Saturday, May 10, 2014


Trinity library
We had to visit the Trinity College Library, because...books.  The Book of Kells is here, but the big attraction was this library upstairs.  Stacks and stacks of old books.
Dublin Town House B & B
First stop in Ireland was Dublin.  First impression:  so many people, so many smokers.  We stayed at the Townhouse B & B downtown.  Very helpful staff, including parking our car in the garage.  It was like playing 'musical cars' every time someone needed to get in or out. Parking spots are rare in Dublin. 
Museum of Architecture and History
The National Museum of Archaeology and History was very interesting.  It is free, and a person could easily spend a whole day here trying to see all the displays.  We didn't, but you could.  It was interesting to see all the items (including people) that have been found in the bog.  The speculated stories on how the items got in the bog are interesting, too.
Dublin Castle
The contrast between Dublin Castle and the castles in Scotland was interesting to me.  Notice the modern architecture behind Dublin Castle.  I didn't see this in Scotland, but in Ireland the old seems to be mixed with the new.
Bru Na Boin Knowth
Knowth at Bru Na Boinne.  An interesting archeological site from early Ireland.  We arrived early enough in the day to get  the tour guide to ourselves.
Bru Na Boin
More views from Knowth
Kilbeggan Distillery
A visit to Ireland is not complete without a visit to a distillery.  We visited Kilbeggan.  Looks a little like spaceships, right?
Hedford lodging
This is the second place we stayed, near Hedford.  The owner's grandfather was given a plot of land for being a superior stone mason.  It was a very old little place out in the country, down a little lane.
Kylemore Abbey
Kylemore Abbey was my favorite place in Ireland.  Until recently, the Abbey housed a girls school.  It is still a functioning Abbey.  Touring the grounds, the gardens and the chapel was very interesting.  You could easily spend a whole day here.
Kylemore Abbey
Around the grounds are inviting places for children.  The sheep are made from rope and wood.  Notice the table is one fluid piece. 
Kylemore Abbey
More fun for children, or adults.
Kylemore Abbey Chapel
Kylemore Chapel was built for the owner's wife.  Where you usually see a gargoyle in Victorian architecture, you will find angels on this chapel.
Kylemore Abbey gardens
The Victorian walled gardens at Kylemore Abbey provided fruits, vegetables, and herbs for the kitchen.  It also provided a place for the ladies to walk when the weather was bad.  The building in the photo is where the gardeners lived.  The head gardener had his own house.
Kylemore Abbey
My daughter found a deal on Living Social that included admission for two people plus tea and scones in the cafe.  When planning a trip, check websites that offer deals, you never know what you will find.
Yes, Connemara looked like this.  Not really very pretty.  The top left picture shows the clouds coming down over the mountain and the path.  Once again, it was cold and windy here.  Not my favorite place.
Cliffs of Moher
As I mentioned in my first post about our visit to Scotland and Ireland, the weather changed very quickly at the Cliffs of Moher.

Some places we visited, like Lough Gur, we found discovered online.  The staff here was very friendly and informative.  Lough Gur was not crowded at all and was worth the visit.  We saw a couple swan's nests here.

Coolbeg Lodge
We stayed at this lodge a couple nights.  It was originally a stable, but had been converted to a self-catering cottage.  It was very nice.
Dingle Peninsula
We visited the Dingle Peninsula one afternoon.  It was still early in the tourist season, so the town was not crowded.  We mostly walked around downtown and then drove back to our lodgings.

The Wicklow Mountains were pretty.  This is Glendalough.  It was lambing season in Ireland.  We saw a lot of lambs like this one.
Titanic Belfast
The last day of our trip (after my daughter and her husband left), we took a tour bus to northern Ireland.  The first stop was in Belfast.  We visited the Titanic museum.  The Titanic was built in Belfast.
McDonnell Castle
This is McDonnell Castle ruins, on the coast of northern Ireland.  The large opening on the right is where the kitchens used to be.  The tour guide told us that a party was being held in the front part of the castle when a loud rumbling was heard.  Upon investigating, they discovered that the kitchen had fallen into the ocean.  The only survivor was the man sitting in the window sill repairing pots and pans. 
northern coast
The coast of northern Ireland.
Giant's Causeway
The stairs down to the Giant's Causeway is one way to reach the beach level.  You can also take a sidewalk down that is not as steep.
Giant's Causeway
Several stories exist to try to explain why these rocks at the Giant's Causeway are shaped and stacked like this, but nobody really knows. 
The Nook Pub
This pub, The Nook, at The Giants Causeway had the best scones of any place we tried in Scotland or Ireland.  We didn't get a picture before we ate them.  Sorry.
The last stop on our tour bus trip was the Carrick-a Rede rope bridge.  I didn't think I was going to cross it, but I did.  Fishermen built the bridge.
Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge
It looked scary, but I did cross the rope bridge.  The bridge wasn't very long, but the scenery on the other side was very pretty.
In conclusion, we enjoyed our trip to Scotland and Ireland.  We spent a week in each country.  I'm not sure why, but I preferred Scotland to Ireland. 

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