9/28/2010--Ring of Kerry

I took a bus tour of the Ring of Kerry today. The Ring is a huge tourist attraction here in Killarney, it draws a lot of people in. Honestly though I wasn't as impressed with it as I was by Dingle. Dingle just blew me away; I could see myself living in Dingle, it was just--me. Don't get me wrong, the Ring was lovely, I'm just saying I was a little disappointed by it.

It was a bright and sunny day, although it did rain a bit in the morning (and I of course chose today to NOT have my umbrella with me after carting it all over for the past few weeks and not needing it). One reason I did enjoyed this tour is I sat next to this man (also traveling alone) and I learned quite a few things from him. He's been traveling all over the world for over 25 years and he had some great advice and some wonderful stories and experiences. I definitely have a growing list of places I want to see, that's for sure! So anyways, all of the tours stop for lunch and I sat with him and chatted. The rest of the tour was pretty bland. The guide was not nearly as chatty as the guide I had for Dingle and therefore, much of the trip was spent in silence. The tour takes you to the top of the mountains, so the scenery was fairly boring and brown, although we did pass through some forest land and a couple of waterfalls.

The image above was taken at Ladies' View, as was the picture of me. It's named Ladies' View after Queen Victoria visited.

I did see a sheep dog demonstration however that greatly impressed me. This man trains his dogs and has four at the moment. When he herds the sheep, he said he will normally bring three or four sheep dogs along. It was incredible! Each dog has a different set of whistle and voice commands depending on how far away they are, and they all know four directions: left, right, forward, and back. The control he has really just blew me away. All of the sheep were on the hillside above us when he started the show, in the right hand corner. He told us he was going to have the dog drive them to the left corner, take them back to the right, then drive them down the hill. Using just a whistle he did just that in no time at all! To top it off, the dogs only respond to their own set of calls--he can be talking normally and in the same tone without faltering he can add in a command and the dog will do it. Incredible. The dogs lay down when not driving the sheep somewhere so the sheep can be at ease, and the way he coordinates the direction and resting of each dog was damn near poetic. I'm glad I watched the show, I almost didn't because I figured it would just be a stupid tourist trap of a show, but thankfully I enjoyed it.

Oh, and in relation to the sheep herding demonstration, another woman from my bus was standing next to me while we waited for the show to start. It was raining at the time, and this one sheep kind of sidled up to us before shaking off and covering us in rain water. We looked at each other and laughed, and what else could we do really? We spent the rest of the day smelling like wet sheep. Only in Ireland! :D

Another random thing; I used one of those toilets with the pulley the other day! You know the old fashioned ones where the rope hangs down from either the wall or the ceiling, and it has the tassel on the end? Yep, I've used one. I thought that was so kick ass!

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