Holly and I are beginning our journey!  Happy Birthday to us!

June 16, 2013

Today we landed in Shannon and were greeted by lovely, friendly locals, there aura seems to spread across the land because even the tourist’s seem ready to be more than delightful!  We spent our day in Bunratty,  I believe Bun may mean end and Ratty is the name of the river. (Irish: Bun na Raite, “End of the Raite river”). After we checked in and rested from our flight at the Bunratty Castle Hotel (www.bunrattycastlehotel.com)  We took in a must see tourist destination of  Bunratty Castle and Folk Park, even in the pouring rain this gave us a true sense of the Ireland waiting before us. Soaking wet we headed across the street for a  much needed libation at the all famous Durty Nells.  We were greeted not only by warm hospitality, but a crackling fire calling us to it’s warmth.  Learning about Nelly, it seems she was quite a character and keeper of the toll-bridge over the river Owengarney. Not able to pay your toll to Durty Nelly, you may just have to provide the lady a bit of comfort.  I urge to read more about her @ www.durtynellys.ie. The main item on Holly’s bucket list when we arrived was to have a beer with a man named Shamus.  To our surprise, we were sharing a table and beers with a man and his 3 young sons (out for Father’s Day) and guess what his name would be……Shamus!!  Check one on Holly’s bucket list!  The evening was spent getting acquainted with our tour guide Linda and our driver Gene O’sullivan, who is Maureen O’hara’s driver.

A blessing from Nelly: May the road rise up to meet you. May the wind be always at your back. May the sun shine warm upon your face, the rain fall soft upon your fields and until we meet again, may God hold you in the palm of his hand.

June 17, 2013

Last evening in the Bunratty Hotel Bar, 8 musicians decided to play.  We danced the night away listening to old time irish music, it was so craic! (fun)

Today we headed north to Ballintubber Abbey built in 1216 by King Cathal O’connor, on the way to the abbey a quick stop for a Bloody Mary at Patty Burke’s was needed, after ales and music last evening.

We than visited the village of Cong (where John Wayne filmed The Quiet Man) and Ashford Castle.  If I can bring Mark anywhere, I believe this would be it!  The Castle sits on a lake and was owned by the Guiness (Beer) family just off a little path next to the Village of Cong.

Oh and yes the roads are just little paths—–let’s say that texting while driving is not an option! Tonight we are in Gallway, Gene are driver is taking us to his favorite pub. Gallway is the 3rd largest city in Ireland.

Fun things they say different: Take away (take out) Craic – pronounced crack (fun)

All catholics are buried feet first to the east and the priest is buried head first and faces west. Tomorrow we are having high tea at a low table..hahah, in just another castle. And where all having babies  in the afternoon, this is according to Linda our tour guide, details to follow.

June 18, 2013

Today we took an all day trip around the Connomara loop. This is a very scenic route around the west side of Ireland that is protected by the government.

It can look like Montana and Minnesota with all kind of lakes and pine trees and mountains and turn  to a very barren land.  I have wonderful pictures to share!

Holly was asked for her hand in marriage from an elderly gailic speaking Connamara native, John, who unknowlying just bet 500 euros on the wrong pony… oops!  (Picture of John and Henry at a pub in Connomara on my  camera.) We visited towns  Ballynahinch Castle and had soup and the fishing village of Roundtable and visited many sites from the John Wayne movie “The Quiet Man” which seems to be this country’s claim to fame! lol

The statue in Connamara says:  One thousand  years ago today, absolutely nothing happened here.  Now you know what Connamara is. John, Holly’s potential future husband says:  Connamara is the last place God created on earth and he forgot to finish.

Holly and I furnished the day with wine take a ways at Erye Square.  The  bartender says: There really isn’t anything that legal or illegal in Ireland. Pictures included here are pubbing from last night in Galway.  The music and hospitality here is never ending.  The Irish forgot it was Monday night!

Alec, this is a wonderful college town.  I would tell you to do a semester here,  but, I am afraid I would loose you to an Irish women, and I would never get you    back home!”

June 19, 2013

Today we started with a visit to Adare Castle and lunch in Adare.  We then headed down to the dingle and went to wonderful concert in a little church where the graveyards have not been kept.  A few of the graves have caved in and you can see the bones….not so nice.  The musicians are just incredible!

I am calling it an evening, but, most of our group stays very engerized!  As you can see in the Dingle Bar, Tracy has her head on a plate, and we are sitting in the bullshit corner (says the plack on the wall).  The weather, except for Sunday has been just beautiful and it looks like the rain will hold off.  Tomorrow we head for Slea Head.

Jun 20, 2013

The day was met with true Ireland fog as we drove the Slea Head. Gene, our driver started the day with “We’ll, ladies, tomorrow night is another day”

Along with his other jokes.

The teacher called the student up front and asked his name, the student replied Tom, the teacher said, no, that would be Thomas, then she called another up front and said what would be your name, he replied, Jackass.

The Irish mouse walked into a bar, after a few pints he told the bartender, “Bring on that goddamn cat!”

After a long drive day, we ended singing that famous Irish tune: NO nay, never…….no nay never, no more

June 21, 2013

We had a half day of touring little places where the big tourist busses cannot get to.  Menard Castle on the beach and then to the town of Annascoal, famous home of Antartic explorer Tom Craen.  I feel all I have done today is eat! It is our last day in Dingle and I had to have a Dingle Dog.  Pictures below of food from today, a donkey singing a song to me, she had so much to say, and of course our beautiful scenery. Tonight we have a concert to go to, everyone is refreshed, so it should be a long night Oh, yes it is pouring!

June 22, 2013

Today we left all the woolly jumpers of Dingle and took the ferry across to the Shannon region with the cows where we will be staying in the surf Capitol of Ireland, Lahinch.  The hotel we are staying at is managed by a MN St Thomas boy who married a cute little irish girl.  Holly and I were locked in last night at the Dingle Inn, Seamus, a very famous Irish folk singer, sang Holly and I, a beautiful Minnesota song, ……my heart lept.

I hate to say this, but, it was nice to leave the fifty shades of green and see blue! Ocean and sky! I am using my iPad for pictures because my camera battery will not charge over here…….. This is not good for me, but I least I can take pics.

I also keep forgetting to mention that a gallon of gas costs ten dollars.

When we piled into Eugene’s Bar for Irish coffee, Gene says to the bartender that he is the driver.  The bartender looked at us ladies and then back to Gene and replied: “I’m sorry for your troubles”

It is so windy here, our trip to the islands tomorrow maybe cancelled. See pic below of Tracy and Linda on the ferry

June 23, 2013

Sunday turned out to be a wonderful day…..Gene drove us around the burden (like our badlands) we stopped at a lovely perfumery and had high tea, finger sandwiches and mini desserts at Dromoland Castle and walked the gardens. Yeah sun!

June 24, 2013

Today was a beautiful sunny sunny sunny day. We took the ferry to the island of Inishere, cruised under the cliffs of moher and enjoyed wine, cheese and crackers on the beach for dinner while watching the surfers. This is the end……Salainte!