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Ireland 5th - 12th July 2010



Castle Street squiggly lines on circlular grass
with Dublin Castle in background

5th July 2010 - Dublin

After a couple of days in Cheshire in North West England we flew from Liverpool to Dublin, staying at Abigail's Hostel. We were lucky enough to see Dublin Castle, a few museums and stroll along the River Liffey.



Waiting for my ship to come in

I was trying to get hooked up on some big business venture selling Jelly Baby Wine made by English teddy bears to Ireland but they weren't interested. Maybe I should have tried in the convention centre on the otherside of the river rather than sitting around on a giant hook.

A sudden torrential downpour had us running back to the hostel wet through. Well Debra was wet through but had the presence of mind (rare for her) to put me under her jacket to keep me dry.


Guinness Storeroom

The Guinness Harp

Once the rain had calmed to a managable level we outed again to the Guinness Storeroom. 15 euros is a bit steep but at least we got a free pint of Guinness in the Bar with panoramic view of the city.


It's all too much for a small bear

The Guinness was so much nicer than in England that I didn't share any with Debra.



The post boxes are green in Ireland

Sent a postcard to the wife and kids but for some reason the postboxes are the wrong colour - you can't have a green postbox it's just not right.



6th July - Galway

Gaelic v English

Before she had me Debra had a flatmate called Finola. No, she didn't carry her around and make her speak to people like she makes me do, I just mean she had a flatmate.

Debra tells me Finola was from Galway and spoke with fondness of it's beauty. So we just had to go and have a look. Forget Chicago - the windy city is in the west of Irealnd. The rain was outdone by Galway's wind so it meant we didn't get to see too much of what is indeed a beautiful place.


Spanish Arch


Built in 1584 the Spanish Arch, also known as The Blind Arch sits on the edge of the River Corrib . The site it sits is known as Ceann na Bhalla (The Head of the Wall). The arch used to be an extension of the city walls protecting the quays.

There is a wooden sculpture, called Madonna of the Quays, sculpted by artist, Claire Sheridan, who's 1950s home was the adjacent building. We didn't know it during our visit but the The Spanish Arch houses the Galway City Museum. I blame the wind!


An unturned boat proves a great place to be


I got bored of Debra taking photos of boats and colourful houses as backgound at different angles so I took a pew on an upturned boat and watched the birds fly around.


Lynch's Window

According to local tradition in in 1493 James Lynch FitzStephen, the mayor of Galway, hanged his son from the window of his home . for murdering a Spainish man in the care of the family that he thought might be a rival for his girlfriend's affections.

According to a local man we met and asked about the ivy covered window the hanging was because Lynch's son had got a girl pregnant, causing shame on ther family as they were unmarried.

The famous window is set in a stone facade at the side of St. Nicholas' Church in Market Street . A young man Lynched me by my own straps so my evil owner could re-enact the scene for a photo. It would be a logical mistake to jump to the conclusion that the word lynch/ed came from the hanging by Lynch but the origin of the word lynch likely came from a shorted form for 'lynch law' (the punishment of a person for supposed crime without the justice of a legal trial.)

Nora Barnacle House


Nora Barnacle House was home to the Barnacle family between 1894-1940. Nora was married to Writer James Joyce and was his inspiration for the character of Molly Bloom in 'Ulysses'.

The small house is now a museum open during summer.


Chillin with my favorite wordsmith

Had he been around in my time I'm sure he would have written about me. When people say nasty things about me and Debra I just think of Oscar's quote @there's only one thing worse than being tlaked about, and that's not being talked about'!


Limerick - 7th July

Arriving at the town that has nothing to do with limericks

The city of Limerick is not the origin of the 5-lined poem by the same name.

Stopping to set my watch

We spent 4 hours hours strolling along the river, making a visit to a museum before getting a bus to Killarney.


Paying my respects


Ahhh the smell of em

St Mary's Cathedral is an Limerick must-see we didn't see other than at a distance across the Shannon when we stopped to sniff the pretty flowers.

The Shannon River & Limerick Castle

The modern facade build onto King John's Castle ruined it. We wern't going to part with 9 euros to see inside.

The castel sits on on King's Island next to the River Shannon and was built in the 1200s.

The Treaty Stone on which the treaty of Limerick was signed

The Treaty of Limerick ended the Williamite war in Ireland between the Jacobites and the supporters of William of Orange. It concluded the Siege of Limerick. The treaty really consisted of two treaties which were signed on 3 October 1691. Reputedly they were signed on the Treaty Stone, an irregular block of limestone which once served as a mounting block for horses. This stone is now displayed on a pedestal in Limerick city. Because of the treaty, Limerick is sometimes known as the Treaty City.


Sitting down on the job

Thought I'd help out the dockers as they seemed to have ground to a halt; though my words of encouragement seemd to fall on deaf ears.


Killarney - 7th, 8th and 9th July

Not the best of weather to be by the lake


Killarney is beautiful, honest. I know you wouldn't guess from this photo but the rain limited our walks.


Ross Castle

At least the rain was only light as we walked to and around Ross Castle. Built by the O'Donoghue chieftains on the Bay of Ross it overlooks Killarney's lower lake, the 7th century monastery and a 12th century oratory on Innisfallen Island. Word has it that the High King of Ireland, Brian Boru was educated here during the 9th Century by Monks.

St Mary's Cathedral

The church was build in 1855 and designed in gothic style by Augustus Pugin. We sat in silence in various parts and put someones name in the prayer book just incase that sort of thing works.

Aghadoe House (hostel)

We checkily camped in the wooded area o this beautiful hostel and used its kitchen to cook our food. Lots of bunny rabbits hop around and we got rather near to the young ones and everything before they ran away. We lay awake most of both nights listening to the rain on the tarp over our tent. Not sure how much it would have cost to stay in the hostel but there were lots of youngsters from France staying there and they must have been doing gymnastics in the rooms above the sitting rooms when we snuck in the to relax from the rain.

The cost of joining the golf club for a teddy bear is to laugh at nasty jokes about teddy bears


We could have played golf but opted for walks instead and a lift from a lady called Barbara who works at the place below where they make the big yellow container cranes.


Birth place of large yellow cranes

Liebherr also make scrap loaders and other equipment vechicles that are used all over the world. The people we met later in the nearby pub seemed very proud to work there.

Aghadoe Church ruin

Aghadoe (Achadh Deo) overlooks the town and lakes of Killarney. The ruins of 13th century Parkavonear Castle and of the old Romanesque church ruins make the spot popular with archaeologists. Aghadoe takes its name from Acha Da Eo, which means 'The place of the two yew trees'. It was traditional for church yards to have just one yew tree, so this one was special.

Perusing the Irish Times

We were sheltering from the rain back in our tent and heard the French kids with the youth workers walking along the drive that passes the wooded are we were camping in. We quickly followed them as we thought that maybe they would be going somewhere worthwhile but got fed up with the rain and did a 180 degree turn and headed to The Valley Bar instead. Rain is just not good for a teddy bears fur. We chatted to the staff, locals and hotel guests and I even got to dance with a pink pony with glittery wings called Sally or something and read the Irish Times.


Blarney - 10th July

Long prelude to a kiss



Kissing the Blarney Stone


Cork - 10th and 11th July


River Lee

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