No Whining About the Hodgepodge!

 
1. It's National Wine Day (May 25)...do you like wine? Red or white? Dry or sweet? Do you have a favorite? Have you ever been to California wine country? Or any other wine region? What's a dish you make that calls for wine? 
The older I get, the drier I like it. I like red wine as long as it's not "smoky". There was a wine that I tried in NC that was the best I've ever had. I need to go back and get another bottle or more! North GA is becoming known as wine country; there are supposed to be some good wineries around there.
Scene from Frogtown Winery in Dahlonega, GA
2. What's something you've whined about lately? 
Oh my goodness! One big thing is the unfairness of caseloads in my school system. That's all I'm going to say about that.

3. Last time you were 'wined and dined'? Tell us about it. 
Last summer CH & I had a camping vacation: 2 days in North GA, 2 days in NC, and 2 days at some friends' house in VA. While there, I have no idea how many bottles of wine we went through, but I know that I couldn't keep up with them! They were wonderful hosts and we really enjoyed the time there.
The view from our friends' side yard.
4. Three cheers for_____________________.
Summer

5. This will be the last Hodgepodge in the month of May. Somehow next Wednesday the calendar rolls into June. Before we go through, sum up your May in twelve words or less. 
Quick. 😊

6. Insert your own random thought here. 
I'm trying to get into my summer schedule, which includes walking at 5:45 a.m. before people start walking in the park. I love that morning time before it's too hot and I have to contend with Gurl Dogg and other dogs. This morning she had no interest in walking; she wouldn't even get off of the porch so I went on my own. It was really weird; I haven't walked without a dog in years, if ever. I think she's just getting older and can't handle walking as much as I did the past couple of days. Or it could be that she doesn't like being out in the dark!

The Relative Hodgepodge

Joyce asks the questions, and we provide the answers. See how others answered at From This Side of the Pond.

1. What's something that makes you feel stressed? How do you cope? 
It usually involves something with one of the boys. I pray, I stay busy, and I walk. 

2. What's a food you eat that evokes a memory? Explain. 
Chicken pot pie. My SIL gave me the recipe; after my mom passed and right before my daddy passed I made it for my daddy a few times. He really enjoyed it, so every time I make it I think of the time I spent with him before he passed away. Those are times I'll always cherish.

3. This week's Hodgepodge lands on National Visit Your Relatives Day. Will you celebrate by visiting a relative? If so is travel involved? Geographically, who is your nearest relative (not counting those living in your own house)?
I won't celebrate that day because I didn't even know it existed! I have a sister who lives on the same road I live on. The road is a long one separated by a bridge...she lives on the other side of the bridge.

4. What's your most frequently used emoji? Do you make more phone calls, send more emails, or mainly text to communicate with friends and family? 
😂 On my phone it's the smiley face with tears running down. I mainly text; it's just so darned convenient!

5. Tell us the story behind a favorite piece of furniture. 
I have quite a few pieces of furniture that I treasure because my daddy made them. I joke that we would have little furniture if it wasn't for him. I don't think I have a favorite; I love them all. 

6. Insert your own random thought here. 
I was approached a few weeks ago by a representative of the company where we rented the campervan for our trip. He asked if I would write a blog post outlining our holiday. Anytime I get the chance to talk/write about it, you bet I will! The post just went "live" yesterday:
Bunk Campers. I'm nearing the end of my Ireland posts on this blog and am at the end on the camping blog (except for the final post). 

 

The Beara Peninsula

I absolutely loved where we stayed on the Beara Peninsula! It kind of had the feel of campgrounds we've stayed at in the mountains at home, with the big hill being the background.
And at the top of the hill were sheep the first night we were there. Yes, my fascination with sheep didn't wane as the trip continued!
This is a zoomed-in picture of the same hill, on the same day, as the first picture
We rested when we got there and did laundry. We also walked down the road to a little grocer to pick up some things. Usually when we camp we make out a menu and shopping list. Then we'll go to the store and get what we need. We didn't do that this trip since we knew we'd be eating out a lot.

But enough about that! Just as we've done the whole trip, we didn't travel to the Beara Peninsula with any plans except that we knew we'd have to drive to Castletownbere. There are a couple of ferries that will take you over to Bere Island and we talked about taking one over, but to drive the van over was €50. With the other ferry we would have parked the van before boarding and walked anywhere we wanted to go. There was one thing that CH was interested in but it was closed. So, we decided not to travel to the island and to just stay in town. 
Castletownbere is the largest fishing port in Ireland
Castletownbere is a thriving fishing town, with colorful buildings and narrow streets. It is also home to the Irish Fisheries Training School. The US Navy had a Naval Air Station here during WWI.




The first stop was a church sitting on a hill. Built in 1912, I would consider it a "newer" church, especially by European standards. It was pretty impressive with steps going up to it and a bell on the side of it. 

Church of the Sacred Heart, Castletownbere, County Cork
Mass wasn't being celebrated but the doors were open. We were able to take a few minutes to enjoy the beauty.
The altar

Just up the steps from the bell tower there is a school
We strolled into MacCarthy's Bar for lunch. There were a couple of other people in the bar: a man from Chicago whose wife was from Castletownbere, and a young woman from Wales. She was traveling around Ireland by herself. She was just lovely to talk with! 
MacCarthy's Bar, Castletownbere, County Cork
I didn't realize until I was home and checking out the website how famous this pub is! Established in 1860, MacCarthey's was the recipient of one of the first licenses to sell alcohol in Ireland. Adrienne is the 4th generation owner; her father was a doctor in WWII and was a prisoner of war in Nagasaki, Japan. The commandant of the war camp respected him so much that he gave him a ceremonial sword. The sword is in the bar but we didn't see it. The pub is also in the 2013 documentary "The Irish Pub". I watched it after M & I returned home after our trip. It's well worth watching. We were so close to a few of them; I hate that we missed it!
MacCarthey's: Traditional Pub that's been in the family for 4 generations
Adrienne gave us a couple of excellent recommendations: Kilcatherine Church and Dunboy Castle. She said the views from Kilcatherine were incredible, and she was right. 

We drove to Dunboy Castle first, only we didn't realize we were there. After doing some research, this is definitely it. From what I gather, people call Puxley House "Dunboy Castle". 
Puxley Manor
The manor was burnt in 1920 by the IRA in retaliation for the British Crown destroying houses that harbored IRA men and weapons. Over the last 20 years, some restoration has been done with the intent of turning it into a hotel, but it was just sold either right before or when we were there with plans to turn into a hotel. There was a fence all around it so we couldn't get very close. This mansion was in a picture in a restaurant where we ate dinner. When I asked what building it was, I was told "Dunboy Castle", but that's not right. I thought maybe the names were interchangeable but from what I found out, they aren't. Dunboy Castle is, however, also called O'Sullivan Beara Castle.
The ruins of Dunboy Castle overlook the Bear Island Sound

The castle was built in the 15th century

In 1602 Dunboy was part of the Seige of Dunboy

The English Army reduced the castle to ruins during the Seige
It was a nice little find. The parking lot is small and isn't paved. We ran into a couple of people on the trail to the ruins but other than that, we were out there alone. After that, we were on our way to Kilcatherine. At one point I asked CH to stop so I could jump out and get some pictures. These are views I don't ever want to forget:


Between Dunboy Castle and Castletownbere, we saw a British couple who were also staying at the campground. They rented a camper as well but from a different place. We saw them walking along the road and as we passed by & waved, I wondered what they were doing because I didn't see anything of interest. I found out when we got back to the campground that they had swapped mirrors with a car. They stopped, the car didn't. The lady said that when they stopped to pick up what they could from their side mirror, she noticed a lot of glass but it wasn't from their mirror. The bottom of theirs had broken free and they were able to put it back on.
Kilcatherine 
We misunderstood where Adrienne told us to go. She told us "Kilcatherine Point" so that's what we put in Google Maps. We passed the church and kept driving until we couldn't drive any further.





We turned around and headed back to the church; the views were stunning. I expected someone to come out and ask what we were doing that far out, but my guess is that they're used to that happening.
We were the only ones at the church so we were able to just revel in the amazing views and take our time marveling at this church ruin/cemetery that was built on the site of a 7th-century monastery.
Just above the door to the left (as we're facing it) there is a stone. Some say it looks like a cat, others a human. I read somewhere that the length of the neck makes it unusual. If I had realized it was there, I would have taken a better picture.
I tried to crop it to get a better look...it's hard to tell!

There is a stone cross in the cemetery that is said to be the oldest cross in Ireland. One of the downsides to not planning is that we didn't know to look for it. In hindsight, we should have googled Kilcatherine before we got there to get the scoop. I hoped that I inadvertently included it in a picture, and I think I may have found it:
Could this be Ireland's oldest cross? 
I compared the headstones in my picture to one on another site and it looks like it could be, comparing its location in reference to the newer markers.

View from inside the church looking out


The water really is that color!
Adrienne (from MacCarthey's Bar) told us that during the excavation in 1990 tunnels were discovered. It is thought that the Vikings made them so that their wives and children could escape to the sea. The sign that is onsite said that it is believed that nuns occupied the church and the tunnels were built for them.






Another thing Adrienne told us was that man who spent his time between Kilcatherine and NYC passed away when he was in Ireland. He was buried so that his body faced NY, while all of the others are facing the other way. She challenged us to find him. When we were there we didn't find it but, as luck would have it, I captured it in a picture! That same picture also has (I believe) the oldest cross that I showed above.


As we drove back to Castletownbere we drove through the little village of Eyres. It looked like a sweet little town worth exploring. (Next time!)
The only time we had trouble with our credit card was in a grocery store in Castletownbere. I went in to grab a few things (Bulmer's and brown bread among them!) and CH's card was declined. Mine was as well, so I had to get money out of the ATM. The sweet young lady said that the card machine had been down since around mid-afternoon and she assured me it wasn't our card. 

Our day completed, we headed back to our campground for the night. The next day we were headed for our last planned campground (after a little detour). 

To find out more about Hungry Hill Lodge and Campsite, visit our camping blog, Flyin' the Coop.

A Birdie Said It's Time for the Hodgepodge

 
Joyce asks the questions, we provide the answers. See how others answered at From This Side of the Pond.

1. What do you never get tired of? 

Watching the birds in the background. Yep, I'm officially old.

2. My mother made the best ________________________________. 

Homemade candy. 

3. What machine or appliance in your home aggravates you the most? Why? 

This one is easy: the washing machine. If you don't have the clothes in the drum just right, they'll be soaked at the end of the cycle and I have to reload them and run the drain/spin cycle.

4. What are three things that brighten up your day when they happen? 

1. Seeing a cardinal
2. Visits from hummingbirds
3. Texts/calls from my boys "just because"

5. Thursday (May 12) is National Limerick Day...write a limerick about relating to spring weather, spring blooms, or a spring event (five lines, the first two lines rhyme with the fifth line, the third and fourth lines rhyme together)

Spring weather doesn't last around here
It turns hot too fast, I fear
The cold temps are gone
The air has to come on
But school's almost out so cheer!

6. Insert your own random thought here. 

I saw my first hummingbird about a week ago. It flew right up to my office window like it was announcing itself. I put up a couple of birdfeeders but I broke one (operator error) and the nectar ran out. Last night I saw one fly to it, then to the kitchen window to let me know she's hungry.


Driving Through Killarney National Park

Our next stop was the Beara Peninsula. Getting there was a little bit of an adventure; CH would probably call it "nerve-racking"! We had 2 options leaving Killarney: drive part of the Ring of Kerry or head east and then west. We I chose the Ring of Kerry since that took us through the Killarney National Park. It was definitely more scenic and since I was the navigator, I chose it. 


I can't imagine the tour buses actually drive on this road; parts of it were pretty narrow and curvy. I just know I was glad that we didn't meet one when we were there! One of the reasons I opted for this route was because of the recommendation of a lady I met at the Killarney campground. We couldn't believe the view from Ladies View:
Ladies View on the Ring of Kerry, Killarney National Park
There is a gift shop and cafe/restaurant with rooftop seating. I didn't go in, but CH said the view from the top was beautiful. 
A little further down the road, we came across Molly Gallivan's Cottage and Traditional Farm. Well, actually, what caused us to stop with this guy across the road:

Druid carving across from Molly Gallivan's Cottage and Traditional Farm
The Druid is looking over the valley to the highest peak of Barra-Bui, which is where an ancient chieftain's final resting place is located. 
We stretched our legs a bit and walked over to this field:


Oh.My.WORD! I was in heaven seeing all of these mama sheep with their new babies! I could have sat and watched them all day. 
Back to Molly: She was a single mom with 7 mouths to feed so she did what any good mama would do: She sold her farm produce at the local market and also sold some "poitin" in her illegal pub. Poitin is "Irish moonshine". Galway Girl told me to make sure we at least tried it, which we forgot until we were already at our next campsite. 
Molly Gallivan's Cottage and Traditional Farm
Poitin Still
A descendant of Molly's lived here until 1997, then it was turned into a visitor's center. They have live music, theater, craft shop, tea rooms and a restaurant, and historical walks. It would be interesting to be able to spend more time walking around the farm, taking part in the historical walk, and experiencing the traditional entertainment. What I found really interesting was the toilet:
Seriously. Using the toilet in Ireland can be an adventure: You don't know what kind of toilet you'll get! 
The rest of the trip to the Beara Peninsula was uneventful...mostly.
One of Turners Tunnels showing the entry to County Cork
We found our campsite without any trouble. I think CH was feeling pretty comfortable at this point. Especially since we drove through the mountain roads in County Killarney! As you can tell so far, getting there is an adventure in itself. We would stop when we saw something we wanted to see which made it really nice to not be on too much of a time schedule. We didn't know what we were going to see on the Beara Peninsula. What we saw just blew us away.
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