August 30th, 2013

dreadhawk

ireland part 2: "COW COW COW COW COW!"

part 1 | part 2 | part 3



day 3 - 8-16-13: dromoland, ennis, tipperary

we're able to sleep for six hours or so, which isn't enough for the big day in front of us. this is our heaviest driving day & we've tried to cram too much into it. i've worked out a tight schedule for us, but i have a minute to check my email - though last night the wifi was named "clare inn wifi", this morning it's "inn at dromoland 1". talk about renovations - they literally JUST renamed the router, haha.

setting out, our first point of interest is the burren. we pay the discounted visitor's center fee of 8€, then wander the exhibition & watch a short film about the area. it's like the surface of the moon, & local flora behaves oddly here. on the way out to the burren proper, we split an apple & almond tart we grabbed at costa yesterday. i pretty much love anything with marzipan in it. we drive out to the poulnabrone dolmen portal tomb, take some photos (where joe looks oddly photoshopped), & jump around on the stones. we leave on schedule at 11:10am.

on to our next stop, we come across plenty of true dry stone walls - i photograph joe hanging out on one of them. we drive on awesome backroads (i make another video) to aillwee cave; joe had sold me on this by saying, "THERE IS A WATERFALL IN A CAVE. A CAVE WATERFALL". we get a two-for-one deal from the visitor's guide & pay only 12€ together. it's pretty neat in the cave, but a chilly 10°C (50°F), & i make repeated requests for warmth from joe. (he obliges.) my camera takes a great shot of the aforementioned cave waterfall. we leave 30 minutes late so we can share a rather good bowl of vegetable soup & brown bread at the cave's café. the cashier offers us cream on the soup, & we ask her if SHE would order it that way. she would, & so we do, & the big dollop of softly whipped cream is a good decision.

doolin cave is next, & though it's less known than aillwee, it's a better experience. there's a long story about this cave that our guide relates - in short, a couple of explorers found the barely-man-sized opening of the cave one day, & crawled on their bellies for the full half a kilometer over two & a half hours, using only gas-powered headlamps for light & occasionally crawling in half light or full darkness when the gas started to get low. when they reached a large, open area, notified by the change in acoustics, they turned on the lamps - & saw the largest stalactite in the northern hemisphere, just hanging there like a chandelier. our guide lights the room at this point in the story, & we have a similar gasp reaction to what varley & dickenson must've felt. i take a bunch of photos as we're told the structure grows so slowly that it looks the same now as when cleopatra was alive. there's an interesting waviness to it, seen from the bottom - a "curtain formation". we're allowed to touch the lumpy stalagmite beneath it, & are also shown a 350 million year old fossil (they had it dated) & some other oddities.

leaving the cave, after returning our hard hats, i spot an irish ladybug (it looks just like an american ladybug, but speaks with an accent) & i purchase an "extra blackcurrant jam" for 3€, made by the clare jam co., in their gift shop. i also find joe some black "scrubby soap" from dr k's soap company. it has coconut oil, activated charcoal, & bubbly dreams from baby irish bats.

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