July 26 to 28th wrapping up Ireland/North Ireland

I know I’ve been a bit lax on the posts lately, so I will try to catch up a bit.  As I write this I’ve already visited Scotland and London and am sitting at the airport waiting for a flight to Strasbourg France.  Benn a hectic week, and i’m starting to tire out a bit, but I am not at all complaining!

July 26, 2015

Had a miserable sleep last night, as the ‘last bed’ available at the hostel in Galway, happened to be an overflow room, which was normally used for the night security, so everytime someone came in late and buzzed the front door, not only did I hear the obnoxious buzzer but the lights would come on as well and the night security would tromp pass me bed.   It was pouring rain and was cloudy and dismal out.  It was all I could do to push myself out the door and not pay for another night so I could sleep all day!

I made it out though and stopped at the Aillwee Caves.  It was discovered in 1944, when a farmer named Jack McGann followed his dog who was chasing a rabbit. The farmer did not explore very far into the caves, and did not tell anyone of the find for nearly 30 years. He told cavers of the cave in 1973.  The part that I toured only went 300 Meters in, but the Caves are said to be just over 1 Km.   It originally contained a stream, but there is but a trickle here and there left, the formations seen on the cave tour are up to 8000 years old but calcite samples in other parts of the cave have been dated to over 350,000 years old.  When it rains, as it was when I was there the rain finds its way into the cave in about 4 hrs and was traced once and drains out a few miles away about 6 hrs later.

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 After the caves I drove to the Cliffs of Moher, took me a while to find the path that my host Erin in Letterkenny had told me about, but it meant I avoided the parking charges!   Hike about 25 min to the start of the cliffs and man was it worth it!  Stayed hiking/exploring for over 2 hours.   The pictures do it NO Justice.   Breath taking, I felt so small and insignificant being there.   There are no safety rails and you can go straight to the edge, couldn’t help but think of my friend back home who is not a fan of heights and who would NOT have enjoyed this at all! 😉

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I then drove to a little town called Ennis, to a cute little hostel called Rowan Tree.  It was right on the bank of a river and was a welcome retreat for the night!   While there I met a lady named Catherine from outside of London and in the morning she decided to come along to Bunratty Castle with me.   As I was leaving some people I had chatted with the night before were discussing with the front desk where to go to hitchhike to Limerick, which was just past the castle so I  gave them a ride.

imageGave away 2 of my cards to them,   guess will have to wait and see if they turn up.

Bunratty Castle and American Folk park is a village meant to show what times were like in a 15th century Medieval castle and 19th century village area.   The original Castle was wooden tower erected on a moat in 1251 then a stone castle built in 1277 and again rebuilt in 1353.  The current castle was built in 1425 and was restoredfrom 1956-58.  It was furnished with many 15th Century furnishings and was a lot of fun to explore, as was the village.  Very touristy and a bit hokey, but still worth the visit.

Bunratty castle
The entrance
Beautiful and intricate stained glass pictures on the windows
Seated at the throne.
Leading to the owners chambers
The detail on the top of the bed were amazing!
The ceilings in some of the rooms were so ornate!
To the Dungeon which was to dark to take pics but it was literally 10 feet down from the door way with just shackle’s attached to the stone walls.

   After I dropped Catherine off at the airport in Limerick, I made the 4 + hour drive to Belfast, and settled back into my favourite hostel so far: Vagabonds.   Next day was My flight from Belfast to Edinburgh Scotland.    All in all Ireland was stunning green rolling hills, jagged cliffs and peaceful ocean views at every turn.

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