Ireland: Blasket Islands, Dingle, Macroom

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A rainy day adventure brought us to the Blasket Island Museum.  The islands are an uninhabited group of islands off the west coast of Ireland. They were inhabited for centuries by a close knit, completely Irish-speaking population. Through a rainly window, you can barely see them cloked in cloud.

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They were evacuated by the government to the mainland on 17 November 1953 because of the declining population and harsh nature of life on the island.

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Life here was very difficult. Each family had a cow, a few sheep, and a plot of potatoes. They cut their peat from the high ridge and harvested fish from the sea.  Because they were not entirely dependent upon the potato, they survived the famine relatively unscathed.

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These people formed the most traditional Irish community of the 20th century and were widely beneficial to the study of the language.

“Then I went to Ireland. The conversation of those ragged peasants, as I learnt to follow it, electrified me.  George Thomson

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A special closeness to an island—combined with a knack for vivid storytelling—is inspirational. From this primitive but proud fishing/farming community came three writers of international repute whose Gaelic work—basically tales of life on Great Blasket Island—is translated into many languages. You’ll find Peig (by Peig Sayers), Twenty Years a-Growing (Maurice O’Sullivan), and The Islander (Thomas O’Crohan) in shops everywhere.

Lunch on a cool, rainy day was sandwiches and streamy soup.

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We boarded our coach and left, making our way toward Blarney Castle, stopping to visit Dingle and Macroom.

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Dingle is a small but vibrant port town and home to the statue of longtime  harbour resident, Fungie the dolphin.

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This guy!

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I cannot stress enough that although not what you’d think of as a tourist area, Macroom is darling! We actually arrived there early morning.  We strolled the streets and purchased a pastry from a local bakery, coffee and took in the sights.

Macroom Castle

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Macroom is a market town that began as a meeting place for the Druids of Munster.

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The bakery was unbelieveable!  There are so few real bakeries left in the US.  I miss that!  When I lived in New Braunfels Texas, in the ciry center was a german bakery where I’d often visit, buying fresh bread or pastries still warm from the ovens.  It’s the oldest in the state being in business there more than 150 years and I’ve had a love for them since bit I’ve long since moved and only rarely have I found a real bakery since.

Lynch’s Bakery sits near the back of the square near the town hall.

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In the center is a striking monument. The Republican Monument.

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Stop in for rrfreshment here… Vaughan’s Cafe & Penn’s Bar

Our next stop, Blarney Castle which needs a post of its own!

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