County Kerry west of Dingle remains among the most beautiful places in Ireland. I spent a few days revisiting the old land where my father and generations of my family hailed from. Here are some pictures from the trip.
Rush hour in West Kerry
This commuting sheep had at least six cars lined up behind him as he paraded around Dunquin, smack in the center of the road. Fortunately, he eventually broke off his stroll and headed into a field.
It may be the most picturesque scenery in Europe but drug smuggling is a real problem as the smugglers drop their deadly cargo off in hidden inlets and bays. The notice, in Irish, asks everyone to keep their eyes peeled.
Every Irish schoolchild from the 1940s to the 2000s studied Peig’s book about living on the remote Blasket Islands. Some found it completely outside their experience, others loved the tale of hardship and courage.
Failte “Star Wars”
Many spoke about little else during my visit but the “Star Wars” movie filmed on the Skellig Michael off the Kerry coast. It brought a huge boost to the local economy and will put Kerry on the map for tourism worldwide, they hope.
A real life Famine soup pot
Not a reproduction but an actual famine pot where the starving people lined up every day in Ballyferriter for some thin soup. That was all the poor creatures had until the next day. Thousands died.
The Ballyferriter museum is a monument to the late Bob Dunfey, the New England philanthropist and Irish advocate who died recently.
Read more: Unsung hero of Northern Ireland peace process Bob Dunfey passes
Best pub in Ireland for scenery
Tigh TPs (T Ps House) in the little hamlet of Ballydavid overlooks the Atlantic Ocean, and the views from the outside verandahs are truly stunning, especially at sundown. The beer, Guinness, and craic not bad either. Ask for Sean.
The Wild mountain time
Looking over at the lurking mountains from an opposite field. Ever corner you turn reveals a surprise vista.
The village green Neddie
A lone donkey chomps grass on Ballydavid common. Ever present, and occasionally bad-tempered, the donkey has been known to nip at kids unless they bring a carrot or something good to eat. Mount Eagle looms in the background.
The healthiest graveyard in Ireland
Exiles from the Blasket Islands who were forced to move to the mainland are buried within sight of their beloved former homes across the Blasket sound. The fresh sea air and historical linkage gives the graveyard a unique charm.
Bare ruined choirs where late the sweet birds sang
Many old houses are abandoned due to emigration or older people passing on. If the walls could talk! You will find more knowledge about Boston or New York than about Dublin from folks whose families and relatives have emigrated to the US for decades.