Archives for the month of: July, 2012

Another of my most-anticipated days in Ireland was a visit to one of the Aran Islands.  I was a little disappointed to learn when I arrived in the Doolin area that attempting to go out to the largest island, Inishmore (of Lieutenant of Inishmore fame) was a bit ambitious for a day trip from the part of Ireland where we were staying.  But one of my guidebooks recommended a “combo tour,” a ferry ride from Doolin to Inisheer and then a cruise past the famous Cliffs of Moher.  I called ahead and got a spot.

In some ways, the day was a parallel to the Skellig Michael trip, a more touristy, less life-threatening boat trip which let me see monastery ruins and cliff-dwelling birds.  At least that’s how it seemed at first.  Stay tuned.

The so-called ferry was really just a large boat—no cars or anything allowed.  We gave our tickets and took the 40-minute ride to the island.  I really didn’t know what I would find there.  As the passengers walked off the dock, islanders descended with offers of “the best map of Inisheer” for one euro (looked like a Xerox copy to me) and horse drawn carriage rides, and trailers-pulled-by-tractors rides, and bicycle rentals.  It was starting to rain, so I just pulled on my rain jacket and started walking.  And of course, before me was one of my beloved national loop walk tour signs with little arrows.  So I set off following the arrows from site to site.

One of the most amazing things about Ireland is that within an area say the size of the main campus of Woodberry, there are often dozens of interesting things to see that span historical periods from pre-history, through early Christian and medieval times, to more recent events.  This was certainly true of Inisheer.  The first stop on the tour was a grouping of stones that marked an ancient burial site where cremated remains had been found, covered by pottery containers.  A few steps away, and there was a little cemetery.  In the middle of it, in a sunken pit where it must be excavated yearly from the sand dunes, giving a few feet of clearance on all sides, was an early Christian church built by the brother of St. Kevin.  He was the creator of the monastery at Glendalough that we saw on our first day in Ireland.  Though the church here on Inisheer was tiny, it featured some of the same architectural details as the more elaborate structures at Glendalough.  Just uphill were medieval castle ruins, and then a bit farther on a dilapidated 19th century watchtower overlooks it all.

What I loved most about Inisheer were the stone walls that formed an organically patterned lace across the landscape.  A resident I greeted as I walked down the tiny pathway between the walled fields said they were built “ages and ages ago.”  And they are still used.  Each is attached to another field by a gate, so a few cows can be moved from one area to the next.  Sometimes, the field will have a ruined structure inside.  That meant that grass around the ruins of Cill Gobnait , another 11th century church, was covered in cow pies.  But surely if the animals were never let inside, the lush vegetation resulting from the constant rain would overtake the structure completely.

I loved walking among the maze of the fields, following the occasional arrow, feeling all alone.  I loved taking pictures of those stone walls with their beauty combining the natural and the handmade.  And I was happy to plunk down some American cash in a gift shop where I bought a few souvenirs, including a patchwork pillow cover made on the island from discarded Irish tweed and Aran jumpers.  Once that shopping trip was over, I went to a little pub for a cup of coffee.

Though the trip over had been through calm waters, I am never sure about eating a big meal before getting on a boat.  Luckily, I made the right choice!  About three hours after arriving, we boarded our ferry for its cruise past the Cliffs of Moher.  A Dutch couple I had chatted with encouraged me to ride in the front of the boat, saying it hadn’t been too windy on the way over.  Thinking that position might be better for taking pictures of the cliffs, I claimed a spot near the bow, plopped my backpack on the deck, and got my camera out.  At first the splashiness of the water reminded me of the Maid of the Mist at Niagara Falls, but that comparison flagged presently.  Great waves of water were coming up over the deck, hitting me and my bag full on.  I held onto the railing tightly and decided there was nothing for it but to enjoy the ride and be glad I was still wearing my rainjacket.  Even if I had thought to find a drier spot on board, I’m not sure I could have moved around the boat anymore the way it was pitching from side to side.

The cliffs were a less impressive version of Little Skellig with some of the same bird species.  But with the rough seas, it was not really possible to frame a photo or observe the birds much.  Soon, though, we returned to Doolin.  The captain followed me off the boat and asked me how I’d done.  I said, “Is that a typical ride?”  He told me “the wind came up in the last two hours.”   I didn’t tell  him I felt like I had swum the several miles between Inisheer and the mainland—not only because I was soaking wet, but also because it takes a lot of energy and core strength to keep your balance on a surface that is shifting 45 degrees in both directions.

I used my jacket to dry off my camera first thing when I got to the car—it seems to have suffered no ill effects so far—and headed up the road, still too woozy for a meal.  After a few kilometers of driving, I stopped in at the Stonecutters Kitchen and ordered my favorite Irish lunch (a grilled chicken, cheddar, and pesto sandwich) and got to know the family at the next table, who had been at the front of the ferry with me.  They were a dad and two teenagers from Wisconsin, and talking to them made me miss my girls—they would have really hit it off with these kids.  We discussed Broadway shows and colleges.

So that was my maritime adventure on Inisheer.  I am completely over any thought of taking another boat trip.  I do not wish to tempt the gods of seasickness any further.  I am keeping my feet on land for awhile.

Photos are HERE.

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Have you ever seen one of those TV shows where the people go tearing off down country roads after a tornado so they can take pictures of it?  This is what I felt like on Sunday when I got in the passenger seat of Eoghan Kavanagh’s Land Rover for an all day photo tour of the Killarney region in Kerry, Ireland.  Eoghan (pronounced “Owen”) is a full-time landscape photographer who I found through a recommendation from another amazing landscape photographer I found online.  Eoghan and his wife Michelle have a shop in Kenmare called Skyline Gallery. Check out their website:  Skyline.ie

Eoghan kindly picked me up at the Killarney Lodge first thing in the morning  (well, 10:00).  The day started off fairly dry.  Our first stop was a tourist area of Killarney National Forest.  Eoghan knows how to find the spots just off the beaten track, though, so instead of heading for the heavily documented waterfall, we parked and carried our gear to a lovely spot where a tiny pool of water magically sits.  He set up his industrial-strength tripod, and we attached it to my decidedly not-industrial-strength camera (I’m already starting to call it “my old camera.”)  He showed me how to use some graduated filters to optimize the long exposure we would be using to blur the water and add even more magic to the shot.

He and I had different ideas for how we’d like to frame the shot.  I was greedy—I wanted to show the little waterfall in the background and the tree trunks thickly covered in moss.  I saw the water leading out of the pool as a diagonal coming into the foreground.  Eoghan looked at things more centered, with two fallen branches drawing the eye to the waterfall.  We shot both ideas, and I have to admit that, while I liked my composition a lot, seeing the shot that came from his setup showed me the merits of his ideas too, and I ended up liking it far better than I expected.  I’m writing this a few days later, and find that in the interim, I’ve tried several more Eoghanesque compositions with good effect.

Things got wet after that.  We made a few stops, notably at Lough Brinn, where the rain stopped briefly enough that we could get some gorgeous shots of the reeds bending with water droplets.  But the rain got so hard, we found ourselves staying in the car as we attempted to shoot some photos.  That violates Rule #1 of photography, “Get out of the car.”   There was nothing for it but to find some lunch.  Eoghan had heard of a place in the mountains called the Pancake Cottage.  The menu was a thick book listing dozens of combinations you could have on a pancake.  The first page let you know the size of the pancake in both metric and English (I think it was 11 inches) and then there were all the possibilities for both sweet and savory pancake toppings.  I picked local cheese and leeks.  Eoghan shook his head when he saw this menu, letting me know this was not the typical Irish offering.  The pancakes were more of a thick crepe than what we would get at your typical IHOP in the US.  Over lunch we talked about some photography related issues, and he gave me advice I’d heard before—find a subject to concentrate on and produce a body of work to show.  He suggested that I focus on dance.  It’s good advice, but will I be too ADD to take it?

When we left the Cottage, the rain had stopped and the low clouds were looking all beautiful as they scudded by below the green peaks, with the sun occasionally breaking through.

So now it was time to chase the light, and Eoghan’s driving was up to the challenge of taking on the narrow winding roads, aiming for that gorgeous beam of light coming from between low, misty clouds.  We bounced out over some of the roads we’d come down earlier chasing the elusive light.  We got out the tripod again, and Eoghan showed me how to shoot a panorama.  His tripod has multiple levers and knobs that I would need lots of practice to master.

We headed back to Killarney and put the photos on my laptop.  He showed me the extremely simple two-step process to merge photos into a panorama in Photoshop.  It was, as he said, “Brilliant!”  As was the whole day.  Thanks, Eoghan!  And thanks to Woodberry for supporting this great day.

HERE are the photos.

The day I had most looked forward to since I started researching my trip to Ireland finally arrived on Saturday.  It was my boat ride out to Skellig Michael, an island/rock eight miles out into the Atlantic.  And nothing about the trip disappointed. Skellig Michael is just one of those amazing places on earth that I was privileged to set foot on.

Just the fact that I made it out there was rather remarkable.  I booked the boat ride several weeks ago, but the boat can only go out in decent weather and calm seas.  Also, the Irish government limits the number of visitors who can disembark each day.  (In fact, I am writing this two days later, and we heard in our B&B that the trip was cancelled today.)  Saturday was a perfect day, though, for a boat trip, and so I was able to get on and pay my fifty euro with no problem.  I parked in a public lot and made a walk to the award-winning public toilet (says so on the plaque) for the last time before embarking on my voyage.  No potties on the island.  It does have a helipad, but not a single public facility.  I had packed a bag full of camera equipment, rain gear, and a dab of food.  And ginger pills to prevent seasickness—worked perfectly!

On the pier at Portmagee, I met Joanne, a TV producer from New York, whose husband was playing golf in the same town Marc was, and a couple of ladies with canes.  When one called the other one “sister,” I, forgetting that I was in one of the world’s most Catholic nations, inquired whether they were sisters.  No, the older one was a Sister, a nun.  Just another duh moment in Ireland.  Our other passengers included a great couple from Belgium, a marine ecologist who was there to tag puffins (yes, I said PUFFINS!!!!!), and a goth girl with a shaved head, extreme black eye makeup, and piercings, along with someone who might have been her dad.  Our captain was 70-year-old Joe Roddy, who’d been running a boat to the Skelligs for decades and was the first European to surf—which he did after seeing a photo in a magazine of people surfing when he was a teen and then fashioned his own surfboard and caught some Irish waves.

So it was an hour or so later of riding in the open back of a fishing boat, choking on the fumes from the engine, and in sight of several other similar boats, that we pulled into a deep cove in the side of Skellig Michael. If I attempted to truly explain the details of the island’s history, I’m sure I’d botch the whole thing, but I’ll say a few things based on my own impressions.  This island is the last bit of land before the great beyond of the Atlantic, not even really an island—more of a giant rock.  The word skellig means splinter, and there are two of them out there on the horizon.  It would seem that as soon as Ireland’s inhabitants mastered the ability to navigate the sea, they had to have a closer look—anyone would.  But the rock was not hospitable—not a piece of arable land, nothing even flat, just jutting rock, sheer cliffs shooting up from the ocean, with some patches of the Irish grass and ground cover that can apparently grow anywhere.  At some point, by the sixth century, though, a small group of ascetic monks moved onto the larger island, naming it Michael for the archangel, and building several beehive shaped huts from stone.  They also built staircases from the flat slate stone to take them from the boat landing to the top.  These monks chose to live in solitude, possibly creating some gardens, and surviving on fish, eggs, and whatever they could trade with passing ships.  Some died up there are and buried, stone crosses marking their graves, and one abbot was kidnapped by Vikings and starved to death.

So Joanne and I stuck together after we got off the boat and walked along a nicely built pathway.  Not realizing that this was just the path to the real walk, we remarked on how lovely and safe it all was.  And as we walked, we were thrilled to see a puffin sitting on a rock beside the trail.  We photographed it extensively, and then came to the place where the sign that tells you you are going to die is.  The various hazards are explained and symbolized with incomprehensible pictures of the ways to die on Skellig Michael. Next to the sign, a very cute young medic in shorts only a European man would think were long enough, gave us a little speech about how we were going to die.  And there in front of us were the 608 stair steps winding up the side of a steep cliff with nary a handrail or bit of concrete, or really anything separating us from falling into the sea if we made a wrong step.  As we got ready to start the climb, the cute medic remarked, “You’re lucky….the puffins are still here.”  We’d all been concentrating on the rules and deciding whether we had a medical condition preventing us from climbing up to the extent that we didn’t realize until that moment that thousands of puffins were flying over our heads and roosting in burrows all along the cliffs.

But we had stairs to climb.  The nun and her friend were on up ahead, booking it up the steps with the aid of their canes.  The girl-with-the-dragon-tattoo-meets-Image

Sinead O’Connor girl had changed into a long black lacy dress and a black wig—apparently she was having a photo shoot.  I did well climbing with only an occasional break to breathlessly “take a picture.”

At the top, a guide was lecturing the assembled tourists about the history of the island and its monastery.  He went on and on, explaining at great length why the monks might have chosen such a remote place to live.  I thought, is that the state of knowledge of religion today that people aren’t familiar with the notion of asceticism? And the guide has to start from a very basic level of explanation?   I later learned that one of the guides reported that a tourist once asked him if the monks were going to the island “on holiday.”  Naturally, that would be the assumption, right?  I mean we’re there on holiday, so that must be what the monks were doing there….

I took some photos of the huts and the view out to Little Skellig, trying not to get too many tourists in my shots, and then, already, Joanne was wondering if I wanted to head down.  It was time.  On the way down, though, I got sidetracked by the folks from Cork University College who were tagging puffins.  I watched them weigh and measure a puffin and then return it to its burrow.  The band they attached to its leg weighed only a gram, but it could capture data about the amount of light the puffin was exposed to.  When analyzed, the light data allows scientists to track the birds’ migration, judging latitude and longitude by the pattern of light and dark, and plotting their long journey to the Americas.  I got some pictures of them working with the puffin, and then we had to head on down.

Joanne and I felt a little sad that our three hours were over already.  But we dutifully found our skipper and boarded our boat right on time.  We had heard we’d be floating around Little Skellig on our way back, but not going onto that island as it was a sanctuary for some kind of seagull-like bird I’d never heard of, the gannet.  From the distance, Joanne and I could see that the island was covered in something white.  Could that be the birds?  As we approached, we saw that the rocks were just covered with birds.  They were wheeling around on their six-foot wingspans, crying, and sitting and flapping atop any surface not perpendicular to the horizon.  There is no possibility of showing what this was like in a photograph.  I have never experienced anything like the feeling of being in the company of all those giant birds, living away their graceful lives free of predators, in their most perfect habitat.  We did not “see” those birds.  For a few moments, we saw them, heard them, smelled them, and occupied their world alongside them.

Here is the part of the blog entry where I get a little philosophical or make a generalization.  So the something I learned about Ireland on the Skelligs is this:  Ireland is a land layered with human touch.  Every bit of it has been lived on and altered by man, and the Skelligs are a microcosm.  Early Christians, Vikings, lighthouse keepers, and now tourists and artists and poets and scientists.  Each one leaves a mark and takes part in the story.

Skelligs photos are HERE.

Don’t have a ton to report on my day in Cork.  We had a reasonable drive from Kinsale to the golf course, and then I headed over to Cork, an ancient Irish city, Ireland’s second largest.  I suppose I should have gone to Blarney castle, but I have never found one person or book to recommend it, and it just sounds gross to kiss something so many tourists have been kissing.  So I parked in the center of the city, which is a city very much like many other moderate-to-large cities on planet Earth.  I didn’t even take the camera out of the car.  I started at the English Market, a place rather like Reading Station Market in Philadelphia.  Then I headed out of doors, shopped a little without buying much except a British version of one of the Harry Potter books in a secondhand shop.

I eventually stumbled upon, you guessed it, a walking trail sign.  This time, I was able to orient myself, and walked from informational sign to informational sign, learning the historical importance of the old buildings and churches.    Perhaps the most surprising building was the Butter Exchange, which at some time in the past was a place where butter was gathered and exported to five continents.  They do have some nice butter, here.

I also wandered into a couple of exhibits that were oddly close to home.  One was a tribute to the woman, Joan Denise something, who brought ballet to Ireland.  It was an exhibit of costumes, drawings, videos, and other items related to her career as a dancer, choreographer, and ballet director.  She would have been 100 this year.  The other was an exhibit about the 9/11 attacks with photos and tributes to some of the Irish-Americans who lost their lives as firefighters or police officers.

We had one of our more harrowing drives along the Ring of Kerry, a famously scenic driving loop, that to us was just one more opportunity to possibly drive the car over the edge of a cliff or get the dreaded tire damage that we would have to pay full price for, or at least the deductible of some unimaginable amount.   We and the car were unscathed, though.  Waterville had a sweet sandy beach, and we stayed in a nice B&B.

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I ended up taking two long walks today.  One was to Charles Fort and one was to, well, I’m not really sure.

Sign One

Late in the morning, I went wandering through the town of Kinsale, looking into shops and taking a couple of photos when I saw this sign:

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I snapped its picture and then went off in the indicated direction for about 45 minutes along a country road, high above the town, with the sea, or the river, or whatever body of water it was below and on my left.  I was well-stocked with rain gear, my wallet, and my camera, but no water or food. Or map.  Feeling a little hungry, I thought of turning back, but then I saw a town up ahead.  Looked like I might be able to find something to eat there, I thought, and forged ahead.  I wonder what town this is?

Then, a sort of tourist map sign appeared.  Excellent, thought I.  I’ll take a look and see where I am and where my lunch might be.  I studied the map, found the You Are Here arrow, and took a look around.  Slowly, it dawned on me.  I was at my starting place.  A few steps forward, and there was that same sign.  I have no internal compass.  The road was circular, Compass Hill.  So I got some lunch in Kinsale.

Sign Two

After lunch, I returned to the hotel to reorganize, get water, and shed my jacket.  For my afternoon walk, I consulted a map and a guidebook and headed off to the historic Charles Fort, a star-shaped fort that was in service for the English from the 17th century until Irish independence was won in 1922.  On the way up the hill to the fort, I saw this sign pointing the way to Kinsale:

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I thought this sign was an emblem of the country’s history of struggle against the English, now reduced to a struggle against English, the language.  Under English rule for over 300 years, the Irish have only had their country back for 90 years.  In the time England ruled, much was lost to Ireland, including nearly every native speaker of its ancient language.  Many would love to see the return of Gaelic, and so place names and public signs are typically written in both English and Irish, and the government even pays folks in the stronger Irish-speaking regions to speak Irish in their daily lives.

But this old signpost couldn’t accommodate both the Irish and the English names of Kinsale, so when the English name faded, the sign painter didn’t just freshen it with new paint.  The old name was painted brightly on top, the new one allowed to fade.

Here’s the direction that sign pointed me in:  The rain and wind can be trusted to do their work in their own time.  Irish can be trusted to return.

Tombstone at old monastic city at Glendalough, Ireland.

Tuesday was our longest driving day – we made our way from Newtownmountkennedy all the way to Kinsale, with a couple of stops along the way.  Our breakfast was at a tiny café a block’s walk from our hotel, where we discovered the delicious brown bread that the Irish eat.  Then it was my turn to try negotiating the left side of the road.

Apparently the 20+ years of driving that have happened since I last took the wheel on the right side of the car have locked in habits that are hard to overcome in a nearly 49-year-old driver.  While sticking to the left side of the road is easy enough, keeping the car positioned along the center of the lane requires a lot of attention.  I remember when Miranda was learning to drive, she had a very hard time with learning this skill – and now I sympathize.  I feel like a 16-year-old newbie set loose on narrow, high speed roads without one of those “student driver” signs on the car.  I wish I did have a sign that said, “Caution:  American Driver,” although I’m pretty sure all the people passing me on the right figured that out.

When we rented our car from Avis, the agent offered an upgraded insurance policy that had no deductible for any damage.  It was a lot more money than the already price-doubling insurance policy with high deductible we had chosen.  The agent asked us several times if we were sure about our decision, jotting the crazy-high deductible on a slip of paper and circling it a few times.  “If a tire goes, you’ll have to pay,” he repeated.  I was thinking to myself, Why all this talk about the tire?  I’ve never had a flat tire in my adult life.  Why pay $200 in advance for a possible blowout?  But I figured out the answer when I grazed the curb in Waterford yesterday afternoon.  No, I didn’t kill the tire, but it could easily happen given my poor automotive proprioception.

Our first stop yesterday was at Waterford.  We had made some ambitious plans to hit the Waterford crystal factory and then the Jameson whiskey distillery.  We parked in Waterford at lunchtime, and got something to eat.  We needed to buy a phone for Marc, and as we walked along the quay, we saw a pawn shop with phones in the window.  So, for only 15 euros, Marc picked up a sweet little Nokia with a tiny crack in the screen that should serve for five weeks.  Then we headed to the Meteor phone store to buy a SIM card and put 20 euros credit on it.  We can “top up” the card just about anywhere in Ireland. 

By this time, it was getting late—we had to decide, Whiskey or Crystal?  It was easy—whiskey won the day.  So off we went to the town of Midleton, near Cork, where we handed over our credit card for a tour ticket with its precious “free glass of whiskey” coupon attached.  Our tour mates were a hilarious group of women on a bus tour from Cork.  During the “tasting” which pitted the Jameson against Scotch whiskey and American Jack Daniels, one of the women dumped out her water bottle and poured the dregs of her and her companions’ shot glasses of various whiskeys into it “for the ride back!”  We chatted with an Irishman who lived in South Africa and whose daughter went to ASU, my alma mater.

 So now Marc and I know the ancient methods of distilling whiskey—our tour was of the historic distillery now turned into a sort of museum, replete with misspelled interpretive signage, perhaps the result of too much indulgence on the part of the writers? The whiskey is now made in a modern facility seen only in the distance from the old one.  Marc picked up a six-pack of small whiskey bottles and a Jameson golf umbrella.  And by virtue of “volunteering” to do the whiskey tasting, he also cadged a “certified whiskey taster” certificate.  I managed to down most of a glass of whiskey on the rocks – discovering that the more you sip, the better it tastes.  I was appalled, though, that many of the people took their whiskey with ginger ale or sprite!  After spending 45 minutes learning all about the special techniques of triple-distilling this, and local water that, and aging in American oak bourbon barrels for 4.5 years, and you pour the water of life into SPRITE?  After all that tasting, we didn’t feel ready to hit the road right away, so we took a walk through the town of Midleton.  We found a shop selling ice cream 2-for-1, so we grabbed some cones to tamp down the alcohol in our bellies and observed the typical Irish town in action. 

Now we are in the village of Kinsale.  Our dinner last night in the hotel restaurant was spectacular.  While we waited for our food, we watched out the windows at a seal begging fish from some tourists on a fishing boat in the harbor.  Marc gave me a bite of his monkfish, which was actually delicious (I don’t usually like seafood at all.)  I have great hopes for our dinner tonight at the highly recommended Fishy Fishy restaurant. 

The weather in Ireland has been interesting.  Driving yesterday meant near constant switchovers from sunglasses to windshield wipers.  Every five minutes, the weather would change radically.  But by evening, the clouds had disappeared, and it felt like we were in northen California.  The beautiful weather of yesterday was not destined to last though.  The rain is pouring down and the wind is blowing today.  I’ve just now had a text from Marc that he can’t get on the links at Old Head until at least noon. 

I had hoped to do a kayaking tour today, but the weather has changed that plan.  I’m relaxing now, and will head out for a walk in Kinsale momentarily.  The rain is letting up a bit, so I think I should be able to stay dry and maybe even take the camera out.

I got a few pictures yesterday—they are HERE.

To all my family and friends–we made it to Ireland today.  Seems like only this morning that we were getting ready to leave home.  That would probably be because even though that was yesterday, I haven’t slept yet.

So this will be a quick round up of the news and a link to the day’s few photos.

The flight went smoothly.  Marc and I were split up on the plane. He sat with an extended family from Cork, so was pressed into toddler care services.  I attempted to sleep for awhile, and then I started talking to my seat mate.  It turns out her grandson is a current Woodberry boy.

We arrived in Dublin, ate, and got hold of our car.  Marc has been gamely driving on the left, braving the brambly hedgerows on the very narrow, rutted mountain roads, while I white knuckle it over on my side.  Tomorrow I have to get behind the wheel.  I figure I’ll be up early and get a chance to practice on deserted roads.

We visited Glendalough, which is a tourist site situated in a beautiful valley in the Wicklow mountains.  It holds the ruins of an old monastery with its amazing stonework, a decaying cemetery, and two lovely lakes.  A long hiking trail runs through the area, and with only a few spritzes of rain today, it attracted crowds of tour buses, families, and outdoorsy types.  We enjoyed a nice, easy hike out to the lakes and a quick walk through the ruins.  Naturally, with all the influx of humanity, there was  plenty of tacky souvenirage and fish and chippage on offer.  We managed to resist the souvenirs and sticking our heads into the leprechaun cutout for a picture, but did succumb to the lure of chips and ice cream.

Marc and I are pretty wiped out, but we have an excellent room in Newtownmountkennedy and no set wake-up time in the morning.  We expect to wake up new people!

Here are the pictures.

and I’m still buying stuff. With the power out at home, I decided to head to Charlottesville to have my errand day a little early. The girls and I hooked up our electronics at the mall, since the power’s been out for almost two days, and spent some time on email and fb. But most importantly, I’ve been buying lots of travel-sized goodies! As far as photography, I got up super early yesterday to grab some shots of the Super Derecho’s damage to Woodberry. Check out my album on fb:

http://goo.gl/gmgSv