Nicole O'Neil Photography
Well, maybe more than a "little" rain, but hey, it's Ireland. If you're not expecting rain here, you're in trouble. After a decent flight (minus crying child and little sleep), I picked up my rental car and was on my way. Turns out, I'm actually pretty good at this "driving stick on the left side of the road" thing. I was nervous that it would take time (especially since I haven't driven stick in a while--say, 2 years at least). You really do have to think about it every time you turn (and I almost did mess up, which could be dangerous!). The major roads are decent, but those back roads will get you. I have faced many trucks coming flying toward me while crossing over the middle line on tiny roads where the speed limit is 60mph and there is literally only room enough for your car in the lane. It's funny, interesting, and scary all at the same time. :)
Yesterday, after driving 2.5 hrs from Dublin, I visited the town of Lismore in Waterford County. I found out this past week that my great great great grandparents (O'Neil and Doran) lived on a small road called, Church Lane before heading to Boston. The town was a typical Irish town. I visited the Catholic church where my ancestors most likely attended services. This first picture is from the graveyard just outside the church.
This family was obviously very happy that Donegal won the All-Ireland.
Where the O'Neils and Dorans lived in the 1800s.
Saint Carthage's Cathedral (The "protestant church" as described by the locals when telling me how to find Church Lane).
I saw locals going in here, so decided it would be a great place to have afternoon tea and scone. I had some nice conversation with the owner and a patron, who talked to me about how to find more information on my family.
Saint Carthage's Church (Catholic).
After a long day, I headed to Cappoquin, about 15-20 min from Lismore to my B&B. It was located out of the town and in a more remote area on Mount Melleray. I was so wiped out (now, 5:30 pm) I decided to take a walk to keep myself awake until a more normal bedtime. The top of this church reminded me of St. Mary's in Charlestown.
I next walked up a road toward the Mount Melleray Monastery, which I could see just a bit from my B&B. The walk up was beautiful with trees lining one side and the other looking over a soccer field and mountains. At the top was a beautiful and large monastery.
I then went back and settled in to the nice little room I had at this B&B. ...and slept for 11 hours! I don't think I've slept that long in years!
Today was a long day. I headed out toward Kenmare in County Kerry. I ended up with a flat tire in the middle of NOWHERE. A nice man on his tractor stopped to help but the wrench in the trunk was broken, and so I had to wait for AA (Ireland version of AAA) on the side of the road for 1.5 hrs. I then found a tire place just past the next town and was fixed and back on the road quickly. I enjoyed a scenic ride, but it was POURING most of the day (ironically, not while I was stopped waiting), so I did not get many pictures. I do really like this one though. This cow knew as soon as I stepped out of the car that I was there.
I stopped in a small town to the pub belonging to someone I know, but alas, he was at the Ploughing Championships. I had a glass of Guinness and was on my way. I arrived at my B&B and was greeted by my host who was one of the nicest people I've ever met. He got me some tea and I took some time to get settled in. He then recommended a pub in town that had great irish music, so I headed there this evening for dinner, some beer, and some entertainment where I met a couple also from the U.S. and had great conversation sharing travel stories and tips. :) Off to bed now so I can get up super early and see the Ring of Kerry!