Sketching Ireland #16

“Dingle All the Way”

“Dingle Bells… Dingle Bells… Dingle All the Way!”

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Well… okay… I am being a little bit corny. But our 6th leg is to the Dingle Peninsula on the western coast of Ireland. From the Kilarney National Park, we get back on the N71 and drive north into the city of Kilarney. The N71 ends on the N72 which goes goes west. Now, looking at Google Maps, I could have taken the fast flowing highway that would have taken me straight north to a town called Tralee and then go left in another highway into the peninsula, but I wanted a more scenic route. So, I turned left on the N72 and pass the north bound highway (N22) to Tralee. However, I’ll only be following it for a couple of miles until I can turn right on the R563. If you’re following my route, the landmark to look for is the Golden Nugget Pub & Restaurant. That might be a good place to get food. If you do or did, please contact me back or leave a comment.

I travelled the R563, again using Street-view which ends on the N70 at Milltown then I made a short daunt on N70 to Castlemaine where I turned left on R561. I vicariously rode through wide fields, orchards, working farms and hamlets which was enjoyable. But I have to admit that my expectation to see the Atlantic again was high on mind and lo… after six miles, there it was! Well… technically, the waters to my left is a large estuary. Even virtually, this was exciting. I again thank the Lord that He has given me a good imagination. I mean I can smell sea salt in the air and feel the cool wind blowing against my… imaginary… chocolate brown leather jacket. (I wish I could really wear one.) Now, I wish I could have stopped at a very long beach (Inch Beach) that I drove by. It look liked it went as far as the horizon and it reminded me of another long beach in Washington State minus thousands of giant drift wood. Okay, I’m reminiscing. So, to finish it up, R561 ends at the N86 into the town of Dingle. Now, let’s pretend that we spent the night in the town before go unto the Slea Head Drive.

Slea Head Drive

Considered one of Ireland’s best scenic routes, Slea Head Drive circles the western edge of the Dingle Peninsula. It is filled with beauty and history all its own. In the west, where Ireland’s literary history is rooted and richly celebrated, it’s Irish first. To the north and south are centuries-old ruins. Sprinkled among them are beautiful beaches, rolling hills, and dramatic cliffs. Slea Head Drive is a diamond among the gems of the Dingle Peninsula.

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Starting just west of Dingle Town, Slea Head Drive (R559) is about a 30 mile loop, that takes you to the very edge of Ireland. The route is fairly well marked, and prominently featured on area maps. It’s an easy, enjoyable drive that will occupy the better part of a day.

I couldn’t have described it any better. What you read above is actually from a blog article, Ireland Scenic Slea Head Drive Dingle Peninsula by Travellatte dot Net.

Now, for my sketch subject, I used a colored Google Map of the peninsula as the base. Then I marked the R559 route in red. This is the Slea Head Drive. On the right corner, I wanted to sketch out a portion of the highway that had a fantastic cliff side view that you can drive on at the bottom left corner of the peninsula.

During the first part of the drive, you’ll pass bucolic fields dotted with grazing sheep and occasional views of the coast. The road comes closer to the sea as you near Ventry. There is beach there that sometimes sea lions come ashore to sunbathe. After which you come to the cliff side road and a number of historical sites.

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Dunbeg Fort is a promontory fort that dates from the iron age. It is preserved beautifully, and you can see why it was located here. The views are expansive, and on a clear day they are absolutely spectacular! [from storiesfromhome.wordpress.com]

Driving on, you’ll find a site of stone houses like the behive stone hut as a testament to the harsh weather the early Irishmen had to contend with. Then you’ll come to the Slea Head Point where you’ll find a crucifixion monument. There you’ll have selfie opportunities with the nearby Blasket Islands in the background. As you continue on, keep your eyes peeled for broaching whales.

The rest of the loop (in Street-view mode), there were more stunning coastal views and I like going through quaint villages. I wish I can show more. So, for the rest of the sites, I’ll provide some links below. See you all on my next post.

Louis Mulcahy Potterywww.louismulcahy.com

Riasc Monastic Settlementlink 1, link 2 & link 3

The Gallarus Oratoryclick HERE

Caherdorgan Stone Fortclick HERE

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Sketching Ireland #15

A lot to see at the Kilarney National Park

google-map-N22-muckross-w.jpgComing into the Kilarney National Park means we have come to the halfway point of our itinerary tour of Ireland. Now, I promised myself not make anymore stops. ‘Boy!’ The temptation to make a couple of more stops… well… was really tempting, but I perservered. Thank goodness that the drive on the N22 (even a vicarious one) was really nice, especially when you get into the mountains.

To get to the National Park, we have to enter the eastern suburb of the city of Kilarney. Look to your left for a sign, White Bridge (if it’s still there) or if you have a Google Map App, your turn off is left on the Ballycasheen Road. When you go down the street you’ll go under a railroad bridge (max height 14′ 7″). Just as you go through the bridge, you’ll see a White Bridge Caravan & Campground to your left. Then you’ll know you’re going the right way. After that you have 2 options of routes to the national park.

You can take what I think is the quickest way and that is by going straight on Ballycasheen Road which will turn into the Woodlawn Road. You’ll be driving through mostly residential area. After 2 miles or so, you’ll end up on Muckross Road [N71]. Turn left on N71, cross the river and you’ll be in the park. The other route may take a little bit longer due to narrow lanes but it is more scenic. You’ll drive under canopies of tall trees, past beautiful houses and large manicured fields of grass. Ah… to smell the aroma of all those trees. So, after White Bridge, turn left on Mill Road, cross the bridge and enjoy the ride. At the end, you’ll also hit the N71. My personal choice is the Mill Road route. When I finally reached Muckross Road, my vicarious plan was to camp overnight at the Flesk Caravan & Camping Park. Now, we go into the national park.

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Killarney National Park is Ireland’s oldest National Park and it includes the world famous Lakes of Killarney, as well as the mountains and woodlands that surround them. So, for my sketch subject, I laid out the park and the lakes, highlighting the main attractions. As you can see, the Muckross House is the focal point within the park and it is the ideal base from which to explore this landscape.

Muckross House and Gardens is a furnished 19th-century mansion. It stands close to the shores of Muckross Lake, one of Killarney’s three lakes. The mansion itself was built in the Tudor style back in the 17th century and has sixty-five rooms. If you’re a fan of Downton Abby, well with the size of this house, imagine how many servants it would take to service this house. As to the gardens, the lord of the land undertook extensive garden works in preparation for Queen Victoria’s visit in 1861. Later, the Sunken Garden, Rock Garden and the Stream Garden were added. I wish I could show you. [Wikipedia: Muckross]

After the house, I suggest you do most of your exploring on a horse drawn cart locally called a Caleche. Of course, you can hoof it yourself but the trail (marked in neon green) that circumvent the Muckross Lake is about 3 miles to the trail bridge and then another 4 miles back to the mansion. Stop by a small narrow lake called Doo Lough and do some rowing on it’s calm water. For selfies, the trail bridge and the ol’ Weir bridge may give you more memorable scenic pictures.

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Not too far from the house is the Muckross Abbey, which is one of the major ecclesiastical sites found in the park. It was founded in 1448 as a Franciscan friary. It’s a ruin like many abbeys I have ran into here in Ireland. What is interesting about this ruin is that sometime in the past, someone planted a yew tree in the center of the courtyard/cloister. It is fully grown and well… you know much I love drawing trees.

After which, drive a little south and visit the Torc Waterfall. The waterfall is approximately about 2 miles from the house and is signposted from a carpark off the N71. A short walk of approx 200 metres brings you to the waterfall. The waterfall which is approximately 20 metres high is at its best after heavy rainfall. From that point steps lead to another viewing point at a higher altitude on Mount Torc that provides a panoramic view over the Middle Lake.

As a final part of visiting the Kilarney National Park, get back into your vehicles and drive to the north edge of the largest lake called Lough Leane. There you’ll find the Ross Castle which is a 15th-century tower house and fortified keep. It is major tourist attraction. I believe you can also take lake tours there.

On my next post, we head to the Atlantic coast of the Dingle Peninsula. See you then…

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THE CENTURION’S GOSPEL – Ch12 – part 3

THE MISSION – Capernaum, Nazareth, SidonCG-book-cover-w

“Cornelius?” Jesus approached him. “I have matters that need attending at Nazareth. Do you wish to accompany us and be welcomed in my mother’s house?” Cornelius nodded his ascent. “Good! Matthew will wait for Peter and the others to return sometime tomorrow. They will meet us there.” Jesus looked at where Cestus waited by the picketed horses. “I suggest that you send your horses back. The trail we take will not be easy for them.”

“Are we going to walk to Nazareth?” He was not looking forward trekking through the Galilean range just by foot.

“No. We have these.” Jesus pointed amusingly to where Simon was leading three gray donkeys from behind the thickets.

“Very well,” Cornelius said laughingly. “I will send Cestus back with the horses.”
Nine hours later, Cornelius’ bottom was sore. Riding this small donkey was a challenge. At first, he rode it like his horse, but without a saddle and only a woolen blanket to separate him from the animal’s ridged backbone, he regretted it. Besides which his feet was hanging very close to the ground and managed to stub his toes on every boulder on the narrow trail. After an hour and much chiding from a laughing Simon, Cornelius relented and shifted his sitting position so that both legs were on one side with one knee resting on the base of the ass’ neck. He slipped off a couple of times but after a while he got the hang of it. Though Cornelius missed riding his horse, he had to grudgingly admit that they did good time. For these small animals were better suited for these rocky terrains.

They traveled mostly southwest from the Capernaum basin over the Galilean Range. By early night fall, they skirted around the north base of Mount Tabor and finally came upon the Old King’s Road which would take them to Nazareth. Cornelius recalled that this road, which was rebuilt by Roman standards, was as old as the time when the ancient Chaldeans raided the independent city states of this region. It was one of a network of established caravan routes as far as the great cities of Babylon and of Nineveh which was no more. This particular route led south through Gaza all the way into Egypt. Nebuchadnezzar, the greatest king of Babylon, led his vast armies down this road vanquishing what was left of the Philistines, all of Egypt and eventually Judah and Jerusalem. When they arrived at the house of where Jesus grew up, Mariam, his mother, was there waiting expectantly.

Cornelius was awakened by heated voices coming from the outside. By the angle of the sunlight streaming through the window, he surmised that the sun had been up for about two hours. He overslept. He groaned as he lifted his aching body off the sleeping palette. He and Simon slept in the wood crafting workshop. Simon, who was already up and about, left food for him on the worktable. Hearing the raised voices again, he goes out to investigate and found Jesus sitting on a pile of roughly hewn logs confronted by his brothers. Simon was standing slightly behind Jesus with his arms crossed and a stern expression.

“In three weeks is the Festival. You must go to the Festival, brother!” exclaimed James. “Many have already left you here but in Jerusalem, there are many there that are awaiting for you to perform your miraculous act. Think of what you can achieve.” As he was saying this, he was gesturing with wriggling fingers above his head.

“It is not yet my time,” Jesus responded quietly.

“Brother, it was you that chose this road. You openly proclaimed yourself to the public. What talk is this that it is not yet your time? Are you afraid that the Pharisees are out to get you? Then how much more should you go down to Jerusalem and show yourself to the people? After all, no one does anything in secret when he himself seeks to be known publicly.”

So Jesus said to them, “My time is not yet here, but your time is always opportune.”

“What are you saying?”

“The world cannot hate you, but it hates me because I testify of it, that its deeds are evil.” The brothers were about to object but he raised his hand up for silence and said, “Go up to the feast yourselves; I do not go up to this feast because my time has not yet fully come. But soon it will be and you will understand.” [John 7:7-8 NASB]

Cornelius stood aside as the brothers, shaking their heads, went into the workshop.

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The story continues on in my next post.

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Sketching Ireland #14

A Required Stop for my Sister

Halfway to my 5th leg destination of the Kilarney National Park, I saw a blue sign that said Coolavokig Pottery. My sister, who is an enthusiast potter herself, would be pounding on my imaginary helmet to stop. So, for her… let’s go.

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Coolavokig Pottery is located close to Macroom and Ballyvourney on the N22 in West Cork, Ireland.

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At the pottery workshop Robb Bradstock and Meredith Flandreau make high-quality handmade ceramics fired in the oldest wood-fired kiln in Ireland that was constructed in 1977. Here they will show you their workshop. They had a large selection of pottery available in their retail shop and also several one of a kind sculptural pieces.

My sister will probably go ‘Lady Gaga’ on their nicely glazed bowls, mugs, candle lanterns, Pot-pourré jars and simmering scents/oil burners. For myself, I like the iconic sculpted faces of the Theatre. (The sad face is Tragedy. The laughing face is Comedy.)

I encourage anyone on the N22 to make a stop and meet Robb and Meredith. Let these dedicated artists showcase the good old-fashioned process of mixing their own clay, running a potter’s wheel, wood-firing and glazing. Enjoy. [Coolavokigpottery.com]

Okay, in my next post, we’ll not make anymore stops until we reach the Kilarney National Park. See you then.

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Sketching Ireland #13

Another Castle on a Lonely Hill

It is amazing how many castles I find in my vicarious vacation to Ireland. I found castle ruins in the middle of cities, even in residential areas. I found castles rebuilt as high class hotels and as golf clubs. And the last castle (that I sketched) I found was in the middle of a river. I was thinking of holding off sketching any more castles, but then I found this one castle in the middle of no where.

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I was on the N22 looking for something to sketch. I thought I would get some prospects when I crossed over the River Lee but no game yet. When I reached the town of Macroom, take a guess on what I found but yet another castle. Aaarrrggh! (I type out in exaspiration and for fun.) So, I continued on for another 2 miles and lo ‘n’ behold, a lone GE marker led me to another castle… a smaller 13th century castle, the Carrigaphooca Castle, sitting on a rocky knoll about 500ft from the highway. It was just a simple rectangular 5-storey tower tasked as a defensive keep against marrauders who came up the River Sullane and according to history, it was frequently attacked.

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Frankly, I loved the look of the castle in the photo. But I felt the picture needed a couple of battle-hardened Irish warriors. By the way, the ‘Brave Heart’ sword… the heavy long sword was not just limited to Scottish rebels & Mel Gibson.

Click Google map link to Carrigaphooca Castle.

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THE CENTURION’S GOSPEL – Ch12 – part 2

THE MISSION – Capernaum, Nazareth, SidonCG-book-cover-w

“Cornelius,” he says breathlessly. “He calls the disciples together!”

About an hour later, after they ascertained the location, Cornelius, Jacob, and Cestus rode to the same encampment south of Capernaum where Jesus gave his sermon. Cornelius saw that there were about seventy plus men milling around the tent waiting. As they dismounted, Jesus emerged from inside the tent accompanied by Matthew, Simeon and two of the Synagogue’s elders both recent followers. He called all the men together and started to organize them into thirty five pairs including Jacob who was paired with a young man from Judea called John Mark. Seventy men were chosen.

Jesus led them up to the top of a mount with a panoramic view of the whole area. Jesus gestured for all of them to look all around. The view to the other side of the great lake was clear, free of its usual misty haze. Just north of them, nearby, lies Capernaum with Chorazin just a little beyond. To the northeast, Cornelius could just make out Bethsaida. Looking south, he could see Magdala by the shore. More villages can be found among the ridges of Galilee in the west.

“The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few.” He said quietly to Matthew and Simon who were close to him. The he gazed at Cornelius and said with that knowing smile of his, “Therefore beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.”

Then in a commanding voice, “Go; behold, I send you out as lambs in the midst of wolves.” They gathered around him to listen to his instructions. “Carry no money belt, no bag, no extra shoes; and greet no one on the way. Whatever house you enter, first say, ‘Peace be to this house.’ If a man of peace is there, your peace will rest on him; but if not, it will return to you. Stay in that house, eating and drinking what they give you; for the laborer is worthy of his wages. Do not keep moving from house to house. Whatever city you enter and they receive you, eat what is set before you; and heal those in it who are sick, and say to them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.’ But whatever city you enter and they do not receive you, go out into its streets and say, ‘even the dust of your city which clings to our feet we wipe off in protest against you; yet be sure of this, that the kingdom of God has come near.’  I say to you, it will be more tolerable in that day for Sodom than for that city.”

Jesus then moved to the edge of the ridge and turned to the north. “Woe to you, Chorazin!” He declared loudly. He turned north east and also loudly said, “Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the miracles had been performed in Tyre and Sidon which occurred in you, they would have repented long ago, sitting in sackcloth and ashes. But it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon in the judgment than for you.” Then his focus shifted to down toward Capernaum. “And you, Capernaum, will not be exalted to heaven, will you? You will be brought down to Hades!”

Then he looked at the men and said, “The one who listens to you listens to me, and the one who rejects you rejects me; and he who rejects me rejects the One who sent me.” [Luke 10:1-16 NASB]

Minutes after, down at the camp, most of the men have already left on their mission. Cornelius watched Jacob and a very enthusiastic John Mark take the north road toward Magdala. He fondly noted that Jacob too had a spring in his walk.

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The story continues on in my next post.

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Sketching Ireland #12

A Horse is a Horse, Of Course… Of Course

We are back on the road again. Leaving Blarney, we get back on the N22 highway going west. Our next leg is to the Kilarney National Park.

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Now, that is a long ride especially if you are on a fantasy motorcycle towing a teardrop trailer. So, as I follow the N22 in Google Earth [GE], I’m going to make a number of short stops.

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My first stop is a sketch about a school that not only teach you how to ride horses but on how to perform majestically on them in equestrian competitions. The Lee Valley Equestrian Centre is a family oriented full service equestrian centre, which strives to offer programs suitable for every rider in the family, and some that might even tickle the fancy of the non rider! They offer a riding school for all ages; Natural Horsemanship & Livery; Dressage for exhibitions and competition; Horse trekking through quiet roads and much more. [content from their website]

The sketch above also gives me an opportunity to describe the process of how I made up the final composite. Let’s look at the map again. If you notice on the Google map, I marked out 2 black dots. One dot is closest to the N22 (Lee Valley Equestrian Centre) and the other (Carrigadrohid Castle) is about 2 miles north of the equestrian school. So, how did I choose this 2 clearly unrelated destinations into one drawing?

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First things first, as a practice, when I’m on GE, I basically check out markers closest to the road I’m following. In this case, about a mile north of N22 [#1], I was attracted to a photo marker [#2]. When I clicked on the marker, I got the photo [#3] with the label, Lee Valley Equestrian Centre. Two things clicked for me, I love horses and ruins. However, because Sketching Ireland is also a travel blog, I needed to identify where that picture was taken. Now, most photo markers pinpoint the spot where the photo was taken. But by looking closer at the satelite view [#2], it does show the equestrian centre with it’s large indoor riding arena, 50 acres of grass and large stables… but NO bridge, no ruins in the nearby vicinity. So, what I did next was googled the Lee Valley Equestrian Centre and found both a website and Facebook page. I quickly ‘Messager-ed’ them to inquire about the photo and got an immediate respond which I appreciated. The photo was taken when the school took a number of students horse trekking to the Carrigadrohid Castle about 2 miles north of the centre. The castle itself sits in the middle of the river [#4].

So, if you are travelling that part of Ireland, please drop by the Lee Valley Equestrian Centre and have some fun.

Google map link to Lee Valley Equestrian Centre
Google map link to Carrigadrohid Castle

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