It's come up in a bunch of threads today, so I thought I'd post some photos in a new thread. These are from my last trip to Ireland, mostly from the west coast.
1) A random field on Dingle penninsula:
I'd hate to bike in Ireland, the roads are about 1.5 cars wide, and usually had stone walls about 2 inches off to the side. No room for error! The road in this picture is one of the "main" roads on the penninsula. If you notice the darker color in the fields up higher on the hill, they haven't been farmed since the famine. There are abondoned fields like that all over the island.
2) A beehive hut:
These are early dwellings made from dry stone (i.e. no mortar, just stacked up) that dot certain parts of the countryside. They're estimated at about 4,000 years old. Like most of the other ruins in the country, they're not "protected" or hyped up - they're usually just in the middle of some farmer's field. This is kinda nice, since only the most popular sites end up as tourist traps, less spectatular sites seemed to be totally empty most of the time.
3) The Poulnabrone Portal Dolmen:
Another neolithic stone structure, this time a grave site. Located in the middle of the burren (a 25 square-mile of nearly vegetation-free rock on the west coast).
4) The Gallarus Oratory:
Dry stone, 7th century monastic structure built with dry stone and corbel vaulting. Located on Dingle Penninsula. This was a really neat structure because of how "perfect" it looked in comparison to others from the same time period. The stones were placed pretty skillfully to shed rainwater, despite the lack of mortar, so it's in pretty good shape.
5) A Funny Sign:
Spotted on Inch Beach (the longest beach in Europe!) on the Dingle Penninsula. It fascinated me that the beach was basically the parking lot. I guess I'm used to extremely well protected coastlines.
6) The cliffs of Moher looking down:
People have probably seen the scenic, postcardlike shots of the cliffs before, so I didn't bother with one of those. Here's what it looks like when you creep up to the edge, lay down on your belly, and stick your camera over the cliff. There aren't any fences or protection, besides a stone berm a few dozen yards from the cliffs, but everyone ignores it and climbs over anyways. Getting this close to the edge is garunteed to make even the stoutest person get wobbly-kneed. There's something about a 700 foot drop that really does funny things to your gut.
To be continued, due to the limited number of images in a given post. . . . .