Monday, July 1, 2013

Ireland (Part 3)

July 1, 2013 7:20 PM—En Route to Dublin

What a great day to end this trip with! I took a tour with Rail Tours Ireland. These tours are unique because they utilize the trains to get you from one end of the country to the other, which I believe is faster than driving. So this morning I was up before 6 AM and I was at the train station at 6:40. Our train left at 7 and we were on our way to Limrick.

When we got to Limrick, we met our bus, which provided us transport for most of the rest of the day. We started off at Bunratty Castle. Bunratty Castle is a restored castle with a reconstructed Irish village surrounding it. When we first arrived our guide showed us a few houses in the villages, one of which had women inside making scones. Then he took us to the castle, where we had a brief tour with a different guide. This second guide was quite lively and he liked to make jokes and jump around, despite the fact that he was pretty old. After he introduced us to the castle and showed us a couple of rooms, we were free to explore the castle and the village on our own for about an hour. I first explored the entire castle and then I moved on to the village. The houses were nice to wander in and out of. And before I went back to the bus, I just had to have one of those scones, so I got a scone and a cup of tea.

Scones



An Irish Dog

The Castle




The school house

The Doctor's House

Next we were off to lunch. We stopped in a small village called Doolin to have lunch at a traditional pub. Despite not being very hungry, I got some Irish stew, which was amazing! And then I had a wander around the few small gift shops there. After lunch our bus drove us down to Doolin pier where we got a good view of the water and some of the cliffs of Moher.





After we left Doolin, our next stop was the cliffs themselves. We had a little over an hour to wander around and look at the cliffs and the visitors center. They were pretty amazing looking. There was even a castle at the top of one of them.





Once we finished at the Cliffs of Moher we started driving towards Galway. On the way, we were driving through the Buren National Park. This park consists of a lot of rocks and barren land. It is similar to the surface of the moon and because of this it is a protected area. We also got some good views of Galway Bay.

The Buren

Galway Bay

By the time we got to Galway, we only had about an hour to look around. So I ended up just wandering around some of the little pedestrian shopping streets. And then at 7:15 PM we got the train back to Dublin. I won't be arriving in Dublin until close to 10 o'clock.


I really loved Ireland. It is truly the Emerald Island. I wish I had had more time almost everywhere I went. Unfortunately, this is the end of my trip. I have to go home tomorrow. So by 3:30 PM tomorrow afternoon I'll be back in the great old U.S. of A. for the first time in about 2 and a half years. I hope you're ready Philadelphia! 

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