July 9, 2016 - Limerick, Ennis, Doolin
Onward! Again we saw so much of Ireland but there is still so much more to take in. Each post I write up I'm thrown back into our memories of the the trip and all the wonderous places we saw. Now- we woke up in Killarney on Day 6 and the plan was to take a nice long run in the National Park. The weather on the other hand felt differently and our run was squashed as torrential rain was pouring when we awoke. Womp womp. We needed the extra sleep anyway- travel fatigue is a real thing y'all- and when you're going going going all the time sometimes you just need to rest. We ate a later breakfast (I had the pancakes again of course) and then loaded up the car for our journey north.
It was about a 2.5 hour drive north to Doolin so I had planned on us checking in there later so we could visit a few towns along the way. Any time outside of the car was good with Jon because it meant he could breathe easy and not focus on keeping the car on the correct side of the road. But first I had us drive over to Ross Castle in the National Park- I had planned on running by this but well we see how that went. We did a quick drive by- just long enough for me to hop out, take a few photos and then we got on the road. It was a cute castle and had really nice views of the park (despite the crashing waves on the beach and rain pouring from the sky).
Our first stop was in Limerick. It is one of the larger cities in Ireland and of course full of its own rich history. We parked downtown in a garage (something else that was not high on Jon's list) and then walked along the waterfront. It was an overcast day but thankfully no rain yet so we didn't have to don our normal rain coats and umbrellas. We spent some time in King John's castle. King John was apparently the brother of Richard... of Robinhood fame. And ironically even though the castle is named for him, John never actually lived within its walls.
We did get a fun taste of history there within the museum and then got the opportunity to walk the grounds and scale some of the fortress walls for really nice views of Limerick. The corner turrets were fun to explore and seeing a city from above is always nice. And of course always windy. We had a nice time but then figured we better continue on our journey north. I'm sure there's more to Limerick than what we were able to squeeze in but we did enjoy what were saw! Thanks Limerick for an entertaining couple of hours!
I had thought about stopping in Shannon but it turns out there's not much there besides the airport and Bunratty Castle. We did think about the castle but apparently it's just a big tourist trap and since we'd seen so many authentic castles at that point we decided to continue on. I did snap a quick picture though as we passed it on the highway!
Our next stop was Ennis. Our guidebook had a few places to stop here so after searching for parking forever downtown we were finally able to get out and explore. We stopped by the Ennis Cathedral, wandered the grounds, enjoyed some sunshine and took in how old some of the building work was. We also visited the Clare Museum for more irish history and to get away from some of the crowds. There was a local arts festival going on and while entertaining it meant there were lots of people downtown. We did visit some cute shops, I had a yummy cupcake and we popped in Cruises, the oldest bar in the area. The building was incredibly old but it was a landmark of the city and a must-stop-by for us. Not surprisingly there were other american tourists there. So after a little rest from all our walking we decided we had better head on to Doolin.
Our B&B for the night, Doonagore Farmhouse, was situated on the cliff edge up from Doolin and a little hard to find on the map. It did have a really nice view of the Aran Islands that we were able to just make out as the sun was setting. The fog was heavy on the west coast and very present the next morning. We dropped off our luggage and then headed down the hill to grab dinner at one of the local pubs.
First of course I made Jon drive out to the end of the coast to take some photos of the Doonagore castle as well as the cliff edges. Our next day was to Cliffs of Moher and if these in Doolin we were seeing now were any indication- Moher was going to be beyond words. It was very very windy on the coast and after some hilarious photos we drove back to the restaurants and headed in for some food.
Gus O'Conner's was our pub of choice and we were able to get seated fairly quickly and just before the rush set in. We were hoping to hang out for a bit and listen to more traditional music. After a filling dinner and a few smithwick's the music finally started up but they were in a far away corner of the restaurant so we couldn't hear them very well which was too bad. We hung out for a bit and then decided to call it a night as we had a long list of sights for the next morning and we were headed to Galway. Doolin was a cute town though- a great stop on our journey!