The Lizard Log

The Langkilde Lab in Action

The non-herps of Ireland

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Unlike Chris’s stats “vacation,” I recently had the opportunity to go on a real vacation. To Ireland, no less!  Not many herps call Ireland home, so it isn’t a surprise that I didn’t see any. But I did see many many sheep! On the farm, on cliffs, on the road…you name it!

IMG_2366b roadsheep

These guys and their friends were definitively blocking the road.

IMG_2363b roadsheep

Why, hello there.

We had the wonderful opportunity to visit the family of a State College acquaintance, as well as their farm. After being stuffed with delicious tea and biscuits, I took the opportunity to watch a father/son team weighing some of their sheep for sale. This family was down to about 300 sheep–enough to breed. They typically sell their sheep at an intermediate weight, and the buyer raises them up further.

The weighing of the sheep.

The weighing of the sheep.

After weighing, sheep were marked with a special kind of spray paint to help monitor weight, condition, etc. This seemed to be pretty standard; most of the sheep we passed along the road had interesting color splotches on them.

They weren't quite sure what to make of me.

They weren’t quite sure what to make of me.

Part of the reason for going to Ireland at this particular time was to see the Penn State football game against UCF. What a nail-biter! The Irish folk in the crowd didn’t really know what was going on, but they were great spectators.

So glad the game had the "proper" outcome.

So glad the game had the “proper” outcome.

Of course, we didn’t just go to Ireland for a football game. We made a whirlwind trip of the country, from the west coast and the Cliffs of Moher, to Blarney Castle (you can’t not…), to Northern Ireland and the Giant’s Causeway… The whole country is beautiful, and so so green!


The Cliffs of Moher — the most beautiful of windy places!


Ross Errilly-Friary. First built in 1351. Now in an awesome state of ruin.

On the Northern Coast.

On the coast of Northern Ireland. What a great drive!


The Giant’s Causeway. Geology at its finest!


Ashford Castle is now a hotel, but you can wander its amazing grounds without being a guest. So beautiful! I admit we took many cheesy “senior portraits” here. They were also filming a TV show that day!

Perhaps by now you’re wondering if this is all an elaborate ruse to share my vacation photos with you. You would probably be correct. No Shame!


On the grounds of Ashford Castle, pictured above. So wonderful!


Near the Cliffs of Moher.


A robin watching over a portal tomb (which, by the way, was built between 4000 and 3000 BC!).


The Long Room at Trinity College. It was just lovely. And below it is the Book of Kells! Awesome.


Author: Gail McCormick

Science writer at Penn State University; papercrafter, ecologist, theatre-lover.

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