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Ireland

At a pub in Tralee


To Great Blasket Island

We took the fast boat to Great Blasket Island from Dingle harbor, Kim and I, the day we met.

Skipping over the waves, we were mostly quiet, looking out the window at the high cliffs of the Irish mainland off to the right side of the boat. Rolling hills atop the sheer stone; farms, farmhouses and livestock in fields bordered by hedge or stone walls.

At Blasket a small rubber dingy ferries passengers in a couple of trips from the boat just offshore to the harbor, a rough-cut ramp in the limestone. (The families of the former residents have lobbied against the establishment of the construction of any regular pier for the landing of tourists.)

The ancient lower village is nearby the landfall point, and we walked through the stone ruins of Great Blasket's former human population.

The Blasket Islanders, one of the last remnants of ancient Gaelic culture, were a people who lived a subsistence lifestyle for centuries, whose number was about 160 at peak, the last of whom emigrated in 1953.

Kim and I passed a tiny cottage that had been roofed and fitted with doors and windows in modern times. It was slightly delapidated and filled with stored goods. "We could fix it up," Kim said. Yes, we could, I said.

We sat on the grass just above the village, ate bread and cheese, talked, and watched people. I took a picture of her.

We decided to hike up the trail to the top of the hill. It was a beautiful day, warm and calm.

A butterfly followed us for several minutes on the way up.

We sat on the mossy hillside for a while. We talked, took photos of each other, and cried a bit without knowing why. I told her that I had a set of return tickets on Bus Éireann, back through Tralee and Killarney to Kilkenny. I asked her if she would like to come with me that evening to Killarney, and we agreed we would do that.

We climbed to the top of the hill and looked around at a ruin that was up there. When we realized the time, we had to run a bit, down the steep hillside toward the lower settlement and to the harbor, where we'd catch the 6 o'clock return boat.

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