Thursday, 29 August 2013

What's the craic in Ireland ?

"What's the craic?" I overheard one woman ask another.  Craic is a term for news, gossip, fun, entertainment, and enjoyable conversation.

So here's my news on was different to what I had expected...

On Tuesday, 13th August we caught a ferry from Troon in Scotland to Larne in Northern Ireland. Northern Ireland and Ireland are two separate countries.  Northern Ireland uses miles and pounds sterling, whilst Ireland uses kilometres and euros. Larne is in the north east of NI and we drove along the coast to Giant's Causeway - I had no idea what to expect and was very surprised to find hundreds of people of there, a huge tourist centre and some great natural, geological wonders in the form of hexagonal colums!  It is called Giant's Causeway due to the legend of Irish giant Finn McCool creating these structures by walking over the ground.

On Wednesday, 14th August we continued driving anti-clockwise and just over the border into Ireland we came to a stone walled fort called Grianan Ailligh.

It was a dull rainy day, so not great for photos but the scenery was still great, esp in Glenveagh National Park.

We stopped for the night in Donegal not far from the castle which is basically in the middle of town.

The next day, Thursday, 15th August we continued south to Carrowmore Megalithic Cemetery - this prehistoric sites contains large tombs - passage tombs and portal tombs/dolmens, burial cairns and stone circles.

That night we stopped in Castlebar and went to the local theatre and saw an amazing musical - The Emigrant's Farewell, set in April 1912 before the Titanic left Southhampton - with Irish music, singing, dancing and acting. It was a real treat and highlight of our trip - I loved it.

Friday, 16th August we headed to Galway through some beautiful roads, lakes and falls.

Saturday, 17th August we took a trip to the Cliffs of Moher via the Burren which is a very rocky area.

On Sunday, 18th August we headed south to Killarney, stopping at Dingle for lunch. On Monday, 19th of August we did a scenic drive called the ring of Kerry and the Skellig Ring.

On Tuesday, 20th August we headed east to Cork and Blarney Castle where I kissed the blarney stone. Or did I???  Maybe that's a bunch of blarney or baloney or something....

On Wednesday, 21st August we went to Jameson's Distillery in Midleton for a tour and a whiskey tasting - you must book ahead for tours as they are usually limited in numbers and busy.

On Thursday, 22nd August we headed north to Kilkenny, stopping at the Rock of Cashel to have a look at these old religious building from 1100 - 1500, it was previously a royal site with a castle on but those building were made out of wood and haven't survived.

It was a beautiful warm and sunny day so we stopped on the castle lawn/public gardens to lay down and take a nap!

Friday, 23rd of August we went on the St Francis Abbey Brewery Tour of Smithwicks Brewery.  On this site in the 14th century the monks used to brew beer and 300 years ago the Smithwick family took over and against all odds - religious and society - they have built a successful brewery.

I don't like beer or whiskey, more of a cider girl, but I really enjoyed the tours we did, seeing where they are made and hearing the history of their production.

Saturday, 24th August we headed to Wexford as on Sunday, 25th August we caught the ferry from Rosslare to Fishguard in Wales.

Ireland is a beautiful country and the north west area is more rocky whilst the south east areas are more the lush, green rolling hills that I expected.

Today, Thursday, 29th August we are back in London sorting out our motorbike and getting it ready to be shipped home, tomorrow we take it to Felixstowe where it is put in a sea container and shipped to Melbourne which will take about 6-8 weeks. It will probably be repaired/fixed in Melbourne then hubby will go pick it up and ride it back to Perth.

Thanks for reading, next blog on Wales will be much shorter as we were only there a couple of days.  Take care and no, I didn't kiss the Blarney Stone!!!  hehehehe....

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