Early start-0700 for breakfast and then left the hotel at 0800. We drove a couple of hours south to the Rock of Cashel and took some pictures from as close as we could get to it. We then went onto Blarney Castle; where yes, I did climb the 175 (somewhat scary) stairs up to kiss the stone. I was pretty proud of myself for that one, despite being somewhat disappointed at how fast we were pushed through the line. The stairs are narrow, winding and a little bit tricky in spots; sometimes I even needed to use a rope to pull myself up. I spent a little bit of time in the Blarney Woolen Mills, but not enough to see very much. We then went to our hotel-Killarney Towers and Leisure Center. We went on a carriage ride up to Ross Castle, which was beautiful. Then we went to dinner, took a swim in the beautiful pool. After that, a woman from the tour and I went out and listened to some music-very good. There is always live music to be had in Killarney and its’ many bars! We then met up with some other people from the tour group and went out to a dance club. Ring of Kerry tomorrow.
July 11, 2015
It seems every morning we are starting at 0700-ugh! I need to go home to get some sleep! We saw the Ring of Kerry this morning; drove a short while to see “an honest-to-God Normand Church”-whatever that means. Then we saw the Gap of Dunhoe, although it rained quite a bit, so there wasn’t much to see. We also stopped at Moriarty’s to do some shopping-I found a couple of things. Then we drove to a place to see a sheepdog demonstration. It was really cool and the dogs are SO smart, but the thunder and lightning storm was a little scary. We also saw the Daniel O’Connell birthplace, Ladies View, ate fish and chips in Portmagee. Then we went to Valentia Island for the Skellig Experience. It was pretty interesting, but I am SO tired! We then went to Waterville, Sheem and saw (sort of) the McGillycuddy Rocks. The landscape was very beautiful! We had the night free, so I used the pool, went to dinner at Murphy’s (fantastic beef stew) and then met up with some people from the tour groups and we did a pub crawl. I ended up dancing with some smelly, toothless man-but we still had many laughs!
July 12, 2015
Another early start to catch the ferry over the River Shannon to County Clare. It was nice and fun to see where the freshwater (river) and the salt water (Atlantic) met. It took about 25 minutes and then we were off to the Cliffs of Moher. We had to find 7 pure white horses for our greatest wish to come true. But, if we saw a pure black horse, our wish went to our enemy. (A note: the Irish have many superstitions and sayings, so it amuses me to hear them.) I saw all the horses before we made it to the Cliffs of Moher. It was pouring when we pulled up, but basically by the time we got off the bus, it let up enough so we weren’t drenched. What a sight to behold! It’s just another one of those places that overwhelm my mind and no matter which words I choose to describe it, it won’t be enough. After that, we went onto our hotel-Bunratty Castle Hotel-right across the street from Bunratty Castle. We had some free time before dinner, so I went to the sauna and pool-it was fantastic! Then we got dressed up for our medieval banquet; the year was 1625 and it was a lot of fun. We of course, caused some trouble, but in a good natured way. After that, we went back to the hotel and most everyone from our group went to the bar-it was a late night-went to bed at 0400.
July 13, 2015
Our last full day. 😦 This has been such a wonderful trip! I overslept and almost missed the bus! Yikes. We drove to Connemara Marble store and they showed us some of the beautiful marble and told us a bit about it. I bought a couple of small things, but there was certainly more I wouldn’t have minded having! We also had tea and scones. Then we drove to Galway and I checked out the cathedral, which was amazing. Then we headed to Dublin and went out to dinner. Then off to the Temple Bar-but it was too crowded and hot to spend any amount of time in there! Back to the U.S. tomorrow, but the bright side is that I can go through customs while still in Ireland and not have to back in the States! Yay!