Yard, with it's memorials to the potato famine victems, who were burried there in a common grave. It was my first visit to a common grave site. Their tragic deaths were sad to comtemplate, especially considering those deaths may have been prevented, had the people in power cared enough to do something about it.
The day was beautiful and the sun was warm and the Blarney Visitor's Center so charming that Kay and I opted to skip the long walk up the hill to kiss the Blarney Stone. Furthermore, my knee had been bothering me and I think her ankle was not too happy either. So after making a few purchases in the department store (which was part of the complex), we sat and talked with a couple other tourists (Irish) which one should do when one is in another country that speaks English. It's interesting to get another prospective on world affairs, especially when one's own president has
embarrassed us all. But here was another case where the Irish didn't think
it was all that bad in lieu of what he had recently done for them. It was
good to hear.
Our Hotel (Baltimore Harbor Hotel) at Beltimore Harbor was so pleasant that several of us would have liked to stop here and rest for awhile. But up and onward the next day through Cork County, over the Cahn Mountains to Killarney and a boat ride on Laugh Leane.
The Ring of Kerry in on almost every tour of Ireland so I had been looking forward to this part of the trip. If you are one who enjoys wide
open and expansive views of mountains, rocks, shores and ocean waves this is another "not to be missed" spot on the planet. Bring your binoculars! The distances are far
but you will not be disappointed.
Our first stop was at a sheep farm on Dingle Bay where we got a remarkable demonstration of the creme de la creme
of Boarder Collies of Ireland. I had seen such demonstrations before but this one was a sight to behold. The dogs were to work up and down a little mountain ridge that was set at about a
45 - 70 degree angle which would have made a nice little ski slope or better yet a
challenging slalom course. I have had three Boarder Collies in my life so I knew them to high spirited, energetic and smart but this is the arena in which they truly belong. These two dogs could have been Olympic athletes. Not only did they race up the
extraordinarily steep hill to get the sheep but they did it at twice the speed I might have expected. Furthermore, they did it with only silent commands such as hand movements that we couldn't
detect. And not only did they bring them down the little mountain in short order but they lined them up and culled out an individual and then put him back and culled out another and so on. Later we saw the vast number of trophies they had won and we were not surprised.
In addition to the Boarder Collies they also had about 15 or 20 different types of sheep in their collection. Having been into spinning and weaving for a time in my life and having visited a few county fairs to purchase fleeces for spinning, I felt that here I was on rather familiar ground until I saw the Jacob sheep. The Jacob is a FOUR
horned sheep which is said to have descended from the original Jacob sheep from Biblical days. I stood there and thought something was wrong with my eyes. I seemed to be seeing double. Yep! I counted them one at a time and there were indeed four horns. I just stood there while the others moved on. I stood there looking at
the ram in disbelief. Amazing! Four horns.