Emerald Island Escapades – Week 1 of 5

Lynne and Claudia in Medfordmedford airportLynne 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.Mt Shasta

passport and boarding pass

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.

house & pond

black tulipscherub smelling flowerscool looking stone floorIMG_5414IMG_5432IMG_5439da vinci and flowers

Dbl Pegasus at pond

Desi strolling  dolphin pondfiddleheadspagoda & bridgeweeping willow

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.

tea towel of Glendalough

entrance to monastic city  cathedral

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.

cairn at GlendaloughIMG_5527IMG_5482IMG_5496



IMG_5506  IMG_5508




monks towertoppling headstones     IMG_5547



















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!

IMG_5587  Lough Tay (Guinness Lake) at Guinness Estate  IMG_1362  Desi   IMG_5676

















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.

IMG_5604 IMG_5605 IMG_5607  carving along cloisters carving along cloisters2 IMG_5617


IMG_5615 IMG_5619 IMG_5618  IMG_5623  IMG_5621  IMG_5620carving along cloisters5IMG_5628
IMG_5632IMG_5634IMG_5643Killkenny Castle2

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.

Killkenny 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.

Killkenny Castle2IMG_5756IMG_5757


After their tour, I met Lynne and Desi in the castles’ tea room and was drooling over all of the delectable delights they offered.

macaroons at Killkenney castle tea room  marzapan slice at Killkenney castle tea room  tarts at Killkenney castle tea room  cupcakes at Killkenney castle tea roompastries at Killkenney castle tea roomyummy things at Killkenney castle tea roomcarrot cake at Killkenney castle tea roomcustard slice at Killkenney castle tea room





cute little VW van in Killkenny

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.

IMG_5748downtown KillkennySt Mary's Cathedral in Killkennyrestored to original St Mary's Cathedralwrought iron fence at St Mary's








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.

Lynne approaching Rock of CashelRock of CashelCormac's Chapel at Rock of CashelCormac's Chapel at Rock of Cashel2

IMG_5833carvings from Rock of CashelIMG_5630  IMG_5834IMG_5835inside Cormac's Chapel at Rock of CashelIMG_5852  IMG_5836IMG_5837  IMG_5839  IMG_5847  IMG_5638IMG_5848IMG_5850iron work at rock of cashelmonks table in kitchen rock of cashelRock of Cashel chapel-auditoriumwrought iron door hinges at Rock of Cashelcarvings from Rock of Cashel2choirs' chapel ceiling at Rock of Cashel


pub in Cashel where we ate lunch

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!

IMG_5858Greg, Anne, Lynne and Claudia at Muskerry ArmsIMG_5862

IMG_5859We 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.

IMG_5911  IMG_5892IMG_5882IMG_5915IMG_5919  IMG_5921  IMG_5925  IMG_5926  IMG_5930  IMG_5936  IMG_5941IMG_5949  IMG_5944

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!



Author: Claudia Frew

Adventuresome, independent, and fun-loving 68-year young American great-grandmother who loves to travel; often going solo!

2 thoughts on “Emerald Island Escapades – Week 1 of 5”

    1. So glad you are enjoying it Tracie. Just finished the 2nd week, altho I am currently just finishing up week 4! Hard to keep up! But I am trying. I do usually post on a daily basis to facebook if you want to see what I’m doing in a more current version!


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