Saturday we went on a tour of Ross Castle. Ross is a tour house castle and was built in the 15th Century by the O’Donoghues. As a result of conflict between Irish Catholics and English Protestants the castle has passed through a number of hands over the centuries. The castle's roof was burnt off by one of its last owners in order to avoid having to pay taxes on the property. After years of being exposed to the elements the interior of the castle collapsed. The outer walls and spiral staircase remained intact and the castle has been restored using traditional building techniques.
After the castle we went to Muckross House. In 1932 the last owners, American aristocrats, donated the house and its 11,000 acres to the Irish government. The land formed the first national park in Ireland. Queen Victoria and Prince Albert visited the House in 1861. The house reminded me of Downton Abbey. There is a huge staircase in the center of the house and there are over 20 different bells that ring down to the servants’ hall. After the tour, we returned to Dingle and I helped to fry up some fish that students from the group caught in the Dingle Bay.
view from T.P.'s
On Sunday and Monday I did some shopping in Dingle and studied for our tests. I also got local ice cream at a place called Murphy’s. They had a gin flavor made from local gin. On Tuesday we took a test and then learned traditional Irish dancing. On Wednesday we took another test, cleaned up our cottages, went down to the beach, and then went to T.P.’s bar where we showed off our dancing skills. My partner and I won the runner-up prize.
Yesterday we took the bus from Dingle to Dublin. Last night some of the UMKC ladies and I went into the city to eat at a nice Italian place. Today we went to Glendalough, which is a glacial valley that contains the ruins of an Early Medieval monastery. Saint Kevin established the monastery in the 600s. The round tower and Saint Kevin’s Church are in great shape and have only had minimal work done to them.
St. Kevin's Church
We walked around the valley and had beautiful views of the lakes and the mountains. We have 2-day passes to do a hop on hop off tour of Dublin, so I will probably be doing that this weekend. We also now have regular internet access, so hopefully I will be able to post more regularly.