Lynne and I left Medford airport in Southern Oregon on May 9th with great anticipation of a grand time in Ireland together for 5 weeks. We had great views of Mt. Shasta as we flew south to San Francisco to catch our next non-stop flight to Dublin.
About 11 hours later, we arrived in Dublin the following day, got our rental car, and found my friend Desi who also flew in from Italy to join us.
The first stop was just slightly south of Dublin at Powerscourt House & Gardens.
Afterward, we headed a little further south to Glendalough, where we would be spending the night for a couple of days in the beautiful Wicklow mountains. Glendalough is the home of an ancient monastic city where monks lived and preserved Christianity during the Dark Ages.
Lynne and I walked around the Glendalough Park on its many pathways & enjoying its many vistas and historic site. We also visited the Monastic City.
Then we jumped in the car and took a nice ride over Sally Gap. We saw a waterfall, a moor filled with Heather, and came upon a glacial lake, Lough Tay, but more affectionately known as “Guinness Lake” because it looks like a nice pint of the yummy brown stuff!
The next day we got in the car again. We drove the back roads to Jerpoint Abbey, where we visited monastic ruins at this 12th century Cistercian abbey with a magnificently sculptured cloister arcade.
The following day we packed up and headed down the road toward our next destination, Blarney. Along the way, we stopped to visit the town of Kilkenny and the beautiful Kilkenny Castle.
I had visited the castle a couple of years ago, so while Lynne and Desi took the castle tour, I wandered around the grounds and nearby sights.
After their tour, I met Lynne and Desi in the castles’ tea room and was drooling over all of the delectable delights they offered.
Then we strolled through town back to our parked car near St. Mary’s Cathedral and saw some interesting shops and sights along the way.
Our next stop was Cashel. Unfortunately, that’s as far as Desi could go with us. She jumped on a bus in Cashel to head back to Dublin to catch a flight home to Milan. We had such a great time with her. Short, but very sweet to have the opportunity to spend time with her once again. She’s off to Spain to walk the pilgrimage to Santiago! Way to go, Desi!
After saying our goodbye’s, Lynne and I headed straight for the Rock of Cashel. Wow! What a place! The Rock of Cashel is one of Ireland’s most spectacular archaeological sites, a prominent green hill, banded with limestone outcrops, rising from a grassy plain and bristling with ancient fortifications.
We had worked up an appetite visiting the Rock, so we slipped into a pub for a sandwich and coffee before heading further down the road to our next destination – Blarney. We stayed at the Muskerry Arms, a lovely little B&B above a pub.
Lynne’s friends, Anne & Gregg, had been touring Ireland in the opposite direction that we are and our paths crossed in Blarney. We got to spend a lovely evening with them in the B&B swapping travel stories and having a perfect time. We were all particularly looking forward to the advertised “local traditional Irish music” in the pub that night, but alas, they were only playing “soft rock & pop” music! Dang!
We enjoyed an excellent breakfast together in the morning. Gregg ordered the full Irish breakfast. That’s a lot of food!
Anne & Gregg headed east to Dublin while Lynne and I were headed further west to Kinsale.
Before we left town, however, we visited the Blarney Castle and the lovely gardens on the grounds surrounding it.
Just a short drive later from Blarney, we were at our final destination for Week 1 of our adventures – Kinsale. We checked into our hostel, and since the sun was shining, we headed right down to the center of town and spent the rest of the day wandering about the twisty and interesting streets of this delightful town.
We even chanced upon seeing some brave souls swimming into the harbor after a swimming marathon!
We finished up the day in Kitty O’Se’s pub for dinner and some traditional Irish music. The owner, Seamus, made sure we were taken great care of! He’s the one on the left with his hand near his ear below. What a great host and a fantastic singer as well!