Nicole O'Neil Photography
A bit of blue sky...just a bit....
Well, it's pouring. So, to kill a little time before going to grab some dinner and some Guinness (Happy Arthurs Day!), I figured i'd share photos from the last two days. I believe I talked about the wonderful B&B in Kenmare. I didn't want to leave, it was so great. The man, Pat, who runs it was so nice and attentive to all who were staying there, had great recommendations for Irish music and food, and was overall a great host. If you go to Kerry, stay in Kenmare (tiny, beautiful town) and stay at the Avelow House B&B-you can find it on booking.com. Anyway, this is the cute room I had there.
Yesterday (Wednesday), I set out to do the Ring of Kerry. I started out on a winding road that looks over what is called Moll's Gap. I stopped on the side of the road a few times to snap some pics. It was SO windy, I could barely open the door and had to brace myself against the car to take pictures. The blue sky peeked out on occasion from behind the very dark clouds.
I then came to the Killarney National Forest which has beautiful lakes, mountains, and the beautiful Torc Waterfall you will see below.
I came upon this little church, called Derrycunnihy Church. There were sheep hanging in the side yard of the church. Oh, and shortly before this, was the first time I had to stop on the road for sheep to finish crossing. I'm sure it won't be the last.
I made my way past Killarney and onto the the coast, stopping along the way to take some photos. I missed a few things I wanted to see because the signs sneak up on you as you're travleling at 60mph and there is no way to stop or turn around. Ah, well. I saw a few of those places today instead and will see the rest on my next trip here!
At the end of the peninsula, I took a back road to check out the coast. I found the town of Ballinskelligs. There was a beautiful beach and The Ballinskelligs McCarthy Tower.
I made my way back to the main road and stopped along the way taking photos. I stopped in a great little town, Sneem, for some afternoon tea and continued on my way.
The first, and hopefully not last rainbow of my journey. I am so happy there was a small patch of gravel to pull over.
Next, I walked around Kenmare a bit taking some pics and then headed off back up toward Killarney to check out the grounds of the Muckross House, a Tudor mansion built in 1843. There was also a beautiful Abbey about a mile away from the house, also on the Muckross Estate. A guy tried to get me to pay him 20 euro to take a jaunty ride down to the Abbey and back, but walking the mile down there seemed like a much better idea. :)
Now, I am going to get a little sentimental for a minute, which I generally don't do.
Ireland reminds me of my grandmother for some reason. It could be that she played irish music all of the time, that she loved all things irish-sweaters, shamrocks, etc, or it could be that she drank about a gallon of tea each day. Anyway, many people know that my grandmother was one of the most important people in my life. I don't dwell on her passing a few years ago, but instead think about her often and the wonderful person she was. So, I brought a piece of her here with me (No, not an actual piece). In my bag, I am carrying the chaplet I had made from the roses at her funeral. I wanted to bring her with me because she would have loved this trip. I was actually thinking about her a lot yesterday and especially on my walk back from the Abbey. When I arrived back at the clearing, this is what I saw. It was amazing and this picture does not do it justice at all.
I went to a small town to visit the relative of someone who was a huge help to me in tracing my ancestry. I sat in this pub, drinking Guinness, surrounded by Irish men of different ages, speaking Gaelic. They also talked to me and asked questions about Boston and what my plans were for this trip. After two pints of Guinness, I was on my way back to Kenmare (along the back, winding roads at night--I'm totally used to this driving on the left thing!). I stopped for some delicious Salmon at a pub and another Guinness before heading back to bed.
This morning, I stopped back in Kenmare to see the Stone Circle. These stones are not native to this area and it is a mystery as to why they are there and how they got there. It is a beautiful, serene place though. After walking back through town, I set out to see a few things I missed on the Ring of Kerry before heading to Dingle.
Ballycarberry Castle...beautiful and amazing.
The beautiful beach in Inch on the way to Dingle.
And, finally, arrived. This B&B is not as welcoming and cozy as the last, but it's still very nice. It is right on the main street along the coast and the back has a beautiful view of the water (I'll take a pic when the rain-hopefully- stops before I leave tomorrow morning). I walked around town, stopping for tea and checking out places I may go grab a pint and dinner. And speaking of, it's almost that time, so I'm off to get ready to brave the wind and rain. Hope you enjoyed the pictures!
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!
I am very behind on blogging. I took a needed few days off before Labor Day and Labor Day weekend itself and certainly got behind. I have also been planning my trip to Ireland (I leave in 10 days for 2 weeks!!) Make sure to check the blog or Facebook to see pictures as I travel!
So, I may be biased because the following baby is the daughter of one of my closest friends, but she is breathtaking. I believe she is one of the most beautiful babies ever. And, there is just something about her. Like, the fact that she stared right into my camera through most of her newborn session. Remember this photo????
Well, now, she is 6 months old and she's awesome! She is just a relaxed, easy-going baby with the best smile and personality. She looks right into your eyes with those big beautiful eyes of hers and it makes you want to melt! Below are the pictures from her 6 month shoot (well, she was exactly 5 months when we did them). It is only fitting that she be in B's apparel as her middle name is "PATRICE". Yes, she comes from a family of devoted hockey fans! ENJOY!