Highlights from Dublin to Belfast

I realized I was in for a whirlwind of a tour but I was ready to see this beautiful country. As I mentioned before I do not generally do an over abundance of research on a place I plan on visiting, I generally leave it up to the element of surprise and with an open mind to exploring and learning. After my overnight flight, we arrived in Dublin for a three night stay. Let me share that you will need an adapter to use your items requiring electricity and wash cloths are not provided. People are very friendly and helpful.

Travelling with an organized tour our itinerary was already established. Our hotel was located in walking distance to an ATM/bank and an easy stroll up McConnel Street to the McConnel Bridge with the Liffey bridge in the background with the Libbey river flowing gently beneath. The first monument we encountered was The Charles Stewart Parnell Monument. He was a political figure who served in parliament for many years.

While waiting to cross an intersection I noticed the sign on the street.

I thought that was helpful since in Europe they drive on the left side and in the United States we drive on the right and I am sure there are others who drive on the opposite side of the road. This certainly enhances safety for visitors.

We paid a visit to St. Patrick Cathedral quite a beautiful church inside with beautiful stained glass windows and an area of remembrance.

The Lives Remembered exhibit Located in the northern part of the cathedral houses many displays and one that stood out was the one depicted above of the remembrance tree. The tree is located in the centre and reflects the struggle and is in remembrance of people lost in conflicts. Visitors are encouraged to leave notes of their loved ones lost. Notes are at the foot of the tree reflected by the white n green objects.

We strolled through the neighborhood where these beautiful Georgian homes boasts the main attraction of colorful doors enhanced by the fan light.

We did not take a tour of the renowned Trinity College but got a chance to be at the building.

While driving around Dublin we got a glimpse of the Brazen Head pub which is the oldest known pub. A very popular spot for visitors; they were seen posing for photographs in front of the building. A very attractively decorated building with flowers. Of course the Guinness storehouse could not be missed.

We visited Phoenix Park where the Papal Cross that commemorates the visit of Pope John Paul II in 1979 and later by Pope Francis in 2018 stands. It is said that thousands crowed the park to see and hear both popes. Another featured monument is the Phoenix Monument. This park is the largest in any European Capitals and it can accommodate such large gatherings.

Papal Cross
Phoenix Monument

We took an optional evening tour in Dublin where we enjoyed a wonderful dinner under formal settings at Taylors Three Rock. After dinner we had live cabaret with comedy, music and dancing. I enjoy live musical entertainment in any form and under any setting so I might be a bit bias but this was a great evening that I recommend. A true taste of Irish music, folk songs and dance topped off with the comedian.

Our journey through Ireland was by bus and our guide was the driver, this was a first having the driver be our guide but I can say it worked out really great. The next point of interest was the historical archeological site of The Rock of Cashel situated on a hill that offered a beautiful view of the plains below.

View of the plains 200 feet below

Next we visited Waterford with such a scenic view driving in and the plan to visit the Waterford factory was of interest having own a few pieces. We toured the facility having a chance to see the artisans at work and to see some intricate pieces on display. One struck me immediately which was in commemoration of September 11th attack on the World Trade Center in New York. We certainly got a good idea of the different processes that are needed to arrive at any piece. It should be noted that a genuine piece of Waterford product has their specific insignia so be aware that not everything that says Waterford, might look like a Waterford piece may not be genuine.

This piece shows first responders and the opaque portion was apiece of the structure that was left dangling for sometime before the clean up was completed.
This clock was standing in the foyer

We spent the night in Waterford so we were able to walk along the waterfront and a little around the quaint clean city that reminded me of parts of Pennsylvania suburbs. There were wall paintings on some of the buildings as we walked around.

Leaving Waterford heading to Cork we saw and rode over the fairly new cable-stayed River Suir Bridge.

We paid a brief visit to the Heritage Centre Cobh. A representative gives an overview upon arrival. There were displays of objects recovered, historical notations and displays reflective of when this area was formerly known as Queenstown. This was the last port that the Titanic anchored before hitting the iceberg on its journey to New York

Luggage

Heading now to Killarney to get close and kiss the Blarney Stone required waiting on a long line and not to mention climbing 125 steps. Again knowing my limitations that was not an option on my visit to the famous Blarney Castle and gardens. Roaming the gardens was calming and delightful I enjoyed the waterfalls and the beautiful calla lilies and just leisurely strolling around the grounds.

Connemara marble is unique to Ireland so we visited the Connemara Marble visitor Centre. There were some unusual pieces of jewelry on sale. The brooches had some unique designs great for gifts.

A day exploring the Ring of Kerry offered some of the most beautiful landscapes. The Ring of Kerry is a drive around the Iveragh Peninsula in Kerry County.

Queen Victoria’s ladies in waiting were so fascinated with this site that they named it Ladies View in their honor.

Daniel O’Connel was a political leader. We noticed sheep with different colored patches; the colored patch is a means of identification. Sheep were identified by the color also during mating season rams have bags of dye around their necks that leaves their mark on the upper backs of the ewe.

King puck goat . During the annual Puck fair a goat is crowned king following ancient tradition.

We will be heading to Galway next.

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