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I am a woefully negligent blogger.  This little cyber space was carved out so I could share the myriad new experiences, from the banal to the novel, that I expected would be mine when moving to another country.  Indeed, I have had and continue to have such experiences.  Regretfully, I also find that I get caught up in the task of living those experiences, so much so that I forget to write about them! To be honest, I also know that many of my Irish friends and acquaintances now read this blog, which gives a little introvert like me pause… particularly before I dish about any Irish gossip or generally slag the country!

One rather novel experience of late was learning that, colloquially, the Irish call Fox babies “cubs”, even though the proper term here, as elsewhere, is “kits”.  I also learned, some time ago, that baby pigs are called “bonnies”!  Isn’t that the cutest thing you’ve ever heard?  Apparently, the fox cubs are out and about now.  I haven’t seen any on our lane but someone posted a picture of one on the Irish Wildlife site.  It’s adorable!  When we were driving into Midleton for the Farmer’s Market on Saturday, I did see an adult fox trotting across a field with a rabbit in its mouth.  Perhaps she was a pretty little Vixen going to feed her little Kits.

On the rather routine note, said tongue in cheek, I had visitors recently.  Two of my friends from the US were here for a short visit en route to Paris.  Naturally, it was raining and cold while they were here.  I’m thankful the weather gods got my request and gave them very typical Irish weather.  Since it was windy, cold and pissing rain, I simply HAD to get them out in it, and what can better provide a true Irish experience than traipsing to stone circles!

Our first visit was Inchydoney beach near Conakilty.   It’s a great beach!  There is plenty of parking, a nice long stretch of sandy, walkable beach and the surrounding scenery is lovely.  I bet it’s a busy little spot in the summer.  Next, we meandered over to one of my favorite circles: Drombeg.  This compact and powerful circle is aligned to the winter solstice sunset.  There are two outlying stone buildings, one erroneously marked as containing a fulacht fiadh – if you assign cooking as the purpose of these pits.  I don’t, though. I see these pits as being used for ritual purification baths or healing soaks.  It could also be a purification sauna.  Either way, the site was for isolated ritual purpose and those Ancient Irish took their ritual making seriously.  No way were they cooking a spot of meat….maybe cooking a human sacrifice!  🙂

After this breathtaking excursion, we snaked our way to Bantry and then over to KealKill stone circle.  This spot was new to me….and Oh My!! I am in love! It is majestic, expansive, and a celebration.  We spent a good deal of time here and I engaged a bit in one of my favorite past-times…. stone hugging.  I am recently fascinated with the theory that the stones used in these circles are carved to depict topographical maps of the surrounding countryside.  Indeed, when we studied the stones at both these circles we could clearly identify significant features in the immediate landscape.

In due time, we merrily trotted down the way to Carraganass Castle, where immense silliness ensued.  First, we needed to sing about the severed quivering limbs.

You see, legend has it that the occupant of the castle,  Donal Cam, lost his wife to foul play!  He vowed, or someone vowed, that he would avenge her murder and the following curse ensued:

No food, no rest shall Donal know
Until he lays they murderer low
Until each severed quivering limb
In its own lustful blood shall swim

After this bit of merriment, we traipsed around the other side and attempted, in true contortionist fashion, to take a photo with all of us in it and the castle in the background, on my iPhone (which is not known for its screen size).  We inhibited traffic only a bit, laughed outrageously to excess, and left happier than when we arrived.  After this, we almost ran off a cliff, but I won’t go into that in the event Himself reads this.  (ssshhh, don’t tell him either because I may have fried his clutch)  When the smell of burning clutch settled…I mean, we stopped laughing hysterically, we turned toward Kenmare in search of a bullaun stone.  Unfortunately, there was a diversion in Glengarrif so we called it a day and stopped in for a meal and a pint.  This entire area is stunning (no surprise, Beara is spectacular!) and I purpose to get back there before the summer is out!

I can not say enough about the benefits of getting lost in Ireland.  Get yourself an OS map of the area you are visiting and then take random turns.  I promise, you will not regret it! There are adventures around every corner, but you will not find them unless you let go of the preconceived and just say, …… YES!



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