There Once Was A Man Lived in Ennis...
Trip Start Apr 15, 2012
18Trip End Jun 16, 2012
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Where I stayed
Carrick House B&B
Though he worked and he toiled
The day was not spoiled
Cause the frothy draft made a fine finish!
OK, so my limericks aren't so good but my heart is in the right place. Please tell me why the place is famous for the poems but there is no sign of them in the city?
Back to where I last left off.....Dingle.....
The road from Dingle took us across the peninsula on the N86, about the only major (?) road in the area that we had not yet conquered. The narrow windy pass (but not as narrow as the one we did the day before) dropped us down to Tralee then north to the River Shannon
In Limerick we managed to negotiate all the twists and turns until we arrived at a car park not far from the Locke Bar. Most people travel to the city to see castles and forts.... we travelled to Limerick to visit with family. We had arranged to meet Ashley and Anthony at Locke Bar for lunch. It was a great visit but far too short. They chose the perfect place to meet... close to the castle, the tourist info and the river. After a good lunch and a very good (though too short) visit we were on our way north to Craggaunowen Megalithic Center.... or living museum for short. Now this wasn't all I expected.... there were no people stoking the fires or weaving cloth as we were led to believe there would be.... but it was interesting. One of the recreated villages reminded me very much of some of the villages we saw in Africa, complete with the thatched roof over a round house situated within a walled compound.
When we left Craggaunowen we got thoroughly lost. Even with the GPS we found ourselves circling Ennis before finally finding our way in to the city. This was the destination we had set for the night for no other reason than the fact that they painted pictures on the sides of their businesses. Sounded like as good a reason as every you would find. That and the fact that it wasn't too big a town and was also known for Irish music the way it should be heard. So, after finding a place to sleep we headed out to the local pub and enjoyed an evening of toe stomping and hand clapping. Finally, after more than a week in Ireland, we have found music with no amplifiers or modern instruments. Have to tell you it was hard to get us to leave the place.
From the Cliffs we continued along Galway Bay and through Galway (glad to get out of there and the excruciatingly intense roundabouts during rush hour!!!) to the quiet little hamlet of Rossavee. It might be in the middle of nowhere but it is quiet and friendly.
Thought we might go to the Aran Islands but the weather isn't great so off we go. This is my first full day of driving on this trip. Up to now I've been navigator and moral support. With my knee injury I couldn't use the clutch. Now the knee is on the mend so I am behind the wheel with my eyes wide and teeth clenched.
There's a few things I've figured out here. When there is a painted centre line the road is barely wide enough for two cars to pass. The white centre line and yellow lines along the edges of the road when there is an extra foot or more of space.... I think they call that a bike lane (wonder if you can get insurance if you ride a bicycle over here?) Now, if there are no painted lines it basically means "watch out and good luck!" Some of the roads have painted lines that just stop then start up again without the benefit of a "road narrows" sign
It was so much easier to give Shane detailed instructions, blow b blow, on how to be a good driver, now it's pay back time!
In spite of all that I am feeling more confident (would be hard to feel any less confident than I did at the beginning).
We headed off along the scenic roadway through Carna, Callow, Clifton and the Sky Road, stopping at a pub for lunch along the way (we're getting pretty good at that and, no, Guinness is not involved for the driver).... as well as copious photo stops.
The two highlights of the day were Cashel House, one of the stately Hotels that was once a manor house. Shane's cousins grew up here after leaving Browne's Hill. The setting is lovely and the gardens are beautiful. In fact the place was fully booked by a garden club on tour. We wandered around the main floor getting a feeling for the lovely home. Afterwards we headed for Kylemore Abbey, a huge building that is often pictured in Tourism Ireland ads. The turreted rock 'castle' sits just above a lovely lake and directly below a rocky mountain. With that kind of a setting, gentle walkways, trails and a huge garden it was quite spectacular. Originally built by Mitchell Henry as a present for his wife. The present day Abbey is still home to the Benedictine Nuns..
Then further inland we came to Lough Carrib, a lake dotted with Islands. We pulled in to a driveway in order to get some pictures only to find there was a B&B right there! The perfect place to stay with lake views right out our window.
After checking in we drove to Conga to check out the shell of an Abbey and the peaceful park beside it complete with a babbling brook and a Monk's fishery.
After a great sleep and a very fresh eggs for breakfast (judging from the chickens in the yard) we set off determined to put some miles behind us. There is always a castle, an abbey or a stone circle to see but we can't see them all.
So, with hands firmly gripping the wheel and teeth clenched I began the drive north. Think I'm getting the hang of it because, at the end of the day, there were no cyclists, sheep, cows, branches or bits of rock wall hanging from the side mirrors....piece of cake!
Though we spent much of the day on main roads the were still pretty scenic. I did take a few side roads, one of which was a tractor path down to the west side of Lough Mask and the other a narrow road taking a tour of the stunning waterfront along Mullaghmore Head (north of Sligo).
Rolling countryside, sand beaches, sunshine, good food, castles and the stone circle - Creevykeel - what a day!
Tonight we find ourselves in Killybegs, west of Donegal. Tomorrow we will take it slow and enjoy this beautiful area. Hope the weather holds so we can walk along the Cliffs before heading north yet again.