Ireland Day #4

We started the day driving to Adare, where we looked at a beautiful walking garden trail in the city centre and then on to Limerick. We stopped at Bunratty Castle as it was in the tourism books, but it was $17 a person to enter. We thought that was quite a bit to pay. Instead, we walked around the shops in the area and got some really good Irish chocolates and a couple of sweaters at an end of summer sale. We got a kick out of the “Tidy Town” signs in many of the towns we stopped in. They were pretty tidy. I guess it is a big award and something to be quite proud of. (I would be!). We drove up the western coast of Ireland along the Wild Atlantic Way (WAW). I love the names of the pubs and stores in Ireland. One of my favorites was a clothing store called Earls and Pearls. It had clothes for men and women. There are golf country clubs, full courses, and pitch & putt courses everywhere.

This was one of our sunniest days on our whole trip. It was also the day that we walked 6 miles along the Cliffs of Moher, which was slow going but so beautiful. We saw a lot of husker fans there. In fact, in my notes for the day, I wrote that the people we saw along the Cliffs of Moher were German, Italian, Spanish and Nebraskan. We parked about a mile south of Hag’s Head and then walked to Hag’s Head and then 5 miles on to Brian’s Castle…and a bit beyond that as well. There is a small area (well, it isn’t THAT small) where there were hundreds and hundreds of cairns – piles of stones – that people had constructed. I constructed one for our family, with a stone (from bottom to top) to represent Rich, me, Tim, Lily, Michelle, and Joe. His was a pretty red color. The last photo on this post is that Messina family cairn on the Cliffs of Moher in Ireland. We had an ongoing joke with Joe because he was just sure he had been to Ireland before and I am just positive he hadn’t. The discussion started when he wanted to get a shamrock tattoo from when he was in Ireland. Hmmmm…he had been to Scotland, but not Ireland. We teased him all the time about that. I carried him with me in my heart there, so now I can say he has been there.

We met a lovely man from Omaha who was not there for the Husker game but on a pilgrimage to see Father Flanagan’s hometown (the founder of Boy’s Town in Omaha). After leaving the Cliffs of Moher, we went just around the corner to St. Brigid’s Well. We then headed to Murrisk, Ireland, where we saw an amazing sunset off the water. We saw but did not hike the Croagh Patrick. It was a very triangular hill in County Mayo where St. Patrick climbed to the top and stayed up there to fast for 40 days during Lent. Evidently pilgrims hike the path barefoot and often don’t make the steep, rocky climb up. We stayed at another bed and breakfast and the older woman who owned the place had avocado-colored toilets and flower-printed everything – the bedspread, the sheets, the wallpaper, the tablecloths, and the teacups in the room. We met some lovely people from Northern Ireland who were vacationing in the area, and we were able to talk to them at great extent about where to go in Northern Ireland. So, thank you to the MacKenzies for helping guide us across your country!

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