S: Ireland 2012
BC: DEPARTED | IRELAND | 18 SEPT 2012
FC: Ireland 2012
1: After traveling through Scotland, Lee & I got on a bus in Edinburgh and headed down to Cairnryan where we boarded a "ferry" - it was the size of a small cruise ship - and crossed the Irish Sea into Ireland. The trip in total took us approx. 5 hours - a little over 2 hours by bus and 2 1/2 hours by boat to reach our destination of Belfast, Northern Ireland. | We spent 3 days in Belfast, taking in the Titanic Museum, the Black Cab tours as well as a day trip to The Giant's Causeway, before hopping a train to Dublin. From there we changed trains & headed to Limerick. We spent 7 days there, taking day trips to The Cliffs of Moher, Blarney Castle and the Ring of Kerry. We then caught a cab, left Limerick behind & headed to East Claire Golf Resort for 4 days of R & R before hopping the train back to Dublin, where we spent the remainder of our trip before flying home on September 18th. We saw a lot, learned a lot, and had smiles a mile wide the whole tip. Ireland, or Eire, was truly a place of wonder and awe.
2: I can't believe it!! I have finally made it to a place I have dreamed of for as long as I can remember! I have made it to IRELAND :D
3: The View from our room was an empty lot but the view from the elevator was beautiful. It overlooked the fountain. The sign post that was on the walk behind the hotel was pretty unique.
4: After arriving in Belfast, we took a "Black Cab Tour". Our cab was red though because our tour guide, Stephen, didn't like black, or so he said.
5: This tour took us to the political districts which have bore the brunt of conflict over the last thirty years. We saw 2 of the peace walls, the political wall and numerous murals in Shankill commemorating people and causes .
6: From Shankill we headed downtown to Queen's University and the Museum district
7: Parliament buildings, old court houses and gardens were abundant in downtown Belfast.
8: The Titanic Museum | Belfast, Ireland | 2 SEPT 2012
9: The building itself was built to reflect the shape of ships prows with it's main "prow" angled down the middle of the Titanic and Olympic slipways towards the River Lagan The bronze sculpture is a life-size female figure, similar to female figureheads which historically rested on the bows of ships as a symbol of good fortune. ‘Titanica’ is a female figure designed to represent hope and positivity.
10: The view of the shipyard from the top floor of the Titanic Museum
13: sydney harbor bridge | A replica of one of the lifeboats & the anchor chain.
14: In 1981 the Trust carried out a sympathetic restoration and it took the sum of approximately 400,000 Euro to restore the bar to its full Victorian splendor. | The Crown Liquor Saloon is the oldest pub in Belfast and is owned by the National Trust so it can never be sold.
15: The Leaning Clock Tower of Belfast As a result of being built on wooden piles on marshy, reclaimed land around the River Farset, the top of the tower leans four feet off the perpendicular. It was restored in 2002, complete with new concrete piles. Buildings around the clock tower.
17: The above statue was erected by Carrickfergus Borough Council to celebrate the Tercentenary of the landing of King William III
18: Carrick-a-Rede means ‘rock in the road’. Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge is a famous rope bridge near Ballintoy in Northern Ireland. The bridge links the mainland to the tiny island of Carrickarede. It spans 66 ft and is 98 ft above the rocks below. The bridge was traditionally erected by salmon fishermen.
20: On our tour to The Giant's Causeway, we stopped in Bushmills and had lunch at The Old Bushmills Distillery. The Bushmills Distillery claims to be—and is almost unanimously considered to be—the oldest licensed distillery in the world.
22: Some of the sites along the drive to The Giant's Causeway
23: The crown in the middle of the round about was built in recognition of the Queen's 60th anniversary on the throne. A few days after it was erected, a banner, made up of a white bed sheet, appeared at the top of the crown saying "Burger King opening soon".
24: The Giant's Causeway is an area of approximately 40,000 interlocking basalt columns, the result of an ancient volcanic eruption.
25: According to one of the most well-known legends, The Giant's Causeway was formed by Finn MacCool, an Irish giant. One day Finn MacCool was enraged by the ranting of the Scottish giant named Finn Gall from across the Channel. So, Finn MacCool tore large pieces of rock from the cliff and pushed them into the ocean floor making a land bridge across the Channel. However, when he was finished, he was too exhausted to fight Finn Gall. He built a large crib, disguised himself like a child, crawled in and fell asleep. Seeing the completed causeway, Finn Gall crossed the Channel to fight. When he found MacCool’s house, he walked in and saw the crib. Looking into the crib, Finn Gall saw a massive “child.” Thinking that this was Finn MacCool’s child, he quickly reasoned that MacCool must be massive and fully capable of handily whipping him. So, Finn Gall turned and retreated to Scotland, breaking up the causeway behind him as he went.
30: The Giant's Causeway was a sight to behold. The view was breathtaking from every aspect. We could've spent the entire day there if we hadn't had to catch a bus back to Belfast.
36: Views from the train on route from Dublin to Limerick
38: Leamaneh Castle - on the route to the Cliffs of Moher "Leamaneh" is believed to be derived from the Irish "léim an éich" which, when translated into English means "the horse's leap". Unlike many of the castles in Ireland, Leamaneh is unmaintained and though it is walled off there is no true visitors center and no price for "entry." The castle stands on the corner of a three-way intersection in what is known as The Burren in western Ireland
40: Caherconnell Stone Fort
42: Caherconnell is a large stone fort 140-145 feet in external diameter, nearly circular in plan. Its walls are 12 feet thick and from 6-14 feet high. The masonry consists of large blocks many of them 3feet long and 2ft. 6in.high.
43: As well as seeing the few tools that were sitting out, we saw ferns & moss in every nook & cranny.
44: Poulnabrone Dolmen,meaning "hole of the quern stones" is a portal tomb in the Burren, dating back to probably between 4200 BC to 2900 BC. The dolmen consists of a twelve-foot, thin, slab-like, tabular capstone supported by two slender portal stones, which lift the capstone 6 ft from the ground, creating a chamber in a 30 ft low cairn. A crack was discovered in the eastern portal stone in 1985. The dolmen was dismantled, and the cracked stone was replaced.
45: During the excavation between 16 and 22 adults and 6 children were found buried under the monument. Personal items buried with the dead included a polished stone axe, a bone pendant, quartz crystals, weapons and pottery. There is a code at the Burren; "Leave nothing behind but your footprints and take nothing but your memories"
46: We stopped at Ballyvaughan for lunch at a little restaurant along the coastline of Galway Bay. We had some time to explore the shoreline & the dock.
47: We also stopped at Ballyreen to view the landscape. The men on the cliffs are paramedics & firefighters doing some training exercises
49: Sights along the drive to The Cliffs Of Moher
53: Awe inspiring, truly awe inspiring beauty. We were fortunate the sun was out & there was no fog. We didn't see much in the way of wildlife, but we did see some snails.
54: Sights along the way as we headed back to Limerick. | Sights along the way as we headed back to Limerick.
55: Bottom left: a monument on the side of the road dedicated to all the Irish people who died during the The Great Famine (1845-1852) During the famine approximately 1 million people died and a million more emigrated from Ireland, causing the island's population to fall by between 20% and 25%
56: The above statue is dedicated to men of the S.S. Lusitania - a Cunard Liner that was torpedoed & sunk by U Boat U20 off the cork coast on May 7, 1916. 1198 lives were lost. | Some of the sights around Cobh -pronounced "Cove".
57: Cobh was the last port of call for the Titanic
58: Blarney Castle
59: The trees & flowers along the path leading to Blarney Castle. The tree on the left had leaves that looked like shamrocks.
62: The main family room
63: As we made our way up the 84 spiral, stone stairs that lead to the battlements and the Blarney Stone, we stopped in various rooms to catch our breath & explore.
64: The picture on the right is of "The Little Garderobe". A garderobe could either be a place where clothes and other items are stored or a medieval toilet, which was usually a simple hole discharging to the outside into a cesspit or the moat.
65: Almost at the top of the castle
67: Kissing the Blarney Stone involves lying flat on your back, on the floor of the battlements, reaching behind your head to grasp the two iron bars and bending backwards into a small hole to kiss the bottom stone of the wall. The stone is about two feet below the floor. A fine Scotsman was there to steady you & to help you back up. Legend says if you kiss the Blarney Stone you will have 7 years of eloquent speech, our tour guide told us if we gave it a little tongue, we'd double that to 14 years :D | The stairs going down were a little safer than the ones going up - these had metal hand railings, not rope ones, and were a little more even.
68: Some of the sites in Cork.
69: Our last bus tour out of Limerick was a driving tour around the Ring of Kerry. Due to rain, we were unable to get off the bus as often as we would have liked, but we still saw some amazing views.
70: The donkey is carrying traditional baskets that were used to haul dried peat blocks (used for heating) from the bogs to the farmers homes. Pictured below is Skellig Islands and the Caragh River.
71: We stopped at the Thatched Cottage Restaurant for lunch. The bottom right picture is of the thatched roof from underneath.
72: The winding road to Sneem, a town with a bar made famous in the song "The Stone outside Dan Murphy's Door"
73: The famous Dan Murphy's Bar. The chorus lyrics to the song are what is hanging above the stone. | The river that ran through the center of Sneem.
74: The views from the bus as we drove along the Ring of Kerry to our final destination - Killarney National Park. The body of water is Demynane Bay.
75: The rain had let up so we had a photo op at Demynane Bay.
76: It is called "The Ladies View" - so named by Queen Victoria's ladies-in-waiting during their 1861 visit. From here it was off to the Torc Waterfall | This view is looking down on the 3 lakes in Killarney National Park.
81: I hope you've enjoyed your walk along the Torc Waterfall Trail. By the time we reached the waterfall itself, the rain had started up again- soaking us, but it was well worth it to see this beautiful place....it was the highlight of the Ring of Kerry tour.
82: After our 7 days in Limerick, we took a cab to our next stop - East Clair Golf & Holiday Village - where we spent 4 days doing nothing but relaxing & laundry.
83: Our unit was very nice & spacious but I think we were the most excited about having our own rooms with double beds! Laundry took forever though -an hour & a half to do one load & then nothing was quite dry - it was an all in one washer/dryer combo. You had to catch the end of the wash cycle to remove half your load because the dryer would only dry half loads at a time. Lee took to sitting and waiting by the machine.
84: We packed up at East Clare, took a cab and headed back to Limerick where we caught the train to Dublin. After checking into our hotel, we headed out to the Temple Bar District where the Connected Ink Tattoo Parlor was located. I had been in contact with them & wanted to know when I was getting my tattoo. | To my surprise, they fit me in right away. After filling out the paper work & deciding on a design, I was introduced to Phil. He was an interesting character to say the least. He told me that he knew where Saskatchewan was (no one ever knew where Saskatchewan was) & had actually traveled all over Canada as a roadie for Ashley McIsaac. He claimed he taught Ashley how to drink Guinness. The entire appointment lasted 15 minutes and at the end of it, I had a fantastic, permanent reminder of my trip to Ireland. The tattoo I got is a Treskele. Every religion at one point has claimed it but the Celtic meaning of it is "personal growth, human development &spiritual expansion"
85: We once again decided on a 2 day hop on/hop off bus tour. We spent most of the first day riding the bus seeing the sites of Dublin. We learned about Molly Malone (left). She was known as "the tart with the cart" because she sold tarts during the day and other things at night.
86: Some of the bridges in Dublin | O'Connell Bridge - built in 1791 | James Joyce Bridge - built in 2003 | Rory O'More Bridge - built in 1859 | Grattan Bridge - built in 1874
87: Along with old bridges, Dublin had a lot of old, ivy covered buildings. Everything had intricate designs- even the light posts which had 2 different shamrock designs
89: We saw all different types of buildings - from the old & elaborate, to the modern & elaborate, to ones owned by rock stars. The building in the bottom right is owned by the band U2. The entire upper floor is for the bands personal use whenever they're in Dublin. They filmed the video for their song "It's a Beautiful Day" on the rooftop patio of the adjoining building.
91: Things we saw on our ride around Dublin. The tall structure on the right is called "The Spire of Dublin". Standing at 398 ft, it was our landmark for finding O'Connell Street when walking around the Temple Bar District & down town Dublin
92: Old buildings we saw as we toured around Dublin.
93: Entrance doors were always bright, colorful & elaborate. The red door still has the original lantern in the window. Oil filled lamps in door windows were the only light on the street before electricity & every house facing the street would have had one of these & were expected to keep the lantern lit.
94: Trinity College We went here to see the Old Library & the Book of Kells. | The Book of Kells is an illuminated manuscript containing the first four Gospels of the New Testament, written in Latin. It was created by Celtic monks ca. 800 AD or slightly earlier. The Old Library has the magnificent Long Room which houses 200,000 of the Library's oldest books in its oak bookcases.
95: The courtyard outside the Library. Across the way, the Art department in a modern glass & steel building. | Statue of William Lecky, a famous writer who promoted Irish writers & politicians in the late 19th century. | The campanile or bell tower | The Entrance to Trinity College & its' grounds
96: Dublin Castle was used in the inauguration of the first President of Ireland and has been host to this ceremony ever since. The castle is also used for hosting all official State functions.
99: Model on display of Dublin Castle. | Model on display of the memorial gardens at Dublin Castle
100: The Garda Memorial Gardens | In remembrance of all deceased members of An Garda Siochana, Dublin Metropolitan Police, and the Royal Irish Constabulary | A reflection of the sudden loss and suffering of the families of those honoured
101: In memory of Veronica Guerin an Irish crime reporter who was murdered in 1996 by drug lords
102: The art work was on display in small alcoves, behind steel gates, in an alley on the way into the souvenir shop. The suits of armor were on display inside the souvenir shop
103: We stopped for lunch at a little restaurant called Eddies Diner. It was a retro 50's diner, and yes, the jukebox on the table played songs for a quarter.
106: Guinness was founded in 1759 by Arthur Guinness. He signed a 9,000-year lease on a disused brewery at St. James’s Gate, Dublin for an annual rent of 45 Pounds. Inside the factory, at the base of the atrium lies a copy of the 9,000 year lease signed by Arthur Guinness on the brewery site. Up until 1986, there had always been a member of the Guinness family on the board.
107: The brewery made all of its own power using its own power plant which was located across the street.
108: We spent our last day in Dublin just wondering around & doing a bit of shopping. Lee saw this cute little cake decorating store the day before & we had to check it out.
109: We stopped at the beautifully restored former St. Mary’s Church which has been turned into a restaurant & bar called "The Church" The stained glass window and the original Renatus Harris built organ (once played by Handel) are still there along with other religious memorabilia