Monday, August 13, 2007
Today we had planned to go out along the Ring of Kerry to Skellig Michael and maybe see nesting puffins if they were still there. On our drive we passed by a nice beach and it was sort of sunny out so we pulled over and let the girls go beachcombing. They found a lot of shells and critters in the tide pools, so it was good. Our next stop was at the Staigue Fort, which is one of the better preserved ring forts and dates from around the first century BC. We stopped at the pub/hotel/info stop on the turnoff road and watched their audio visual presentation of a cartoon caveman building the fort and the possible uses of it. This presentation insisted that they didn’t know what the fort was used for, but when we drove to the fort the government diagram stated that it was used by important chieftains to live in. I think what happened is in the last couple of years they excavated another ring fort and found the impressions of houses and that cleared the matter up but the AV presentation hadn’t caught up. The kids liked running around the fort and getting close to sheep. We had lunch in Watersville, a teeny town that was also filled with lots of tour buses. Next we drove to the Skellig Experience to see about Skellig Michael, which is a dramatic island off of the coast where hermit monks lived in the 5th and 6th centuries. The museum was good and there was an Audio Visual presentation that I think sums up Irish Audio Visual presentations–slightly out of focus still pictures changing to music while an announcer drones on. With the technology available today it’s not like it’s that hard to put together an actual in-focus movie, people! The puffins had already departed the island and we had also been advised that it was not a place for young children, and given the steep stairs in the AV presentation as well as the lighthouse exhibit where they mentioned the staff’s children that had fallen to their deaths while on the island, so we weren’t tempted to try to get on a boat out there. After that we drove all the way back to Kenmare where we saw the stone circle and then to the Chinese take out as we didn’t have time to cook.