Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Taking a Pear Project Break to Ireland

Ireland, Rock of Cashel, photo
Rock of Cashel, County Tipperary, Ireland

All pears and no play make a boring blog, so I thought I'd post about something different today.

Earlier this year I had the opportunity to visit Ireland for a week when my husband went there on business. We stayed in Dublin, where I visited the National Gallery of Ireland and the archeological branch of the National Museum of Ireland, but I mostly took day trips into the countryside while my husband was stuck at work.

There are many small seaside towns on Dublin Bay just a quick train ride from the center of Dublin, and I happily whiled away my time exploring the flora, fauna, and food of these areas (fish & chips, seafood chowder with brown bread. Mmmm!)

gannets, Ireland, Howth, Ireland's Eye
Boating past cliffs of gannets (the white dots).

On the northern edge of Dublin Bay is the fishing village of Howth, with its bustling harbor and large selection of seafood restaurants. I took a boat tour out and around Ireland's Eye, an island teeming with seabirds. I was thrilled that there were gannets everywhere - preening on the cliffs, flying overhead, diving into the water - a lifer for me (for the non-birders out there, a "lifer" is what you call a bird species the first time you see it in the wild and then you add it to your life list.) An added treat was the occasional seal popping its head up from the water to watch the boat as we chugged along. One large seal swam alongside us for a little ways, seeming to escort us back to the harbor.

Ireland, seals, Dublin Bay, photo
The seals don't mind the wet weather.

Dalkey Island, Colliemore Harbour, Dublin Bay, Ireland, photo
Colliemore Harbour with Dalkey Island in the distance.

Another day I took a train south of Dublin to the town of Dalkey, and then walked to picturesque Colliemore Harbour just south of town. The wind was blowing and raindrops were beginning to fall, but I had a good rain jacket so I forged ahead. Dalkey Island sits less than a half mile across from the harbor and, according to the interpretive signs at the harbor overlook, is home to wild rabbits, goats and the ruins of a church that dates back to the 10th century. This ruin on the exposed rocky island captured my attention, and despite the light rain and the wind threatening to send my sketchbook into the water, I had to sketch it.

Dalkey Island, sketch, Dublin Bay, St. Begnet, Ireland, watercolor, pen & ink, Sivitz
Pen & ink sketch with watercolor and raindrops.

Dolphins and whales are not unusual around Dublin Bay, but although I scanned the waters every chance I got, unfortunately I didn't see a single one. However, everything else I saw and did in Ireland more than made up for it.

Now back to our regularly scheduled pear program...

1 comment:

  1. I'm impressed you were able to fit a sketch into the rain and windy conditions. Lovely to have this sketch to remember your time there! My maternal grandmother's family was from Ireland from Clonmel in County Tipperary. I went to Ireland as part of a cruise with my family a few years ago and would love to go back. Thanks for the post. Annmarie


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