Farewell & Final Blog Post…

Writing a travel blog and sharing my adventures with all of you here has been a whole lot of fun. I can’t believe, however, that I have come to the end of my stories and pictures. And I’m sorry to tell you but this post will be the last one that I write. I will still be travelling, but will no longer be blogging about it. It’s been fun, I’ve learned a lot, made a lot of friends, and it’s been an adventure in itself.

My granddaughter, Nichole, was right when she suggested I give it a try about 2 1/2 years ago. She encouraged me to share my interesting stories on a blog explaining to me that there would be a whole bunch of people “out there” that would love to hear the stories and read my blog if I took the time to write it.

There certainly have been a lot of people “out there” who are interested and who seem to be quite entertained; she was right. I have gathered dedicated “followers”; some that I know and others who are total strangers from scattered corners of the planet. So interesting. I really appreciate their support and encouragement.

Since returning home from the trip I’ve been earnestly trying to get the last of the adventures blogged in chronological order. That’s a lot of places! I’m getting tired. You must be too! Although it’s been worth it, writing a blog requires an inordinate amount of work, dedication, disciplined daily effort, stamina, ideas and time!

I have enjoyed sharing my adventures with you and have posted a whole bunch of photos, told a few stories and shared a lot of information I’ve gathered along the way. Hopefully, it has served to not only entertain you; but also inspired you to venture out and do a little travelling yourself. Maybe you are unable to travel and like to travel along vicariously; that’s wonderful too! Maybe I’ve given someone the courage to venture out on their own, travelling solo, as I often do.

There is so much to see and do in this wonderful world. Go live it and experience it your way, in whatever fashion you desire. If I had to wait until someone else had the time, the money and the desire to go with me, I probably wouldn’t have seen a fraction of what I’ve experienced and seen so far; I’d still be waiting. Life is too short for that. Go find it, even if it means going by yourself – you’ll soon be making friends along the way!

I sincerely hope you enjoyed it. Thanks for coming along for the ride on this blog with me and reading it.

What follows is the last story about the final days of my 4 1/2 month travels in Ireland, Scotland, England & Wales 2017:

One More Little Taste of Each ~ Wales, Ireland & Scotland ~ Before I Head Home

It was September 8th, my last day in Wales. I started the day early at about 9 o’clock because I had a reservation on a train to take me to the top of Snowdon Mountain.

I arrived at the Snowdon Mountain Railway station and was soon ushered aboard a railcar pushed by a diesel locomotive named George. Soon we began our hour-long ascent to the summit!

From the moment we left the station the train began the journey upwards into the clouds.  According to their website:

“This is a fabulous land of faeries and giants and kings. For centuries Welsh princes held council here. It is a land rich in alpine flowers and rare ferns left behind the retreating ice age and it is dotted with ruins that chronicle the history of long lost communities. These ancient mountains thrust upwards by volcanic forces 450 million years ago, once towered 10,000 metres. Over eons, the wind and rain and successive ice ages have sculpted them to their current form.”

Soon after the train left Llanberis station the track crossed the first of two viaducts across the Afon Hwch river and offered a wonderful view of the waterfall plunging into the gorge below.

As we emerged into open ground, I would have had a first glimpse of the peak of Snowdon, but its peak was shrouded in clouds! The train soon passed Car Esgob, Bishops Field and the ruined Hebron Chapel before starting its final summit ascent in earnest amongst spectacular countryside.

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IMG_7446A lot of people hike up to the summit on Snowdon. I admire their abilities and stamina and am extremely grateful that I can ride a train, otherwise, I would not be able to see the summit.

Including stops at the passing loops, the train takes an hour to climb to the summit and an hour to descend again, at an average speed of around 5 mph. It is is a narrow gauge rack and pinion mountain railway and steadily, but slowly, moves along for 4.7 miles offering up beautiful scenic vistas to enjoy all the while.

IMG_7475We arrived at the summit station, disembarked, walked through the Visitor Centre to the outside and then followed the rock stairs up to the brass marker.

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Since we were shrouded in clouds, our vistas were limited and could barely see down to the train tracks, let alone the lakes and landscapes way below. I have pulled a picture off of the trains’ website and posted below so at least we can see what it would have looked like if it had been clear. Quite a view I must say! Will have to go back and try another time.snowdon summit

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We started back down the mountain clearing the clouds about halfway down and the vistas opened up once again. Behind us Snowdon is still quite dark and ominous looking.

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On the way down we passed another steam train headed up the mountain. Before long we were pulling into the station and the ride was over.  Sure was a fun one!

The sun was shining brightly in Llanberis at noon. I spent the rest of the afternoon at the hostel doing domestic chores like laundry and sorting out my luggage. The following morning I would be taking the ferry across the Irish Sea to Dublin. I also had to clean out the rental car I’d been using since June and after driving it for over 6,200 miles. (That’s a lot of miles; I’ve loved every one of them!) I finished off the day with good traditional local fare for my supper and enjoyed a beautiful rainbow while doing so.  It was a perfect day!

I had a few more days left in September on my itinerary. I wanted to use them wisely, so I returned to a couple of my favourite haunts to see some of my favourite people one more time before I headed back home to America.

After an uneventful ferry ride back to Ireland, I rented another car and made a beeline to Northern Ireland to see my good Frew friends for a few days…Deirdre, Heather – the whole Frew girl lot! I had some additional special personal time together with both Deirdre and Heather, exploring a few new sights. Deirdre, and her wonderful little great-granddaughter, Lilly, took me to the waterfalls at Glenariff and then we drove along the northern coastline near Carnlough and Glenarm. Beautiful!

Heather treated me to a visit to her sister’s fabulous tea room near Armagh.

All the “Frew girls” near Ballymena are always a delight to see. It’s a real hoot to get together and spend time with each other (usually  laughing our heads off!)

After spending a week or so in Ireland, I spontaneously decided at the last minute to change my plans. My sister, Sue, and her husband, George, had arrived in London a few weeks earlier and had been travelling north to Scotland while I was exploring Wales. We didn’t think we would see each other while we were both in the UK at the same time. That was until I decided to surprise them!

After conspiring with my cousin Lindsay in Aberdeen, I drove back to Dublin, returned the rental car, took the ferry back to Holyhead, rented another car and then proceeded to drive all the way to Aberdeen to his house arriving the same day that my Sue and George did.

That was a long drive, let me tell you! I didn’t arrive in Aberdeen until the well after midnight. While I was driving they arrived in Aberdeen, had dinner with our cousin Lindsay and made plans for the following day to go visit a castle or two. When they arrived at Lindsay’s front door in the morning, I went out the back door and circled round to the front, and then waited for a couple of minutes for them to get a bit settled, then I rang the doorbell.

Lindsay commented to Sue & George, “Oh, I hope you don’t mind; a neighbour lady friend of mine heard we were going to visit a castle and wondered if she could come along. Do you mind if she joins us?”

“Sure, the more – the merrier!” my sister replied. He opened the door and invited me in, pretending to introduce his “neighbour friend” and boy you should have seen the look of surprise and delight when they realized it was me. They couldn’t believe it and were quite surprised!  We all had such a great time together; a special “family heritage, ancestry” time exploring castles we have ancestral ties to with each other for a couple of days.

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First, we visited Fraser Castle, the Clan that our Frew ancestors are associated with. We visited another castle at Braemar that Sue and I share ancestral connections to and we also toured Craigievar Castle just because it’s one of my favourites and also because I was sure they would absolutely love it.

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Spending a little extra special time with each of my favourite people at the end of a very special trip was the perfect way to end it.

IMG_8286Well, like they say, all good things shall come to an end…

I have had a fun time sharing my travel adventures here on this blog.  Thanks for reading it, sharing it with friends and family and coming to read the posts on my blog.  Happy Trails!  ~ Claudia

Emerald Island Escapades; Week 5 of 5

Ahoghill to Dublin. June 8 – 14th

This final week of our Ireland  adventure continues in Northern Ireland for a couple of days.  On Wednesday June 7th, Deirdre, Lynne and I left Deirdre’s house early to catch a ferry boat from Ballycastle harbor over to Rathlin Island for the day.

It wasn’t long before we were approaching the harbor of the island and we quickly found ourselves aboard the Puffin Bus shuttle bus which took us around the island and over to the west side where a very unusual lighthouse stands and the puffins, razorbills and guillemots were nesting for the season at the bird preserve.  What a fascinating sight that was.

It was also Lynne’s birthday so it made for a very special day for her. After touring the island we went back to the mainland via the fast ferry and had a nice, but quick visit with Deirdre’s Aunt Marion who owns a a B&B near the harbor in Ballycastle.  So nice to meet Marion, and Deirdre’s cousin, Boyd, as well.

For dinner we stopped at Stewart Frew’s fish and chip shop in Ahoghill and had the pleasure of seeing him and his daughter, Nicola, as well as feasting on some of their absolutely scrumptious fish!

On Thursday Lynne and I drove to nearby Antrim Castle & gardens after we renewed the paperwork on our rental car at the Belfast International airport.

The grounds were very pretty and the castle ruins interesting to wander through and admire.

There was even a very old Motte from the old motte and bailey. In days of long, long ago they used to build wooden castles upon a motte before the more modern stone and mortar types we are more familiar with.  A motte-and-bailey castle is a fortification with a wooden or stone keep situated on a raised earthwork called a motte, accompanied by an enclosed courtyard, or bailey, surrounded by a protective ditch and palisade.


After our stroll through the grounds we stopped in to ‘refresh’ ourselves in the Tea Room and I indulged in a raspberry and white chocolate scone with clotted cream and fresh raspberry jam.  yum!


That evening Deirdre, Lynne and I were invited over to Maureen’s house for a lovely dinner, a little libation and some really great laughs at her beautiful home.

Friday we stayed put all day and took a break.  I spent most of the day writing my blog post for the 2nd week of our adventures. It was rather nice to just take it easy for a change, do a little laundry and just chill.

On Saturday, my good friend Heather took us all out to the north Antrim coast again.  We started out with a really nice lunch at Strawberry Fayre Tea Room.  Although we were way too full after the delicious food, they certainly had some killer desserts that were extremely difficult to resist!

To walk off the lunch, we then ventured down a bit further to the coastline to visit a nice National Trust property, Downhill Demense House and Temple, perched upon a meadow on the cliff overlooking a beautiful stretch of beach below.

Sunday morning, after packing a picnic and saying goodbye to our wonderful and generous hosts, Roy, Deirdre and their son, Alex, we headed south toward Navan, visiting some interesting and very old sites along our path; Monasterboice Abbey, Valley of the Boyne river, Slane’s hill and castle, and last but by no means least, the ancient burial tomb at Newgrange.


At Newgrange, we toured the Exhibit in the Visitors Center before our schedule shuttle bus took us out to the actual burial mound.  The exhibit was quite extensive, and had a lot of displays and dioramas which depicted the the people, their ways of living, and how they possibly built these types of ancient burial mounds.  It was very interesting and very informative.

When it was time to meet our bus, we walked across a bridge of the river Boyne and when we arrived at the mound sight another guide talked even further about the mounds before taking us inside.

Unfortunately, there wasn’t any photography allowed once we entered the narrow passageway way which took us right into the ancient ceremonial chamber in the heart of the mound.  It was incredible and other than a few braces that had been put in place for stability, the inner chamber was exactly the way it has always been.

Quite an interesting experience!

The following day we drove a short distance to the tidy town of Trim.  There Lynne got to tour Trim castle, where the movie Braveheart was filmed, while I walked around the outside of it and walked a bit around the lovely village of Trim.  I had already visited the castle once before a couple of years ago.

After her tour we met up once again, had a delightful lunch at Raychel’s Cafe on the Main Street of town and took a nice river walk along the Boyne river getting some fabulous shots of the castle and other nearby sights of the old sheeps gate, St. Mary’s cathedral, and the ruins of St Peter’s and Patrick’s cathedral.  We finished off our evening with a an hour or two of live Trad music at James Griffins pub before retiring for the day in our lovely accommodations at Highfield house B&B.

IMG_1638As much as hated to leave that nice village, we still had a couple of days left in our escapades to spend in Dublin.  So off we we went the short drive and soon found ourselves checked into the hostel and headed down to the giant spire on O’Connel street to join in a free walking tour around that bustling city.

The walking tour gave us a nice overview of some of the sights and history of Dublin and culminated near the Dublin Castle at St. Patrick’s cathedral.

Afterward we found a hop on – hop off bus tour and finished seeing from atop the open air bus more sights all over the place.

Then we went to visit a museum which houses some of the treasures found by means of archeaology.  Here are just a few samples of the unearthed treasures.

We had a bit more of a wander about town, taking in some more Trad music at a great pub, ate some dinner at a great Italian restaurant, visited a sweets shop and then called it a day

The next morning we set out once again, heading first to Trinity College to see the Illuminated Book of Kells and the adjoining library that is totally amazing with its collection of rare books from famous smart people throughout the centuries.

One is not allowed to photograph the Book of Kells, but I did get to take some shots of the library and some of its many treasures.

After enjoying an absolutely delicious eggs Benedict in a small cafe in the Temple Bar district, our last little bit of touring the sights included the old prison and the Museum of Modern Art.

The following morning our wonderful escapades had to come to an end.  We packed up our bags one last time and then I drove Lynne to the airport to catch her flight back home to Oregon.

I hated to see her go!  We had such a great time traveling all around the beautiful Emerald Isle and made a lot a very special memories together.  As they say however, all good things must come to an end and we had found ourselves at that point in time.

She flew off to chase the setting sun the day long as she flew west and I went to the docks to catch a ferry east over to Wales to continue my travels.  I boarded the Jonathan Swift fast ferry headed to Holyhead, Wales.  And that, my friends, is another travel tale to be continued on my next installment!  Until then… hope you have enjoyed this 5 part series of exploring Ireland.




Emerald Island Escapades; Week 3 of 5

Dingle to Westport, May 24 – May 30th.

dingle to doolin map


After having such a delightful time in Dingle, and getting to visit with my friends Eileen and Victoria, we begrudgingly packed up our gear into the car and continued our journey northward toward Doolin on the 24th of May.

Along the way we stopped at numerous places; Ardfert Cathedral ruins for example.

We also visited Ballybunion; a nice little holiday resort seaside village where we stopped for a nice picnic lunch overlooking the beach.

Then we continued until we crossed the River Shannon via a ferry  near Tarbert making our way to Killrush on the other side.IMG_6818IMG_6819IMG_6822



From there we meandered along country roads continuing to hug the coastline as much as possible until we reached the Cliffs of Moher later in the afternoon.


Just a wee bit further north and we arrived in the cozy little hamlet of Doolin where we would spend a couple of days in a darling and cozy hostel called the Aille River Hostel.

The next day we took a ferry from Doolin over to the Aran Islands and spent one night at Aonghasa’s Walker’s Lodge on the big island of Inishmohr.  What a wonderful experience that was!

We landed at the cute little harbor, grabbed some lunch, did a little shopping…

…and then boarded a shuttle bus which took us around to the various sites on the island.

The big highlight was Dun Aonghus fort; a VERY, VERY ancient dwelling, fortress and sacred spot perched on the edge of a cliff.  Impressive to say the least!

The highlight of our day however (as if it could get any better) was when we were able to take a pony and cart ride back out to our lodging near Dun Aonghus after the rest of the tourists had taken the ferry back to the mainland.  We were just riding along with our fantastic driver, Tom and his spirited horse, watching the sun slowly set as we lazily clopped along the beautiful scenery.

The next morning we left that beautiful harbor and took the first ferry back to Doolin. We explored Doolin a bit more visiting its many cute and quaint shops and finished the day off by taking in some great traditional music at a local pub, James Griffins and lived it up.

After that wonderful stay in Doolin and Inishmohr, the next day we continued our journey northward, winding our way up through the Burren, visiting many sights, including Kilnefora Cathedral & Poulnaborne Dorman, an ancient and sacred burial tomb.

A little further up the road near Ballyvaughn we found a cool little castle, Newtown, and the Burren Art Centre.

Continuing northward to our final destination for the day, Galway,  we came upon Danguaire Castle with some really cute thatched roof cottages which were being restored.  We decided to take the tour of the castle, and were so glad we did.

Saw and experienced quite a fair bit that day, and luckily we only had a short distance to finish our days’ travel to Galway where we would stay put for a couple of days.

We stayed in a small and nice holiday resort town, Salthill, just minutes from Galway in a 2 bedroom apartment. We went to a local market, bought some food and enjoyed the view from our balcony while we ate.  Phew!  What an exciting day!

The next day, May 28th, we walked into Galway from Salthill and began exploring and enjoying it’s many sights and culture for a couple of days.











From Galway we starting driving north again through the Connemara stopping halfway at a lovely remote hostel called Ben Lettery for one night. Before we arrived at the hostel however, we visited several interesting places, starting with the village of Cong with its Abbey and very posh castle!


Cong is small, but really packed with a pow.  Ashford Castle is a 5 star hotel now and the guard wouldn’t let us go across the bridge without paying 10 Euro each.  Oh well…

We ambled through the woods back to the car parked at the Abbey and continued our journey through some pretty incredible landscapes.


The next place we found was another castle!


We had traveled quite a bit and decided to stop at the store in the very small town of Recess to get some groceries before heading the last couple of miles to our remote hostel. What you see behind the sign that says “The Connemara Giant” is the totality of the town of Recess!

The Ben Lettery hostel sits at the base of a rocky Ben without anything else around.  Pure peace and quiet.  Our host, Sam, has a famous Connemara goat and a rescue dog, Chantel.

The goat had its back leg mangled and it had to be cut off at the knee.  A french doctor has made a prosthesis for it so it can walk.  This goat, and Sam, have become quite well-known.  People come to the hostel just to see the wild Connemara goat turned tame!

The next morning, we had to leave, although we really enjoyed getting to know Sam and her animals.  Quite the young lady, managing that hostel all by herself and taking care of rescue animals as well.

We started our drive through the rest of the Connemara starting with a tour of Ballynahinch Castle which was just down the road from the hostel.  We went there specifically to get a sneak peek preview of the place for our friend Maureen back in Oregon. She will be lucky enough to get to stay there later this summer with her sisters! Lucky ladies!


After the castle we drove a bit down the road to the coast and found the picturesque seaport village of Roundstone, some gorgeous beaches at Gurteen Bay and Dog’s Bay.

We also visited the Marconi sight where the first trans-Atlantic telegraph lines came to shore and also where the first trans-Atlantic flight landed by Captain Alcock.


Up the road a bit further and we came upon, and visited briefly, Kylemore Abbey.






Then we meandered along the Asleagh river and to its falls…

…through the Doolough Valley at the base of the Bens where the Famine Cross stands.

Lastly, near the end our day we came upon the pilgrimage trail that leads up to the top of Croagh Patrick, and across street was the Coffin ship; a monument to the people who suffered from the great famine. Unfortunately, many died on the ships on their way to America from starvation and disease.

Soon afterward we arrived at The Old Mill hostel in Westport.  Menora, our host for the evening, was such a great gal, she took good care of us, set us up with a great room, made some bread and we had a real nice meal and then slept like babies. A perfect ending of our third week in Ireland!

Next post will be all about our adventures from Westport to Donegal, Londonderry, Glenveagh National Park, and the beginning of Northern Ireland!  Until then… hope you have enjoyed this installment.



Emerald Island Escapades; Week 2 of 5

Kinsale to Ballinskelligs Week 2 of 5

Our second week of exploring the Emerald Isle begins in Kinsale.  In the map above you can see the route we took and where we stopped to visit along the way on just the first two days of the week!

After we left Kinsale, we happened upon Harbor view beach and took advantage of a breath taking vista.


Our next stop was the Timoleague Friary.


Not much further down the road we came upon an ancient stone circle….



Our next scheduled stop after a bit of a drive through the beautiful countryside was a boat ride out to Garinish Island with seals basking on the rocks in the bay on the way.





Once on the island, we were able to stroll around the walled gardens and pathways on this beautiful garden island.


IMG_6208After soaking in the beauty of the gardens for awhile we boarded the ferry boat back to mainland to continue our explorations of the Ring of Kerry.  IMG_6203IMG_6204










The road meandered through some more very picturesque countryside and we found ourselves climbing over the Healy Pass with some outstanding vistas to enjoy amongst the free range sheep.


Once we cleared the pass in the mountains this gorgeous panoramic view unveiled itself to our amazement!


Next stop, and not much further down in the valley we stopped to visit and take a walk through Dereen Gardens.

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After visiting Derreen Gardens we made our way to Kenmare to spend the night at Rockcrest House B & B.


The next morning we still had a bit to drive to get to our next destination, Ballinskelligs, so we climbed back in the car passing the town of Sneem along the way and it’s beautiful waterfall and church.


Further down the road we encountered some beautiful beaches and an ancient neolithic stone fort!IMG_6296IMG_6299


At the entrance to the path to fort was this really cute little coffee shop to get coffee, tea, and some sweets. Just around the corner was the delightful beach at Castlecove with its’ crystal clear water!


A bit further and we came upon Derrynane House and its’ woodland walks, harbor and the abbey on the cliffs on an island above yet another gorgeous beach!





The rest of the drive continued to offer up beautiful vistas until at last we arrived at our destination for the evening at Ballinskelligs Lodge.

IMG_6359  Once we were checked into one of my favorite hostels, Ballinskelligs Luxury Hostel, we headed straight down to the beach just about 1/4 mile away and went for a lovely walk along the beach, visiting a ruined castle and Ballinskelligs Priory.

The following day we took a ride around the Skellig ring, visiting the Kerry Cliffs along the way.











stopping in Portmagee harbor to see if we could book a boat ride out to Skellig Michael islands the following day.  (I couldn’t show a driving route out to the island but Skellig Michael two islands are the marker out in the ocean to the left of the land.  We took a boat ride out to it, not the car!)

skellig ring, portmagee and ballycarberry castle road map Much to our surprise, there was a boat about ready to launch with 2 seats left for Lynne and I, so we promptly climbed aboard and we were on our way right then and there.







First island we came to was Little Skelligs with lots of birds nesting everywhere.









A little further and we were looking at Skellig Michael where the monks lived for a VERY long time during the Dark Ages, ensuring Christianity was preserved. We approached the loading dock where one literally has to jump off the boat the scale the 600 steps to the top but the water was too choppy and rough to attempt a landing. We did however get to get a close up look at the island, the steps leading to the top, the circular helicopter landing pad and a glimpse of the beehive huts and church situated at the top of the island where the monks lived for hundreds of years.IMG_2291














When we returned to the mainland we headed a bit further up the road to visit Ballycarberry Castle and the Cahergall Stone fort to finish off the day.


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ballinskelligs to Killarney

On Friday, the 19th of May, we said our fare-thee-wells to Ballinskelligs and headed just a short way up the road to Killarney, where we would spend the entire weekend.  Along the way we visited another interesting garden, Kells Bay House & Gardens.



We stayed at another hostel called The Killarney Hostel and we really enjoyed it.  It was located in an old Manor House and situated very close to some of the prettiest scenery of the nearby Killarney National Park.


IMG_6490We shopped for Aran wool sweaters and checked out the town of Killarney; then we went out to the Muckross House & Gardens and enjoyed the wonderful grounds on the edge of the lake with the jaunting pony carts giving everyone rides around the National Park.IMG_6501


We were going to hike the Gap of Dunloe and at the end catch a boat at the “landing” at Lord Brandon’s Cottage near the Black Valley, but it started to rain and get bitterly cold, so instead we drove toward Mol’s Gap, down into the Black Valley and made it to the landing just in time for Lynne to get to take the boat ride across the lakes back to Ross Castle.




I drove the car back to Killarney to meet her when she arrived about an hour or so later.





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After having 3 wonderful days in Killarney, we packed up once again and traveled due west to the delightful and fun town of Dingle.

killarney to Dingle map

On the way we stopped at Inch beach. Lynne found a darling little stuffed lamb in a souvenir shop to buy for her grand daughter, Lillian. She started taking pictures of ‘Lambsy’ visiting various sights along her journey.  When she returns home, Lynne plans on making a little book of Lambsy’s adventures in Ireland to give to her with the lamb.  What a great idea!


We also stopped to visit the ruins of Minard Castle, starring Lambsy….IMG_6605IMG_6608



Not too much further and we arrived in Dingle to spend another couple of days finishing off week 2 of our adventures.

We stayed at a delightful little hostel called “The Grapevine.”  What great hosts and what a convenient location.  The place was great!









Dingle was so much fun to walk around and explore.  Cute little shops at every turn, pubs on every corner…

We attended a traditional Irish music concert at this music shop one evening and had a wonderful time…

IMG_6680Another night we had the wonderful opportunity to get together with my friend, Eileen Walsh and her daughter Victoria, whom I met a couple of years ago on a previous trip to Ireland.  They live near Dingle and it was so great to see them both once again.

One of the best fish ‘n chips we’ve had so far was at “Reel Dingle Fish.”  It was super fresh and made to order right in front of us!

While we were there we took a drive out on Slea Head drive visiting many sights along the way, including a stone age fort, Blasket Island Visitor Center, and the Gallarus Oratory where we ran into a really nice French couple we had met a week earlier at Ballinskelligs Lodge!



It was a VERY full week!  We saw so many things, followed every little finger of the Ring of Kerry, and made some great friends along the way. Even had the opportunity to visit friends I’ve made on previous visits to this wonderful island and that was one of the highlights for me!

The next blog will be all about week 3 of 5 – from Dingle to Westport, which will include our visit to Doolin, the Aran Islands, Galway, the Connemara, the Burren, and the charming town of Westport and all points in between.

(Currently I am in Northern Ireland staying with my dear friend Deirdre Frew and am concluding the 4th week in our adventure!  It’s everything I can do to keep up with our adventures!  My apologies for taking so long to keep you updated in a ‘timely’ manner!)

Until the next time… happy trails!  ~ Claudia



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 flowers