Dunluce Castle

Dunluce Castle, near the northern extreme of Ireland, is a massive ruin with many of its walls still standing. It is situated on a rock pillar, separated from the mainland by a gorge. This is, however, not without its risks. At one point, the cliff gave way taking a portion of the kitchen and several of the household staff with it. Thereafter, the mistress of the manor refused to spend another night in the castle.


As I arrived, it was a perfect day for sailing along the coast.


Dunluce as seen from the approach to the bridge crossing the gorge. In the event of an attack, this funnel leading to the bridge would be filled with cattle which, dead or alive, would foil a cavalry charge.


Another view of Dunluce Castle with fog rolling in from the sea.


Providence provided me with this opportunity for a moody view of Dunluce only an hour after my arrival under a clear sky. Thirty minutes later, the weather was again hot and sunny.


Inis Mor

Inis Mor, the largest of the Aran Islands, is a Gaeltacht, an enclave of Gaelic speech and tradition.


During our visit, we were greeted by Deidre Ni Chinneide, a Dubliner who has taken up island living and the cause of preserving Celtic culture and spirit, largely through music. Her CD, Celtic Passage, is haunting and exquisite.


As in much of Ireland, the remains of early churches serve as reminders of times long past.


As a tourist destination, horse drawn carts, as well as bicycles, serve as common modes of transportation.

Blarney Castle

Home of the Blarney Stone and the world’s most unhygienic tourist attraction.
(But then, what’s the point of having an immune system if you don’t use it?)


Blarney Gate — exit to the Rock Close


Small waterfall in the Rock Close


A watch tower at the castle


This is how the the Blarney Stone is kissed to receive the gift of eloquent and persuasive speech.  It is necessary to sit on the parapet, several stories above ground level, and, hooking your legs on it, lay over backwards, let your head hang upside-down, and kiss the stone.  In modern times, this is done with the help of an assistant who hangs onto the seeker of Blarney.


And when the castle was deemed too drafty and rustic, a modern manor was built.