Monday, June 24, 2013

Cork - we see the Drombeg Stone Circle

        Mountains, greenery, pastures, farmhouses - everything so green

Leaving Dingle in the morning after another great B&B breakfast, we chose the coastal route to Cork, Ireland. We negotiated two mountain passes along the way where our speed slowed to a crawl. You had to be very careful going around blind curves when the road was essentially one lane and yet had two way traffic. On many of the curves you saw rocks painted bright yellow or white to warn motorists to avoid them. They had obviously been hit multiple times in the past. I'm sure more damage was done to the cars than to the rocks. 

          There are sand beaches in some areas, here they are out for a trot

You'll see several signs warning motorists to stay to the left since visitors from the continent drive on the right side of the road as we do. I saw the driver ahead of me swerve to the right on a tight curve before realizing his mistake and swerving back to the left, narrowly missing on-coming traffic. This was on a mountain road with a sharp drop off on one side and the side of the mountain on the other. We met one car in a tunnel who had to back out, no room for two cars to pass by. 

          Note the stone fences, universally used throughout Ireland

However, the scenery was stunning as usual. I lived in Colorado for three years where we had higher mountains but not the profusion of green everywhere. The pasture land didn't come that way, it had to be made. The stones were moved to the sides of a field and stacked to form the "fences" (with gates). Then they had to haul seaweed up the side of the mountain along with sand to form soil. The limestone rich area and 100 inches of rain per year did the rest. 

          3000 to 4000 years old, the winter solstice was very important to the ancients 

Ireland has their own version of Stonehenge. It's called the Drombeg Stone Circle and is a smaller version of its more famous cousin in England. It's been dated to be at least 3000 years old and probably older. It marked the winter solstice where the sun lines up with the stone portals to mark the event. That's when the ancients knew that the days would start getting longer and spring would come once again, pretty important for them.

We're just outside Cork for the night at another B&B and we're headed back to Dublin on Tuesday to catch our Wednesday flight back to the states.