Day 2: A rath, the Burren, Doolin, and The Cliffs

This morning we hopped on a bus and headed south to The Burren, a prominent ridge of limestone and shale that runs diagonally, like a slash ( / ), northeast to southwest. It’s a barren and exposed place, subject to wind and rain, but we had perfectly (and atypically) clear skies. More typically, the weather is worse: one year, Mike was lecturing in a squall, and a blast of wind blew so much rain into his mouth that he choked. At that point, he let everyone get back on the bus.

On the way there, we stopped at a rath — an earthen “ring fort” — dating back some 5,000 years to the Neolithic Age. Since these features are considered to be somewhat mystical by the locals (homes to the faeries by lore), nobody messes with them, so they are surrounded by mature trees, something one doesn’t see a lot of on this island.

Image

We then moved up onto The Burren itself, to see a Dolmen, which is Irish for “table stone,” for obvious reasons. These are Druid ritual sites, also called “passage tombs,” used for burial and/or sacrifice (animal and sometimes, yes, human), which mostly date from the Bronze Age–this one dates to the same general period as the ring fort.

Image

Our classrooms on travel days are poorly furnished, but make up for that in other ways.

Image

Then we headed down to Doolin (insert dumb “Doolin Banjo” joke here; I did…) for lunch at Gus O’Connor’s Pub, a wonderful, eclectic place that has, among other artifacts, a photo of a rooster drinking a pint of Guinness (the caption says it was his second) and an original, signed copy of Richard Nixon’s letter of resignation, addressed to Henry Kissinger.

ImageImage

I’ll bet you thought I was kidding.

Lastly, we headed to the Cliffs of Moher, which famously rise over 600 feet from the ocean. Students were thrilled to see them, and even more thrilled to hear that they would not be held responsible for remembering any facts or figures relating to them.ImageImage

 

About these ads

One thought on “Day 2: A rath, the Burren, Doolin, and The Cliffs

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s