Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Hurrah! It's the Obligatory Crapload of Irish Scenery Photos!

As I may have mentioned in an earlier post, my great-grandfather emigrated from Ireland almost 160 years ago. He was from County Wicklow. For me, visiting Ireland at long last was much about getting in touch with those family roots. Much as soaking in the spirit of Ireland was my first priority, my Spousal Unit and I were also stunned by the (cliche' alert!) raw beauty we saw around every turn of the road. Some of the impact came from the unbelievably green pastoral landscapes, or the dramatic rocky cliffs pounded by the sea. The physical symbology of political/cultural conflict, whether the murals and graffiti of Derry and Belfast, or churches destroyed by occupying military forces or adherents of competing religions, packed a visceral impact that equalled the breathtaking scenery atop the Cliffs of Moher.

I didn't spend a lot of time looking at Ireland through a camera's viewfinder/digital screen. Fortunately for our family chronicles, my Spousal Unit is a more prolific and talented photographer than I. But I did manage to snap a few shots of things I found ironic, amusing, or which summed up key aspects of Ireland. So here for your viewing pleasure (!), and brilliantly captioned, is a small but significant portion of the 3,278 digital photographs we captured during our two weeks in a very special place:

Perhaps the only one of my relatives remaining in Wicklow.
This perfectly illustrates the Irish sense of humor!

A view of the dramatic Cliffs of Moher

There are a number of people who leap off the cliffs each year, so a suicide prevention organization has placed these signs along the cliff edges. Ironically, the signs are all located in places where there is no cell phone coverage.

This is a 1,700 year-old Christian "oratory", built entirely without any kind of mortar or supports. It has withstood the elements for that entire time without any need for restoration, and the roof has NEVER LEAKED!

There are lots of ruins in Ireland. Most seem to be situated at the edges of cliffs.

This gravesite tells a sad tale of military misfortune. As a soldier, I couldn't help but think that this family might have chosen another way to serve Ireland, given their repeated, grim luck.

The City of Cork. It's apparently a law that all tourists must visit Cork, or they cannot claim to have actually visited Ireland.

For a dedicated fan of Monty Python, this sign was a dream come true.

Where much of the film "Ryan's Daughter" was filmed. By the way, Ireland is one of the world's most popular surfing destinations. Yeah, I didn't believe it either, but it is true.

It's amazing how such a simple mural can convey so much emotion.

In a lot of ways, Derry reminded me of Baghdad...People continue to carry on with their lives, but the undercurrent of factional tension is still readily apparent.

If not Baghdad, how about Birmingham Alabama?

Dunluce Castle, where they "done lost" the kitchen and all 60 staff when it tumbled down the cliff into the sea.
This is the kind of humor I identify with, to my Spousal Unit's great dismay.

Carrick-A-Rede rope bridge. I chickened out.

Hopeful symbolism was everywhere in Belfast.

Another place of worship, sort of.

Nectar of the Gods: Family Photo

Giant's Causeway...Hangin' with Finn McCool

Ashford Castle, aka "Center of Awesomeness"

In the Irish-speaking part of Ireland

This could also describe the Seattle Mariners' batting record this year.

This note in a restaurant illustrates the innate courtesy and classiness I observed in Ireland.

Memorial to the thousands who died during "The Potato Famine". It was very reminiscent of Dachau.


  1. those are some terrific photos uncle. thank you for sharing them with us!