My OE - Ireland                                           
MAY 2003
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includes...
Midlands / Bog Railway
Knappogue Banquet
Loop Head
Cliffs of Moher
Doolin

Fri 16-May 03	Swords - Ennis (Co. Clare)

Got another rental car, this time to head away to County Clare for the weekend.  No specific plans at all, but booked a medieval banquet in a castle for tonight just before I left home!  Headed semi-randomly towards Shannonbridge to go back to the Bord ná Mona Bog Railway () for a tour at 1pm (had originally tried to go on a tour back on 6th April but it had broken down!).  It was an interesting tour of the Bog of Allen, but at the same time a bit tacky and disappointing that they are ruining the environment two-fold:  First by digging up the ancient bog and then burning it in the local Power Station and polluting the air with black sooty smoke!

Doubled back slightly to Clonony and then via Birr to the N7 at Nenagh and on towards Limerick (City and County).  Several photogenic castles on the way, and since I've been known to take an odd photo or two on my travels, I photographed them!  Arrived at Knappogue Castle (near Quin, Co. Limerick) with not much time to spare before the evening's medieval banquet was due to start.

Field in Offaly 

Bog of Allen, Shannonbridge (Bog Railway) 

Clonony Castle, Co. Offaly

Nenagh Castle, Co. Tipperary 

Knappogue Castle is very nicely restored, with wall-hangings, banners and flags lining the walls and antique (looking) furniture.  We were greeted by butlers and ladies in period costume, handed a goblet of Mead and led into a waiting area to be entertained with traditional music while waiting for dinner.

Eventually we were all led into the Banquet Hall for a fun night of traditional music, singing, dancing, humour and food, with wine served in earthen-ware jugs!  Thoroughly recommended.

Headed on to Ennis for the night at the Abbey Tourist Hostel.

Musicians at Knappogue Castle Banquet, Co. Clare 

The Knappogue Castle Banquet, Co. Clare 

Dancer at Knappogue Castle Banquet

Knappogue Castle, Co. Clare

River Fergus, Ennis 

Sat 17-May 03	Ennis - Lisdoonvarna

Left Ennis (in the rain) and headed down towards Kilkee and Loop Head.  Very lush and green with wild flowers all over the place.  Kilkee is a very beautiful seaside town with a big sandy bay (see below).  Loop head consisted of lots of tall sheer cliffs which was much like the Cliffs of Moher (that we were to see later in the day) with less (almost no) tourists, and also similar to the Great Ocean Road in Australia.  We went down as far as the lighthouse and then looped back (it is loop head afterall) along the coast to the Cliffs of Moher.

Kilkee, Co. Clare

Loop Head, Co. Clare

 

The Cliffs of Moher were certainly very tall and very impressive cliffs even though a bit hazy - Lots of tourists though, by the bus load - including plenty of idiots right out on the edge beyond the barriers.  Also lots of buskers and craft stalls to cater for all the tourists.

Next we headed on towards Doolin where we had originally been thinking of stopping for the night.  After a photo stop, decided not to book anything and continued on while the weather had cleared, to see some of The Burren.

 

Cliffs of Moher, Co. Clare

Cliffs of Moher, Co. Clare

O'Brien's Tower, Cliffs of Moher, Co. Clare

Castle Tower near Doolin, Co. Clare

Doolin, Co. Clare

Coast at Doolin, Co. Clare
Where the Burren meets the sea!

( Sat. 17th continued on page 3 )


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