S: Ireland Adventure 2012
FC: Ireland | Our 25th Wedding Anniversary Trip July 2012
2: We arrived in Killaloe the afternoon of 6/30/2012 after a red eye flight from Dulles and a white knuckle drive from Dublin -- Tom shifting with his left hand and navigating roundabouts. After unpacking and showering, we went to the Anchor Inn (left) for a much needed Guinness. This became our "local" and we went there every evening. | We were treated to a rainbow on our first day in Ireland. This photo was taken from the front of the Anchor Inn. previous page: our townhouse "Sheena" on Main Street, Killaloe and two views of the street from the front door.
3: Views of Killaloe top: the 17th century bridge that links Killaloe to Ballina center: view of the Shannon from the Anchor Inn bottom: the Shannon at 10:00 in the evening
4: SUNDAY We decided to explore Killaloe on our first full day and stay off the roads. It was the last day of the Brian Boru Festival, so there was a lot to see and do. While on a guided walk, we visited St. Flannan's Cathedral. Construction began in 1195.
5: Our walk was led by Brian Boru's personal poet. top and left - inside the cathedral bottom right - standing in the doorway in the ruins of the chapel
6: scenes from the festival. top left: a swimming race in the Shannon It was in the low 60s and raining. top right: reenactment below: boat races on the Shannon
7: After watching the boat races, we went to the Anchor to get out of the rain. People of all ages were playing Irish music. | Our evening ended with us sitting at the bar watching the World Cup Football (soccer) Match, Spain vs. Italy.
8: MONDAY We hopped in the car with our Garmin and map and headed to the Burren. A warm tropical sea once covered this area, causing the ankle twisting limestone plateau that exits today. Above is the Poulnabrone Dolmen, a portal tomb dating back to 2,500-2,000 BC.
10: After visiting the Burren, we drove to the Cliffs of Moher. When we arrived, they were completely covered by fog, but it lifted and we were treated to spectacular views.
12: Walking along the top of the cliff
13: TUESDAY We drove to Limerick and visited King John's Castle and walked around the town. Starting top left, clockwise: an entrance to the castle; Tom on a turret; American flags for the 4th; view from turret
14: After visiting the castle, we walked to St. Mary's Cathedral. Founded in 1168 and built on what was once a viking meeting house, it is the oldest structure in Limerick that is still in use. top left - the ancient West Door, believed to be the original entrance; right - stained glass; bottom left- inside the cathedral.
15: Tuesday's adventure ended in Adare, called Ireland's "prettiest village" due to the many thatched roof cottages. We stopped in Bill Chawke's pub -- voted best country pub in 2011 -- for a pint and fish and chips before heading back to Killaloe and a night at the Anchor Inn.
16: WEDNESDAY - We drove southwest to the Dingle Peninsula.
17: top left - pretty store front right - lunch in The Dingle Pub. bottom left - view of the harbor.
18: After exploring the town of Dingle, we drove northwest to Ballydavid Head to take a hike we found in the book Kerry Walks. This was a highlight of our trip. We almost gave up because we got lost trying to find the little village where the hike began.
21: Following directions from a 20 year old book, we wended our way along narrow roads, through tall grass, over streams, next to ocean cliffs, across the spongy heath dotted with sheep, and up to the top of the mountain where the ruins of a 19th century fort look out over the valley and Atlantic Ocean.
26: Coming down was challenging, because the hillside was riddled with rivulets hidden under the gorse and heather. We finally made it to a charming farm lane bordered with flowers and curious sheep. We'd parked at a lonely pub called An Cuinne and decided to go in for a well deserved pint. Inside, the patrons were all speaking Irish.
27: THURSDAY We drove south to Killarney to take another "Kerry Walk." We decided on the Muckross and Torc Mountain Hikes for a total of 8.5 miles.
28: Our hike first took us along the shoreline of Lough Leane where we saw lichen covered ground and unusually shaped trees. upper right - Tom ascends the Torc.
29: This is the view from the height of the trail. Muckross Lake is below, Lough Leane is beyond. Our hike eventually took us along the road to the left of the pasture and through the woods.
30: On the way down from the overlook, Tom discovers why his foot hurt. left - Torc Waterfall.
31: After tackling the Torc, the path took us to Muckross House, a magnificent 19th century manor. The path from the Manor led to the ruins of the abbey.
33: Muckross Abbey was built by Franciscan Monks in 1440 and destroyed by Cromwellian forces in 1653. Despite the crowds at the Manor and on the paths, the abbey was ours to explore.
34: Our hike left us exhausted! Fortunately we had to drive through Adare to get home, so we tried another lovely pub and enjoyed dinner. I had the quintessential Irish meal: bacon and cabbage. It was delicious, but Tom learned that cheeseburgers in Ireland aren't up to par. Our pints were were decorated with shamrocks.
35: FRIDAY For our last day in Ireland, we drove to Galway, the final destination for the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12. There was a lively festival going on as the yachts sailed in and anchored. We shopped, watched street performers, and ended up, as usual, in yet another perfect pub.
38: Tom participated in a pool tournament on our last night at the Anchor Inn and won! The 30 euros paid our bar tab. Farewell for now, Anchor Inn and Killaloe!
39: YOU KNOW YOU ARE IN IRELAND WHEN....