Here is a fun webpage: (jenreviews.com) best-things-to-do-in-ireland/
To make this a multi-media experience, right click the Corrs’ album to play, “Erin Shore” in another window or tab while to check out the page.
(Click on the thumbnails to enlarge photos.)
You will see the term “Failte” (pronounced, FAWL-che), or Welcome, everywhere in Ireland. And the Irish know how to make you feel welcome.
Nov. 17, 2006
Ireland was one of Terry Lynn’s “dream destinations.” So for her birthday I took her to her ancestral homeland. She was ‘ticked’ when Steve decided to fry a bearded tooth mushroom for dinner– the night before we left. “I’m going to have to take you to the emergency room to pump your stomach, and we won’t get to go.”
Nov. 18 Boston
We flew out of Washington/Dulles. Then we had almost a day lay over in Boston. We walked the Freedom Trail which included the Old North Church, Old Ironsides, lots of Italian and Irish shops. We saw the Bunker Hill monument.
Nov. 19 Shannon Airport to Lisdoonvarna
We landed in Shannon at 5 AM. We were dismayed to find our luggage stayed on the jet and went on to Dublin without us. I was not at my best when learning to drive on the left. But finding yourself on the wrong side, and cars coming your way– the adrenaline is an effective waker-upper.
If you enlarge (click on) the map, you should see a yellow line indicating our travels.)
We stayed at a B&B, the Burren Breeze, in Lisdoonvarna, western Ireland, County Clare, with Denis and Anne. Their website has some wonderful photos. Denis didn’t ask for credit card, take any money, or have us sign anything. You had the feeling you’re just staying with friends. B&B’s in Ireland are very reasonable. The hosts are invaluable, suggesting local points of interest, great places to eat, and things to avoid. Denis didn’t sweat the small stuff. “Your luggage went to Dublin. Don’t worry, it’ll be delivered here in a day or two.” (And it was.)
Click here for an 11 sec. video clip of a Lisdoon stream.
Lisdoon(varna) might be best known for it’s Annual Matchmaker Festival.
We had our first real Irish breakfast. BIG– white and black pudding, egg, tomato, bacon, and soda bread– delicious. Our path crossed several times with a lady from Weston, WV.
We took ourselves off to Gus O’Connors pub in Doolin that evening. You can take a ferry from Doolin to the Aran Islands for a very traditional Gaelic Irish experience.
We saw many beautiful photographs by the artist, Pat Ryan. His work has been featured in gift shops throughout the region. Terry Lynn (Ryan) hoped to find out they are family.
Nov. 20 (still in Lisdoon)
We drove north across the Burren. Western Ireland avoided the worst of the English conquest due largely to it’s geography. Cromwell said of “…The Burren. Where there are no trees to hang a man. Where there is not enough water to drown him. And if
you finally succeeded in killing him, it’s too rocky to bury him.” (Read more@: www.virtualtourist.com
We toured Ballyvaughan, south of Galway Bay, then drove back toward Corfin. Then we reached Galway Bay. Galway is famous for the Claddagh.
We were curious about the prevalent “Pitch and Putt”, which is a 3 par smaller version of golf you play with 2 clubs, seems to be very popular.
Claddag– “Worn on the right hand, crown turned inwards, your heart is yet unoccupied. Worn on the right hand, crown turned outwards, shows a special commitment to someone. Worn on the left hand, crown outwards, let our love and friendship reign forever – never to be separated.”
We enjoyed a lunch of Fish and Chips at Vaughans, Liscanoor
Nov. 21 (Last day in Lisdoonvarna)
A little bit about the weather… we asked about the weather, and told it was a good time to tour the Burren or check out the Doolin Ferry because “it was to be a soft day. We found out this means wet and windy. We were thrilled to see rainbows the first morning– stopping to take photos. Later in the week, after seeing rainbows every day, we became somewhat unappreciative of them.
We had to stop the car since the road was full of cows. In a minute or so we saw the modern Irish cowboy on a peddle bike. He quickly moved the cattle to the thatched roof barn to be milked.
We then visited the Cliffs of Mohr. Restraining railings and fencing complemented the warning signs. This was not unnecessary. The wind may have been the most violent I’ve experienced. Sea water was blown vertically 600 feet, and further, forming an impressive geyser-like spume. What an incredible vista. And the sense of the power of nature– wind and waves smashing against the cliffs was awe inspiring. Off to the right was the O’Brien castle. Click here for an 22 sec. video of a the Cliffs of Moher and Castle O’Brien.
We stopped at St. Bridget’s Well. St. Bridget, (Bridget’s Cross) was a much loved saint in Ireland . Terry Lynn and I drank from the well which is believed to have healing powers.
Just across the lane was O’Brien’s Monument. (a philanthropic individual in the mid-1800s.) We have seen so many O’Brien shops and monuments. The O’Briens are descendants of Brian Boru, the great King of Muenster.
We saw a hardy surfer at the beach at Lahinch.
We enjoyed Sticky Toffee at Mrs. O’Brien’s Kitchen.
Terry Lynn noticed that many Irish men walk with their hands behind their back, as did her dad. We remember baby Heather walking with her granddad and mimicking this walk. Terry Lynn is a “Coal Miner’s Daughter.” Someone told us that many miners walked with hands behind their back to relieve back pain. So the walk is a miner thing? an Irish thing? or an Irish miner thing?
Dumb Yank Competition
Terry Lynn and I kept a tally of who does the most goofy “Yankee-isms.” If we noticed a local motorist preparing to hit us head on because I was driving in the right lane- score one for Terry Lynn. If she (the passenger) tried to get in the right side– while I sitting there behind the wheel grinning at her- score one for Steve.
We had the cleanest windshield in Ireland. The wiper and turn signal were reversed from what we were used to in the U.S. And whenever I wanted to use the wipers, I was signalling a turn. So it evened out.
Dinner at Irish Arms in Lisdoon
When you enter a pub, you typically go to the bar, place your order, then take your food to a table.
I have enjoyed the pints of Guiness. A couple pints go down so smooth. I tried a Murphy’s Stout, brewed in County Cork . It is sweeter than Guinness. I think I like it even better.
My sister, Sharon, gave me a great book Pint-Sized Ireland: In Search of the Perfect Guinness . It is a light hearted, but insightful look at Irish culture, including the the craic. It would be difficult to define this “habit” of gathering and enjoying life together, but I . believe if you begin to understand it, you will have made much progress in understanding Ireland.
Nov. 22 on the way to Tipperary (It didn’t really seem to be such “a long way.”)
We stopped at Bunratty Castle. If you ask for a rest room you will probably receive a confused, “Sorry?” Toilet is the common phrase. And we saw “WC” on the door.
We took some time to walk around Ennis. There are Euro stores which we decided were the Irish version of our Dollar Store.
Students in Ireland wear school uniforms.
We stayed at the San Giovanni B&B, Ballykisteen, Limerick Junction. The hostess was Mrs. Hadnett. She and her husband were charming. She is a Ryan. She told us there are so many Ryans they use a nickname to designate to which Ryan clan you belong.
Nov. 23 Tipperary and Cashel
He enjoyed scones and Butler chocolate.
We walked up to Craigh an Ri or Craig Phaerig, at Cashel- the castle of the kings of Muenster including Bru Boru (Brian); We saw a sarcophagus with a figure 8 to indicate the eternal. The cathedral featured Gothic and Romanesque architecture. We saw a round tower. The only entry was 12′ above the ground. We saw Jack daws– black birds. Click here for an 5 sec. video of the castle.
We visited the Cashel Library and saw original copies of books 100′s of years old: Machiavelli, Dante, and illuminated texts on vellum.
We visited the Heritage Center in Tipperary to research Terry Lynn’s Ryan ancestry.
Terry Lynn asked a plasterer if she could photograph the back of his vest which displayed the Ryan company name. His buddy started laughing, “She wants a photo of your bum, mate.” The buddy’s grin says it all.
Nov. 24 Cork (Pronounced “Kark”) and Kinsale
We were told many rebels would hide in the Glen of Aherlow, where we saw the “Christ the King” statue.
The statue honors those who fought in the Easter Uprising.
I liked the shop that shared by a bar and the undertaker. Gotta love the Irish outlook.
I also liked the “Cross Dog” sign. Wouldn’t you love to know what makes him cross?
We stopped at Mandy’s Pottery: Mandy explained that she was trying to be innovative, but found the ancient Greeks had perfected one of her techniques a couple thousand years ago. Innovation vs. Classical. We saw a Narim lily which is similar to our Resurrection flower or naked lady.
We stopped at the Moor Abbey.
We’re not sure what the Culvert Statue was. A statue of a guy posed on culverts. A statue of (his?) dog was in one of the culverts.
Each town supported its hurling, rugby and football teams.
We stayed at the Danabel B&B in Sleaveen, Kinsale, County Cork. Our hostess was Mrs. Phil Price.
I thought the sign on the door captured the mischievous Irish wit.
Kennedy visited Kinsale which is near his ancestral home.
We picked up a shamrock with the inscription, “Remember that happiness is a means of travel, not a destination.”
Herself took herself off to the town center, so I tagged along. “Black Thorn”, a traditional Irish musical duo performed at the An Seanachael pub. I was fascinated that everybody in the pub seemed to know the songs and sang along– even in the restroom. It’s poor quality, but here is a video clip of Black Thorn.
Kinsale has nice ales, stouts and lagers.
Nov. 25 Blarney Castle
Sad news: The Blarney Stone cracked when Terry Lynn kissed it. Witnesses reported a terrible rending sound. No stone could match Terry’s gift of gab. Queen Elizabeth gave Blarney its “meaning” when she complained that the lord of the castle kept putting off giving up the castle.
I’m glad I married a strong woman– able to lift fallen boulders out of the path.
We took a ferry over to Cobh (also known as Queenstown.) We visited the heritage Center which portrayed the Irish Migration of the mid 1800′s. They explained that families usually held wakes for departing family members knowing they would never again see them in this life. Millions of Irish sailed from the Cobh harbor in the mid 1800′s due to the potato famine. to They sailed to the States and Australia in ships like the one in the photo enduring incredible hardships.
This was the last port for Titanic and the Lusitania.
We unintentionally took the long way back to Kinsale via Macroom.
Nov. 26 Shannon
On our return flight, 2 seats away, a lady cried out, “Is there a doctor on board?” Her Mom was unconscious. There was emergency staff waiting to remove her when we got to New York.
We landed back in the U.S., flying into JFK, but our flight to Dulles didn’t leave JFK. It flew out of LaGuardia. So we grabbed a taxi and raced across NYC to LaGuardia. Meanwhile, since our luggage was unclaimed (we couldn’t wait for it), we found out it went back to Dublin– AGAIN. Maybe someday Terry Lynn and I can go there.
What a wonderful week.
Nancy Giffith sings a great song with a wish I would share, “I Would Give You Ireland.”
Go raibh maith agat (thanks) for checking out this page.
-Steve and Terry Lynn, March 2011