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Ewe Sculpture Gardens by Ann Treacy
May 21, 2010, 5:49 pm
Filed under: Glengarriff

We spent a fun afternoon at the Ewe Sculpture Gardens just outside Glengarriff. We had read that it was fun for kids – but I have to say we all enjoyed it. It’s difficult to explain. It’s an interactive sculpture garden. There are parts that tie in with poetry some with ecology. Some of very nuanced and some are huge. It seems as if the owners of the property are artists and the garden is a continual work in progress.

They had the whole Calf Path poem (by Sam Walter Foss), which I had been reciting since we started driving on the roads that were cleared paved calf paths. They had the super creepy The Spider and they Fly poem – near a giant spider and web. They had some fun games and lots of other poems. There were milkmaids made of plastic milk jugs.

The garden opens up into a field that slopes up to the mountains and there are sheep up in the mountains – that adds to the effect. There’s a little river or really creek running through the yard, which you can hear from just about the whole garden.

It’s a very calm, very interesting place.

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Life Around Glengarriff by Ann Treacy
May 21, 2010, 3:25 pm
Filed under: Glengarriff

We led a very relaxed life for our week in Glengarriff. We read a lot. Aine got to watch some TV station called Pop Girl – a lot. Actually, poor Aine was sick during most of our visit. Not super sick – but watching TV was a good pastime for her. Also there was a play room full of girl toys.

There was a trampoline out back – and that saw a lot of action too. I think the girls reported that they jumped 2000 times.

At night we played games. We played Password and the game where you write down a bunch of famous people or movies on slips of paper, throw them into the box and then in two teams try to get your team to guess the names in your one-minute turns. They are both good games – it was fun to play them. Even Aine got into the act. We learned that games do not bring out a very friendly side to Patrick. And I think the girls played a lot of gin with grandma and grandpa.

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Walks around Glengarriff by Ann Treacy
May 20, 2010, 10:07 pm
Filed under: Glengarriff

There are scores of great walks around Glengarriff. It was a good 10-15 minute walk into the village – a little longer if you took the detour around the harbor. Grandpa and I took a way towards the Bears Way – heading to the next bay one morning. We saw donkeys on our walk.

Patrick and I climbed to Lady Bantry’s Lookout one day. It’s a short walk from the Glengarrif Nature Reserve – but a much longer walk from the house – the last half mile is straight up. But the views were definitely worth it! We could see the entirety of Garinish Island’ that was cool.

Patrick and I took another walk to the Nature Reserve. It houses the only oak forest in Minnesota. We took the River Walk – and again it looked so much like Minnesota. In fact it looked a lot like the area near Hiawatha – under the Ford Bridge.

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Kayaking in the Atlantic by Ann Treacy
May 16, 2010, 6:45 pm
Filed under: Glengarriff, Uncategorized

I think the favorite vacation activity for the kids was kayaking. We were able to kayak right in back of the house. In a lot of ways the house where we stayed was like a high end cabin in Northern Minnesota. The backyard led into the Bay. The Bay was calm the whole time we were there. What was not like Minnesota was the tide and the seals. So we learned to sort of time our kayak trips because nothing is worse than dragging the kayak through a ton of beach and nothing is better than the seals coming at high tide.

Grandma kayaked one day and Aine went out a few times. So it really was a good activity for most of us.

The view from the kayak was amazing. We could see Glengarrif Harbor, we could see the mountains and we could see Garinish and other islands. In fact it felt like we should be able to kayak out to Garinish – but that seemed a little overly ambitious. When we were going fast at all it was fun to look up at the mountains because it felt as if the mountains were moving much faster than we were.

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Garinish Island by Ann Treacy
May 14, 2010, 4:02 am
Filed under: Glengarriff, Uncategorized

On Monday we went to Garinish Island – it’s a small island that we can just about see from the house; you have to take a ferry to get there – but it’s only about a 10-15 minute trip. On the way to the island we went by Seal Island, which really just seems to be a big rock where a few seals can hang out. But it was fun to see. When we boated by there were about 6 seals on the rock/island.

But back to Garinish, it is beautiful. There are gardens all over the island – in fact there’s a self-guided tour of them. We started off with lunch and then Lily navigated us very quickly through the gardens to any point where we might see seals.

While she might have not appreciated them – I actually took loads of pictures of the flowers and assuming I can get my real computer to work again (very sad story) I just might frame some of the pictures for my house. I won’t post them here though – since pictures without people tend to be a little boring. Bantry Bay is very shielded. Apparently the average annual temperature is 67 degrees. So the flowers are very different from what you might see in other parts of Ireland.

We did also get to a rougher part of the island where we could see seals. One was pretty close – the others were pretty fair away – but there were a lot of them.

The island also has some beautiful structures, which I will post online if I get my pictures off my real computer. It was a very cool place.

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Glengarriff here we are! by Ann Treacy
May 3, 2010, 9:09 am
Filed under: Glengarriff

After much treacherous driving we finally arrived in Glengarriff. It is beautiful. The house is amazing. Our back yard extends to the Atlantic Ocean. Only it feels more like a high end lake cabin in many ways. Bantry bay is pretty sheltered – the water is very calm. There isn’t a beach at the back of the house in the way you think of a beach. It’s pretty mucky and seaweedy. Or at least it is when the tide is out. The tide is one way we’re reminded of where we are. High tide seems to be in the morning. Then the water nearly come up to the backyard – but by mid afternoon the tide is out and we have 50-100 feet of mucky seaweed, which is kind of fun to explore. It’s like a lagoon. We learned that the lunar day is 24 hours and 50 minutes – it controls the tide.

Also we can see the seals swimming in the water. They seem to only come during high tide. They don’t come too close to the house – but they are fun to see. You can often see 6 or more. Also the vegetation here is unusual. You can see a lot of palm tree sort of things and beautiful flowers. I’ll try to get more pictures of that sort of thing in the upcoming days.

There’s a trampoline in the backyard. I don’t think I need to say anything more there.

There are tons of walking trails around the village of Glengarriff. We’re about a 10-15 minute walk to the village. You’ll see I took a picture of Aine at the start of the grotto trail – near the state of St Bernadette.

We went out to eat for dinner one night and played games until pretty late. We made past one night and walked into town for ice cream. There is no Internet access at the house – so that might kill me – but there are a few places in town where I can get connected. Grandpa and I should know all of those places pretty well by the end of the week.

Our big trip so far has been to Kenmare to get groceries. It’s about 20 miles away. Actually at the bird flies it’s probably 7 miles but the road is 20. If you haven’t driven in Ireland, I can tell you it’s not for the faint hearted. And the prettier the area, the more treacherous the road. We’re in a place where the road is almost big enough for two cars. Then there are some walkers and cyclists. And some cars have trailers. And in some areas the road narrows for a tree or the sea. Much of the road has high hedges on both sides of the road. Of course you know that they drive on the left. And the drive to Kenmare is really on a cliff through the Cork and Kerry Mountains. I had one eye open and it looked beautiful. Grandpa did an amazing job driving since I know he loves being on a cliff at least as much as I do.

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