nineteen year old self decided that a solo trip to another continent would be a good starting point for my life of adventure. Just traveling alone to Ireland was not quite daring enough, so I decided to begin my trip with a stay in Belfast.

Northern Ireland in the 1980s was racked with “the Troubles”, the fierce partisan conflict between Unionists, who were loyal to the crown and wanted to remain a part of the United Kingdom, and Nationalists, who wanted Northern Ireland to join with the Republic of Ireland for a United Ireland. Thousands of people were killed during the Troubles, which did not end until the Good Friday Accord of 1998. At the time of my visit, Belfast was a sharply divided city, patrolled by the British Army, with devastating unemployment and fierce tensions between factions.

Into this difficult and dangerous setting I bumbled, a naive teenager from rural Vermont. I had arranged to join a group through the Vermont based Work Camps International, which set up volunteer opportunities around the globe. In exchange for food and housing, I was to spend two weeks working with a group of volunteers from Northern Ireland and the rest of Europe under the auspices of Giro’s Cafe, a vegetarian, punk, anarchist group.

Just getting to Belfast was a harrowing ordeal, as I was completely unfamiliar with traveling and was astonishingly unprepared for the journey. Add to that a terrible flight that would have been comic had it not been so traumatic. I had purchased a one way ticket with Air Pakistan from New York to Dublin, as their Belfast flight was somehow unbookable. The flight I was on was their first on this route, and was non-stop to Shannon then on to Dublin. Departure was delayed but unremarkable, but hours into the flight we were suddenly landing, in the dark, in a place claimed to be Iceland. Passengers were grumbling, but we were assured this was a scheduled refueling stop (for our non-stop flight). There was nothing to see out the plane windows, and there were lots of clankings and clangings from the belly of the plane. In my memory, this unscheduled stop lasted hours, though it may not have been that long. I can only say for certain that it lasted long enough for my fellow passengers grumbling to turn to anger and finally outrage at being held in the dark in an unknown destination while clearly something major was happening to the plane!

When we finally got underway again, we were informed that when we landed in Shannon all luggage would be offloaded, and passengers would have a certain amount of time to claim their luggage and anything remaining would then be reloaded and continue on to Dublin. In other words, Dublin travelers would be trapped for an extra 90 minutes or longer on this plane awaiting our luggage to (hopefully) rejoin us! This was too much to bear, and I followed the lead of my seatmates and decided to get out of there and find my way to Dublin and then Belfast some other way.

I had no idea what to expect when getting off the plane, but I somehow managed to get through immigration and collect my heavy rucksack before it got reloaded onto the plane. Just after passing through customs and the door that warned there was no return beyond this point, I realized I had left my bag holding my wallet, all my money, and my passport at a table on the other side! Panicked and sleep deprived, I could think of nothing to do but stand in the middle of the arrivals hall and cry. This was my first introduction to the incredible kindness of the Irish people, as a concerned official stopped to ask me whatever was the matter. Upon hearing my tale of woe, he nipped back through to where I told him I had taken out my purse, and within a minute he had restored my purse with all its contents safely back to me. I was one very lucky fool!

Coming next: Part 2: Two weeks in Belfast

Tracing Ancestors

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I grew up hearing the story of my Irish Fenian great-great grandfather, Daniel O’Connell. According to the family story, Daniel came to the United States to fight in the U.S. Civil War, then returned to Ireland to teach the newly formed rebel group, the Fenian Brotherhood, what he had learned of military tactics. We O’Connells have great pride in our Irish heritage, but we are much sketchier on facts. Our family story does not have a lot of detail that can be tracked down and verified, but when I first began traveling to Ireland, I was excited to see what I could find out once I was actually there.

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I have chased the details of the very extended O’Connell family from genealogy websites to the National Library of Ireland, to the Kerry Archives and through local history exhibits. Every visit gives me a chance to delve a bit deeper in to Irish history and into O’Connell history, and I have learned much from my visits and my research. So far, though, I have not found the magic piece of information that makes it clear exactly “where I belong” in the O’Connell family tree.

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I think my most important lesson has been one of acceptance of a certain amount of mystery. While I still dream of being able to stand on the exact spot that my emigrating ancestor once lived, I have come to accept a broader sense of my family history. Walking down O’Connell Street in Cahersiveen, shopping in the O’Connell Food Shop in Portmagee, and standing on the beach in Derrynane, home to O’Connells since the 1700s, I have come to see my heritage as rooted in the region rather than in one specific place.

A conversation I had with a waitress in Fertha’s Pub last year summed it up very well. When she found out we were O’Connells, she replied, “Ah, well, we’re related! My mother is one of the Derrynane O’Connells.” With that, she headed off to attend to another table. But that summed it up for her; we had established a shared ancestry, and the details were unimportant.

Rhododendron Forest

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Last May, my sister and I spent a week in the Dublin area and one day we took the train out to the seaside village of Howth. I had read about a mountainside that had been planted in rhododendrons over a century ago, and although I only had a vague sense of how to get there, we set out to see what we could find.

What we found was a garden straight out of a fairy tale, with magic, beauty, a little foreboding, and a very happy ending. We climbed the road out of town past Howth Castle, which has been in the same family for over 800 years. The road led on to a hotel above the castle, and behind the hotel, a small path led back toward the gardens.

Entering the garden

Entering the garden

We timed our visit well with many of the rhododendrons in full flower. In my home state of Vermont, rhododendrons are a small shrub that struggle to survive the harsh winters, but rhododendrons in Ireland do not struggle with harsh winter weather. These plants had been planted out along the cliff face in the late 1800’s, and because conditions are so favorable, theyhave grown and thrived for generations since then. Our first glimpse of the gardens was beautiful, 20’ tall plants in the late afternoon sun were luminescent in their shades of pink and rose and lavender. As we walked under the first few plants, a pathway appeared and we followed it in.

Rhododendron pathway

Rhododendron pathway

The pathway soon slanted uphill, and the forest around us closed in. The path itself was clear, but there were turns off the path and we wondered which way we were going. Once we headed in to the rhododendron forest, we saw petals on the ground and occasional glimpses out over the garden below us but for the most part, the flowers were high above our heads. We climbed, and we climbed, and we climbed. When we began to really question whether we would be lost forever in this maze of pathways, two young hikers and their dog came along and reassured us we were headed up to the plain above the garden where we could survey the rhododendron forest from above.

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The pathway widened out once we got off the cliff face, and not long after, we climbed out of the forest of mildly menacing twisted trunks to emerge on a rocky expanse. We left the twilight of the thick rhododendron forest, and as promised, the patchwork of colorful flowering trees opened up below. And what a sight it was! My sister and I sat on the edge of a rocky cliff, looking down over swaths of color, with Howth Castle, the bay, and the island of Ireland’s Eye out to sea. It was a perfect evening and a very happy ending to our quest to find the rhododendron garden.

Rhododendrons far below.

Rhododendrons far below.

Derrynane: Something for Everyone

The famous Ring of Kerry Road whisks visitors around the Iveragh Peninsula in a day long montage of dramatic scenery, twisting roads, ocean views, wandering sheep, and stone ruins. The drive is spectacular, but visitors can better appreciate the real beauty of the area by getting off the tourist path and into the countryside.

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One of the most photographed views in Ireland is at the Coomakista Pass. After driving through some progressively narrower and twistier roads, the large parking area at Coomakista provides a much needed break for the driver, and a chance for all to get out and see the striking views of green fields running down to sparkling water, with the islands of Deenish and Scariff pointing up out of the ocean beyond. It is an idyllic panorama, and for those who can take the time to do more than snap a few photos and drive away, there is much to explore here off the tourist road.

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Derrynane National Historic Park is tucked into a sheltered fold of protected land between the mountain and the ocean, just below the Coomakista path, and is a spectacular spot to explore. Home to the O’Connell family from 1702 to 1964, the Derrynane House is now under the care of the Irish government. The thoughtfully restored manor house turned museum is an excellent destination for those who would like to learn more about Irish history, and particularly about the Liberator of Ireland, Daniel O’Connell.

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The beautifully restored gardens are a draw for horticulturalists. The climate in Derrynane is very mild due to the Gulf Stream just offshore, and tropical plants such as palm trees and tree ferns grace the gardens. There is a South American collection of plants as well as numerous rhododendron, azalea, and hydrangea varieties. A spectacular variety of echium over 12’ high is a real show stopper and a pathway that winds through a gunnera forest delights the kids and grownups alike.

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Kids and grownups also love the woodland paths with the hidden fairy houses throughout the woods. The hardwood forest is a beautiful place to wander, and the pathways lead past several heritage sites. There are the remains of an old stone ringfort and sou’terrain along one path, and another takes you to Daniel O’Connell’s round summer house. Throughout the paths though, are little fairy houses, most placed at the level for the youngest visitors to best enjoy.

The long crescent of Derrynane Beach stretches from sand dunes to historic house to the ruins on Abbey Island far beyond. The brilliant turquoise blue of the water and the wild backdrop of dunes make Derrynane Beach a favorite of all who visit. The Derrynane Seashore Nature Trail leads through the sand dunes and marks areas of ecological significance, the outcroppings of rock make for rewarding tide pool explorations, and the rhythm of the waves advancing to shore in this sheltered bay create a mesmerizing rhythm that may just engrave itself into your soul and pull you back to Derrynane again and again. It has had that effect on me.

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Gardens and Wildflowers of Ireland's Southwest

Primroses flowering atop a stone wall.

Primroses flowering atop a stone wall.

I was raised on those English stories in which primroses dot the woods and foxgloves fill the hedgerows. When I began gardening on my own and tried growing these flowers, it quickly became apparent that in my Vermont garden, those stories were the stuff of fairy tales.

Fuschia along the roadside.

Fuschia along the roadside.

As an avid gardener, visits to Ireland’s southwest coast are always full of spectacular surprises however, as some of those fairy tales blossom before my eyes. Ireland’s Iveragh peninsula (the “Ring of Kerry”) juts out into the Atlantic Ocean, and the Gulf Coast channels warm waters to the region year round. So, while Ireland never gets really hot, it also never gets really cold, which allows for an amazing diversity of flowers and plants, as well as a very long growing season.

Wild orchid.

Wild orchid.

On an early trip to Derrynane, I was amazed to find pale yellow primroses literally dotting the forest floor as I walked through the park, and last year in May I got to see foxgloves flowering in the ditches, on stones walls, and in those hedgerows from the stories of my youth. Tall fuschia hedges grow wild along the roadsides, and I have seen it in flower as early as April and as late as November. Wild orchids can be found in bogs and pasture land.

There are some spectacular gardens in this area that take advantage of the temperate climate. Tree peonies and tree ferns grow here, as well as eucalyptus trees, stands of bamboo, and rhododendrons that grow to tree height. The long growing season means that plants we don’t see flowering together in the Vermont gardens I am accustomed to will be blooming at the same time in Ireland. There is always something new to see and learn when visiting an Irish garden, or wandering a hillside or back road.

Tree fern in the Derrynane Gardens.

Tree fern in the Derrynane Gardens.

Ringforts Revealed

Caherdaniel Ring Fort

Caherdaniel Ring Fort

Since my first visit to Ireland, one of the things that has struck me most profoundly is the visual history to see all around in the landscape. In North America, anything a few hundred years old is considered very old, while in Ireland you can walk among ruins that were built 1500 years ago! There are beautifully restored castles and ring forts and conserved sites throughout the county. I love to visit these, but in many way the unconserved sites just sitting in a field are even more striking to discover.

Cahergal Ringfort

Cahergal Ringfort

Last March, we spent a week in County Kerry not long after I had purchased an archaeological atlas of the Iveragh peninsula. I had poured over the contents for weeks, and then compared the listed sites to satellite images of the area. While I had found the beautifully restored ring forts of Staigue, Cahergal, and Leacanabuaile amazing feats of workmanship well worth the visit, I was surprised to find that I could pick out many other sites from the descriptions in the atlas compared against present day satellite images. I decided I would see what could be seen of these unrestored monuments during our trip.

Our first foray was down the hill from our house. My son and I went out early one morning, and while I had a sense of where I expected to find this ring fort, it took my son’s sharp and unbiased eyes to point out to me what was in front of us. I scanned the distant field where I expected to find it, and he pointed out that just belowe the overlook we had climbed was a round stone wall in a field. Climbing down to examine it, it was obvious that in this pasture was the remains of the ancient ring fort we were seeking. There was a clearly marked round stone wall, perhaps thirty feet in diameter, with an outer ring partially visible through the brambles and holly that had grown up around the stones. It was our first find, and thrilling to realize that this ancient structure, built sometime between 500-1000AD was still discernible if you knew where to look.

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The next one we found was easily seen on the satellite map. It was in a field between two houses, and had newer a stone wall bisecting the old structure. We set out to walk to the area on a beautiful morning, enjoying the stunning greens of the pasture, the young lambs frisking in the fields, the blue of the ocean in the distance. We stopped at one point to watch some rabbits hopping about the pasture, and it wasn’t until we had been staring at them in the distance for several minutes that it occurred to me what we were staring at. This field had a stone wall down the middle, and on either side was the slight outline of a rounded shape, the faint remains of the ring fort we were seeking! Had it not been for the rabbits we might have passed it by without ever noticing the underlying structure that revealed the ancient architecture still faintly visible.

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Our final find that trip was perhaps the most intact structure, but in an overgrown field that made it hard to see all that we were looking at. Though the structure was just off the road, we found ourselves scrambling up a slippery slope, with nothing but brambles to grasp to pull us up. Soaked through, we finally made it to the site of the fort, which was situated with a commanding view out over Derrynane Bay. The entrance to the structure was flanked by two upright slabs. As I explored the inner ring of the fort, my son discovered the remains of a souterrain, an underground chamber, within the thick stone wall. Outside the fort was a second wall, which created a rounded a laneway, partially obstructed by holly trees and gorse. Our explorations were cut short when the skies opened and we were soaked by a spring shower, but I hope to return to this remarkable spot someday.

Susan climbs out of a souterrain.

Susan climbs out of a souterrain.

People have lived on these lands for millennia, and the gentle climate, where the ground never freezes, allows for remarkable stability of the built heritage of the area. If you find yourself in Ireland, I hope you can take some to just wander and allow the countryside to reveal its hidden treasures. There is much to see, whether labeled and marketed or left quietly in a field.

Curative Waters

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In Ireland, many natural springs have been associated with sacred sites and curative properties for much longer than histories have been recorded. Holy wells abound in Ireland, and as with many Christian icons can be traced back through the ages to even earlier times. Some are dedicated to the Virgin Mary, others to local, lesser known saints, and many carry the promise of special curative powers. Traditionally, many wells had special days of celebration and “patterns” or walking rituals that would be performed on the saint’s day to bring about healing.

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One such site is the Dromore Holy well situated in woodland along Kenmare Bay. One misty day we stopped to explore the enticing path that led through a gap in the stone wall. Down through the ivy cover woods we followed the well marked path, and appreciated the stone steps laid out in the steeper areas which made the journey quite easy. Despite the winds and rain along the road, tucked down in the under story of the woods we were quite dry as we made our way among the ferns and fuschia bordering the path.

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The spring trickles beneath the roots of two large trees, with mossy stones bounding the edges. This quiet spot on a wooded hillside seems just the place to come for curative waters, and to leave behind a token in exchange for the restoration you receive here. Some visitors leave a rock,a shell, or a coin on the stone ledge. Others tie a small piece of cloth to a tree branch. Whether you place your faith in the Christian saints, the Goddess, the fairies, or mother Nature you are likely to leave here feeling closer to your own inner peace.

In Which a Flexible Itinerary Saves the Day

The apartment we were renting overlooked the stunning scenery of Derrynane Harbor with a view out to Deenish and Scariff Islands and the Atlantic Ocean beyond. On this March morning that straight shot out to the Atlantic also meant buffeting winds and driving rain that had us trapped at the kitchen table discussing our plans for the day. Weather is very changeable in Ireland, and the rugged geography in County Kerry also contributes to different weather in areas that are not too far distant. We decided that we would drive inland and see if the weather was better for outdoor explorations once we got to the Killarney National Park, and if not maybe we would explore Killarney town.

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We made a mad dash for the car and set off on our travels. Over the Coomkista Pass to Waterville the road was exposed and the rain continued to lash at the car, but soon we turned inland following the road up to the Ballaghisheen Pass. This was a new road for us, and since today was a day of exploration it seemed like a good day to try a new route. This road follows the Inny River up a fertile valley between encroaching mountain ridges. The road wound between fields filled with sheep and we remarked on the plight of these very wet animals. Soon the Inny River was showing its wild side as it overflowed the banks and spread out over the surrounding fields. The sheep in these fields now faced more than just drenching rain as the river waters rose around them, and we passed by wondering how these sheep would fare if the rain did not let up.

The road was beautiful, passing through a wooded glen and then crossing the river via an arched stone bridge. Soon after the bridge a small stream had leaped its bed and was instead surging down the middle of the road and bubbling off to the other side some thirty feet downstream. We pulled over and contemplated our next actions. While we wondered about the safety of crossing this gushing water, a farm truck approached from the opposite direction, paused, and then plowed through. Clearly, the right vehicle could make it through without trouble, but was our rental vehicle the right vehicle? We decided that on a sparsely traveled road we didn’t know, heading up into the mountains, perhaps was not the time to see how much water the little car could drive through. Our plans aborted, we turned around, and decided instead to explore a side ride leading off past Knockroe Bog and on to Cahersiveen. We’d stop in for a meal at Fertha’s Bar, and then decide whether to take another route to Killarney or strike out in a different direction.

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Many of my favorite discoveries have not been planned excursions but just slow wanderings that allow us to take in whatever we pass by. Today was one such day; as we made our way down towards town, we passed the remains of a church and a small burial ground. We pulled over and despite the rain we got out to explore. This being the land of the O’Connells, we found many headstones bearing our name, as well as rows and rows of small stone markers with no engraving at all. It was a beautiful place and exploring the burial ground and then the medieval church ruins was all the more atmospheric for the rain that soaked us.

Now thoroughly wet through, we were grateful for the warmth of the snug at Fertha’s Bar, and soon were happily sipping Irish coffees and hot cocoas. We watched the world go by our window as we packed away a hearty meal, and as we were finishing our food, the skies cleared! Off we went to take advantage to the break in weather, first driving over to Valentia and stopping at the car park for the path to Bray Head. The wind was brisk, and as we considered whether to walk up to the tower the weather grew more severe, with gusts of wind and rain that kept us from traipsing off across the pastures.

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Our next stop was at the Kerry Cliffs, where luck was with us as the rain held off. We walked the short walk up to peer over the fence at the steep, stunning cliffs and the sea birds wheeling along the air currents. For the rest of the day we dodged the rain as we traveled along the Skellig Ring, a small road that leads over the mountain from Portmagee to St. Finian’s Bay then along to Ballinskelligs. We enjoyed the beautiful scenery, visited with locals out walking their dogs, stopped to view the Coom Wedge Tomb which is situated in a boggy field looking out to Ballinskelligs Bay. Our last stop of the day was at Ballinskelligs Beach, where we walked out to the ruins of the McCarthy Castle and up to the abbey beyond.

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Our wanderings took us nowhere near where we had planned that day, but the day was filled with surprises and delightful discoveries. I find that our best times in Ireland come when we have done the research to know about many places we might like to visit, but carry the flexibility to switch plans as needed to accommodate the weather, the interests of the group, and the surprises we pass along the way.

In Search of the Canglass Blow Hole

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It was a day of intermittent showers when I set off with my husband, son, and sister to see if we could find the Canglass Blow Hole. I’d seen photos, and I had a pretty good idea from satelite maps where I thought we would find it, but our quest was far from a certain one. We poked along a tiny road beyond Cahersiveen, but we pulled over in a turnout when another car overtook us on the road.

Instead of driving past, the driver stopped as he drew alongside, rolled down his window, and asked us, “Do ye know where you are? Do ye know where you’re going?” We explained that we did know where we were, and we thought we knew where we were going, but the hesitation in our voice must have been clear. When we revealed we were in search of the blow hole, he told us to follow him, and off he went down the road.

In a few short minutes, our mystery friend pulled in to a small turnout with just enough room for us to park as well. He directed us to head over the fence, across the stream, careful through the bog, and follow the cliff edge until we found our destination, and then he headed in the opposite direction, camera in hand to catch the light on the water by the harbor.

It was slow going. We were not following a pathway, or even a walking trail. We jumped the stream, hopped from hummock to hummock through the bog, and then followed the sheep trails along the cliffside. Our surroundings were stunning, and though the sky was foreboding over the near mountain, and showers passed out to sea towards the Blasket Islands, our luck held and we remained dry. As we picked our way along, we saw our photographer friend coming along in the distance. Since he was a much more direct walker than we were, he soon overtook us, and encouraged us along.

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After about an hours walk, we crested the hill that looked down over a rough patch of ground to where the blow hole could just be made out in the distance. Success was within reach! Some of our group were weary from the difficult trail, and others were wary of walking along the top of the cliff, but soon we made it to the Canglass Blow Hole itself. A wide land bridge separated the bay from a huge hole, over a hundred feet deep, where the ocean waves crashed in. Looking down into the blow hole, we watched sea gulls soaring beneath us, riding the air currents within the massive hole. It was a place of unrivaled beauty.

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Our serendipitous guide, Gunter, gave us several great tips and pointers, and suggested some other beautiful spots to explore. While we appreciated his advice to walk just a bit further on to a beautiful bay with cerulean blue water against stark cliffs, his finest gift to us was that of permission. Before he left he assured us of two things: that any historical site in Ireland is open to the public to explore, and that every tiny road ends with a turn around. Now as we explore unknown corners of the island, we often quote Gunter’s words of wisdom, and explore those back roads with the knowledge that no matter how narrow the lane gets, there will always be a way to turn around if we just go far enough along.