Archive for July, 2009

Past tips to Ireland

In 2005 R. and I went to Ireland for our second trip. Below are some of my observations on the Irish road system and happenings in the Dungeon Bar.In November Robert and I returned to Ireland. We stopped in Dublin, where we saw a play at the Abbey Theatre, toured Dublin Castle and generally roamed around the city.

We then ventured down to Kilkenny, which is a beautiful, artistic town with a really big castle.

From there we traveled through N and R roads to Kinnity Castle, which is near Birr. According to publicity about the castle there are several ghosts as permanent guests. That night at the bar we saw several people in medieval dress enter. Robert asked them if they were in fact corporeal or were they the resident ghosts. They thankfully replied that they were employees of a telecom company in Dublin staying at the castle for their Christmas party. There was also a wedding reception going on as well. That night at the Dungeon Bar we partied with the medievals (including lords and ladies, monks and friars, jesters and cross dressers), refugees from the wedding reception, people from nearby towns, and musicians playing at a traditional music session. A good time was had by all. There are some photos of the festivities below.

A trad session in progress

That night combined medievals, musicians, castle visitors, townspeople, and refuges from a wedding in interesting combinations.

Merry dancing!


From there we went to Galway and toured the Connemara, which many folks say is the “real” Ireland. It was certainly scenic.

Some observations about driving in Ireland. Roads are classified according to their proximity to the sheep population. “M” roads are usually at least four lane “dual carriageways.” For M roads sheep can hardly be seen due to highway speeds and their distance from drivers. “N” roads are usually two lane roads with pavement markings. On these roads you are very near to the sheep. “R” roads are sometimes two lane roads but are likely to become 1 ½ lane and then one lane roads. You really, really hope that you don’t run into another car coming towards you. On R roads you are really, really close to the sheep, as they are sometimes wandering along the roadside munching grass. Roadside safety features include rock walls, castles, cars parked on the side of the road and/or sidewalk, and/or sheep. We managed to avoid all of those.

Also, all Irish roundabouts have names, even some of the mini-roundabouts. They are  not close to sheep at all. Howver, we were always having to pay attention where we were going while driving on the timpeallán that I didn’t take any pictures.

July 20, 2009 at 6:43 pm Leave a comment

On to Dublin

We left Cork and traveled to Dublin via Waterford and County Wicklow. We stopped at the Waterford factory for some quick shopping, stopped at Cobh,  and then cruised through the garden of Ireland, County Wicklow. We saw a number of small towns we have put on our list for the next trip and finally made our way to Dublin, where we quickly dumped the car and prepared to be city people for a few days. As city people we did lots and lots of walking. We checked out the shopping on Grafton Street and then took several walking tours (heartily recommended). our first was a history tour of Dublin by a graduate student of history at Trinity. He truly had the gift of gab and we enjoyed the 2 hours of Irish and Dublin history. We also went on the Easter Uprising tour, which was a highlight of our trip. We met at a pub off of Grafton street, got a pint and retired to the basement where Malachy, our guide, started off with some history of the uprising. We then took off for a walking tour of Dublin, hitting the places where significant encounters occurred. One interesting fact Malachy told us was that Dublin was a predominately Protestant city but tolerated Catholics. He pointed out a Catholic church hidden in plain view, explaining that the Catholics didn’t want to bring attention to themselves. He mentioed another similar church off Grafton Street. We ended up at the Post Office and Malachy recommended that we visit Kilmainham Gaol.

In Gaol

When we got toKilmainham Gaol we were given timed tickets. Since our time was more than an hour away and we hadn’t had lunch we popped into a local pub to grad a bite. One old fellow at the bar regaled us with stories of the owners, staff and most of the others at the bar. After a good story and some lunch we went back to experience the gaol.  I recommend this tour to anyone who has an interest in Irish history and the tour continued the story of the Easter Uprising well.

Irish flag at kilmainham gaol

Irish flag at kilmainham gaol

July 20, 2009 at 6:24 pm Leave a comment


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