HI, I’M RICK STEVES,
AND THIS TIME WE’RE EXPLORING THE BEST OF WESTERN IRELAND. AND WE’RE STARTING ABOUT
AS WEST AS YOU CAN GET, ON THE ARAN ISLANDS, WHERE,
AS THE PEOPLE HERE SAY, “THE NEXT PARISH OVER
IS BOSTON,” RIGHT? THAT’S RIGHT. IRELAND, ESPECIALLY ITS WEST,
HAS A UNIQUE CHARM WHERE ITS RUGGED NATURAL BEAUTY
AND ITS VIBRANT TRADITIONS CAN BE SEEN AND ACTUALLY FELT. WE’LL DELVE INTO THE BEST
OF THE WEST, NOT POLISHED
AND ON A MUSEUM SHELF BUT WONDERFULLY RAW
AND UNREFINED.AFTER IMAGINING THIS
ISLAND’S MISTY PAST,
OLD AS THE PYRAMIDS,WE ENJOY PLENTY
OF TRADITIONAL IRISH MUSIC,
FROM A FOOT-STOMPING
SMALL-TOWN DANCE SHOW
TO LOCAL PUBS WHERE EVERY
NIGHT’S A MUSIC FEST.
WE EXPLORE THE BIGGEST CITY
OF WITH THE WEST COAST,
HANG FROM A DRAMATIC CLIFF,AND EAT REALLY WELL,ALL WITH MY FAVORITE
TRAVEL PARTNERS,
MY KIDS, ANDY AND JACKIE,AND MY WIFE, ANNE.IRELAND LIES AT THE FAR
WEST OF EUROPE,
AND WE’RE EXPLORING
THE FAR WEST OF IRELAND.
STARTING ON THE REMOTE ARAN
ISLANDS, WE CRUISE TO GALWAY,
HIKE THE RUGGED BURREN AND
MARVEL AT THE CLIFFS OF MOHER,
BEFORE VENTURING TO DINGLE,AND FINISHING ON GREAT
BLASKET ISLAND.
WE’RE BEGINNING HERE
ON INISHMORE. AT EIGHT MILES LONG
AND TWO MILES WIDE, IT’S THE LARGEST
OF THE THREE ARAN ISLANDS. IT’S ALSO THE MOST POPULATED,
INTERESTING AND VISITED.INISHMORE’S MAIN ATTRACTIONIS THE 2,000-YEAR-OLD
FORTRESS OF DUN AENGUS,
WHICH HANGS PRECARIOUSLY
ON THE EDGE OF A CLIFF
300 FEET ABOVE THE ATLANTIC.THE CONCENTRIC WALLS OF THIS
MYSTERIOUS CELTIC FORT
ARE 13 FEET THICK
AND 10 FEET HIGH.
AS AN ADDED DEFENSE,
EFFECTIVE EVEN TODAY,
THE FORT IS RINGED WITH
A COMMOTION OF SPIKY STONES
CALLED FRISIAN SOLDIERS.STICKING UP LIKE LANCES,THEY’RE NAMED
AFTER ANCIENT LDIERS
WHO USED A WALL OF SPEARS
TO STOP A CHARGING CAVALRY.
LITTLE BY LITTLE,
AS THE CLIFF ERODES,
THE WALLS OF THIS CIRCULAR FORT
FALL INTO THE SEA BELOW.
DUN AENGUS CAN BE MOBBED
BY DAY-TRIPPERS.
BUT SINCE WE SPENT THE NIGHT,
WE’RE HERE EARLY,
AND THE PLACE IS ALL OURS.I MAKE A POINT
TO BE ALL ALONE HERE,
WHERE THE CRASHING WAVES
BELOW SEEM TO SAY,
“YOU’VE COME
TO THE VERY EDGE OF EUROPE.”
KILRONAN IS THE ONLY REAL TOWN
ON THE ARAN ISLANDS,
BUT IT’S STILL JUST A VILLAGEWITH A HANDFUL OF SHOPS, PUBS,
RESTAURANTS AND B&Bs.
KILRONAN HUDDLES
AROUND ITS PIER
WHERE GROUPS OF BACKPACKERSWASH ASHORE WITH THE LANDING
OF EACH FERRY.
BRING CASH.THERE ARE NO ATMs
ON THE ISLAND.
THE ISLANDS ARE A GAELTACHT —
OR GAELIC-SPEAKING AREA —
A KIND OF NATIONAL PARK FOR
IRELAND’S TRADITIONAL CULTURE.
WHILE THE ISLANDERS SPEAK
ENGLISH FOR VISITORS,
THEY CHAT AMONG THEMSELVES
IN THIS OLD IRISH LANGUAGE.
[ speaking in Irish ]LIKE ALL GAELTACHTS,KILRONAN HAS AN ABUNDANCE
OF FOLK TRADITIONS AND MUSIC.
THE RAGUS DANCE SHOW GIVES
VISITORS AN INTIMATE LOOK
AT IRISH HARD SHOE,
OR STEP DANCING,
ACCOMPANIED BY TRADITIONAL
IRISH INSTRUMENTS.
IF YOU WERE HERE
IN EARLIER GENERATIONS,
YOU’D SEE STEP DANCES LIKE
THESE AT A COUNTRY CROSSROADS,
WITH NEIGHBORS DANCING
AROUND A FIRE
TO WHATEVER INSTRUMENTS
SHOWED UP.
[ cheers and applause ]KILRONAN IS A SPRINGBOARD
FOR ISLAND EXPLORATION.
RENTING BIKES IS SAFE,
INEXPENSIVE AND SCENIC.
PONY CARTS, WHILE PRICEY,
ARE MORE ROMANTIC.
AND SHARED MINIBUSES,WHICH AWAIT THE ARRIVAL
OF EACH FERRY,
PROVIDE CHEAP GUIDED TOURS
FOR A QUICK AND EFFICIENT LOOK
AT THE ISLAND’S SIGHTS
AND A CHANCE TO GET TO KNOW
AND LEARN FROM
A COLORFUL LOCAL GUIDE.
WE’VE SNARED A MINIBUS
FOR OUR FAMILY.
ANNE, ANDY AND JACKIE
ARE JOINING ME
FOR A TOUR WITH THOMAS O’NEIL,WHO’S LIVED ON THE ISLAND
ALL HIS LIFE.
[ speaking in Irish ] THAT’S IN IRISH NOW.Bíodh lá.
IT’S A NICE DAY. WE’RE TAKING THE COAST ROAD
ON THE WAY TO THE — UP TO THE END
OF THE ISLAND. IT’S A NICE DAY, HUH?
COULDN’T BE ANY BETTER, HUH?800 ISLANDERS LIVE
IN 14 HAMLETS
WITH THREE ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS
AND THREE CHURCHES.
MANY FAMILIES OWN
SMALL DETACHED FIELDS
WHERE THEY KEEP A FEW COWS.SHEEP ARE TOO MUCH TROUBLE.THERE’S A STARK BEAUTY
ABOUT THESE ISLANDS
AND THE SIMPLE LIVES
ITS INHABITANTS EKE OUT
OF SIX INCHES OF TOPSOIL
AND A MEAN SEA.
PRECIOUS LITTLE OF THE LAND
IS PRODUCTIVE.
UNTIL THE ADVENT OF TOURISM,
PEOPLE MADE A PRECARIOUS LIVING
FROM FISHING AND FARMING.THEY’RE SHIFTING THEM NOW
FROM FIELD TO FIELD. HE’S GOING HALF A MILE WITH THEM
MAYBE TO ANOTHER FIELD. THE FIELDS ARE
SO SCATTERED HERE.THE ROCKY FIELDS ARE SMALL,DIVIDED BY HUNDREDS OF MILES
OF DRY, STONE WALL.
THESE WALLS ARE BUILT IN A WAYTHAT ALLOWS GATES
TO BE MADE IN THEM
WHEREVER THE FARMER WANTS.WHEN A FARMER NEEDS
TO MOVE HIS LIVESTOCK,
HE CAN DISMANTLE AND REBUILD
THE WALLS EASILY.
I’M GOING TO KNOCK
THIS WALL DOWN NOW. THIS IS THE WAY
THEY DO IT. IF I HAD CATTLE NOW,
WHEN IT’S DOWN TO THE GROUND, THE CATTLE WOULD WALK IN
AND, WHEN THEY’RE INSIDE, WE BUILD IT UP AGAIN.WE’RE NOT TRESPASSING HERE.THIS IS THOMAS’S FIELDAND THERE’S PLENTY OF WORK TO
BE DONE WHILE THE SUN’S OUT.
THAT’S MY HAY
THERE NOW. THAT’S OKAY. JACKIE, COME ON, HELP ME WITH…
ANDY, CAN YOU HELP ME? SO, YOU STACKED IT UP
ANTICIPATING RAIN. RIGHT? THAT’S RIGHT.
IT’S WET. AND I WILL HAVE TO SCATTER
IT AROUND TO DRY, TO DRY IT BEFORE
I PUT IT IN THE SHED. Rick:
OKAY, SO TONIGHT
THIS WILL BE DRY? Thomas:
YES, TONIGHT THIS
WILL BE DRY. Rick:
AND TOMORROW, IT’S
WEETABIX FOR THE COWS. TOMORROW? NO, I WON’T
USE IT UNTIL WINTER.WELL, THOMAS MANAGED
TO TRICK MY ENTIRE FAMILY
INTO AN AFTERNOON OF LABOR.BUT, IN RETURN,
WE MADE A FRIEND
AND LEARNED ABOUT THE HAY
AND GATES OF INISHMORE.
A COUPLE OF CENTURIES AGO WHEN THE ENGLISH TOOK THE BEST
PARTS OF IRELAND IN THE EAST, THEY TOLD THE CATHOLIC LOCALS
TO GO TO HELL OR GO TO CONNEMARRA, POOR LAND
OUT HERE IN THE WEST.OVER TIME, THE ENGLISH
EVEN TOOK MOST OF THE WEST,
BUT THEY NEVER REACHED
THESE REMOTE ARAN ISLANDS.
TODAY THOSE DESPERATE DAYS
ARE LONG GONE
AS IRELAND ENJOYS ONE
OF EUROPE’S HOTTEST ECONOMIES.
TO FEEL THE PULSE
OF TODAY’S IRELAND,
WE’RE HEADING FOR THE MAINLANDAND THE BIGGEST CITY
OF THE WEST, GALWAY.
FOR THE FIRST TIMETHE IRISH ARE MAKING AS MUCH
MONEY AS THE ENGLISH.
AND YOU FEEL
THE BOOM TIME IN GALWAY.
WITH 60,000 PEOPLE,
IT’S A LIVELY UNIVERSITY TOWN
WITH ONE OF THE YOUNGEST
POPULATIONS IN ALL OF EUROPE.
ACCORDING TO LOCAL TRADITION,
GALWAY’S NAME TELLS ITS STORY.GalIS AN OLD IRISH WORD
FOR FOREIGNER. THAT WOULD MAKE GALWAY
“TOWN OF THE FOREIGNERS.” IT WAS JUST A MEDIEVAL
FISHING VILLAGE UNTIL THE 12OOs
WHEN THE ENGLISH CAME. THESE FOREIGNERS
TOSSED OUT THE IRISH AND BUILT A WALL
TO FORTIFY THEIR TOWN. THE DISPOSSESSED IRISH,
NOW OUTSIDE THE WALL, CALLED THE TOWN GALWAY,
TOWN OF FOREIGNERS.THE SPANISH ARCH,
WHERE SPANISH SHIPS
WOULD UNLOAD THEIR CARGO
400 YEARS AGO,
IS A REMINDER OF THE TRADING
IMPORTANCE GALWAY ONCE ENJOYED.
THE TOWN’S TINY
MUSEUM IS HUMBLE.
BUT IF IT’S FRAGMENTS OF OLD
GALWAY YOU’RE LOOKING FOR,
THIS IS WHERE THEY’RE KEPT.WHILE THE TOWN HAS A LONG
AND INTERESTING HISTORY,
ITS BRITISH OVERLORDS,
WHO RULED HERE UNTIL 1922,
HAD LITTLE INTEREST
IN PRESERVING ITS HERITAGE.
CONSEQUENTLY, LITTLE
FROM OLD GALWAY SURVIVES.
THIS RARE REMAINING BIT
OF ITS ONCE FORMIDABLE WALL
IS NOW ENGULFED
IN A MODERN SHOPPING MALL.
AND THE 400-YEAR-OLD FORTIFIED
HOMES OF THE LOCAL NOBILITY —
THIS ONE’S NOW A BANK —ARE NOW SWALLOWED UP
IN GALWAY’S COMMERCIAL HUBBUB.
EYRE SQUARE, DOWNTOWN
GALWAY’S CENTRAL PARK,
IS A POPULAR HANGOUT.IT CONTAINS THE JOHN F. KENNEDY
PARK, ESTABLISHED IN MEMORY
OF THE IRISH-AMERICAN
PRESIDENT WHO VISITED HERE
IN 1963, JUST A FEW MONTHS
BEFORE HE WAS ASSASSINATED.
THE RIVER CORRIB CUTS
THROUGH THE CENTER OF TOWN.
SALMON RUN UP THE RIVER
MOST OF THE SUMMER.
FISHERMEN BOOK LONG IN ADVANCETO GET HALF-DAY APPOINTMENTS
FOR A CASTING SPOT.
WHAT GALWAY LACKS IN SITES,
IT MAKES UP FOR IN AMBIENCE.
SPEND AN AFTERNOON
WANDERING ITS HARBOR AREA
AND FEEL THE FISHING VILLAGE
IT USED TO BE,
OR JUST STROLL ITS STREETS
WITH THEIR DELIGHTFUL MIX
OF COLORFUL FACADES
AND YOUTHFUL CROWDS.
FROM GALWAY, IT’S JUST
AN HOUR’S DRIVE TO THE BURREN,
AN INTRIGUING 50-SQUARE-MILE
LIMESTONE PLATEAU.
THE BURREN IS SO BARRENTHAT WHEN CROMWELL INVADED THIS
PART OF IRELAND IN THE 1650s,
HIS DISAPPOINTED SURVEYOR
DESCRIBED IT AS “A SAVAGE LAND
“YIELDING NEITHER WATER
ENOUGH TO DROWN A MAN
NOR A TREE TO HANG HIM,
NOR SOIL ENOUGH TO BURY HIM.”
BUT HE WASN’T MUCH
OF A BOTANIST.
LOCAL GUIDE SHANE CONNELLY
LOVES TO SHOW HOW THE BURREN
IS A UNIQUE
AND THRIVING ECOSYSTEM.
WE’RE HERE IN EARLY JULY,
THE BEST SEASON FOR FLOWERS.
…ALL THIS RARE BOTANY, THE
ORCHIDS, THE DRYAS OCTAPETALA, THE HEATHERS,
WILD THYME, THE SMALLEST WILD ROSE
IN IRELAND, OVER 600 VARIETIES
OF PLANTS. Rick:
LET’S TAKE A CLOSE LOOK. Shane:
THERE’S A LOVELY EXAMPLE
OF A GERANIUM. BLOODY CRANESBILL. YOU SEE IT
IN JUNE, JULY. THAT’S WHY IT’S CALLED
THE BLOODY CRANESBILL. SEE THE SEED HEAD HERE? IN THE SHAPE
OF A CRANE’S BEAK AND THAT’S WHAT GOES A BLOODY
COLOR, NOT THE BLOSSOM HERE. WHEN THE BLOSSOMS FALL OFF,
THAT’S THE RED SEPALS. NOW THERE’S A LOVELY
EXAMPLE OF THE POTENTILLA, FOUR-PETALED, UNUSUAL
FOR ITS FAMILY. RIGHT BESIDE IT YET TO COME OUT
IS A ST. JOHN’S WORT. THAT’S SLENDER
ST. JOHN’S WORT. IT COMES OUT FOR ST. JOHN’S
DAY, THE 24th OF JUNE, SO HENCE THE NAME
ST. JOHN’S WORT.THE BURREN SUPPORTS
THE GREATEST DIVERSITY
OF PLANTS IN IRELAND.LIKE NOWHERE ELSE,MEDITERRANEAN AND ARCTIC
WILDFLOWERS BLOOM SIDE BY SIDE.
WHAT YOU’RE
LOOKING AT HERE IS FOLIAGE OF THE MOUNTAIN
AVENS, DRYAS OCTAPETALA. IT’S A PLANT
OF THE TUNDRA. THIS AREA WAS TUNDRA.
IT HAS DISAPPEARED. THIS IS STILL HERE, IN OTHER
WORDS, IT CAME WITH THE GLACIER. ALSO WE’RE LOOKING AT
THE MEDITERRANEAN ORCHID, THE HEAT-SPOTTED ORCHID. IT CAME WITH THE LAND BRIDGE
AND SURVIVED THE CHANGES. THERE YOU HAVE IT. A PLANT FROM THAT CLIMATE,
THAT LANDSCAPE, BESIDE A PLANT FROM
THE MEDITERRANEAN.WANDER FOR SOME QUIET TIME
WITH THE WILDFLOWERS.
LIMESTONE, CREATED
FROM LAYERS OF SEA MUD,
IS THE BASIS OF THE BURREN.THE EARTH’S CRUST HEAVED IT UP
AND THE GLACIERS SWEPT IT BARE,
DROPPING BOULDERS
AS THEY RECEDED.
THE BURREN IS ALSO RICH
IN MYSTERIOUS ANCIENT SITES.
THIS IS THE PORTAL DOLMEN.FOUR HUNDRED YEARS AGO,LOCALS THOUGHT THIS
WAS A DRUID’S ALTAR.
FOUR THOUSAND YEARS AGO,
IT ACTUALLY WAS A GRAVE,
COVERED BY A NOW LONG-GONE
MOUND OF DIRT.
THE WESTERN EDGE OF THE BURRENIS MARKED BY THE CLIFFS
OF MOHER.
A VISIT HEREOFFERS ONE OF IRELAND’S
GREAT NATURAL THRILLS.
FOR FIVE MILES,
THE DRAMATIC CLIFFS
SOAR AS HIGH AS 650 FEET
ABOVE THE ATLANTIC OCEAN.
WHILE I WOULDN’T
RECOMMEND THIS,
THRILL SEEKERS FIND
A SPECIAL PEACE
ALL ALONE HERE AT THE EDGE
OF IRELAND.
YOU’LL FIND YOURSELF
IN A DRAMATIC WORLD
WHERE THE ONLY SOUNDS
ARE THE WAVES, THE WIND,
AND THE GULLS,
PLAYING IN THE UPDRAFTS.
IN IRELAND, YOU DRIVE
ON THE LEFT.
ON NARROW ROADS LIKE THESE,
TAKE YOUR TIME.
EVERYBODY WORKS TOGETHER
IN A SCENIC DO-SI-DO
UP AND OVER THE MOUNTAIN.WITH THE HELP OF A GOOD MAP,I OFTEN TAKE THE SLOW,
MORE MEMORABLE ROUTE.
THE DRAMATIC CONNOR PASS
LEADS TO THE SCENIC
SOUTHWEST TIP OF IRELAND,
DINGLE PENINSULA.
OVER 100 INCHES OF RAIN A YEARGIVE THIS AREA ITS FAMOUS
40 SHADES OF GREEN.
DINGLE PENINSULA
OFFERS AN IDEAL MIX
OF FAR-AND-AWAY BEAUTY,ARCHAEOLOGICAL WONDERS AND
DESOLATE WALKS OR BIKE RIDES,
ALL WITHIN CONVENIENT REACH
OF ITS MAIN TOWN.
MY IRISH DREAMS HAVE
LONG BEEN SET HERE
ON THIS SPARSE BUT LUSHLY
CARPETED PENINSULA.
THE PEOPLE OF DINGLE
ARE CLOSE TO THE LAND.
WHEN I ASKED A LOCAL
IF HE WAS BORN HERE,
HE THOUGHT FOR A SECOND
AND SAID,
“NO, IT WAS ABOUT SIX MILES
DOWN THE ROAD.”
WHEN I ASKED IF HE HAD
LIVED HERE ALL HIS LIFE,
HE SAID, “NOT YET.”DINGLE IS SO TRADITIONALLY
IRISH
BECAUSE IT’S ANOTHER GAELTACHT,A REGION WHERE
THE IRISH CULTURE SURVIVES,
SUBSIDIZED BY THE GOVERNMENT.WHILE ENGLISH IS ALWAYS THERE,
THE SIGNS, MENUS AND SONGS
OFTEN COME IN IRISH,
OR GAELIC, FIRST.
TEENAGERS FROM
IRELAND’S BIG CITIES
COME HERE FOR SUMMER CAMP,
FILLING OLD-TIME SCHOOL ROOMS
TO LEARN THE TRADITIONAL
LANGUAGE AND IRISH WAYS.
[ speaking in Irish ]AND HERE, IRISH SONGS
ARE SUNG IN IRISH.
[ singing in Irish ]AND OLD CHURCHES DO DOUBLE DUTY
AS CONCERT HALLS
WHERE THOSE ENTHUSIASTIC
ABOUT TRADITIONAL MUSIC
SHARE THEIR ART.♪♪ [ applause ]THE TOWN OF DINGLE
IS THE PERFECT HOME BASE
FOR PENINSULA EXPLORATIONS.IT’S JUST LARGE ENOUGH
TO HAVE ALL THE NECESSARY
TOURIST SERVICES AND A STEADY
BEAT OF IRISH FOLK MUSIC.
ALTHOUGH A POPULAR
TOURIST DESTINATION,
DINGLE STILL HAS
A RELAXED FEEL.
THIS IS A PLACE WHERE THE FISH
AND THE FARM STILL MATTER.
A FAINT WHIFF OF BURNING PEAT
FILLS ITS STREETS.
TRACTOR TRACKS DIRTY
THE MAIN DRAG.
AND 40 FISHING BOATS STILL
SAIL FROM ITS HARBOR.
LIKE ANY TOWN
WITH TOURISM IN IRELAND,
DINGLE HAS AN ABUNDANCE
OF B&Bs.
THE CAPTAIN’S HOUSE B&B
IS A SHIPSHAPE PLACE
FIT FOR AN ADMIRAL
IN THE TOWN CENTER.
ITS HOMEY PEAT-FIRE LOUNGE
IS PERFECT FOR A CUP OF TEA.
GUESTS ENJOY COMFY ROOMS……AND A MAGNIFICENT BREAKFAST.MARY, WHOSE MOTHER
RAN A GUEST HOUSE
BACK BEFORE DINGLE WAS
DISCOVERED, LOVES HER WORK.
ANTICIPATING A BIG
SIGHTSEEING DAY,
ANNE’S ENJOYING ANOTHER SLICE
OF IRISH SODA BREAD.
AND FOR JACKIE’S BREAKFAST,
IT’S A KIPPER.
500 YEARS AGO, DINGLE,
WITH ITS IDEAL HARBOR,
WAS A BUSY SEAPORT.IT WAS A GATEWAY
FOR TRADE WITH SPAIN,
JUST A FIVE-DAY SAIL SOUTH.LIKE GALWAY, IT WAS
A FORTIFIED ENGLISH TOWN
SURROUNDED BY IRISH PEASANTS.DINGLE IS FILLED WITH SHOPS
SHOWING OFF LOCAL CRAFTS.
AT LISBETH MULCAHY’S, YOU CAN
BUY TRADITIONAL WOVEN WEAR
RIGHT OFF THE LOOM.AND THE WEST KERRY CRAFT GUILD,A CO-OP SELLING THE WORK
OF LOCAL ARTISTS,
IS FUN EVEN IF
YOU’RE JUST BROWSING.
THE TOWN HAS RESTAURANTS
TO PLEASE EVERY PALATE,
ANDY A JACKIE’S INCLUDED.THEY’RE EATING KID-FRIENDLY
AT THE LOCAL DINER.
WE FOUND IT’S SMART
IN SMALL TOWNS
TO LET THE KIDS HAVE
SOME TIME ON THEIR OWN,
TO DEAL WITH THE MENUS
AND FOREIGN MONEY.
THEY ENJOY A BREAK
FROM MOM AND DAD,
AND VICE VERSA.ANNE AND I ARE DINING
ADULTS ONLY,
ELEGANTLY AT A TOP-END
DINGLE RESTAURANT.
THE BEGINISH SERVES
MODERN EUROPEAN FARE
IN AN ELEGANT GEORGIAN SETTING.THE KITCHEN CREATES
BEAUTIFULLY PRESENTED DISHES
THAT THE KIDS JUST
WOULDN’T APPRECIATE.
ANNE AND I DINE CONFIDENT
THAT JACKIE AND ANDY
ARE ENJOYING THEIR MEAL AS
MUCH AS WE’RE ENJOYING OURS.
LOCALS CLAIM THAT DINGLE, WITH
52 PUBS FOR ITS 1300 RESIDENTS,
HAS MORE WATERING HOLES
PER CAPITA
THAN ANY TOWN IN IRELAND.VISIT SEVERAL UNTIL YOU
FIND JUST THE AMBIENCE
YOU’RE LOOKING FOR.THERE’S LIVE MUSIC GALORE.OR, FOR GOOD CONVERSATION, YOU
HAVE SOME FASCINATING OPTIONS.
FOXY JOHN’S IS ONE
OF SEVERAL DINGLE PUBS
WITH A DUAL IDENTITY.BY DAY, IT’S A HANDY
HARDWARE STORE.
AFTER HOURS, A PUB.IT’S GREAT FORcraic.THAT’S PUB LINGO
FOR CONVERSATION.
IF YOU SIT AT A TABLE,
YOU’LL BE LEFT ALONE.
STAND OR SIT AT THE BAR,
AND YOU’RE ENGULFED
IN CONVERSATION
WITH NEW FRIENDS.
AND IF YOU NEED A HAMMER
OR SOME HEDGE CLIPPERS,
THE BARTENDER IS
THERE TO HELP.
IF YOU’RE PUB HOPPING,
KEEP AN EYE ON THE CLOCK.
LAST CALL FOR DRINKS WHERE
WE’RE HEADING IS HALF 11.
THAT’S 11:30.O’FLAHERTY’S IS RELIABLY GOOD
FOR TRADITIONAL MUSIC,
ORtrad,AS IT’S
CALLED IN IRELAND.
♪♪ [ applause ]TIM COLLINS, DINGLE’S
RETIRED POLICE CHIEF,
IS AN AMATEUR ARCHAEOLOGISTWHO TAKES MY TOUR GROUPS AROUND
WHEN THEY’RE IN TOWN.
TODAY HIS GROUP IS REALLY
SMALL, JUST ME AND ANDY.
ON THIS TRIP
AROUND THE PENINSULA,
ANDY IS LEARNING SOME HISTORY
THE WAY I LIKE TO,
FROM A LOCAL.DINGLE PENINSULA IS
LIKE AN OPEN-AIR MUSEUM.
IT’S DOTTED WITH MORE
THAN 2,000 MONUMENTS
DATING BACK TO 4,000 B.C.SOME OF IRELAND’S ANCIENT
AND COMPLEX HISTORY
CAN BE SORTED OUT
BY VISITING THESE SITES.
NOW, THIS IS ACTUALLY KNOWN
AS DUNBEG PROMONTORY FORT. IT’S ONE OF ABOUT 2,200
ARCHAEOLOGICAL MONUMENTS WE HAVE ON THE DINGLE PENINSULA. THIS SITE WAS BUILT BY THE EARLY
SETTLERS, ABOUT 500 B.C. THAT IS THE DATE
FOR IT. IT HAS BEEN EXCAVATED
ABOUT 25 YEARS AGO BECAUSE HALF OF IT HAS
ACTUALLY FALLEN INTO THE SEA DUE TO COASTAL EROSION. I SUPPOSE THERE’S NO
PART OF IRELAND THAT HAS GOT SO MANY
ARCHAEOLOGICAL MONUMENTS INTACT AS YOU HAVE GOT
IN THE DINGLE PENINSULA. AND PROBABLY THAT’S DUE
TO THE FACT THAT THIS AREA HAS NEVER BEEN INDUSTRIALIZED,
THANKFULLY SO FAR.THIS REMOTE PENINSULA
WAS ALSO BUSY
DURING EARLY CHRISTIAN TIMES.THE GALLARUS ORATORY
WAS A CHURCH
BUILT WITHOUT MORTAR
ABOUT 1200 YEARS AGO.
SHAPED LIKE AN UPTURNED BOAT,
ITS FINELY-FITTED WALLS,
STONE WITHOUT MORTAR,
STILL KEEP OUT THE RAIN.
IN THE DEPTH OF THE DARK AGES, MONKS FLED THE CHAOS
OF CONTINENTAL EUROPE. THEY SAILED TO THE FAR FRINGES
OF THE KNOWN WORLD, SETTLING IN PLACES LIKE THIS,
DINGLE PENINSULA. LIVING IN MONASTIC COMMUNITIES
OF STONE IGLOO-TYPE HUTS, THEY KEPT LITERACY ALIVE
FOR WESTERN CIVILIZATION. IN FACT, CHARLEMAGNE, WHO RULED
MUCH OF EUROPE IN THE YEAR 800, IMPORTED MONKS FROM IRELAND
TO BE HIS SCRIBES. Tim:
THIS WAS THE TYPICAL LAYOUT OF THESE EARLY CHRISTIAN
MONASTERIES, SEVERAL STONE-TYPE IGLOOS AND A
CHURCH WITHIN A FORTIFIED WALL. THE INNER WALL DIVIDED
THE COMMUNITY INTO TWO SECTIONS, ONE FOR WORK
AND ONE FOR WORSHIP. THIS MONUMENT NOW ACTUALLY
IS A THOUSAND YEARS OLDER THAN WHAT WE HAVE BEEN
ALREADY LOOKING AT. IT’S A SLAB CROSS ERECTED BY
THE CELTS ABOUT 500 YEARS B.C., RED SANDSTONE,
AND THEY DECORATED THIS STONE WITH THESE CELTIC MOTIFS
OR THESE CONCENTRIC CIRCLES WHICH RUN THROUGH
THE FRONT OF THE STONE AND THAT REMAIN OUT
OF THE SIXTH CENTURY A.D. WHEN THE CHRISTIANS CAME
AND CHRISTIANIZED THE CROSS BY SUPERIMPOSING
THIS GREEK CROSS ON THE UPPER PART
OF THE OLD CELTIC MONUMENT. THUS EXPLAINS THE TWO TRADITIONS
ON THE ONE SLAB CROSS, THE CELTIC AND THE CHRISTIAN.WHEN THE ENGLISH CAME
IN THE 12th CENTURY,
THEY REPLACED THE OLD
MONASTIC SETTLEMENTS,
LIKE THE ONE WE JUST SAW,
WITH THEIR OWN CHURCHES
IN AN ATTEMPT TO CENTRALIZE
THEIR CONTROL.
DURING THAT ERA,
THIS RUINED CHURCH
WAS THE CENTER OF WORSHIP
FOR THE PENINSULA.
AND HERE ON DINGLE PENINSULA,THE SOIL ITSELF REVEALS THE
STRUGGLES OF THE IRISH PEOPLE.
NOW, IN PREHISTORY, THE SOIL
HERE WAS WORTHLESS, VERY BARREN. THIS SOIL HERE WE’RE
LOOKING AT WAS ACTUALLY MADE
BY THE HARD WORK AND ENDEAVORS OF THE PEASANTS THAT ACTUALLY
HAD TO RECLAIM THIS BARREN LAND BY GOING TO THE BEACH
AND DRAWING UP SEAWEED AND SAND TO AUGMENT THE VERY BARREN SOIL
THAT WAS THERE TO GROW THEIR POTATOES
AND THEIR CROPS. SO THERE’S SEAWEED
AND SAND? SEAWEED AND SAND MIXTURE
AND SOME PEAT, WHICH HAS DEVELOPED INTO A CLAY
OVER THE CENTURIES.PATCH BY PATCH, THEY CREATED
FERTILE FIELDS FOR POTATOES,
CLIMBING EVER HIGHER
UP THE HILLSIDE.
IN 1845, THEY PLANTED.BUT A BLIGHT SWEPT ACROSS
IRELAND AND NOTHING GREW.
THE POTATOES ROTTED
IN THE GROUND.
FOR THE NEXT FOUR YEARS,
IRELAND STARVED.
THE VILLAGE OF DUNQUIN,
WITH ITS MANY ABANDONED HOMES,
IS A REMINDER THAT
IRELAND’S POPULATION
WAS DECIMATED
BY THE GREAT POTATO FAMINE.
JUST OFF THE SHORE IS
GREAT BLASKET ISLAND.
THE STORY OF ITS
TINY COMMUNITY,
JUST A GHOST TOWN TODAY,GIVES AN INSIGHT
INTO THE SOUL OF IRELAND.
TAKING A BOAT RIDE THERE
IS A HIGHLIGHT
FOR ANYONE INTERESTED
IN TRADITIONAL IRISH CULTURE.
AND, BACK IN DINGLE,
OUR FAMILY’S DOING JUST THAT.
WEATHER PERMITTING, THE “PEIG
SAYER” ZIPS TO BLASKET ISLAND
IN 40 MINUTES, UNLESS
FUNGIE COMES OUT TO PLAY.
THERE HE IS
RIGHT THERE!
WOW!FUNGIE, EUROPE’S
FRIENDLIEST DOLPHIN
AND DINGLE’S
MOST FAMOUS RESIDENT,
PLAYFULLY GREETS BOATS
AS THEY COME AND GO.
EVEN IN TODAY’S DRIZZLE
AND CHOPPY SEAS,
THE BOAT RIDE
TO GREAT BLASKET ISLAND
IS BOTH EXHILARATING
AND SCENIC.
THE LANDING IS
AS TENUOUS TODAY
AS IT WAS FOR
THE ORIGINAL ISLANDERS.
JUST A LITTLE NOOK
ALONG ITS ROCKY COASTLINE
PROVIDES ENOUGH PROTECTION
TO LAND A SMALL BOAT.
WANDERING THROUGH THE SCANT
REMAINS OF THEIR HOMES,
WE TRY TO IMAGINE THE LIFE
THESE HARDY ISLANDERS LED.
THIS VILLAGE WAS
ABOUT THE ONLY ONE IN IRELAND TO ESCAPE THE FAMINE BECAUSE THEY HARVESTED THE SEA
RATHER THAN POTATOES. FORMING THE MOST TRADITIONAL
IRISH COMMUNITY OF THE 20th CENTURY,
THE BLASKET ISLANDERS BECAME A SYMBOL
OF ANTIQUE GAELIC CULTURE.THE ISLAND’S POPULATION
PEAKED AT 160,
THEN DWINDLED
UNTIL THE GOVERNMENT
MOVED THE LAST HANDFUL
OF RESIDENTS TO THE MAINLAND
IN 1953.EACH FAMILY HAD A COW, A FEW
SHEEP, AND A TINY GARDEN.
THERE WAS NO PRIEST,
NO DOCTOR, AND NO PUB.
THEY HEATED THEIR HUMBLE HOMESWITH PEAT CUT
FROM THE HIGH RIDGE
AND FED THEIR FAMILIES
WITH FISH.
THE BLASKET ISLANDERS MAY
BE GONE, BUT THEIR STORY,
WHICH IN MANY WAYS ECHOES THE
STORY OF IRELAND AS A WHOLE,
LIVES ON.SO RICH IN ITS HISTORY,
PEOPLE, AND SCENERY, IRELAND, RAIN OR SHINE, IT’S
A FINE PLACE TO EXPERIENCE. THANKS FOR JOINING US. I’M RICK STEVES. KEEP ON TRAVELIN’.

Author Since: Mar 11, 2019

  1. I was so lucky to be born in the beatiful Netherlands, but closed Ireland also in my heart, when i came there the first time, some years ago! Especially, the amazing west-coast! and all over Ireland the friendly, kind Irish!

  2. Ireland has become a popular destination for White South Africans to immigrate to. Been here a year myself and i can see why, its awesome to feel safe !

  3. Monday morning quarterbacking here, but still, relying largely on potato, in hindsight, was risky. Secondary food sources would've absorbed the shock of a potato crop failure which turned out to be devastating. Fishing, along the coast and in rivers, lakes, for example.

  4. I am going to Ireland with some of my friends on a school trip this upcoming summer. We will also go to Scotland and England.

  5. What a great place Ireland Dingle being one of the best towns in it. Spent three days in Dingle last September 2017 now back in Ohio usa. My dad's mother was from Cork Ireland. My heart aches for me Homeland. Thank you Rick Steves find job and a good man you are. Ireland a republic, proud and strong. .much like USA …was.
    We need to strengthen our hearts my fellow country men and women and return, and to regain our Republic.

  6. We have uploaded many videos from the most remote regions of County Donegal, the places the tourists do not normally get to see. We normally upload 3-4 videos each month as we explore the rugged beauty of this fabulous county and find remote camping spots to spend the night out under the stars…or under the wind, snow, hail,sleet or whatever the weather throws at us. Have a look and see what you think. We would really appreciate if you also decided to subscribe to our channel to show us some support and encourage us to make more videos for your enjoyment.

  7. Rick Steve's travel videos is pure bliss. His art of storytelling, the history of every place, he visits is just fascinating.

  8. A couple houses on Great Blasket have been restored and it's possible to spend the night there – there's no electricity and you need to bring your own supper, but staff can provide breakfast and peat for your fire. We stayed overnight there in August 2017 and loved it – there was plenty of time to explore the paths on the island, and dozens of seals greeted early risers on the beach visible at 25:18.

  9. Nice video! Taps into the softer side of our culture, and avoids some of the easier (and often excruciatingly wrong) cliches about our small, rainsoaked but lovely country.

  10. So many wonderful experiences. I hope they are writing in journals. Later, they will remember all the things they did and shared, in addition to the beautiful pix. God bless hem and always keep them safe.

  11. الله كم انتي جميله ي أيرلندا اتمنا العيش في أرضك وبين هذا الشعب الطيب

  12. Rick Steves seems most peaceful away from big cities. I don't blame him. If you pay attention to cues it shows itself.

  13. I've visited and lived in Europe, and the British Isles. A farm in SE England is home for my daughter and her family. My visits to Ireland are always in the west of the Isle. Thaveling around country roads brought me by "The Quietman Bridge" a bridge made famous by John Wayne et al. The west of Ireland is my favorite place.

  14. Mistake Rick: Cromwell said "To hell or Connaught" not as you said Connemara!. A great film, very enjoyable, more so as I was born on Inishmore and like Dun Aengus that you visited my middle name is Aengus.

  15. I absolutely so enjoyed this video of yours, that I just booked my first ever trip to Dublin from where I d directly head for Dingle and drive all the way up to Galway and Aran Islands, trying to stay in quaint B&B's near the coasts and rocky cliffs so I could photograph and walk and enjoy sea, land, air and wind and those gorgeous dark grey stone cottages and ruines! So Oh So Jane Eyre sort of a setting and landscape everywhere you look..

  16. My aunt and uncle made their pilgrimage to Ireland over a decade ago! They visited many cathedrals and my aunt kissed the Blarney stone! We McGraths are all of Irish heritage! We make our own luck…

  17. Yes,and invaded by the Danites.Every knee will bow,every tongue will confess,Jesus Christ is Lord.The Lord REIGNETH.

  18. At last, a realistic commentary from a sensible American. Not all facts accurate but a nice , down to earth, informative narrative.

  19. Just returned from my first Dingle trip- no place has touched my soul the way that place has! I'm planning a return trip in a few years for sure. BTW, I lucked out with a REALLY mild Late Fall trip, with no crowds to speak of.

  20. Just love the wild flower variety explaination about the various origins of the plants.💐💮🌸🍀💐💮🌸🍀💐💮🌸🍀💐💮🌸🍀💐💮🌸🍀💐💮🌸🍀💐💮🌸🍀💐💮🌸🍀💐💮🌸🍀💐💮🌸🍀💐💮🌸🍀💐💮

  21. Very picturesque and wonderful for tourist's especially us Aussie's, great little docu:::)) Cheer's from Australia

  22. I was here in 2013, and I can't wait to go back!! If you haven't read her, you need to find Felicity Hayes-McCoy 's books – they all take place on the Dingle peninsula!! Lovely books by a lovely lady!!

  23. I love the way this place looks, so amazing! My family came from Ireland somewhere, back then. I would sure love to live there, and marry some old school country gal, live old school. Do those good women still exist there? Does that kind of clean honest rural life still exist there? If anyone knows, let me know. That would be my dream!

  24. The narrator needs to look into history a bit more. During the famine English landlords were exporting foodstuffs from Ireland. Blight caused potato failure but the English caused the famine!

  25. Great video. I've been to all the places covered. I wish this video covered the Beara Peninsula. I walked coast-to-coast across Ireland in the summer of 2013, and the Beara was my favourite part of the whole walk. Walked the whole circumference of it. So wild and green!

  26. history of Ireland is full of sorrow bloodshed and death due to starvation .the way this country has progressed after all this horrific past is totally mindblowing .the british had tried to destroy many rich cultures all over the world but Ireland withstood all the miseries and violence . great country great people 👍

  27. What year was this episode filmed? I went to Ireland in 2002 and saw Ragus, but in 2016 it seemed they were not there anymore.

  28. Americans seem to almost always over look the west of ireland that is north of galway which is a pity mayo sligo donegal are beautiful counties with the exception of the vagabrothers

  29. Am from MacDonalds, O'donnells – Scots mixing with Irish… also French Hugenot stock… Ireland & it's people are fascinatingly, hauntingly beautiful…

  30. State of our coyntry now
    Not like the ouctures
    Invaded again
    Any all silent
    Good luck now coming to ireland.
    No more cead mile failte

  31. So very rich. I love Rick Steves’ approach to life, Europe, and his wonderful tours. Wish I could take every last one of them. The videos scratch a bit of that itch.

  32. I saw this today on June 17th 2019 and this part of the Emerald Isle more got the Iona classic, "Irish Day" flowing in my head. And playing that along side these beautiful verdant hills across the ancient western coast just hit me in the heart strings. I don't know how one could be Irish and not get teary-eyed to that song. One day I will go there. It's a quest that this Alabama-born son from a family of Joneses wouldn't miss for anything.

  33. not anymore we have been invaded our culture and identity are in danger google must leave us alone control control we are not free ask Gemma o Docherty.

  34. My sister and I are going to Ireland next month to visit the great country from where our grandfathers came. I am so excited! We are going to stay near Sligo. However, we are renting a car to see the country. I would love to visit with the locals and chat of old times and sweet memories including the hard times as well. Hope to get to spend most of my time with locals and farmers. I may write a book! Expecting a wonderful time making new memories in Ireland and making new forever friends!

  35. Wow! To me this is by far the most exstatic episode. I'm just amazed by how inceedible and amazing this world is. And I've of course fallen in love with Ireland. Thank you so much, Rick for this wondrius adventure together. From Rwanda with love.

  36. That delicious looking food looks just like the food which they served at Cowley's Irish Pub in downtown Farmington. We had my mothers luncheon there after we laid her to rest. Everyone who came loved it and the fresh draft Irish beer which they had on tap. May you rest in peace Mom. I am sure you saw the really nice send off which we gave you.

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