Today is a free day in Dingle (Co. Kerry). We decided to sleep in today so we were not down for breakfast until 9:00 a.m., only to find all of our companions were down there at nine as well.
We walked into town with Lin and visited the Diseart Institute of Celtic Spirituality and Culture housed in a neo Gothic building designed by J J Mc Carthy. The building is set in gardens which contain the nuns graveyard and two upper gardens designed by Mary Reynolds.
This was the "smug" disciple.
The small chapel contains 6 sets of two Gothic style lancet windows by Harry Clarke.
Denice and I took a three hour cruise that we booked the night before from our hotel room. It was called an Eco Tour which appealed to us. It required us to be there at 11:30 a.m. in order to get our plastic pants and warn jackets on, with life preserver being addressed just as we got on board. It might have been a record Irish heat wave on land but we were glad to be bundled up when we got off shore.
Not to sure about the name of our boat.
No matter where you go in Ireland, or off Ireland, you are reminded of its history
Meet Fungie, the only dolphin in Ireland
Now we are off to the famed Blasket Islands.
This three our tour was great. Because it was such a warm, sunny and clam day, our guide Jimmy could take us places that normally he does not get to go including a cave.
An abandoned Blasket island
The fifth and final island in the Blasket chain, not normally seen on this tour, included a now abandoned light keeper's house and lighthouse.
As we floated, we had visitors
When back in town, we had a small plate lunch at Solas and then went back to our room to rest.
In the evening, we headed back into town for dinner. I will admit that I selected The Old Smokehouse because it had rice dishes on the menu--completely missing that it was an Asian restaurant. Yes, we ate Chinese in Dingle.
This night we went to O'Sullivan's Courthouse to hear the musicians we heard at the church last night. Tommy O'Sullivan, the guitarist, owns the joint and he was playing with the same uilleann piper, Eon Duignan.
Sunday, June 24, 2018 (Go South: Dingle to Ballina, Co. Mayo)
This day we are heading to the Slieve Mish Mountains area in northern County Kerry.
Now it was time to cross the River Shannon by ferry.
Our van fits on board
Our first stop is Lehinch Beach (Co. Claire).
The Cliffs of Moher (Co. Claire) were one of the few true tourist attractions that we visited on this trip. What we learned is that this attraction was hot, crowded and because of the drought--virtually no wave action on the ocean floor at the base of the cliffs.
We were looking at the south cliffs at the wrong time of day for photographs
The north side had a more attractive view
There were also cows.
Next we visited a 15th Century Irish Tower House Castle, Dysert O'Dea Castle (Co. Clare).
Then it was on to Ballina (Co. Mayo) along the River Shannon. We are sleeping in Ballina tonight but we had some time to wander around which meant we could cross a pedestrian bridge back into County Clare to explore Killaloe.
We discovered the Cathedral Church of St. Flannan where we walked the grounds.
Our accommodations are The Lakeside Hotel and that is where Denice and I ate a light dinner before calling it a night.
Monday, June 25, 2018 (Go South: Ballina to Dublin)
After breakfast today, we board a boat for a cruise on the River Shannon.
Lunch today was very special as we were guests at the 19th Century gothic revival Kinnity Castle (Co. Offaly) in the foothills of the Slieve Bloom Mountains.
Our last stop of the day on our way back to Dublin was the Kilbeggan Distillery (Co. Westmeath). They have been distilling here since 1757. I am not much for drinking but the old industrial nature of this place made a great place to shot photos.
Once we are back on the van we head into Dublin and the end of our south leg of our trip. We return to the Clarence Hotel but we have a new room with a view.
Not being even tired at this point, Denice and I go for dinner at Quays Bar in Temple Bar. Ironically, after all the good food we have had this week, we order fish and chips and are disappointed.
But what does not disappoint is Temple Bar--always hoppin'.
We stopped at this gellato joint to have a late night dessert
We finished the night listening to an Irish duo in the Norseman pub.
I closed out the night doing a little street photography out the Norseman bar window. Ireland--cosmopolitan in Dublin.
All in all, we were both very happy with our first week in Ireland--the Go South part of the trip.