Westport, Ireland

coffee-shop(Click to Enlarge)

This is one of those lay-over locations or stops we scheduled.  We had traveled five hours from the last stop in Dingle, and had another five to go to get to Bushmills and the Giant’s Causeway at the northern tip of Ireland.  So we stopped for two nights in Westport, a city of about 5,500 people.  Finally in a bigger city, we opted for Indian food, and took my photographer friend along for his first ever dish of Indian cuisine.  With no real sights to see, we walked around the town, photographing the buildings and city life.
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Seaweed Swirls

I do not claim to be a cinematographer but occasionally I see ‘movie shorts’ that cannot be captured on a single image and am intrigued by their movement, not a single image.  A movie that highlighted these short clips was “American Beauty” where the next door neighbor guy filmed some leaves blowin’ in the wind.  Here is some seaweed flapping in the currents….the background noise is the wind.  To me it is interesting to think that wherever you are now, whatever you are doing, this action undoubtedly continues, on and on as it has done for thousands and thousands of years.

The Cliffs of Moher… and More and More People….

Cliffs-of-MoherCliffs-of-Moher-20140823-_ALL3866No matter how interesting the local attraction, I dislike being herded into areas with 22 large motor coaches and tour groups of all nationalities, holding group tour flags to keep everyone together.  Tourists take endless selfies, posing in front of yet another scene with arms stretched out and trying for an impossible glamour shot.  Generally these places are closed before the good evening light and are not yet open for the nice morning light.  Herd the tourists in, collect their entrance fee and off they go to the next tourist trap, likely never really experiencing the location.  The nearby town of Liscannor is a complete traffic jam of people buying and hocking touristy items, searching for a restaurant, or just trying to find a spot to park.
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Dingle Peninsula, Ireland

Dingle Sports Bar

Dingle was our base for exploring this well-traveled peninsula and its fishing villages.  Dingle seems to have the right mix of locals and good restaurants to serve the many tourists.  While we were there we were often rained on five or more times a day.  This peninsula is dotted with many smaller fishing towns, all having several nice pubs and restaurants.  Late into the evening we could hear what sounded like an entire bar singing Beatles songs.
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Fungie the Dingle Dolphin

Waiting-for-fungie-20140820-_ALL3478Waiting-for-Fungie-20140820-_ALL3485A large part of the Dingle, Ireland economy is based on a lone bottle-nosed dolphin named Fungie.  No less than eight large boats full of eager tourists will mill about in the harbor hoping that Fungie will soon be sighted.  Boats refund your ticket price if there is no Fungie sighting.  Immediately upon spotting Fungie, which seems to be a near certainty, all the boats speed forward, creating a wake from each boat hoping Fungie will choose their wake for surfing and jumping, providing paying guests with the best view.  It is a hokey but fun time, waiting for Fungie to suddenly appear, then the shouts of delighted tourists as the boats speed off, another successful day in the Fungie business.

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Kenmare, Ireland

Castletownbere, IrelandKenmare, Ireland is a small town in southern Ireland that serves as a very good base for exploring the peninsula via the well-traveled 110 mile Ring of Kerry and the smaller peninsula to the south, the Ring of Beara.  Wonderful views of the North Atlantic,  great stone walls where sheep graze waiting for their next sheering and vast fields of vivid shades of green await the travelers to this area.  Miles and miles of thick, solid stone walls are a striking and common sight.  No mortar binds these rocks.  What backbreaking work it must be to first dig these rocks out of the fields where the sheep graze, then carry them to the wall and sort through them for the right shape to fit with the adjacent rocks.  At least they had cool weather and great views during their efforts. Even more picturesque is the adjacent Ring of Beara, which we circumnavigated twice.
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