Saturday, January 26, 2019

2018 Ireland Day Twenty, Twenty One, Two, Three and Four: Westport to Belmullet to Enniscrone to Dublin

Friday, July 6, 2018 (Go West: Westport, Co. Mayo)

Today we are free to explore the town of Westport. Whenever we have down time like this, it means it is time for shopping, shopping, shopping.

One of my stops was the West Coast Rare Books Shop where I spent time rummaging amongst some truly ancient works.

After lunch, Denice and I took a walking tour of the town with this young Irish guide.

While Denice went shopping, I did another walk about.

Not sure I can explain this

Spent some time in the Holy Trinity Church.

Then it was over to St. Mary's Catholic Church.

That night Denice and I ate at Cain's Restaurant.  We saw a poster for a new music concert called Novus so we headed over to the Town Hall for a night of theater style Irish music.

Saturday, July 7, 2018 (Go West: Westport to Belmullet, Co. Mayo)

Our first stop of the day is the 18th Century Westport House, a home built upon the castle ruins that once housed the pirate queen, Grace O'Malley.

Denice was fined for touching the art work (actually--it is good luck)

In one room of the castle they had these mannequins set up as representatives of the people who visited the Home.

Here is the happy couple on the house tour

This may be one of my favorite photos from the trip

Next we entered the Achill Island area (Co. Mayo). Along this Atlantic Drive we saw all kinds of sights including An Cheibh Bheag castle.

Here is part of our scenic drive.

Our next stop was one of the coolest places we visited in three weeks. It was the deserted village at Slievemore (Co. Mayo). The views were spectacular, the ruins were fascinating and we even had sheep.  People have inhabited Slievemore since the Neolithic era up until the 1850s.

Tonight we are overnighting in Belmullet (Co. Mayo). Our accommodations are the Talbot Hotel and Denice and I ate an Italian meal in the hotel's restaurant.

Sunday, July 8, 2018 (Go West: Belmullet to Enniscrone (Co. Sligo)

This day on Mayo's north coast we pay our first visit to the Ceide Fields Co. Mayo), a neolithic site which retains the field system used 5,500 years ago.

This carving was in the visitor's center

The field's are accessible on these modern walkways

Next was the Doonfeeny Standing Stone (Co. Mayo) in the church ruins of the Doonfeeny Churchyard which dates from the 7th Century. This is Ireland's tallest standing stone.

Then we are off to Killala (Co. Mayo) and the Killala Round Tower (Cloigtheach Chill Ala), built in the 12th century.

In the town of Killala I spent some time in the Cathedral of St. Patrick.

As we headed down the Killala Quay, we visited the Rosserk Friary founded around 1460.

Our overnight stop is the town of Enniscrone (Co. Sligo). Once we got to town we decided to go for a walkabout despite Denice's insistence we take a, cab.

On our walkabout we discovered the town has an Enniscrone Coastal Walk which was fun to traverse and quite popular on this warm night.

 Making friends

Our accommodations in Enniscrone was the Waterfront House which proved to be on the waterfront. 

Our evening meal was taken with our travel companions Noella and Roger. Then it was time for our last night's sleep on the road.

Monday, July 9, 2018 (Go West: Enniscrone to Dublin)

Today is the last day of the tour after three weeks on the road.

Our first stop is in the Ox Mountains (Co. Sligo) where after hiking a long trail we get to a megalithic, passage tombs. These tombs are so old they pre-date the Egyptian pyramids and even Stonehenge in England. If you have been following all these posts, this is what the portals lead to--a pile of rocks that no one really knows what was the purpose.

Some people were brave enough to crawl in--not me because of my claustrophobia.

Our lunch today was in Carrick-on-Shannon (Co. Leitrim) on the River Shannon. We visited one of Ireland's smallest churches.

Yes, that is what is in the main floor of the church

Another church in town was St. Mary's Close. I think this could be more Harry Clarke work.

By nightfall we were back in Dublin and The Clarence. Despite all the hustle and bustle of the three weeks exploring Ireland Denice and I agreed that we were happy. Not exhausted, not tired, not bored--happy. That is to the credit of the things we saw, the country we were in and Inroad Ireland and its guides.

On our last night in Ireland, Denice and I are shrimp at the Elephant and Castle. Then it was time to pack and prepare for our departure tomorrow.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018 (Go Home: Dublin to Milwaukee, WI, USA)

By 7:30 a.m. we are in a taxi heading to the Dublin airport. Our flight out on Aer Lingus as at 11:30 a.m.  By 4:00 p.m. Central Standard Time we are in Chicago and then on the bus home to Milwaukee.

When a trip is this good it is not a bad thing to close the door on this adventure.

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