Of the 32 counties in Ireland, Kerry’s tourism industry led the nation. The Ring of Kerry is a driving route through spectacular scenery. Our guide, Ann, spoke of history and folklore during the bus rides. We learned about bogs and bog horses.

A bog horse.

Bogs take seven to nine years to drain. The top of the peat can be cut and dried for fuel. Kerry cows are the indigenous cows and they are solid black. Handbuilt stone fences constructed centuries ago still stand. Historian Cecil Blanch Woodham Smith wrote a few great books about Irish history, such as The Great Hunger. A book she wrote about draining a bog is The Big Wind, but it is difficult to find as it is out of print. They were designed to allow wind to pass through. They mark property boundaries. Also along the property lines trees and Hawthorne hedges grow wild. Hawthorne trees are known as fairy trees and it is believed they are planted by fairies. They are left to grow, even in the middle of a crop field, to prevent offending the fairies and thus bring bad luck.

To be kicked out of a clan was to be held outside of the clan’s law, known as ban law. Such a person was called an outlaw. The ban law continued until the Norman invasion.

 Sheep can roam free. They are marked with vegetable-based dye to show ownership like a brand.

Sheep roam free and are branded with a vegetable-based dye.

We passed a view of the Skellig Islands. Skellig Micheal had a monastery built on it and it was featured in the movie Star Wars The Last Jedi.

There are 4,000 ring forts in Ireland.

We stopped at the Killarney National Park. There, as the story goes, St. Patrick drove all the snakes in Ireland into a lake where they drowned. This is why Ireland has no snakes.

We rode a jaunting cart ride through Bourn-Vincent National Park.

What a beautiful day.

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