Today In Ireland: Blog https://www.todayinireland.com/blog en-us (C) Today In Ireland (Today In Ireland) Thu, 31 Dec 2020 12:27:00 GMT Thu, 31 Dec 2020 12:27:00 GMT https://www.todayinireland.com/img/s/v-12/u386733887-o579016053-50.jpg Today In Ireland: Blog https://www.todayinireland.com/blog 120 79 Amy Jo Long - 100 year birth anniversary! https://www.todayinireland.com/blog/2020/12/amy-jo-long Amy Jo Long was born December 31, 1920 : 100 years ago, today. 

 

An only child, she grew up in Decatur, Texas spoiled by her parents, especially her father, whom she loved more than anything. Even more than her pet goat. 

 

She grew up playing piano in an organized manner, and always expected to be a professional concert pianist, until a type of arthritis in her teens made her quite aware that career was not possible. 

 

She went to summer school during her teen years, not because she needed remedial learning. Rather, her mother felt she “would get into too much trouble if left to her own devices.” So she finished high school younger than her peers, and indeed, university, too. 

 

She graduated from Texas Wesleyan College (now University) young, with a degree in Journalism. In fact, Amy Jo was SO young, and “a girl,” that no newspaper would hire her. So...she got a job at Sears Roebuck & Company, in the catalog department. She was always somewhat disgusted by this, and it affected her greatly, forming her views on equal rights for women. 

 

She wasn’t hired by a newspaper at graduation, but did write: she became a “stringer” in Fort Worth for national media outlets like the Wall Street  Journal and Time Magazine. Eventually, after proving herself, she was picked up full time by the Fort Worth Press newspaper. 

 

Her first job - as was most reporters jobs, she told me - was obituary writer. Each day, twice a day, she phoned the morgue “What do you got for me?!” and then would phone the house of the deceased and try to get the story about the person from the recently deceased’s family. Her editor would say “Amy Jo, everyone has a story. Your job is to get it.” 

 

Shortly after her arrival at The Fort Worth Press, World War II broke out - and all the male reporters left. AMY became the senior reporter!  She told me she attended Rotary & Lion’s Club luncheons. “I thought women weren’t allowed in those organizations until the 70’s?” I said. “I wasn’t a woman: I was a reporter! They wanted to be recognized in the press when possible!” 

 

Amy Jo loved her time as Senior Reporter at The Press. Then: the war ended. The men came back, and - you guessed it - they wanted AJL back as an obituary writer. AJL felt that was the perfect time to leave; she went to University of Texas and got her Masters Degree in Journalism. 

She went back to Texas Wesleyan and became Public Relations Director and a journalism teacher. She was appalled in later years to discover journalism schools stopped teaching the “who what when where and how” method of discovery!

 

Eventually Amy Jo went back to University of Texas, to the News and Information Service. She used to talk about waiting outside the room while the Board of Regents met; when they emerged she would find out “what was decided and what she wasn’t allowed to make public about what was decided!” She always laughed when she said that!

 

At UT she was 2nd in command when Charles Whitman climbed up to the top of the UT tower and randomly shot at students and passerby’s. Killing 14 snd injuring at least 30 others. She hated that day, and that memory. One of her dearest friends was manning the welcome desk at the tower; she was murderer and shoved under the desk before Whitman went up the stairs. It saddened her, so. Amy Jo often talked about the logistics that day. As the first mass murderer, the world was interested. She had to arrange hundreds of phone lines brought in for reporters to get the breaking story back to their home countries. She often marvelled about how far telecommunications had come. (Especially when I gave her my Apple iPod, precursor to the iPhone, that she could read her news on!). 

 

Speaking of news, Amy was a news addict. She subscribed to the New York Times daily (originally a retirement gift from her friends at UT) and looked it over cover to cover.  ALWAYS with scissors  in hand. She clip articles that friends might find interesting, and shared then. Each night after work I would walk in the door and she’d hand me my set of clippings. It was wonderful to know the news in this way! Admittedly, she was sadly disappointed I could never get into doing the NYTimes crossword puzzle. “Truly one of life’s biggest disappointments,” she said. 🙈 

 

Amy was quite the friend to many.  She, like many of her female journalist friends, never married. I remember a Hospice nurse saying to me once: “I used to think Amy and her friends were lesbians. One day it dawned on me that they were not. They lived in a time when, if a successful woman married, they had to give up their jobs, careers and independence. Amy and her friends were way too smart for that.” I believe that to be true.  

 

When I met Amy she had such a tight circle of friends it gave me hope for my old age! Royce Dixon she knew for decades; they worked to gather for years at UT and decades later saw each other almost every day.  Mary Gayle Stromberger was like her daughter; she was actually the daughter of one of Amy’s best friendS, who had died before I knew her.  Amy was one of those people you wanted in your life, so I wasn’t surprised she had so many good friends!

 

In her younger years she was quite the partier. I recall going to the liquor store on Lamar St. and Amy said “say hello to the man who runs it. I knew his mom!”  I went by, told him the hellos, and he said “I remember Amy Jo! I used to put that case of vodka in the trunk of her car every Thursday.”  Me: “EVERY THURSDAY!! My god they must have drunk slot!” He put his hand to his face, looked up, and said “yep. They sure were partiers.”  😂

 

I feel like nothing about Amy is complete without mentioning her love of animals. Cat, dogs, butterflies, bugs. She loved them all. If it weren’t for her SHIT-zoo Max (typo intended) I probably never would have befriended her (the day she had her stroke. She called it “her stroke of luck.”). I’ll write more on that another time. Tears prevent an in-depth essay. 

 

I could write pages more, but this is enough for now, her 100th birth anniversary. All I can say to end this is to tell you this: Amy Jo Long was the best thing that ever happened to me. She was the love of my life, and I’ll never forget her. I hope you can help me keep her memory alive. 

 

Amy Jo Long

December 31, 1920-December 9, 2010. 

 

 

 


 

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(Today In Ireland) https://www.todayinireland.com/blog/2020/12/amy-jo-long Thu, 31 Dec 2020 12:26:40 GMT
May 24, 2020 https://www.todayinireland.com/blog/2020/5/24May2020 A not-so-typical Sunday in May. 

 

From a dawn walk to an afternoon of cycling - a perfect day in Waterville, Ireland!

 

I really need new curtains.

My bedroom window faces the rising sun, and on mornings like this – you know, the kind of morning everyone all over Ireland prays for, religiously – the sky brightens up around 4:30 a.m.  Sometimes  earlier.

Oh, the official sunrise from Met Eireann  wasn’t until 5:35 a.m. But today, there were clouds in the sky. Big, puffy, white clouds, screaming to the sun “me, me! Blast ME with the light!” and so the sun did. It's rays reflected off the white clouds like the sun off of freshly painted white wall, shining right into my window.  I woke up at 4:45. It was daylight. I was not thrilled.

What the heck, I thought, I might as well get up.

I look out the window, down at Lough Currane.  If the lake looks dark, it’s calm and the dark green hill is reflected on the surface, so I can tell by it’s light grey color the morning isn’t calm.  I open the window, lean out, and feel a slight breeze – but certainly not the winds we’ve been feeling the past two days during Storm Ellen’s yellow wind warning! 

What the heck, I thought. I might as well go outside.

So I did.

I walked down to the sea, passing through the village where all the storefronts were dark.  It’s such an odd feeling to have daylight, but nothing open. It’s not even 7:00 a.m. yet!

I can smell Ballinskelligs Bay before I get there. The wind is cool, but not cold; it has a stronger whiff of the sea than I usually notice at this point in my walk.  I walk to the promenade and look down at the water – a pale blue-green color not often seen on this bay.  There is seaweed along the shore – lots and lots of seaweed. The beach is covered in it!  THIS is what I smell.  Fresh seaweed has been blown in from the two days of Storm Ellen, and uncharacteristically covers the sand.  It smells wonderful, just like the ocean in Maryland I played near as a kid.  Salt and iodine and a bit of fish…. I know from experience, if this doesn’t wash back into the sea with the tide over the next few days, it won’t smell so nice! Over time the seaweed rots, and smells – less like the sea and more like my trash when it’s time to put it out of the house!

Ballinskelligs Bay view, May 24, 2020, 6:30 a.m.Ballinskelligs Bay view, May 24, 2020, 6:30 a.m.

The sky is blue with more clouds.  I can tell it’s going to be a great morning.  As I walk the promenade (the tide is in and seaweed too slippery for a beach walk at the moment) I see trash.  There’s lots of trash washed up with the seaweed.  The world of plastic.  After my walk, I pop back home to grab a few bags, and go back to the beach to pick up some trash.  I’m no do-gooder; I try to pick up my “3 pieces of plastic” each time, but nothing like Peter here in the village does. He picks up trash for hours some days.  Heavy stuff!  Today I find water bottles (there’s always water bottles); butter tubs (WHY do people get butter in tubs??); fishing paraphernalia ( there’s a fish farm around Derrynane, about 12 miles away); Styrofoam, plastic buckets, plastic gloves (I fear we’ll see more and more of those), lots and lots of pieces of fishing net…..and dead birds.  Two large gannets (their heads almost as large as my shoe) are battered and lifeless on the beach.  Those winds must have been terrible.  I hate seeing dead wildlife.

Washed up after the storm; Waterville beach. Washed up after the storm; Waterville beach.

I chat with a few walkers on the promenade – socially distanced, of course.  Pet a few dogs. Give directions to some tourists (yes, tourists: So much for a 5 kilometer travel restriction), and head home for coffee and scones.  It’s nice enough to sit out on the deck for my coffee. Life is good in Waterville, today!

 

 

 

 

 

Later, it’s still stunning, so head out for a short cycle.  Waterville has wonderful cycles, from easy jaunts to the Golf Course beach and back (about 3 miles) to a longer loop around Beenbane (7 miles or so) with views of the lake, to all day cycles up over the mountains to Sneem and back (which we can’t do right now, due to travel restrictions.  It’s a very challenging, hilly cycle – and it has stunning views of the mountains.  Today my tour is a wimpy 7 miles. It takes me a loooong time. I have this problem with stopping OFTEN and taking photos, the day is so perfect! Photos of the sea, the lake views, the yellow irises blooming around the boggy fields.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We saw lots of people enjoying this day: out walking around the back roads; enjoying the sun in their gardens; walking along the promenade by the sea.  It was sad, really.  On a sunny, glorious Sunday in May, this village should be packed with visitors ad tourists, swimming, sunning, enjoying a pint in the sun or a glass of wine with a view.  We’ve got nothing open but a few take-aways that offer fantastic food on weekends.  THIS is what Covid-19 has done to Waterville (and every tourist village in the country). Made it a ghost town on a sunny day.

 

Stay safe; stay home.

Susan

 

Susan Baughman, Today in Ireland

 

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(Today In Ireland) Ireland Ballinskelligs Bay cycling in ireland Ring of Kerry Staycation Susan Baughman Today in Ireland Waterville https://www.todayinireland.com/blog/2020/5/24May2020 Mon, 25 May 2020 14:30:43 GMT
Tips for a wonderful Skellig Michael experience! https://www.todayinireland.com/blog/2020/5/skellig-michael  

A few tips on visiting Skellig Michael!

 

#starwars #theforceawakens #skelligs #wildatlanticway Visiting Skellig Michael Not an imaginary Star Wars home; a real UNESCO heritage site, is Skellig Michael.

 

You may be a fan of Star Wars; you may be a fan of bird watching; you may be a fan of islands; you may be a fan of any - and all - UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Whatever your reason, you may have a trip to Skellig Michael on your radar..... if you do, there's a few things you might not know about visiting this spectacular island off the coast of Southwest County Kerry, Ireland.

 

It's not open to visitors year round! The landings on the island are quite regulated, and landings are only allowed approximately May 15th to October 2nd.

 

Only specially licensed boats can land, and there is a limited amount of landings per day. Make your reservation for the season, early! I urge you to stay the night before your trip, and the night after your trip, in the local vicinity.  When I say "local vicinity" I mean within 20 kilometers of your departure dock! 

 

Heading to Skellig MichaelPerfect weather - note the St. Christopher medal in the Skellig Boat!

 

When I last went, on a scorching hot day, a man from Cork drove up the morning of the trip, misjudged the timing, didn't eat breakfast, climbed the HUNDREDS of steps to the monastery, felt sick, and ultimately had to be airlifted off the island by the Irish Coast Guard.  Though we'd all love to have a helo ride around Skellig - this is NOT the way to do that!

 

Irish Coast Guard doing a rescue on Skellig MichaelIce crystals on Skellig Michael helocopter rescue!?

 

I've also met a couple from California who woke up at 5:00 a.m. at their Dingle B&B, rushed to Portmagee, had a wonderful experience on the island; I stumbled upon them in The Moorings at Portmagee falling asleep over their seafood chowder. They were getting ready to drive all the way to Galway then, and they did NOT want to make that drive in their exhausted state!  Why not enjoy the experience of a visit to Skellig Michael, and enjoy the DAY as well!!  Especially since there is more "Skellig related" things to do nearby. A monk's trail to tour; ruins of abbeys in Ballinskelligs; Church Island in Waterville, and more. 

 

During the open season, it is also WEATHER DEPENDENT.  There's a boat trip of approximately an hour to get there, and the swell can be wild in the open ocean. I tried four times last summer to go, and finally got a good day the end of September! So even if you have a reservation, you might not go.  Even if you go, you might not LAND.

 

There are NO BATHROOMS on Skellig Michael.  When I last went, I was the second person off my boat. The man in front of me was rushing up the path. I thought to myself "awesome, this guy knows the drill!" and rushed on behind him.  A few minutes later onto the path I turned a corner and there he was - PEEING against the wall!! Ewwww!! Most of the boats have "heads" (toilets) so please, know what you're in for!  I find it hard to believe he's the only man that's ever done that, so..... just don't drink alot of coffee before you go, for heaven's sake!

 

The walk up Skellig Michael's steps to the monastery are precarious, and there is no handrail.  This is not an easy staircase - they are made by laying slate along the steep path. Some steps are 4 inches high; some are 7 inches high, and are rough.  I was there on a gloriously calm day.... and all I could think of was the elderly monk I met in England who told me "the most scared I've ever been in my life was walking up the steps on Skellig Michael!" I wouldn't want to do that on a really windy day - would you?!?

 

Walking up the flat trail on Skellig Michael (NOT the steps!). Slow and steady wins the race on Skellig Michael!

 

I tried many times before to do the trip to Skellig Michael, and each time it was cancelled due to bad weather. I live near there, so for me it's not a crisis if I can't go. For you - this may be your only trip to Ireland for quite some time! If that's the case, maybe you should plan a few more days in the area so you have more chances of getting on a boat! If you're lucky and get on the island the first attempt, you can always enjoy the castle ruins, the hill walking, the pubs, the snorkeling, the seaweed walks, the views, the cycling, the history, the abbey ruins, church island..... there is LOTS to see around the Skellig Coast region besides the Skelligs themselves! 

 

Before you go, or if boats on the ocean aren't your thing and you don't go, a VERY good spot with information on the Skelligs is The Skellig Experience on Valentia Island.  It's not open in the winter every day, so be sure to check their website. Remember, Skellig isn’t only about the monks! The Skellig Experience exhibition has four themes:

 

The history and archaeology of Skellig Michael’s early Christian monastery.  

The sea birds, their habitat, their world wide travels.

The lighthouses which have given 161 years of service to mariners.

The undersea world of Skellig, which has colour and magic equal to any sea in the world.

 

Whatever happens, enjoy the scenery, and remember to SLOW DOWN on your visit to the Iveragh Peninsula!

 

Enjoy! 

 

 

That's me on Skellig Michael! Susan BaughmanSusan Baughman on Skellig Michael; September 17th. Little Skellig is in the distance.

 

 

#portmagee #skelligmichael #littleskellig #travel Boats waiting to pick up tourists on Skellig Michael. This is the type of boat you'll be on to get to Skellig Michael!

 

 

 

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(Today In Ireland) boat trip county kerry ireland luke skywalker salt life skellig michael skelligs star wars today in ireland blog unesco heritage site visit ireland visit skellig michael wild atlantic way https://www.todayinireland.com/blog/2020/5/skellig-michael Fri, 01 May 2020 14:23:00 GMT
PEOPLE IN IRELAND - A continuous stream! https://www.todayinireland.com/blog/2020/5/people-in-ireland Following is a continuously updated post that highlights many of the people I meet as I wander around Ireland. Some on walking trails, in hotels, hostels, pubs, on buses, while cycling..... One 80-something German who lives here calls out to me, when we part,  "Don't talk to strangers!" laughing away!

 

 

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Met this group of ladies enjoying a spectacular sunny day at the Gap of Dunloe, in Beaufort (outside of Killarney). They were enjoying the walk, but had to head north to Galway! I told them to be prepared: the scenery on the drive up there was pretty spectacular, and no matter what the gps tells you, you'll want to stop and take photos at every turn! Yanks at The Gap! Americans enjoying a sunny day at The Gap of Dunloe, in Beaufort, Ireland

 

 

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Hmmmm - a self-explanatory photo on St. Patrick's Day in Ireland! 

Celebrating St. Patrick's Day in Ireland!

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It's her first ever Ladies Day!

The one on the left, silly!

Three months old, and ready for the competition. At Gorwan Park Races, Ladies Day, County Kilkenny 

 

First ever Ladies Day! Gowran Park

 

 

 

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Met this lady, Marina, at Gowran Park Races last week. She runs a pub - Dunphy's Bar - in Kill, County Waterford.  She had a bus load of forty women heading to the races for Ladies Day!! I asked her "what about the men?" and she laughed: "Forget them, the have fun all the time!"  

Her hat is from Ruby's Hat Hire.

 

Marina from Dunphy's Bar

 

 

 

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What a story! These four Manchester, England, were having a tea break in RossPoint Cafe next to Rossbeigh beach. They were celebrating the 25th anniversary of walking The Kerry Way!! Twenty five years ago, there were few signs, and fewer people! Back then, they stayed in rooms over the Post Office in Kells - now still a Post Office, but also a fantastic cafe and gift shop called Goldens of Kells!  

I asked them if they were walking this time and they laughed:  "too many bad knees!" they said! We decided that wasn't old age, but rather too much hill walking in their youth! 

 

Manchester couples enjoying IrelandCelebrating a hillwalking adventure from 25 years ago!!

 

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Meet Patrick Twomey! He's cycling to Northern Ireland along the Wild Atlantic Way (and farther!) to raise funds for Pieta House (an Irish suicide awareness charity).  I'm doing a longer blog post solely on him that should be up by end of today!

Suffice to say in this abbreviated post: he's 71, has only been cycling for five years, and is VERY motivated to get to the Irish Open at PortStewart Golf Club by July 8th!  Best of luck, Pat!!

Here's his Facebook page for more info: PatTwomey 

 

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You never know what or who you might come across as you travel around Ireland. I was cycling the Skellig Ring road one day (a small part of the Wild Atlantic Way, just off the Ring of Kerry road), and came upon this fine gentleman near Ballinskelligs. He was out for a stroll! 

Definitely not a conversation you would have had in a car or a bus zooming by. Slow down, and meet the locals in Ireland! 

 

A gentleman in BallinskelligsCaught up with this happy man as I cycled around the Skellig Ring!

 

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A family from Beaufort, on vacation at Parknasilla Resort. One of the kids gets car sick, so they can't travel too far on holiday. So they stay at Parknasilla for a treat! Lucky kids!

We stayed there for our first wedding anniversary. I won a gift voucher for dinner in a photography contest. That gift voucher turned into five fantastic days at a wonderful resort! Walking trails, kayaking, golf, archery, cycling, a spa, outdoor hot tub..... I could go on and on, and I will in another blog post!

 

Beaufort family enjoying Parknasilla Resort!

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I met these two after I saw them surfing in Waterville. They work for Irish Gap Year and travel around Ireland showing American kids how beautiful it is, volunteering at events, getting a bit of education..... What a great job!

 

Irish Gap Year

 

Irish Gap Year teachers!

 

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I met these two when I was doing laundry in Glenbeigh! Americans, they had spent a few months traveling around Ireland. Loving every minute of it!

Laundry day!

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I met these two one VERY early morning at Ross Castle! Enjoying this beautiful day! From Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, they are spending a couple of weeks traveling around Ireland - hoping to end up in Sligo near extended family. They laughed about the phrase "we should live here!" They said it once, and laughed. Then said it again, and then again. "The more we say it, the more it's becoming a goal and not just an aside!"

They're staying at The Malton Killarney - wonderful old train station grand hotel; the perfect place to experience the Irishness of Killarney! 

 

Enjoying the lakes of Killarney on a beautiful day!

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I met this woman as she stopped to take a photo on the hill up beside Rossbeigh beach.  She didn't speak much English, and I speak no French, so we didn't have a long conversation. I was able to determine that she had cycled from Dingle to Rossbeigh that day. I was wowed by her shoes! She said "No one needs to wear those ugly cycling shoes!!"  I love that!! 

French cyclistShe cycled from Dingle to Rossbeigh, this day! Here are her shoes:

The cycling French woman's shoes!

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Coast Guard helping with first aid as I ran the half marathon during the Achill Ultra.  When I complained about a blister during the half marathon (most were doing 39 miles and planned to do it again the next day!) along the beautiful Wild Atlantic Way around Achill Island, he said "No guarantees, but you might keep your foot!"

Put in my place, don't cha know! Achill Island, County Mayo.

 (www.AchillUltra.com) 

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A French film crew heads to Rossbeigh Beach to film the horse racing! Glenbeigh Festival - music, dog show, kids costume parade, and of course - horse racing on the beach! Every August.

(www.GlenbeighFestival.com)

 

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This surfer was taking a break from the waves (they'd gotten small AND it's gotten pretty darn windy, here!) to pick wild blackberries.  He's going to make blackberry jam.  He exclaimed "there's so many, I'm going to need another bag!"

Just a three minute walk from the Ring of Kerry road, in Waterville.

 

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Saw some kids jumping off a pier into the sea. As a couple of girls climbed out over the rocks and onto the pier, I asked them "Can you do that again and let me take your picture?" 

One girl said "Hell, no! It's freezing!"

Luckiy, the others were game!

Fenit, County Kerry.

 

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"This is my wife's dream trip! Her grandparents were from Ireland. Even the 5 and 9 year olds love it. They found that awesome playground over there!"

"There's a playground over there?!" 

Tourist; Chicago. Shirt says "Southside Irish." As if I couldn't tell........

St. Finan's Bay, Skellig Coast

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Fish delivery to your door! 

"What's your worst day?"

"Broke down with a full load of fish. All that fish and no one to sell it to!"

 

 

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Tinahely Agricultural Show and Fair. They start the horsemanship early in Ireland! (Her grandfather was a professional hunter!).

County Wicklow.

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  • "I've driven the BusEireann 279A Killarney to Waterville loop bus for 20 years.  I leave my house around 5:00 a.m. and return at 7:00 p.m.  Next week I have a new route closer to home. I'll be able to take my afternoon break at home. I'll be able to walk my dog on Rossbeigh beach! I've made friends on this route, but it's going to be a nice change."

 

Bus Eireann driver, ring of kerry route

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"Forget America!!!

My wife and I went to San Francisco in July. She had to buy a fleece AND a hoodie! It was crazy!"

He's my savior - er, I mean the stove man. I had quite a problem with smoke pouring out of the top of the stove when the wind came from the West. Which of course, it often does in the West coast of Ireland!! One time the smoke billowed out so horribly, a neighbor came by and said "I thought the tower was on fire! I saw the smoke a block away!!"  This man helped by teaching me about coal and wood stoves - but what REALLY helped was finally getting an H-cowl for the chimney!

When I offered him a cup of tea, he said "Lovely!" then added "Do you have any biscuits?"  When I said no, he sighed and shook his head, saying "We're turning into the English."  As you can imagine, I now keep biscuits in my cupboard for when anyone - workers or friends - call in! 

The stove man!Who ya gonna call? Smoke busters!

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Met an interesting couple from Cork at a star-watching all-nighter. They built their own 3-D printer!! They made this robot necklace out of their home made 3-D printer! They are so cool!!

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"If one more tourist comes in looking at their watch and says 'how many hours will it take to do the Ring of Kerry?' I will scream. It doesn't take hours to see the Ring of Kerry. It takes DAYS to see the Ring of Kerry! Weeks!!"

A shop owner in Killarney.

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The official "biggest fan of Kerry GAA!" Also: author, multiple marathon finisher, storyteller, historian.....

GAA fan

 

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Can you let me off here? he says, in pouring rain, to the bus driver.

"Here?!?!!!"

"Don't worry. I know what I'm doing."

Then he grabs his guitar, hops off the buss, put up his hoodie, and trudged off into the distance - in the middle of nowhere....

Guitarist, busker

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They walked into An Corcan Cafe and first thing they said was "it's warm in here!"

"You're American?" I asked.

"We are!"

"Here on holiday?"

"We're here to spread the ashes of our step-sister and dear friend around Dromoland Castle. It's what she always wanted."

Dia luas.

A very important trip to Ireland

 

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Tourists from Miami, Florida. I found them taking a photograph of the two toy leprechauns perched among the roots of a huge, lovely tree.  Turns out there are kids/grandkids back home - age 2 and 4 - who are getting a series of photos emailed to them of the leprechaun sighted while they are sightseeing around Ireland! 

Killarney National Park, near Torc Waterfall, County Kerry. 

 

Hunting leprechauns in Killarney National Park!

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German tourists about to board a Ryan Air flight at Kerry Airport.

"Excuse me? Could you use an umbrella? They won't let us take this on board!" 

"Absolutely!" I said. "I'm here for a few months: thank you!"

I broke in the VERY nice umbrella within 45 minutes. 

 

 

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My first post in this "people in Ireland" section was November 5, 2013.......

 

 

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(Today In Ireland) failte hony style ireland irish blogger irish travel blog people in ireland ring of kerry ring of kerry tour rossbeigh skellig coast street photography today in ireland travel travel blogger travel ireland vacation in ireland walking in ireland wild atlantic way https://www.todayinireland.com/blog/2020/5/people-in-ireland Fri, 01 May 2020 14:23:00 GMT
Cahernageera Walk, Caherdaniel https://www.todayinireland.com/blog/2020/3/cahernageerablog A chance meeting brings me to a hill walk on a farmer's private land near Derrynane!

 

 

Cahernageera, IrelandWalking near Derrynane, Ireland off the Ring of Kerry road.

 

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After meeting new people at a Caherdaniel-Derrynane conference along the Skellig Coast, I was invited back a few days later to have lunch and a walk with Jean - a local community volunteer, and Michael - a sheep farmer (also involved in Derrynane's community). I cycled over Coomakista along the Wild Atlantic Way on a beautiful, but breezy, sunny Sunday noon.  Cycling in Ireland is a joy - when it's sunny and brisk. (It's a challenge when it's lashing!). The views down onto Derrynane are fantastic on a clear day, and they didn't disappoint....

The directions are like so many in Ireland: "After the fourth B&B, go down the hill until you see a road with 5 signs. Look up to your right and see an unmarked gravel road with a barn. Head up that way and it splits - I'm on the right."  I had to push the bicycle up the very steep gravel drive, and when I knocked on the door I admit I held my breath for a few moments: as I told my host when she opened the door "Until someone opens the door, I'm never entirely SURE I'm knocking on the door at the correct house!"

What a treat! Fresh crab for lunch - with home-grown lettuce from the garden! Beautiful views down onto Derrynane from the hill; I thought to myself "is every view REALLY going to be prettier than the last?"  Jean's garden was full of blue and purple and pink and white. Does anything beat a huge growth of calla lilies overlooking a Caribbean blue bay? (see photo album)

Michael brought his dogs (yippee!) and we headed off (or should I say UP!) the hill into his property after lunch.

 

#skelligcoast #wanderireland Lucky dog! Sheepdog in IrelandMichael's sheepdog runs us ragged along the Cahernageera hillwalk near Derrynane! Very close to The Kerry Way.

Walking on The Kerry Way or any of the many "official" walking/hiking paths in Ireland can be challenging at times. Walking along sheep paths can be VERY challenging! It was a steep hill, boggy terrain, wet at times - but no matter what I stepped in it was hard not to trip from looking around me so often! OK, so I did trip. One step up over a wall, putting my shoe in was easy, going over and pulling it out was an entirely different matter! I went down (slowly - sort of a controlled fall). No injuries other than pride! And when Michael said "It would be a pity to walk the whole way and then fall down below!" (meaning the EASY part!!!) I couldn't help but laugh!

I got a lesson in sheep farming - how they keep track of the sheep (tags, electronic tags); how they build the fences over such harsh terrain; how to pull a lamb out of the mother when something's not right; how to separate them and care for them. We saw a little fellow limping along - he'll need to get looked at tomorrow....

Our lasted about five hours! We saw views over the McGillycuddy Reeks, looked down onto Lough Currane and Ballinskelligs Bay - a scene that looked like a map laid out before us. Just beautiful.  We even saw the Skellig Michael and Little Skellig from this height - awesome!  We looked upon a large stone covered hill as we viewed Waterville - a hill I see every morning when I look out my window. I've always wanted to hike this - getting this close makes be realize what a serious hike THAT would be.

Michael inherited his property when he was 11.  He's been working it since shortly after that. On the land is the house of his family from the past - called a "Famine House," which he thinks must have been built in the 1700 or 1800's.  To stand in a house that old, with still-solid walls, beautiful views, a huge fireplace....you can just imagine a family living what surely was a hard life in that place in those long ago days. From the top of a hill we could look down and see many a ruin such as this - a Sullivan house here, a Shea house there.  Michael knew so much abut the area it was a joy to spend the hours on the hills.

 

A ruin of an old house in Cahernageera.Old houses and new adorn the countryside in South Kerry, Ireland

When I look down on scenery such as this in South Kerry, I feel sorry for the people that do the Ring of Kerry bus tours. I was one of those people last year, and I can remember looking longingly out the window and thinking "I want to go there!" or "Why don't we stop HERE?!" I couldn't help but remember that and remind myself how lucky I am to have come BACK to South Kerry without being rushed through on a tour bus.

If you want to check out a few photos, see the album entitled Cahernageera Walk.

#skelligcoast~Farmer and his dog, Cahernageera, Derrynane,Michael, a farmer in Cahernageera, Derrynane on the Ring of Kerry.   An Irish ruin alongCaherdaniel hillwalk Photographing ruins on the hillwalk near Derrynane, Ireland. #ringofkerry

 

 

 

#skelligcoast #wildatlanticway Looking down on Waterville, Ireland from CahernageeraFrom the top: looking down on Waterville village, Ballinskelligs Bay, Lough Currane. Can you see the golf course? Note the bog cotton in the front of the photo!

#susanbaughman #irishphototours Using the timer! Jean, me (Susan Baughman) and MichaelSelfie! The collie dog had the most fun, I'd say! #todayinireland

 

More on Derrynane can be found at Vinnie Hyland - Wild Derrynane - here: www.vincenthylandartist.com

If you want to see LIVE photos of the Derrynane area, check out this webcam!!  Click HERE. 

 

 

 

 

 

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(Today In Ireland) caherdaniel cahernageera cycle ireland derrynane ireland irish farmer irish photo tours irish staycation never leave kerry ring of kerry ring of kerry bus tour skellig coast south kerry star wars today in Ireland travel walking in ireland walking ireland waterville wild atlantic way https://www.todayinireland.com/blog/2020/3/cahernageerablog Tue, 10 Mar 2020 15:23:00 GMT
Cnoc na dTobar Pilgrim Walk, Ireland https://www.todayinireland.com/blog/2017/10/cndtwalk Cnoc na d'Tobar Pilgrim Path - part of the Irish Pilgrim Path network.

Like an Irish camino trail! 

 

 

Climbing in Ireland: the Cnoc na d'Tobar pilgrim path! Friends gather for mass on a hilltop in Ireland! This is Ireland! Cahersiveen.

I've heard people talk about "knock na dubber" for ages, but to be honest I didn't really know what it was (or WHERE it was!). I just knew it was nearby Waterville!

A neighbor invited me to join her on a walk on a recent Sunday. She said "Want to go on a walk and hear mass at the same time?" and laughed. Well, that's exactly what we did!

Cnoc na d'Tobar is a 690 meter mountain just off the Ring of Kerry road, 4.5 kilometers outside of Cahersiveen town.  It's on the Irish Pilgrim Path list of pilgrim walks. (www.pilgrimpath.ie).  It was important in pre-Christian Ireland, when various assemblies - such as the festival of Lughnasa - were celebrated.  In the late 1800's a parish priest in Cahersiveen, Canon Brosnan, had built fourteen stations of the cross along the trail.  These crosses are still situated along the mountain path, (and are good stops to catch a breath or say a prayer!).

 

Station of the Cross on Cnoc na dTobar pilgrim walk in IrelandAs you walk up the hill at Cnoc na d'Tobar you can say your rosary at the stations of the cross! Near Cahersiveen, Ireland

 

There's a parking lot at the base of the hill - just a few euros to drop into a lock box.  Then up you go - over hill and dale as the saying goes! You DO need to know that the way is wet, and rocky, and for some it would be a challenging climb.  As we started up the hill, we could see other pilgrims making their way to the summit.  We stopped and looked at a beautiful blue bay, with the Dingle peninsula in the background. A man was walking nearby, so we chatted our hello. It turned out to be the priest! Father Larry! He told me he's only been doing this mass a few years, as this is a new parish to him. Here's the priest in disguise!

 

The local priest heads up Cnoc na d'Tobar to say mass! Fr. Larry on Cnoc na d'Tobar

 

We continued on, with stops to read the bible passages at (most) of the crosses, and a break for water and a snack.  There were many hellos as the locals were known to my friends I was walking with.  It was a lovely day, and everyone was enjoying the challenge and the weather!

Up to the top, we heard mass. It was an amazing experience, let me tell you.

 

Mass on top of Cnoc na d'TobarA Pilgrim Path walk near Cahersiveen, Waterville, Valentia Island. Just off Ring of Kerry road!

 

After the mass, I took a photo of most of the people (and a few of the dogs!) who attended. Then we enjoyed views of the Wild Atlantic Way, Dingle peninsula, and Ballinskelligs Bay, and walked down. It's just like they say - going down can be harder than going UP!  As I mentioned - it's wet and rocky, some of the rocks are a bit slippery. Be careful!

One of the men in my group mentioned to me "I've lived my whole life near here, and never done this walk. Every time I drove through Cahersiveen I would look up at this mountain and think someday I would walk to the top. I'm THRILLED to have had the chance to do it! Now I'll brag to my friends!"

I highly recommend the walk, yes - but more than that, I highly recommend doing a bit of digging to discover what small community event like this is going on as you travel around Ireland.  This mass is said the last Sunday in May. 

After we were finished, we dropped another friend off to her house. And had tea and a glass of wine to celebrate our accomplishment! As you do!

 

The group who walked up Cnoc na d'Tobar to hear mass on a sunny Irish Sunday in May!Cnoc na d'Tobar near Cahersiveen along the Wild Atlantic Way.

More details on Irish Pilgrim Paths and Cnoc na d'Tobar click here: Cnoc na d'Tobar 

 

 

Just the beginning!

The view!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#thekerryway #skelligcoast Hillwalkers in Ireland Climbing Cnoc na d'Tobar The chalice on top of Cnoc na d'Tobar, Cahersiveen

 

The cross at Cnoc na d'TobarThe priest says mass on a hillside in Ireland. Overlooking the Wild Atlantic Way and Skellig Islands!

 

 

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(Today In Ireland) #hikeireland #travel #wildatlanticway cahersiveen cnoc na d'tobar county kerry hill walking ireland hillwalking ireland Irish camino knocknadobar pilgrim walks ireland ring of kerry skellig coast skellig michael tbex the kerry way travel ireland walking in ireland wild atlantic way wild atlantic way walks https://www.todayinireland.com/blog/2017/10/cndtwalk Fri, 06 Oct 2017 13:07:00 GMT
Ireland Hillwalk - Derrynane Mass Path https://www.todayinireland.com/blog/2017/9/hillwalkderrynane Ireland Hillwalk - from Waterville to Derrynane on the historic Mass Path
 

It was the beginning of summer in Ireland, and here on the West coast the sun doesn't set until after 9:00 p.m. at that time of year. So, when a friend texts and says "We're walking Derrynane Mass Path Wednesday night!" I knew I was in for it!

Oh, just for a moment the thought flashed through my mind "the last time I went walking with this gang, I ended up with a medical boot on my left leg for five weeks!" but I shook that one off and texted back "I'm in!" Called a few others, and pulled out my Kerry Walking Trails map set, and eyeballed the route.  

       Derrynane Mass Path

 

Back in the day, Catholics in Ireland were banned from celebrating Mass. The Catholics in Caherdaniel parish walked this Mass Path during the Penal Times (in the 17th Century) to attend Mass at the Mass Rock which we see on this walk. We met at the car park for the Derrynane House (www.derrynanehouse.ie) the ancestral home of Daniel O'Connoll, Irish politician and statesman.  Surrounding Derrynane House is a 320 acre Irish National Park, and much of the walk is around this area, along trails on The Kerry Way (www.kerryway.com).  There were 14 of us (plus one baby!) and we headed off at 7:00 p.m. to do the loop.

Starting from the car park, we walk over sand dunes and along the beach. Then up onto trails looking over beautiful Derrynane Bay.  This is a challenging but not overly difficult walk. There are three steps along the walk up onto rocks that are VERY high steps - we had a hand from the first man up.  'm sure I would have scrambled on hands and knees if I hadn't had the pull up.  At one point the trail leads up a huge rock, and over the centuries steps have been worn in o the rock. (I've done this walk in summer and winter; dry weather and wet (including sleet!) and it's slippery when wet.)  There are some lovely walks through tunnels of rhododendrons - beautiful in the warm weather, but an invasive species that was brought to Ireland in 1763, and now taking over much of the Southwest's ancient woodlands.

Walkers looking over a small inlet.

Checking out an inlet.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

   

The walk begins at sea level so - you guessed it! - the first half is up, up, up! As you climb the hills you can see beautiful vistas of the hills and valleys of Caherdaniel, the bays, the famous "lighthouse house" and the spectacular Derrynane beach.  You can even see Skellig Michael in the distance!

As you come back down the trail, you pass through some pretty boggy (read: wet) areas of the trail.  Part of the trail is maintained by OPW (www.OPW.ie) and has raised wooden platforms with chicken wire.  Other parts you step stone to stone. Other parts you're, well - you're stepping in a bit of mud.  My dear friend Paul, visiting from America, walked this path with me one winter day.  He threw away his socks AND his shoes after that day's walk!

 

 

 

Hillwalking Derrynane along the Ring of Kerry. Excellent place for taking photos!

 

 

 

Eventually, we looped back around at the top of the hill, and saw the beginning of a beautiful sunset. 

 

After the walk, (4.93 miles according to one person's Garmin) the sun was coloring up the sky and we were in the car heading back to Waterville. Finishing off with a much needed pint at The Lobster Bar in Waterville!

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:

Off the Ring of Kerry road in Caherdanel.

OS Map 84  

Distance 7.5 km

Time approximately 3 hours

Other food/beverage: The Blind Piper in Caherdaniel; Bridie Keetings Bar 

Things to do in the area: Wild Derrynane Tours (www.vincenthylandartist.com); Irish Fairy Trails; Atlantic Irish Seaweed walks (www.atlanticirishseaweed.com); Eagle Rock Equrstrian - ride horses on Derrynane beach! (www.eaglerockcentre.com)

 

A few more photos of the walk: 

Junior hillwalker!

 

 

 

Waterfall along the trail

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nice view!

Peaceful bay along the Wild Atlantic Way

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(Today In Ireland) caherdaniel derrynane derrynane mass path hillwalking ireland irish travel blogger skellig coast the kerry way today in ireland travel travel blog ireland unusual things to do in ireland vagabond ireland walking in ireland waterville Ireland wild atlantic way https://www.todayinireland.com/blog/2017/9/hillwalkderrynane Wed, 27 Sep 2017 15:39:00 GMT
24 hours of fun - at least for me! https://www.todayinireland.com/blog/2016/10/24-hours-of-fun---at-least-for-me Volunteering - First Aid at the Kerry 24 Hour Endurance Run. Someone has to do the 4:00 a.m. to noon shift! 

 

For the record: I don't like DRIVING 100 miles -- much less do I have a desire to RUN 100 miles!!

Yet that's what over 100 crazy...er....strong willed runners attempted in Tralee, County Kerry at the Kerry Endurance Run.  A runner could sign up for a six hour, 12 hour, or 24 hour running slot from noon Saturday to noon Sunday in Tralee Town Park.  Some friends that I had met at the Achill Ultra (http://www.achillultra.com) were running it - sooooooo i knew I was going to go watch. WATCH, people - watch!!! As I'm a Kerry Civil Defense volunteer, when they (www.civildefence.ie) put out the call for a Sunday 7:00 a.m. shift, to volunteer at First Aid, I knew I was a go!!

I arrived in Tralee & checked in at Castle Hostel (www.castlehostel.ie). I've stayed here before, and I like it. Plenty of public sitting areas, electricity AND reading lights on every bed, best of all Stephen & Aileen (the owners) are a joy! I then walked over to Tralee Town Park - where the Rose of Tralee festival is celebrated with statues, lists of Roses, and the most spectacular collection of rose bushes I've ever seen in one place! 

The runners were on hour seven at this point - seven hours of running! Unbelievable. They were running the 3/4 of a mile loop around the park, over and over; a few were running solo but many were running in couples, chatting away as if it were a Saturday morning run and they would head over to Costa Coffee when they were finished! Wow!

Hour 7 Runners in Tralee Town Park for Kerry Endurance 24 Hour Run

I saw my friends - Donna from Mayo wearing the fluorescent lime green sunglasses, Ger in his Cystic Fibrosis Ireland purple, Michael (Up the Kingdom!) and others. Gavin - a runner I met in Achill - was Donna's support team. As you can imagine, support in this type of race is massively important. Someone needs to help keep an eye on your hydration; your food; your pace; your clothes (wet, dry, warm, cold). He's a runner himself, but injured at the moment, or I'm sure he'd be out there, too! 

There were over forty runners doing the entire 24 hour run. The support teams were amazing! Some had tents and sleeping bags; some had cars with all sorts of supplies; some had camper vans with stoves and hot tea brewing at all hours! Just amazing to see the friendship and camaraderie of the runners and support groups.  Someone running wants a tea, and their support team is on an errand? No problem! Someone will share!  A lovely feeling all around. 

I headed off to eat dinner - feeling slightly guilty as I downed my lovely Indian food at Indian Castle Restaurant  (http://www.indiancastle.ie) knowing that the athletes were running into hour nine! Heading back as the day was ending, I was lucky enough to view a lovely sunset, with St. John's Church spire in the distance.  Red sky at night - let's hope that's a runner's delight!  The group was still running strong, and over the next few hours the 12-hour runners were seeing the finish line in their mind's eyes!  It was such a delight to see so many people hitting goals they had trained for - some maybe previously doubtful of the outcome. Lots of blisters, but lots of love scattered about, too!

It was quite special to see the runners going through the dark park (check out the video link in the photo album). If you stood away from the  well lit starting area, you could let the darkness surround you, then begin to notice lights - most runners carried torches - moving along the edge of the park.  Some had lights on their hats - those white lights were smoothly flowing through the darkness. Some carried torches in their hands - those swung back and forth, back and forth, a bit more disjointed to watch.  I walked around the 3/4 mile route a few times; surrounded by darkness, not using a torch, just my eyes adjusting and keeping an eye out for the glow sticks placed along the route ever 20 feet or so.... it was calm, peaceful, and special.  But it still didn't want to make me TRY it!!!! ;-) 

Runners headlamps 4:00 a.m. long exposure! runners headlamps in the dark

 

I left around midnight, knowing I was "on duty" at 7:00 a.m.  Tomorrow would be a long day for those runners!

I arrived at 5:00 a.m. thanks to two very drunk French girls who came back to the hostel at 4 am (for the 2nd night I heard later) disrupting everyone there.  As I was having a tea at 4:15 a.m. at the hostel kitchen, and knock at the door started....and continued....and continued.  Finally, another guest who had gotten up at 4:00 answered, and reported it was a very drunk young man looking for a place to stay..... Of course, check in hours at most hostels outside of big cities aren't 24 hours, so off he went to sleep in his car! 

Back to the run: 5:00 a.m., dark and quiet, the lap counters still there in lovely monkey hats (whatever keeps you warm!) and Donna was wearing funky colorful tights to help keep us all awake! I stopped into the First Aid/break room at the Kerry County Museum (www.KerryMuseum.ie) next door. One guy was laying on the floor with his legs up on a chair. "Ankle injury. No running for me. I can't believe it. But its right. I can't go on. I've made my peace."  Another runner laying on a cot, wrapped in a sleeping bag: "Too many painkillers. can't keep anything down. throwing up water!" - the night medic took his blood pressure: all well, she said. As she walked out the door he turned to me and said "come make sure I'm still breathing in 20 minutes!?" I did. He was.

The dawn broke, and it was lovely. The weather app was looking ominous (www.meteirann.ie) as heavy scattered showers were predicted. A shower started! Amazing! It lasted about three minutes, and we had crisp dry weather the rest of the morning!  A woman nearby pulled out a barbecue and began grilling up sausages and boiling potatoes! She shared, of course. They hit the spot!! 

I became aware around 10:30 that more spectators had begun to arrive. I heard a cheer and the first 100 mile runner hit the finish line! Got a few photos and then -- off he ran! He wasn't stopping at 100 - he was running the full 24 hours!! Bit by bit more people hit their 100 km and 100 mile goals.... all kept running. Cheers at each lap..... "You're looking good!" I said to one man (Hell, I can't imagine what I would look like at this point - if still conscious!). He yelled back "you're a great liar!"  which got a few laughs - and continued to, every time he said it! 

Tourists began wandering by - and were flabbergasted to discover the runners were running 24 hours! "I thought it was a 5k!" said one Dutch tourist. "Oh! Can I take photos?" said an American. The crowd was building.  Another Civil Defense volunteer popped by with his son to see "what running 24 hours looks like!" 

The last 45 minutes were spectacular! The guy that had the bad ankle and wasn't going to finish? He was up and limping along.... A 19 year old - wrapped-up-knee and all - was limping/jogging along, too - with his concerned mother hovering nearby.  One of my friends had earlier said "I need mass more than I need this 24 hours!" so had just returned to finish off with her friends.  There were slow walkers, there were strong runners that looked like they were as fresh as if they had just started. There were lots of smiles. Lots of grimaces. Oh, who am I kidding - more smiles than grimaces, without a doubt.

The Finish!! My friend Donna McLoughlin at the finish!

All told, of the 40 who signed up for the full 4 hour run, over ten ran over 100 miles.  An amazing experience to see - and an amazing event to dream about, someday.  

Not to do! Just to dream about! :-D

Hugs all around! 24 Hour Run24 Hours - done and dusted!

 

Susan

 

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(Today In Ireland) castle hostel county kerry Endurance run ireland kerry civil defence Kerry Endurance Run marathon Marathon Club Ireland MCI running tralee Tralee" ultra marathon ultra running https://www.todayinireland.com/blog/2016/10/24-hours-of-fun---at-least-for-me Mon, 03 Oct 2016 16:12:37 GMT