10.04.2011

Ireland

Hey Everyone! I usually stick to dog stuff, but since there was a bit of a lull, and it was sort of a big month life-wise, I figured I'd make this more of a personal post.

Brian and I got married in the rain on Friday, September 23 with a small group of 8 people in Arnold Arboretum...with our ring beasts:

I was so glad they were there, but the smell in the car with two wet dogs on the way home was less than awesome.
The umbrella was both functional, and a tip of my hat to MA law. 
Someday everyone will have the same rights nationally as all residents are lucky to have in our great state.

It stopped raining for 15 minutes.

We had a fantastic party the following day on Thompson Island, with a killer sunset. I would get married in the pouring rain a hundred times over for the sunset we had at the reception:

I didn't know a beach in Boston could be so awesome.
Bliss.


The next day, we went to Ireland. I've been explaining Ireland as "wet, green, tasty, and sheepy". But the thing that absolutely surprised me was for the first 5 days, we didn't see ANY dog leashes. The dogs, even in Ennis, a city near Shannon, had a healthy respect for the streets, and stuck to the sidewalks.

The first bar we saw was by far, my personal favorite.
 We made our way the first night to the Cliffs of Moher. If you've ever seen a travel book on Ireland, or watched a movie that has taken place on the island, you have seen the Cliffs of Moher. They are impressive cliffs that plunge 790 feet into the Atlantic. What they don't tell you is how WINDY it is on top of those flat surfaces.

Don't fall.

Of course, I had to laugh at their "warning" system.....


Gaelic for "Don't be stupid".
But as we went on, we noticed more and more dogs. There were TONS of Border Collies, which made sense considering there are millions of sheep and cattle that need to be moved each day, and lots of farmers that need the assistance of dogs. My favorite BC on our travels was a "dud" as the owner explained, but she loved her dog anyway. Turns out, "Pudgie" was brought into the family to help the farmer move sheep and cows, and even shadowed the older, wiser dog before he died. Pudgie, however, had other ideas.

Pudgie decided cars are a better flock - much more interesting than sheep - until one day he bit the side of a car tire, and has a permanent snaggle tooth. He's obviously very self-conscious about it, as evidenced by all the photos I got to take of his back, but he ran away with shame as I circled around to the front. He now serves as a tourist greeter. This same family charges 2 Euro to climb over their sheep gates, through their fields that the sheep are actively using, up what I affectionately call "Sheep-Poo-Pass" up to Eask Tower: An old ruin at the top of one of the highest points of the Dingle Penninusla. The view was amazing.

Eask Tower
View up to Eask Tower
We saw other dogs with jobs along our way. For instance, Traffic Cop: Bringing up the rear is a small black and white Border Collie who meant business. It was amazing watching this dog work, not just with cows, but with CARS. It was eyeing the cars as if to say "you want to go? I'll cut you."


Irish Traffic Jam



Door Greeter/Receptionist:      
"Guinness" the Pit/Corgi mix we met on Inis Mor Island off the west coast of Ireland. He split his time between the pub next door, and the B&B we stayed at. The spike collar was just for humor. 



Bartender/Publican:

This dog got up to greet people with french fries....
and judging by his girth, he takes his job seriously. I called him "Norm", from CHEERS fame.

Tourist Shop Owner:


Tourist Guide: 

I didn't realize until after I took the photo, but there were 4 other BC's inside the little structure that the ticket taker was in. This one must have been "on duty". She didn't move from her spot, and was carefully watching the feet of everyone, as if to say "step on the grass, and I'll take your foot off."


This one led us from the harbor of Inis Mor Island, up the hill to the open pub in town. This dog earned her tip.


Comedian:
Just one look at this dog, and Brian busted up laughing. Corgi/BC mix at a tourist attraction.

The only dog with true OCD issues, was this Rottweiller at the same tourist attraction. This dog would compulsviely bring rocks to visitors, place them in your lap, and stare until the rock moved. Then, she'd pick it up again, place it back on your lap, and stare at you until the rock moved. Lather, rinse, repeat. Sweet dog, but look at her face - she wasn't satisfied in her "work". Everyone else thought it was funny, but I thought it was just really sad.


And just for fun: Even dolphins had their job:

Look carefully next to the dinghy. There was a dolphin playing at the boat dock. This boat took us to a bigger boat, which took us to Inis Mor Island. I can't recommend the island enough. Totally worth the sea sickness to get over there, plus, the dolphin was really cool.
For Mariah: WE FOUND FUNGI! We actually saw the real Fungi in Dingle Harbor, swimming around one morning, but didn't get a photo.
And, because it's gratuitous, and I can't resist: 
Which, to be perfectly honest, is better than an unhappy hooker.