Inishowen Peninsula, Co. Donegal has to be one of the most memorable parts of my trip. We found a wonderful B&B but I cannot find a web site for it. It was called "Highpoint B&B" and it was very close to Malin Head in Ballygorman. Her phone number is below.
Anne Hawes was our hostess and she was wonderful, loved to talk and visit with us and sent us to all kinds of places by the wayside. One being the Wee House of Malin, a cave on a beach where Mass used to be said in hiding dring English rule.
If you end up in Bray, please take the time to stop by and walk the path along Bray beach. Locals spend a lot of time here, there are restaurants, and even an aquarium if you are there early in the day.
We were wandering after getting off the DART, waiting for our ride to show up and began watching this family. They were teaching the kids to play cricket for their school athletics. In the water, the rowing club was preparing to hit the water. Lots of freindly people were wandering and walking with their kids and dogs ...... a wonderful end to a wonderful day.
BTW- this was about 2100 (9pm) - it was amazing to see so much activity and light left at this late hour!
The Ring of Skelligs is in my personal opinion a lot more scenic and interesting than the moch more popular "Ring of Kerry". Not far from the village of Waterville you have to leave the road of the " Ring of Kerry " and go on driving a rather narrow road ( restricted to small cars with less than 3,5 tons ONLY )
You will see some great views of the Skelligs in a distance and you will see also this small water-castle - most probably you will be the only tourist-car there, as most of the tourists simply rush through the big Ring of Kerry !
Watch out for the signpost "Ring of Skellig" at Waterville in order not to miss this really scenic road !
Ireland like Scotland has lots of fish farms if that is how you like to fish. The natural rivers provide a better sport. I don't like fishing but I do like to sit beside little rivers like this. If you want to fish in the rivers you have to buy a permit in the local sports shop but be warned they are very expensive = it keeps the fish happy!
Askeaton Abbey was founded as a Franciscan Friary in 1389 and although it is just a ruin today, the abbey still shows some great cloisters with a total length of 60 meters, carved from limestone, beautiful transepts, the east window, the carving of St Francis and the chapter room, which is the final resting place of two Irish martyrs. Some Earls of Desmond are buried in the abbey as well. Like many other abbeys in Ireland it was destroyed several times but always rebuilt again untill it had burned down in 1847.
Askeaton is in County Limerick, in order to get there take road N69 and drive into the west of the town of Limerick.
Slieve League Mountain and the Ballyduff Cliffs are in Co. Donegal, near Teelin. The higest sea cliffs in Ireland.
It is an amazing place, the coloration of the mountain and how it drops into the sea is unique. There is a trail you can walk and climb...and even in the fog, we found it very enjoyable to do. An easy walk for most, and then you can go to the summit if you are more experienced and fit.
It is hard to find, there is a sign off R263, you will come to a gate, that you have to open and close due to it being a sheep farm. Then you will go up a steep incline and come to a parking lot. From here you are on your own.
You will not be disappointed. A must, if you go to Co. Donegal which is off the beaten path itself.
Once I arrived by ferry in Wexford and thought that this place is great to start to explore Ireland from, because it shows you various excamples of houses and ways of living over the last 5000 years in Ireland. It will help you to understand many things a lot better, when getting around the irish landscape.
You will need at least 2 hours to explore all of this great museum !
Lady's Island Lake is another interesting castle-ruin that I found accidentally while driving some side-roads in the south-west of Wexford. These ruins of an old monastery with a leaning castle-tower are dating back to the 12th century.
You can drive directely to that tower by your own car and park there in front of it. There is not a lot more that you can do than to take a walk or take some photographs. The building itself is just a ruin that you cannot enter, but I think it is a lovely and interesting landmark and a good excample of such an old building that was burned down by british troops once, so the wooden roof was totally destroyed and just the stones were left over !
Ardmore has one of the typical celtic round towers and the ruins of an old church that still shows not only simple old stones, but also a few great reliefs in the facade and in interesting graveyard around the church-ruins.
Ardmore is just a tiny village on the southcoast, hidden a few miles off the main-traficroad from Wexford to Cork, just a few miles south-east of the town of Youghal.
You may go there and enter freely any time - that might be important many times in summer, when sun shines untill 10.00 p.m. and you want to take pics in the evening-sun, and do not have to stick to opening-times.
When you click on my 3rd pic, you might see the famous reliefs on the churchwalls.
Dursey Island is nowadays an uninhabited island but for a long time people had been living there and so you can still see the ruins of an old castle and a few houses there. The only "inhabitants" of nowadays are the cows and sheep of the local farmers and the only way to get to Dursey Island is the cablecar. Dursey is at the west-tip of Beara Peninsula and it is a well known paradise for hikers and bird-watchers.
Ireland's only cable-car takes its passengers there according to a fixed timetable or upon appointment - you may find the owner's telephone-number at the door and he will arrive within a short time after your call, he is one of the farmers nearby.
Be prepared to share the cabin of that cable-car with live-stock, sheep or even a cow.
The official licence for the cable-car allows the transportation of 3 people or 1 cow !
For Dursey-island you should schedule a whole day in order to explore it !
Tacumshane Windmill is one of the very few windmills that you will see in Ireland and it is hidden in a small village just a few miles south of Wexford. I found it accidentally on the way to Kilmore Quai.
This windmill is privately owned and it can be visited by the tourists. You pay a fee of 2 Euros directely to the owner, who has a small window at the entrance to his farm, where you have to ring the bell. Then you may enter the ground and also the interior of the windmill. Sometimes - especially in the high tourist-season - a few explantions are given by the mill-owners.
It is because of the mild climate and the Golf-stream that you can see palmtrees in Ireland and Kilmore Quai, just a few miles south-west of Wexford, is one of them.
There is a sandy beach, a small maritime museum and lots of houses, thatched be straw in the oldfashioned way: bundles of straw fixed to the roof with strings - it almost looks like made with a sewing-machine, see my last picture !
Lots of these thatched houses are to rent by tourists, all of them have a small garden around them, and the sandy and quiet beach is just a few minutes away.
And there will be NO crowds of people on the beach, you rather have it all for your own.
Tintern Abbey is just a ruin nowadays, but quite impressive :
This Cistercian abbey was founded by William, Earl Marshall and he named it after Tintern, a village in Wales.
The Abbey was inhabited by the Colclough family from the 16th century until 1960s. You will find this interesting ruin 16km south of New Ross off the R734 road or 29km from Wexford off the Wexford to Ballyhack road R733.
Tintern Abbey is open for visitors :
Mid June - Late September: Daily 10.00am - 6.00pm
October: Daily 10.00am - 5.00pm
Not far from Gallarus Oratory I saw this interesting stone-age village , consisting of several houses, also called clochans. These buildings are quite usual in that area and they were built by heaping up stones and rocks of all sizes, forming a flat and narrow house, only the roofs are missing today, obviously they had roofs made of straw. There is a fence around these buildings, BUT of course you may climb over it and take a closer look at these great remains !
Okay, so this is what I was told .... this is the gate to Bono's house in Kilarney. Vico road is a beautiful drive, with or without Bono :)
Just past this gate, is an overlook. The view is spectacular and there are paths that wander along the side of the hill/cliff. I ate fresh berries from bushes along the paths, and just loved the view and ambiance of the area.
More Regions in Ireland