I think I was surprised (though I think Shirley was not)
that Ireland has so many wonderful castles to see. We have seen two great ones so far, and on
Day 3, saw another one outside Limerick, called Bunratty Castle, which dates to
the 15th century. It is a
great place to visit – the castle is very well preserved, and it has wonderful
historic site, though much of the site has buildings that are re-creations
(which is fine because it gives you a flavor of life at the time). But the Castle itself is amazing, as you will
see in these pictures below. You can
climb up and down the four or five floors.
I loved climbing into the dungeon (where they literally threw people to
die), and I think Shirley liked seeing the bedrooms.
After we left Bunratty, we made a trip to Killaloe, based on my brother’s recommendation. It was the home base apparently for Brian Buru, who is called the "First High King of the Irish", and fought a war for Independence 1,000 years ago that was just celebrated recently. You will recognize the “Brian Boru’s March” played on flute by James Galway, though there are many renditions.
There is a site where Boru had his fort is preserved near Killaloe.
However you will see in this wonderful panorama shot by Shirley what is left now is just a circular mound.
But the spot is so serene that it blows you away. We were the only ones there and it was so quiet, you could hear the owls hooting. Click on this short video I made and listen closely and you will hear them. The place has a mystical feel; I said to Shirley it felt like I might meet Merlin from Camelot there, or that it reminded me of Lord of the Rings, with the old trees. Apparently Boru ruled the Shannon River from here.
Also in town we visited the town’s beautiful Cathedral. See one example of how beautiful it was from
this picture Shirley took.
To go back to the theme of how treacherous it is to drive in
Ireland, if anything the drive to Killaloe was even worse than anything we have
experienced to date. We had to laugh when
some of these “roads” were called roads at all.
Many were narrower than our driveway at home, and literally we had to
pull into the bushes to let cars pass.
Only by screaming at Shirley at one point did I save her from laying
victim to a nice little doggy wandering into the road.
Since that drive took a while we finally made it into the picturesque and stunningly gorgeous county Kerry this evening. We look forward to spending time next driving the “Ring of Kerry.” But before we do that we had a nice dinner tonight; I had Irish Stew (I have wanted to make sure to do that), and Shirley inhaled a wonderful Cod. After that we stopped at a local pub where they were playing Irish music. I taped a lady doing a jig with a fellow (click here to see it).
In : Ireland