We left Adare early in the morning, headed north and west to Connemara. It’s known for it’s rugged landscape and often referred to as the wild west of Ireland. The roads through the country side are bumpy making for a thrilling ride when the roads aren’t busy with cars and buses filled with tourists. There were rams and sheep all along the road. Literally on what would be the shoulder. It was insane!
Our plan was to visit Kylemore Abbey and Victorian Walled Garden. It was built as a castle in 1868 and is now the Abbey and home of Benedictine nuns. The Abbey was founded in 1920 and meant as a refuge for the nuns fleeing Belgium after their Abbey was destroyed during World War 1. The nuns opened a boarding school for girls and restored the Abbey, Gothic Church, and Walled Gardens to their former glory. This is an incredibly peaceful place as you walk around the ground listening to the birds and the water lapping on the banks of the lake.
The Neo-Gothic Church was built in the style of the 14th Century. It’s described as a ‘Cathedral in Miniature’ and is a lasting testament to the love of Mitchell Henry for his wife Margaret. He built this amazing church as an homage to his beloved wife when she passed. Now that is romance.
Just outside the walls of the Victorian garden, live these sweet, smelly babes. Ken Scamper (below) and Gloria Summer (above) veg-out on the thick grasses, abundant weeds, and I suppose whatever is thrown out for them. Hah!
Most of our days in Ireland were spent in a car. We drove to one area to walk around and site see just to get back in the car to go to another area to do the same thing. It made the times that we hiked so much more sweet though. When we decided to visit Connemara National Park, we thought we were just going to have a short jaunt around the Bog trail. Three hours later we were ready for a pint and a bath. The views were incredible despite the overcast skies.
Don’t mind them. It was cold.
A blurry photo of me is better than not having any photos. Thanks sis!
There were so many roads and paths so seemingly no where. I took a ton of photos just like this because I loved how small they made me feel and the idea of not knowing where a road will take you until you get that curve.
After Connemara National Park we stayed in the town of Clifden. Unfortunately it was so late, uh, like 5:15p, when we arrived that it was already too dark for any photos. We made Irish friends at the local bar and called it a night because we had to be up EARLY to get to the ferry to Inishmore the next day. Like I said, we did a lot of driving. A lot.
Inishmore is the largest of the three Aran Islands on the west coast Ireland. And I still could not imagine being on this island during the height of tourist season. It may have been freezing but the sun was bright and warm allowing for the best possible day roaming around this gorgeous, ancient place. I would like to go back with Adam and ride backs from one end to the other, adventuring and seeing places we couldn’t with our tour guide. My mom already wants to come back and is hoping to have a better knee by then to bike around and hike to higher elevations. Fingers crossed!
This house had a newly thatched roof and sat up on this hill. It could not have been more picturesque. This is the traditional style of homes on the island with a thatched roof and three windows on the front.
The Cliffs of Moher are Irelands gem. One of the most visited places on the island it does not disappoint. The views overlooking the Atlantic Ocean are stunning. You can hear the puffins and other coastal birds flying and squawking below. The sun was out for only a moment when we arrived but the clouds rushed in and the winds picked up reminding us of just how quickly the weather can change in this rugged, magical place.
We spent one night back in Adare before we left for Dublin for our last night in Ireland. I’m not a city girl but I can appreciate the hustle, the lights, the noise for a night or two. We stayed in the Temple Bar area which, come to find out is the major tourist area of Dublin. Awesome. We stayed in a quaint hotel on the River Liffey with spectacular views of the city. It was also near, go figure, The Temple Bar which is a famous, if not the most famous bar, in Dublin. Why you ask? Most people really have no idea, hah! What we found out is that pictures of this bar have been used the most on stock photography for Dublin and now with social media tourists from all over the world stop to have their photo or selfie taken outside.
We were there in November and all of Ireland is already decorated for Christmas this time of year. The Temple Bar was no exception. As you can see below it’s a festive place. We ventured in just to have a quick pint and ended up being there for hours. Every room was decorated from floor to ceiling in holiday attire. Christmas had officially exploded within these walls and it was amazing. Of course 99% of the patrons were American and the live music was played the occasional Jimmy Buffett (I loathe his music) so we knew we weren’t in the best place for an Irish experience but we had a blast. It was the best place for us that night. It was the perfect way to end our trip.