FC: An Ervin Adventure on the Emerald Isle | Ireland May 2011
1: "May your blessings outnumber The shamrocks that grow, And may trouble avoid you Wherever you go." ~Irish Blessing
4: St. James's Gate | Got Guinness?
5: Our visit to the Guinness Storehouse at St. James Gate, complete with brewery tour and "Perfect Pint" class.
7: Learning to drive on the wrong side of the car and the wrong side of the road proved quite a challenge.Though that challenge was made even more difficult by the fact that roads were originally built for narrow horse drawn carts, and are bordered by stone walls on either side. We survived, though an approaching tourist bus always elicited a gasp from all in the car.
11: The Norman castle built in 1195 overlooks the bustling village of Kilkenny. The village, bisected by the River Nore, is home to the Smithwick's Brewery; makers of Smithwick's Pale ale and Kilkenny Cream Ale.
14: Our home base in Stoneyford was the picturesque estate of the Lawcus Farm Guest House. The working farm and B&B is owned and operated by Mark and Ann-Marie Fisher. Our gracious hosts allowed us to interact with the farm animals, helping feed some of the piglets, as well as trying our hand at fishing the "Kings River" running through the property.
15: After Ann-Marie served us a rich "Full Irish" breakfast with ingredients all sourced from the farm, Mark inquired what we had planned for our day. Our lack of direction sent him scurrying for pen and paper to create our days' adventure. The map he created would start with a walking tour of the Valley of Kells, taking us down river past an old mill in search of a hidden spring. After refreshing ourselves at the spring ,we moved onto the ruins of the Priory of Kells, the Kings Cross, Jerpoint Abbey, and then culminating with a picnic lunch at the breathtaking Woodstock Gardens. Such a perfect and memorable day made possible by a very attentive inn keeper.
16: May luck be our companion May friends stand by our side May history remind us all Of Ireland's faith and pride. May God bless us with happiness May love and faith abide. ~Irish Blessing
17: The ruins of the Priory of Kells, established by Geoffrey FitzRobert brother-in-law of Strongbow in 1193. | Our trek through the valley of Kells along the Kings river.
18: Having a nip from the "Fairy" Spring.
19: Ole' | Resting beneath a giant old beech. | The Kings Cross | Kilree Tower
20: Woodstock Gardens
21: Woodstock Gardens is home to towering old growth trees, giant rhododendrons, genteel tea houses, and sprawling lawns surrounded by vibrant floral walking paths.
23: A perfect setting for a picnic lunch.... and some leprechaun hunting.
25: Following more directions from Mark Fisher lead us to the town of Killaloe in southeast Ireland. A short walk down a wooded path revealed the ring fort of Brian Boru. The fort is built over-looking the shores of Lough Derg along the river Shannon. It is believed to have been built around 1100, and surrounded by the most majestic ancient forest. The gnarled old trees cast long shadows over the serene landscape frozen in time.
26: County Clare | Making our way west from Kilkenny we came through the unique, almost lunar landscape of "The Burren". In contrast to all of the other lush green environments of Ireland, the Burren is bleak and stark. The sparsely vegetated craggy hills seem appropriate for the isolated monastic life like that seen at the ruin of Cill Mhic Dhuach. The Monestary at Cill Mhic Duach contains 112 foot tall round tower; it's only entrance is 26 feet off the ground, making it ideal for protection from thieving marauders.
27: The Burren
28: Cill Mhic Dhuach
30: The Cliffs Of Moher
31: Blown away by the beauty of the cliffs.
32: The Cliffs of Moher offer the most dramatic views in all of Ireland. We followed the winding goat paths along the cliffs fighting the gale force winds the cliffs are so famed for, to O'Brien's Tower. Here the cliffs rise to an astounding 700 feet above the raging North Atlantic. The sounds of the crashing surf and blasting wind create a feast for the senses, as well as an experience of the raw power of Mother Nature.
34: The River Corrib rolls on past the docks of old Galway. | The Claddagh monument of Galway. | O'Brien's bridge crossing River Corrib on it's way to the sea. | Galway | The Irish symbol of friendship and love.
35: Lactose intolerant need not apply. | When in a fishing town, eat like a fisherman. | Behold the power of Cheese. | A pint at Tis Coili for the weary traveler
37: A short ferry ride off the western coast of the Emerald Isle ,we arrived at the Aran Isle of Inishmore. Our accommodations for the night were the quaint Man Of Aran Cottage, of the 1934 film "Man Of Aran".
39: The desolate beauty of Inishmore ends at the rugged western cliffs overlooking the mighty Atlantic. These shear 300 foot cliffs protected the ancient ringed fort of Dun Aonghasa for more than 1,000 years.
40: The winding stoned-lined paths of Inishmore lead us to the sounds of the crashing sea, ancient castles, perilous cliffs, and the hearty hospitable people of this lovely isle.
41: When Irish eyes are smiling, 'Tis like a morn in spring. With a lilt of Irish laughter You can hear the angels sing. | Our | Inishmore | Friends | Of
43: Our return trek to Dublin city wound us through the mid-land hills of the Irish whiskey country. Stopping in the villages of Kilbeggan and Tullamore we were able to tour and sample some of Ireland's finest spirits at the John Locke & Co., Kilbeggan, and Tullamore Dew distilleries.
44: Irish Pub Tour 16 Pubs in 7 days! The Pale - Dublin Guinness Storehouse - Dublin O'Neills - Dublin Kyteler's Inn - Kilkenny Lanigan's Bar - Kilkenny The Jerpoint Inn - Thomas Town Malzard's Pub - Stoneyford Shirley's Pub - Kell's Molly's Bar - Ballina The Village Inn and Pub - Lehinch The Irish Arms - Lisdoonvarna Tis Coili - Galway Tigh Joe Mac Bar - Inishmore The American bar - Inishmore Ti Joe Watty's Pub - Inishmore The Wolftrap - Tullamore
47: If you're enough lucky to be Irish, you're lucky enough! ~Irish Saying
48: Have we played Bill Bailey yet?
49: Upon cracking the door at Malzard's Pub in Stoneyford we were instantly transported into the heart of Irish culture. Established as O,Grady's in 1789, Malzard's Pub continues as a genuine Irish public house. Situated in the center of the sleepy town of Stoneyford, the shoebox sized old pub welcomes travelers and locals alike. Fred Malzard and his regulars treated our group to a fine evening of drinking and story telling. The highlight of the evening was the accordion serenade by local legend Tommy Lee. At 11:00, as predicted by Fred, Tommy waltzed in the front door and asked for the house accordion. As the pints of Guinness flowed, he regaled us with tune after tune well past midnight.
50: LIKE | EAT | THE | IRISH
51: And DRINK like them too!