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Ireland

Rock of Cashel, King John's Castle, Bunratty, Dublin

semi-overcast

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The past few days have been very full. Long days traveling, inspecting hotels, and seeing sights. After our day of rain on Thursday, Friday started out with beautiful sunshine. First order of the day before leaving Killarney was a sight inspection of the hotel Maldron. It is being bought by the same family that owns the beautiful Hayfield Manor and Killarney Royal. After the inspection we were on the road for a couple hours before we reached Rock of Cashel. It's an amazing piece of medieval architect. In 1101 the King of Munster turned it over to the Irish Christians and it played a huge role
For many years in Irish Christianity. An interesting 10 minute video tells the history of Cashel. The Rock of Cashel sits high on a hill and the views over Ireland are breathtaking.

Leaving the rock we continued on for an inspection and lunch at the Dundrum Resort. Lunch was good with soup and sandwiches. They've been feeding us so much that a light lunch is welcome. The Dundrum is an 18th century house with decor of the time period. They offer spa, gym, and ยน8 hole golf. They even have self-catering units nearby. It was starting to drizzle as we left Dundrum for King John's Castle in Limerick. Built in 1200 it now has interactive exhibits to help tell the history. Touring the grounds you will see archaeology excavations that have revealed pre-Norman settlements. It was then time to move on as our farewell dinner was tonight at our hotel the Fitzgerald's Woodlands House and Hotel in Adare. Mrs Fitzgerald herself came and spoke to us about the hotel. The dining room we were eating in was part of the original home and they kept adding and adding and now it's a 94 room hotel with spa, gym, and 20 meter pool. Dinner was good, I had prime rib. When they brought out the tray of desserts everyone was drooling over cheese cake, chocolate decadence cake, and several other homemade goodies.

Saturing morning was early for some of the travel agents. Those that had early flights left the hotel for the Shannon airport at 6:15, others at 8:15am. It would be about 25 minutes drive. The owner of Isle Inn Tours and I picked up a rental car at Shannon to drive back to Dublin. We stopped first at Bunratty Folk Park. The park was actually closed for Christmas decorating but they let us walk around. The famous Dirty Nellie's pub and Bunratty Castle are by the park. We stopped in to the Blarney Woolen Mills across the street for a little shopping. The day started out with beautiful blue skies and sun. We didn't reach Dublin until around 3 Pm and by then the skies were gray and it started raining. Mike dropped me off at Dublin airport and he was continuing on to Armagh to visit relatives. I took the hotel shuttle from the airport to my hotel, the Holiday Inn Express, where I went through brochures and made notes on places we've visited.

Today was my last day in Dublin before I fly home tomorrow. I made the most of it walking all around Dublin exploring and taking lots of notes and pictures. If I saw an interesting pub I'd pop in and look. I found the Clarence hotel which is half owned by Bono of U2. I chatted with the bartender and he said Bono was just there Wednesday night. I found the Sweny Pharmacy which gained fame when James Joyce wrote Ulysses and mentioned the pharmacy in the book. It is now turned into an used book store and still has furnishings from it's beginning. I found one old pub T P Smith's that had a beautiful mosaic mural on the wall. I think my real find of the day was a bank turned restaurant that was stunning inside. It was a very full day, lots of walking and still haven't seen it all. It's been a fabulous trip but I'm ready to go home tomorrow, but am already contemplating when I can come back.

Posted by jshaughnessy 13:30 Archived in Ireland Tagged ireland dublin rock_of_cashel bunratty

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