Doolin, Co. Clare : Travel Reminiscences

10 day self-drive tour of Ireland : October 2009

From the Cliffs of Moher, we drove a short distance to the village of Doolin, which is near the port for the Aran Islands ..







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Inside the Music Shop .. I remember the chappie not being the friendliest (maybe he was having a bad day as we found the Irish to be the most friendliest of people) … but he did let me take a few photographs ..

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P1090270-  Doolin, Co. ClareP1090281We drove a short way to the ferry port  ..





Aran Islands in the distance and beyond …


Very bleak and barren!  This is part of The Burren, which I found fascinating!!  It’s a vast limestone plateau ..


P1090284P1090285P1090288P1090287Cliffs of Moher in the distance ..



Limestone pavement .. glaciation, wind and rain erosion have formed limestone pavements with deep crevices known as ‘grykes’



P1090289The Burren and the Burren Perfumery – hard to believe there is a perfumery in this region, but there is ….. next :)

Posted in Co. Clare, flowers, Ireland, Landscape, memory lane, music, sea, travel | Tagged , | 1 Comment

Cliffs of Moher, Co. Clare : Travel Reminiscences

10 day self-drive tour of Ireland : October 2009

En route to Galway for our next two-night stay,  Hubby and I stopped at the magnificent Cliffs of Moher.  I had done a post at the time…  Cliffs of Moher, Co.  …

.. but it’s worth sharing a few more photographs on this, my WordPress blog ;)

On the way, the landscape became very flat and bleak .. miles of open grassland ..



The Cliffs of Moher stretch for 8kms and rise 214m above the Atlantic Ocean.  The sheer rock face, with its layers of black shale and sandstone, is home to one of Ireland’s largest nesting sea bird colonies with over 30 000 nesting sea birds

Visitors Centre ..



It was a bit hazy that day, pity  ..


P1090223IMG_9632Liscannor in the distance ..


O’Brien’s Tower built in 1835 by local landlord, Cornelius O’Brien as a viewing point for visitors


P1090234Aran Islands on left and County Galway on the horizon ..



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Copy (2) of IMG_9637IMG_9652IMG_9656IMG_9657 (2)Most people did .. go beyond this point .. including us !!   But you have to be extremely careful.  I wouldn’t have gone if it had been windy







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Next stop ..  a look at the village of Doolin, a short drive from the Cliffs of Moher

Posted in animals, birds, Co. Clare, countryside, holiday, Ireland, Landscape, memory lane, sea, travel | Tagged | 2 Comments

Throwback Thursday: Johannesburg 1971

This was my first visit to Johannesburg … way, way back in 1971.  Hubby and I came down from Rhodesia for the Easter weekend, spending time at the Rand Easter and Agricultural Show (or whatever it was called then) which, way back then was held where a large portion of Wits University now stands.  In those days, at the Show,  there were stands from all over the world.  Fascinating for us as we were used to our Agricultural Shows that had everything local.  Nothing imported at all .. it was the time of sanctions in our country.   It opened my eyes to what was out there!!!!!!   There were magnificent cars, cheeses etc and what really sticks in my memory is the stand from Switzerland.  It was wall-to-wall clocks!!!!   From cuckoo clocks to grandfather clocks!!   They were amazing !!!!    (I still haven’t been to Switzerland!!!)

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At that time there was a lift to a viewing deck in the Albert Hertzog Tower  (or FM Tower) : 235 metres high : used for the SA Broadcasting Corporation’s VHF-FM system  – built in 1962.    I still have the pamphlet tucked into an old photograph album ..

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Photo of Johannesburg in the pamphlet ..

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This is my one and only photograph from the viewing deck  .. looking across to the Hillbrow Tower …

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Bunratty Winery, Co. Clare : Travel Reminiscences

10 day self-drive tour of Ireland : October 2009

To complete our Bunratty Castle and Folk Park experience, hubby and I drove a little further down the road to the Bunratty Winery



Irish mead … mead … and more mead ;)  … naturally we came away with a small bottle … of mead!!!



Too long to repeat .. but it looks as if drinking mead is a very important part of a wedding ceremony and honeymoon !!!!

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Our next two-night stay was in Galway, stopping off at the breathtaking Cliffs of Moher and driving through the intriguing landscape of The Burren en route



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Bunratty Castle and Folk Park, Co. Clare .. part 2 : Travel Reminiscences

 10 day self-drive tour of Ireland : October 2009

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Having been through Bunratty Castle, hubby and I strolled through the recreation of a 19th century Folk Park … in intermittent rain.  Umbrella in one hand .. camera in the other.  My previous post is linked here .. todays post is an expansion of that one ;)

Loop Head House – typical home of small fish-farming folk of S.W coast of Co. Clare.  Thatch is roped down to protect it again the Atlantic gales

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Blacksmith’s Forge ..



Cashen Fisherman’s House .. a simple two bedroomed home of a North Kerry Salmon fisherman.  Most of the timber would have been salvaged from the sea.  The floor is of rammed clay.  Note the small door !!


Mountain Farmhouse .. a poor farmer’s house of a type found on the borders of Limerick and Kerry. There is a loft for extra sleeping space




The Weaver’s Shed ..  a wooden outbuilding for housing the loom of the weaver


I would have loved to have bought something from there, but our Rand/Euro made everything very expensive :(     Such a friendly lady (as we found everyone in Ireland to be) in the Weaver’s Shed who said that if it stopped raining by 3 o’clock the sun would shine the next day.  She was right!!   It stopped by 3 o’ clock on the dot and there was glorious sunshine the following day :)



A travelling bed inside the Shannon Farmhouse.  The farmhouse originally stood on the site of the Shannon Airport and was the first house to be reconstructed in the Folk Park.  (I don’t know why I only have the one photo of the inside) …



My favourite photograph ..

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Golden Vale Farmhouse .. home of a farmer from the rich lands in the Golden Vale of Limerick and Tipperary Counties.   ‘Farmer’s wife’  makes soda bread, scones and apple pies to be served in the tea room



P1040718We both fancied a fresh-out-of-the-oven piece of apple pie, but sadly they weren’t ready yet.  We settled for just a hot cup of coffee to warm us up ..



Stepping back in time …


P1040733P1040735P1040736 P1040737P1040742P1040741P1040740P1040739P1040743Every village has to have a pub ..






Ardcroney Church was moved stone by stone from Ardcroney to the Folk Park





North Clare Farmhouse .. building style and materials of the rocky Moher area of north County Clare


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Bunratty House .. a late Georgian dwelling, built in 1805) of the type occupied by minor gentry in the 19th century ..



Hazelbrook House .. built in 1898 was home to the Hughes Brothers who started a dairy industry in the 1800’s and later produced HB Ice Cream, which became a household name in ice cream in Ireland ..


P1040768Vertical Mill ..   a classical example of a rural undershot watermill ..



Horizontal Mill .. a working corn mill based on findings of an excavation in Mashanaglas, Co. Cork



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Haystacks on saddle stones ..


Customary tourist shop at the exit .. we bought Irish whistles for the grandchildren from here.  Would have loved to have bought a Bodhran too  .. and should have bought some jam and/or marmalade ;)


P1040786We then went further down the road to the Bunratty Winery to have a look ..

Posted in animals, bridges, church, Co. Clare, countryside, dogs, holiday, Ireland, memory lane, rain, travel | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Bunratty Castle and Folk Park, Co. Clare: Travel Reminiscences

10 day self-drive tour of Ireland : October 2009

It was raining on and off, and rather chilly, on the day hubby and I explored Bunratty Castle and strolled through the Folk Park, umbrella in one hand and camera in the other.

Bunratty Castle was built in the 15th century.  Its most important residents were the O’Briens, Earls of Thomond, who lived here from around 1500 until the 1640’s.  The interior looks much the same as it did under the “Great Earl” who died in 1624.  It was abandoned in the 19th century and later restored to its original state in the 1950’s








P1040642Main Guard .. medieval-style banquets are held in the Main Guard ..  a room where soldiers ate, slept and relaxed.  Music was played to them from the Minstrels’ Gallery (where I was standing to take this pic)




Large brass bell in the Main Guard..


Just off the Main Guard is a gate that leads to the dungeons ..




Great Hall .. once a banqueting hall and audience chamber …


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I was then told not use a flash .. so my little camera didn’t do too well in the dimly lit rooms :(










Pagan symbol for fertility ..



P1040688We strolled through the grounds, in the wet, and walked through the Folk Park … will do that in the next post … …  …

Posted in castles, Co. Clare, holiday, Ireland, memory lane, rain, travel | Tagged | 2 Comments

Killaloe and Ballina, Co. Clare: Travel Reminiscences

10 day self-drive tour of Ireland : October 2009

Looking back through my Ireland posts of 2009, I see I haven’t done a post on Bunratty Castle itself, only the Folk Park, a re-creation of 19th century Irish life

Sooo .. instead of moving on with our trip to Galway through the beautiful Cliffs of Moher and The Burren, a fascinating contrast in landscape, I’ll share Bunratty Castle and a short trip we did up to Killaloe

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Starting with Killaloe, even though we drove to Bunratty Castle first and then kind-of followed the River Shannon to Killaloe which lies close to where the River Shannon emerges from Lough Derg

I cannot remember in which town or village this was taken:  I didn’t know what it meant at the time and had to look it up  …..   The “snug”, is typically a small, very private room with access to the bar that has a frosted glass external window, set above head height. You used to pay a higher price for your beer in the Snug, but nobody could look in and see you. It was not only the well-off visitors who would use these rooms. The snug was for patrons who preferred not to be seen in the public bar. Ladies would often enjoy a private drink in the snug in a time when it was frowned upon for ladies to be in a pub. The local garda would nip in for a quiet pint, the parish priest for his evening whiskey, and lovers would use the snug for their clandestine visits……


I must have enjoyed the villages, towns and countryside without taking any photographs as my sequence of photos jumps to the town of Killaloe from Bunratty Castle with only the ‘Snug’  pic in-between.   I do remember it rained off and on ;)

Killaloe was the birth place, in 941, of Brian Ború , the High King of Ireland, who united all the Irish tribes against the onslaught of the Vikings in Ireland in the 10th century.  He was crowned at the Rock of Cashel in Co. Tipperary.  In 1014 he was assassinated by a rogue Viking while praying and giving thanks on his victory after the Battle of Clontarf.  This year, 2014, marks the 1000th anniversary of his death.  In Limerick from 18th-24th August there is a Harp Festival as part of the celebrations. Brian Ború is ‘celebrated as a patron of the arts and is often thought to have played the harp.  Although the so-called Brian Ború harp now kept in Trinity College, Dublin has long claimed to be the harp of Brian Ború, it actually dates from 14th or 15th century’.   (From what I can gather, harps are sometimes known as Brian Ború’s)

Travelling through Ireland in October has it’s disadvantages as we found quite a few places closed for the winter season.  This was the case with the Brian Ború Heritage Centre, situated in a converted boat house on the 17th century bridge which separates Killaloe from its twin town of Ballina, on the opposite bank


I didn’t take a photo of the Heritage Centre, as I thought at the time it was an insignificant building, but it’s from there these photos were taken (in-between rain showers!)   .. hence I didn’t take many

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Interestingly, a canal was constructed in the 19th century around the bridge to avoid a ridge of rocks, as Killaloe became the hub for transportation of goods and passengers to Dublin.  Today the canals are well-maintained and used mainly for pleasure boating, cruising and fishing


We drove over the bridge into the town of Ballina which is well-known for it’s ‘better pubs’ such as Goosers on the waterfront ..


River Shannon from the banks of Ballina

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St Flannan’s Cathedral, built around 1182, is said to be Killaloe’s grandest building..


I must have enjoyed the drive back again to Adare ;)  no more pics!!!    I may expand a little on Bunratty Folk Park, when I do the Castle …  next post on my Travel Reminiscences

Posted in church, Co. Clare, holiday, Ireland, memory lane, rivers and canals, travel | Tagged | 2 Comments