A trip to the Emerald Isle (Pt 2)
Oddly enough, we weren't hit by jetlag. It might be because when we landed at 6am, we didn't go to sleep and rather went out and about, but it was definitely a good bonus. I forgot to mention in the previous post, but driving in Ireland is on the right, and the speeds vary. They have N, M, R and other roads. N is for their national, 120km/h. M is their motorways, 100km/h. And R are the regional roads, 80km/h. Mind you... not that those speed limits are always respected. We saw the Gardai (police) around, but no traffic/speed cops to speak of. According to Google, "An Garda Síochána, meaning "the Guardian of the Peace"), more commonly referred to as the Gardaí or "the Guards" is the police force of the Republic of Ireland." Some of these pictures might be blurry, excuse the quality but I took a few while in the car! These are from the drive as we started our day!
With those out of the way, let me fill you in on some other wonderful sights of Ireland! :) Also in Clare County
Craggaunowen - a must-see gem! Think of it as an outdoors exposition of the way the Irish lived in the past. Beautiful creation, amazing walking trails and views, and you walk away feeling like you've truly experienced the past. More insight: https://www.shannonheritage.com/Craggaunowen/
Knappogue Castle and walled gardens Another little gem we fell upon after Craggaunowen, this castle actually hosts weddings and has an engraved plaque where they're mentioned! The walled gardens were beautiful, and we had a nice stroll throughout.
It's actually a tower house, restored to its former 15th century glory by a family from Texas. https://www.shannonheritage.com/DaytimeAttractions/KnappogueCastleWalledGarden/
Some highlights of Limerick County Limerick city Very busy! This was the one and only time we ran into traffic (we wouldn't even call it traffic back here, merely a tiny delay). Limerick has its own charm of old and new, but what truly amazed me was the view from top of King John's Castle (last few pictures).
King John's Castle I have to say, this was unexpected but easily the most informative experience I've ever had in a museum.
So, when we decided to go to King John's, we didn't expect to be going into a museum. But what a place! Each chamber deals with a period of Irish history, you get to open drawers and see replicas of coins, clothes, weapons, jewelry etc. There are hologram-type characters in the walls that speak to you, such as prison guards, blacksmiths, etc telling you about their experience.
Each major chamber has a movie at the end that summarizes the conflicts in that period. It was a very informative choice, and the castle you are free to roam after. My only regret was that we went near closing time and barely spent 80min or so there. I would definitely go back there and spend half a day, easily!
(The last few pictures are of a church and cemetery view from atop the castle)
Bunratty Castle and Folk park Ahhh Bunratty. Again, we went after closing so did not experience the Folk Park, but did go by their gift shop that has an amazing display of Tipperary crystal vases, dishes, etc. to buy. They also ship 😁 A good thing to mention here, and something on my list to try next, is that a lot of these castles do medieval banquets. For a fee per person (around 30 euros) you get to experience a true medieval banquet within the walls of a castle. Bunratty is on the list, as is Dunguaire castle, and many others!
More videos and insight into the Folk Park and the experiences they offer: https://www.shannonheritage.com/BunrattyCastleAndFolkPark/
We went to dinner at Durty Nellys, quite literally next to the castle, and by the time we came out had a wonderful view of the lighted Bunratty 😁
Durty Nellys As we had not made our reservation for the medieval banquet and were starving, we walked by instead to Durty Nellys (the original), sitting appealingly in the shadow of the castle.
Their food, staff, drinks... everything was superb! And it's true what they say: Irish Guinness tastes way different than the one back here (and I'm not even a big beer drinker!)
What I thought was amazing were the hundreds of police insignia they had up on their walls, from practically all over the world! I never did get a chance to ask what they were for, but I found OPP among them 😁 our Ontario Provincial Police.
Up next: my favorite part of our trip, more castles, a Titanic nostalgic moment, and more!