Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Ireland, Dublin, Castles, Blarney Castle, Killarney, Ring of Kerry, Dingle Peninsula, Galway, Newgrange

June in Ireland- 2015. My Aunt Roma Ann and I took a Gate 1 tour and it was fabulous! You have to be a little adventurous for this one. We had a package that included flight, rental car, hotels and some meals for a week and about $1500. They give you an itinerary and suggestions of things to do along the way which I loved. I had to learn to drive a stick shift since that's all they have over there. I also had to learn to drive on the left side of the road which meant the stick was also on my left. I hadn't really driven one since college days but it came back pretty quickly. It had too since we started out in the middle of Dublin! My poor aunt thought I was going to scrape her off into some bushes a few times and I only ran off the road once but hey, it was an adventure:) Ireland is one of the most beautiful countries I have ever seen and I have been to a few. Just take a look.


We had a day here so we took a hop on hop off bus tour. I love those because you can see so much in just a little time and they are inexpensive. Dublin was pretty but no skyscrapers which gave it it's own charm. We saw Trinity College, some beautiful Cathedrals

River Liffey

Stephen's Green Park

The roasted meat was different and delicious, the carver wasn't half bad either:)

Typical Irish meal. We tried all kinds of things including Irish stew. My favorite were the scones!

Kilkenny Castle- the first castle on our tour. We didn't go in.

So many stone ruins everywhere and you just had to use your imagination

I wasn't sure I was a fan of the GPS when it was taking us on all this little one lane back roads but then I fell in love and the GPS became our best friend!

The Rock of Cashel was cool but under construction. I liked this cool ruin behind it

The Rock Of Cashel
Blarney Castle

Blarney Castle- Blarney: "talk that is not true but that is nice and somewhat funny and that may be used to trick you." Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Looking down from Blarney


blarney definition. Smooth, flattering talk, often nonsensical or deceptive. Based on an Irish legend that those who kiss the Blarney Stone will become skilled in flattery."  I hope it works:)

My awesome and beautiful Aunt Roma Ann 

Waiting to kiss the stone

I take pictures of my feet in cool places

Blarney Castle


Dromhall Hotel in Killarney

Love, love, loved this hotel!

After we checked in to the hotel we drove out to Ross (or Killarney) Castle

It was closed for the day or we would have gone inside. So amazing!

Saw this amazing rainbow and wondered which side the pot of gold would be on

Our little but efficient rental car and yes I am standing on the drivers side

Ring of Kerry

Today we drove the Ring of Kerry. I saw plenty of stone fences, sheep, horses and cattle, one lane roads, beautiful wildflowers, lakes, bikers, stone ruins, tall good looking masculine Irish men,, cliffs with the Atlantic Ocean beating against it, window flower boxes, and colorful row houses like in the town of Sneem

I didn't run over any tourists but I did run a few red lights, took some wrong turns and only killed the car about 40 times. The worst was when I was making a sharp left uphill turn after stopping at a stop sign with bikers on my left and a local shop owner on my right. There were a few cars on my tail which I finally waved around me since I was having trouble finding first gear. When I finally got it right, the shop keeper smiled and waved and the bikers gave me a thumbs up! I was laughing. It wasn't until the fourth day that Roma Ann figured out the button on the shift was for going in reverse. After that it was a piece of cake!


YOU most definitely need to go the right direction on the Ring of Kerry. All the traffic and buses go the same direction. I felt sorry for the few cars going the other direction. This was a wide part of the road. Most of it was cliff line and one lane

Stopped the play with the baby sheep

I love to take portraits of the locals when I can

Dingle Peninsula

The next day we decided to drive the Dingle peninsula which was amazing and incredibly beautiful. 

I couldn't resist taking the road

This was a very friendly horse! It came right up to me and gave me a big fat kiss:)

Cliffs of Moher

We stopped at the cliffs of Moher before heading on into Galway

Cliffs of Moher looking North

A beautiful castle ruin that I didn't even know the name of
We stayed in Galway for two days. The first day we drove out to Kylemore Abbey. It was more of a rocky terrain than lush and green

The Kylemore Abbey is a working Abbey and we saw the monks walking around. We took a tour 

While waiting for our tour I saw this little guy and he wasn't afraid of me. He flew away so I knew he wasn't hurt. So cool! Birds don't usually hang around for me to take pictures!

Kylemore Abbey grounds

Next on the list was Ashford Castle which is a working hotel. So nice! 

A very friendly Irish gate keeper!

After walking around the grounds we went for some hot cocoa and Rock scones with unsweetened cream and jam. Yummy but my favorite where the cherry ones we got at a gas station where Patrick:) came out to help me figure out how to put the gas in the car. His sister helped run the place and his mom made the scones!


Galway on the second day. Charming but not huge. We did take a little tour

We packed up and left Galway headed back to Dublin via Newgrange

There were just so many incredible places to stop and take pictures. I was in heaven

The GPS took us the backway to Newgrange and so we got a view that most people never see.


The backside of Newgrange. When we stopped to ask, we were told we had to go to the visitors center and take a bus

We had to wait at the visitor's center for an hour or so and then hopped on our tour 

Newgrange is similar to Stonehenge but a thousand years older. It's also older than the pyramids of Giza.They don't know what exactly it was used for but it probably had religious significance. It is aligned with the rising of the sun and the light floods the chamber at the winter solstice. They let us go inside and there is one narrow passage that only goes about 1/3 of the way in and then there are three small chambers each with a round slab of rock. 

I bought some cute earrings with this design at the visitor's center

Walking around the back. After this we stayed one more night in Dublin and then flew out the next morning. Can I just say that I love Ireland!