I have just concluded a few wonderful weeks at the seal rescue. There were about a dozen college student interns there as well, and many volunteers. When I arrived we had about 15 grey seals and one common seal. All were found as pups, all with injuries and malnourished. Sometimes the pups get separated from mom, or on occasion mothers will abandon pups. When people come across them, they call the center, and someone checks out the situation to see if the pup should come in. Of the pups that make it to the center, there is a 96% survival rate. In addition to the obvious benefit of giving a pup a chance, there are on going studies done on the pups and an education center. About 10 pups were released while I was there, and there is nothing more wonderful than seeing those healthy pups scurry back to the sea and play in the water. All are tagged so the center can be contacted if someone comes across one. Committed people do great work at Seal Rescue Ireland.Above-Release day! Black Panther headed to sea.Above-release.Above, “Chewbacca”-very vocal, quickly became a favorite of mine. An eye injury has left him with limited vision in one eye, but he should do fine.
I am on a bus from Cork to Dublin with my Dad after of week of exploring the south of Ireland. After spending a few days in Dublin, we headed to Killarney for a few days and then to Cobh near Cork. Traveling by bus and train has its challenges, but has been manageable. I have a love/hate relationship with organized tours, however. They are relaxing with someone else driving, but it is frustrating to pass by things that you would stop to explore if you had your own car.
The local people have been unbelievably kind, but it has been an adjustment getting used to doing things on “Irish time” as they move at their own slow and easy pace. I’m struck, as I was on my last visit, at the amazing cruelty of the history here and yet the kind and easy going nature of the people. Between the castle ruins that Cromwell sacked- to huts abandoned during the famine- to the wall in Belfast separating the Catholics from the Protestants, there is some terrible history here. But there is also much kindness and lots of merriment!
The weather has been beautiful, just one rainy day.
Below are photos from our week’s explore and descriptions are below each photo.
Muckross House in Killarney. I hate the horse carts (for reasons I am happy to relay sometime) so loved seeing bicyclists and bikes for rent.
Charles Fort (1650) near Cork.
Muckross Abbey, Killarney.
Killarney National Park.
Killarney National Park.
Innisfallen Island monastic ruins.
Dad signing the Peace Wall in Belfast.
Titanic Memorial in Belfast.
In May of 2014, my husband Steve and I spent 2 glorious weeks in Ireland. We rented a car, and Steve patiently drove me to all of the “of the beaten track” locations that I had on my list. Many of these locations we had completely to ourselves, which made for both amazing photos and memories. As I boarded the plane to go home, I knew that I wanted to return to Ireland again, this time to immerse myself into a community and to really get to know the people living there.
I got serious about returning in January of 2016. As both a way to make a longer stay affordable and as a way of participating in something meaningful as an animal lover, I signed on to be a volunteer for a few weeks at a seal rescue north of Wexford in the seaside village of Courtown.
My stepfather will join me for the first week to explore together before I am due at the rescue, and I hope one day to take my 3 grown children. Just as my favorite places in the US, Ireland is a place that I want to share with the people I love.
I’ve decided to fill this opening post with favorite photos from our 2014 visit. I hope you enjoy them and that you will pop by during the next 5 weeks to see new photos and read about my explorations. There is a brief description below each photo. Thank you for sharing my adventure. Eva
Athassel Friary, near Cashel, the largest monastic ruin site in Ireland.
The cliffs at Kilkee on the western coast.
A view from Hore Abbey up the hill to the Rock of Cashel.
Clonmacnoise monastic ruins on the banks of the Shannon River.
Steve in a secret location given to us by our B and B host along the Cliffs of Moher.
The interior of Kilmainham Gaol in Dublin.
Ross Friary near Galway.
Newgrange stone age passage tomb.
Ross Castle near Killarney.