This weeks challenge is to find photos that represent something old, something new, something borrowed, and something blue. For this challenge I decided to use some photos from our recent trip to Ireland.
For something old, I chose the oldest man made thing we saw. The Fahan Beehive Huts on the Dingle Peninsula are from around 2000 BC.
For something new, I chose this lamb. As we drove around Ireland and Scotland, there were many fields filled with sheep. I loved seeing the new little lambs.
Our rental car in Ireland is the closest thing to something borrowed I could think of. This blue Nissan Qashqai, similar to the Nissan Rogue in the U.S., got us everywhere we wanted to go.
For something blue, I liked the blue buildings on this street in Dingle.
One afternoon during our stay at a delightful Bed and Breakfast in Killarney, we took a jaunting car tour through parts of Killarney National Park. Our guide Mark and his horse Susie took us through the forest, beside the lakes, and we had our first view of Ross Castle.
On our way to our next destination near Cork, we drove to Ross Castle for a close up view. I was fascinated by all the fishermen unloading their fishing gear in the parking lot so I looked around to see where they were going. Boats were lined up on the banks of a stream which led to the lake on the other side of the stone bridge.
Ross Castle is in a beautiful setting on the banks of Killarney’s lower lake inside Killarney National Park. We wandered around the castle before driving to County Cork,
At the end of the day we arrived at our next bed and breakfast near Blarney. The gardens and views from the B&B were stunning.
On Herny’s birthday we visited Blarney Castle to join the millions of others who have climbed the steps to the top of the tower to kiss the Blarney Stone and gain the gift of eloquence.
Kissing the stone sounds easy. However, actually doing it isn’t so easy. First you must get in line and then go up a series of steps before arriving at the parapet walk at the top of the tower. Once it’s your turn to kiss the stone, you must lie on your back, hold onto an iron railing, lean backwards over a crevice, and hope you can reach the stone to kiss it! I needed help, but I did it!
Our next stop on Henry’s birthday was the pretty seaside town of Cobh which was the last place the Titanic picked up passengers before beginning it’s maiden (and only) voyage in April, 1912. We enjoyed a tour of The Titanic Experience Cobh before wandering around the waterfront and watching the activity in the harbor from a waterfront park.
Next up was a tour of the Jameson Irish Whiskey Distillery in Midleton.
To top off a fun filled day we enjoyed a wonderful dinner at a nearby pub.
The Wild Atlantic Way is a scenic coastal road along Ireland’s Atlantic Coast from the Northern Headlands all the way down to the southern coast. We spent three days exploring along the southern part of the route.
On our day trip from Galway to the Cliffs of Moher we were on the Wild Atlantic Way most of the day. We stopped at Dunguaire Castle on our way to the cliffs.
Most of the way we were on a steep, narrow road.
The Cliffs of Moher are Ireland’s most visited natural attraction and probably the most popular stop on the Wild Atlantic Way. These majestic cliffs tower high above the ocean with several trails offering spectacular views. The day was perfect with sunny skies and calm seas.
After wandering around the cliffs we returned to Galway for another night before driving through the middle of the Dingle Peninsula on our way to the town of Dingle, our next destination. We stopped at an overlook to take in the spectacular scenery.
We loved our night in Dingle Town with it’s colorful buildings, fun pubs, great seafood, and beautiful Dingle Boat Harbour.
The next day we drove the Slea Head Drive on the Dingle Peninsula. Much of the drive is high above the ocean where there were more spectacular cliffs, ancient Fairy Forts, Beehive Huts, beaches, and some Star Wars filming locations.
We opted to let someone else do the driving and took a bus tour of the Ring of Kerry from Killarney. Most of the tour was along the Wild Atlantic Way. We passed by an ancient castle, watched a sheep dog demonstration, walked on the beach in Waterville where Charlie Chaplin liked to go on holiday, saw the Eightercua Stone Row, enjoyed lunch with a view, and were near another Star Wars filming location.
The tour left the Wild Atlantic Way and went through Killarney National Park on our return to Killarney. Our last stop was at Lady’s View.
It was nice to let someone else do the driving. Our driver and guide Dennis was great and we learned a few things we wouldn’t have known if we had driven ourselves.
Like many other travelers to Ireland, our introduction to the country began in Dublin. As we approached the city center on our ride from the airport to the hotel there were pedestrians everywhere and they were not afraid to step out in front of traffic. Our driver told us “In Dublin, jaywalking is a hobby.”
After a good night’s sleep and a full Irish breakfast we were ready to to explore Dublin. Our first stop was Trinity College to see the Book of Kells and the Long Room of the Old Library.
The Book of Kells is a beautifully handwritten and elaborately decorated book of the four Gospels. The work was done by monks and it is estimated to have been done around the year 800. There are interesting displays describing how it was made and samples of the many illustrations. The book itself is kept under glass in a special room with no photography allowed.
Upstairs from the Book of Kells is the most beautiful library I’ve ever seen. I could have spent all day in the Long Room of the Old Library surrounded by all the old books.
I heard one story that there was a scene in one of the Star Wars movies inspired by this room. I also heard it was the inspiration for the library in Harry Potter.
As we strolled through the Trinity College campus we stopped to listen to singers perform. Our wandering continued to the River Liffey where we walked across the Ha’Penny Bridge and back before strolling through the Temple Bar District. Later we toured the Guinness Brewery and enjoyed a pint at their Gravity Bar.
We stopped to listen to the talented singers as we strolled around Trinity College
Ha’Penny Bridge across the River Liffey, Dublin
These locks are placed on the Ha’Penny bridge by lovers. To profess their undying love after placing the lock they throw the key into the River Liffey
Beside the River Liffey, Dublin
Sláinte! My first taste of Guinness at the Gravity Bar at the Guinness Distillery
Dublin is the capital of the Republic of Ireland and Ireland’s largest city. We enjoyed our time there but were anxious to see other parts of Ireland.
After picking up our rental car on the outskirts of town we got lost (the first of several times) before finding the right road to Galway, our home for the next 3 nights. Galway is bigger than I thought it would be but much smaller than Dublin. Our hotel in Galway was located on Eyre Square in the center of town within walking distance of Quay Street and the Latin Quarter. There were many shops, pubs, restaurants, a waterfront, and the Spanish Arch to explore.
Quay Street Galway
Eyre Square, Galway
Spanish Arch, Galway
Next up, scenic drives along Ireland’s Atlantic Coast.
Three days after returning home from a three week trip to Ireland and Scotland I’m still a little jet lagged, haven’t finished unpacking, and just started going through the 3,000 photos I took.
Ireland has always been at the top of our bucket list. Henry and I both have Irish ancestors and I have ancestors from Scotland so we planned our trip to see both countries.
I loved everything – the people, the jaw dropping scenery, the green fields and mountains, the sheep and cows, the castles, the churches and cathedrals, everything! And yes, Ireland really is that green! Here are a few photos from our first days in Ireland.
Dunguaire Castle, just outside Kinvara, Ireland on Galway Bay
Yes, there really are thatched roofs in Ireland
Scenic Ring of Kerry tour on the Wild Atlantic Way, Ireland
Dingle Peninsula, west coast of Ireland
We traveled by planes, trains, automobiles, a ferry, and even a horse drawn jaunting car. We rented a car to get around and took a few bus tours along the way. We walked along spectacular cliffs, drove on narrow winding roads, stopped at castles and even did laundry at a gas station in a Scottish village. We watched a sheep dog demonstration, petted some sheep, and fed a Highland Cow. We stayed in hotels in city centers, bed and breakfasts away from town, and a castle. We sampled local beers and whiskeys in the pubs. For three weeks we ate a huge full breakfast every day and dined on delicious seafood and beef dishes at night.