Wednesday, September 20, 2017

The Cliffs of Insanity . . .erm, Moher

Last stop, the Cliffs of Moher

Since I had a flight later this day, we made sure to get to the Cliffs as soon as they opened (and yes, technically they open and close). If you do ever go, I highly suggest this strategy. First of all the parking people were super confused so we got in for free and secondly the paths are pretty narrow so it’s much easier when no one is around. Also in our case, it didn’t start raining until we were almost done our hike.

The first included many stairs
The cliffs take their name from an old promontory fort called Mothar or Moher, which once stood on Hag's Head, the southernmost point of the cliffs, now the site of Moher Tower. This is the point we hiked to. 

Even though they are a huge tourist attraction – it is totally worth the visit, they are breathtaking! Plus they are also the site of the “Cliffs of Insanity” in the Princess Bride so what's not to love! I will let the photos speak for themselves . . .

A little Limerick

Our last stop was Limerick for dinner and sleep. We got to the city pretty late but still with enough time to do a quick tour on our way to dinner. Limerick is on the river Shannon and our walk took us down the river to get to the old town.

Of course we had time for another selfie

One of the main attractions of the city is King John's castle. Although the site dates back tot the time of the Vikings, the castle was ordered by King John in 1200. It has been renovated over the years and has some hi-tech exhibits now. Unfortunately it was already closed by the time we got there.


And the day ended with a tasty beverage!

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

The road to Dingle. . .

By this point we knew we wanted to hit the Cliffs of Moher by my last day so our route needed to start heading north. However, we also wanted to see more of the coast so we were off west. Prioritynumber one though was finding some breakfast so our first stop was a small town of Clonakilty for a healthy Irish breakfast 😃

And then, because we are total idiots, we decided to head to Dingle because it was in a lame American movie. We knew the movie wasn’t even filmed there but we decided it was so ridiculous, we had to do it. In some ways I am glad we did because we saw an amazing beach – though not quite beach weather!

This is my favourite selfie - it was so windy!

Dingle itself was nothing to write home about but we can now check it off the list!

And the beautiful countryside. We had to stop the car a few times to take photos. Quite a few times we couldn't shut up about how pretty it all was and here is the proof:

As the driver, there was also a little adventure along the way!

One way tunnels
And cows! Surprisingly not the first time this happened to me

The day of castles

We really had no concrete plan when we left Dublin, more of a goal to see how far we could get. Our Dublin hosts thought we were a bit too ambitious but as a Canadian and an Australian, we laughed at the distances. Ireland is so cute, you can drive across it in 2hrs!
Basically we would pick a place, get there and then decide which place was next. En route we took selfies to show our friends where we were. The first day brought us to Kilkenny and Blarney Castles with a rest in Kinsale - I will let you google the distances.

First stop – Kilkenny. 

The objective here was Kilkenny Castle which was built in 1195 to control a part of the River Nore. It was transferred to the people of Kilkenny in 1967. 

I don’t know what we were expecting but when we walked onto the grounds we were blown away – the landscape was stunning! (the weather, not so much!). We did the castle tour and then quickly surveyed the grounds since it was raining. Then it is was off to a pub for lunch and on to our next stop.

Next stop - BlarneyCastle  

Doesn't the weather look great!
I have to say that we were skeptical driving up to this castle because you cannot see it from outside the grounds. Eventually once we paid a ridiculous amount to enter, we finally got a glimpse!

For those that have been before, you know that the castle itself is just a shell basically so it's really great to tour when it’s raining! This is actually the third castle built on this site. It was constructed in 1446 by Dermot McCarthy, King of Munster.

It takes 100 steps to get to the top and reach the Blarney stone. There are a number of legends surrounding how the stone came to be but basically they all equate to  - kissing the stone endows the kisser with the gift of the gab. I figured since I had climbed the 100 steps (in heels - don't ask), I might as well do it. I am not entirely sure why one has to hang upside down to do it but being a shorter person it was a bit of challenge. Nonetheless, it was a success!

photo of a photo because my friend can't take pictures!

The castle gardens looked amazing and we would have spent more time visiting but it was pouring rain and cold so we just headed to the converted stables for some tea and to decide on the next stop.

Then it was off to Cork – which was just a quick drive through and then to our overnight destination of Kinsale. Kinsale is a southern coastal town - small and quaint! 

Our Dublin friends had been there recently and they had recommended a place for dinner which we of course had to try and take our last selfie of the day!