Tuesday, July 20, 2010
Ring of Kerry
I only have one more night in Ireland after tonight! It felt like my time was creeping by at the beginning but now it feels like it flew by. Yesterday we spent the day at the University College of Cork which was interesting but took forever. We sat through seven lectures about public health which we've been doing the whole trip but not all in a row. They forgot about us needing lunch so it wasn't until everyone's stomachs were growling around 3 that they fed us. It was really nice though because the university paid for our lunches and I had green soup, again. Every soup here is green, it doesn't matter what kind you order; potato, vegetable, it's all going to be green! I'm an expert on green soups now because I've had it every day since I've been here and even though it looks a little gross, it's so good! We went to a pub across from our hotel last night for a girls birthday (we've had 2 birthdays on this trip so far) and it was super fun. There was a musician singing and playing the guitar there and he was really good! He sang a ton of American songs including Bye Bye Miss American Pie at our request. We had a singing competition with the locals and we definitely beat them because we were WAY louder :) Most people in Ireland really like Americans and are extremely friendly so it's been a lot of fun to go out and mingle with them. My new favorite beer is Smithwick's! We even went to the town that makes it, Tipperary, and had some there which was even better. Today we went to the Ring of Kerry which was beautiful and then we went to a sheep herding and sheering demonstration. The road to get there were on the edges of cliffs and our driver already scares me so I was definitely holding my breath! The sheep herding was amazing. The farm was on the side of a mountain and there were tons of jagged rocks that the dogs had to run over while herding the sheep. I didn't think that it was such a difficult thing but apparently they've had about four dogs die this year (which is normal) while herding because they've fallen off of the cliffs or broken legs chasing sheep over the rocks. They also said that the wool business is really suffering, the owner gets 20 euro cents for every sheep coat and it costs him 25 cents to pay someone to sheer the animal so they are relying on tourists like us to visit. He only made about 500 US dollars last year from his entire wool supply. It as fascinating though and he said that most wool farmers will not survive this recession but because they've been planning ahead with tourism, he hopes they will. We got to Killarney just a little bit ago and it's such a cute town. I got a genuine Irish-made wool scarf, which I've been wanting but couldn't find if you can believe it, so I'm happy with my shopping now for the whole trip! Tomorrow we're getting up at 6:30 to leave for Shannon because we have to catch a ferry boat to ride it there and we can't be late. Tonight's going to be a calm and early night for me and so will tomorrow night because I'll have to get up at five in the morning to make it to the airport on Thursday. I've had a blast in Ireland but I can't wait to get back!!!