Sunday, 28th September – Limerick to Cork

As with most days on the UK part of our adventure, today’s itinerary was exciting but long. The drive was approximately 6 hours from Limerick to Cork via Tralee, Kenmare, Killarney, Bantry and Skibbereen on the Ring of Kerry.

After checking out of the hotel we went for a quick walk along the River Shannon. From the bridge we could see King John’s Castle. The castle was built in the 13th century on the site of a Viking settlement dating back to 922.IMG_5043

On the road from Limerick to Tralee on the banks of the River Deel lay the ruins of the Franciscan Friary built in 1389.

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From Tralee we headed to Kenmare via Killarney National Park. Driving through Killarny we found a cathedral – St Mary’s – at the foot of the National Park. We stopped in to have a look at this Gothic Revivalist style church and took some photos.

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Killarney National Park, for its size, has many varying landscapes. Some parts are almost like the Scottish moors and others so rich and green they are almost like a rainforest.

At the foot of the park there is a large body of water, Lough Leane (which means lake of learning). Depending on your viewpoint, the landscape around the lake is completely different.

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Further on the road to Kenmare we came across an old church perfectly situated near a gorgeous waterfall. Not far from the church were the ruins of a small anonymous castle. The Ring of Kerry was proving itself to be a highlight.

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Continuing on the Ring of Kerry, we found a look out called Ladies View. The name apparently stems from the admiration of the view given by Queen Victoria’s ladies-in-waiting during their 1861 visit.

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The rest of our journey on the Ring of Kerry toward Kenmare continued to amaze us with its unique landscapes.

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Molly Gallivan’s was an unexpected gem about 15 minutes from Kenmare towards Bantry. A quirky little hobby farm where you can experience Irish lifestyle as it was prior to electricity, see some ancient ruins, do some shopping in an extensive gift shop and enjoy some homemade scones in front of a fire.IMG_5194

We enjoyed the rest of the journey to Cork on the N71, stopping only to take some random photos.

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On our way into Cork, we noted Saint Fin Barre’s Cathedral. This Gothic style church was built in the 18th century on a historically religious site since the 7th century.IMG_5316

We checked into a rather posh hotel (in comparison to our usual Ibis digs), taking advantage of their lovely restaurant indulging in a few glasses of wine overlooking Cork and the River Lee.

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Saturday, 27th September – Sligo to Limerick

Today’s trip takes us from Sligo to Limerick – a five hour trip via Galway, the Cliffs of Moher and Ennis. After a good nights sleep we were up super early and made our way to Sligo Abbey, built in the 13th century.

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On our way out of Sligo, we stopped to have a look at a beautiful church – the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception. A relatively new church, opened in 1874, it is the only Norman style church in Ireland. We had a brief look inside, as the morning mass was about to start.

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Over the next two hours, we really enjoyed the drive through country Ireland as the scenery was incredible. We came across Dunguaire Castle which was not on our itinerary, but simply too picturesque to drive past. We didn’t pay the entry to go inside, but did look around the gift shop. This place seemed to be a major tourist attraction – we knew this from the incredible number of coaches arriving as we left.

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On the coast road just outside of Ballyvaughan we spotted a large keep of a castle and decided to explore. Upon further investigation, it turned out that only one of the walls was intact! The others had fallen away over the years. We later found out that it was Muckinish West Tower House built around 1350.

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We were only an hour away to our next destination, the Cliffs of Moher. This part of our journey was amazing and it was an incredible day – one of the warmest we’d had since returning to the UK. The rolling hills along the coastal road along with the blue sky and green fields partitioned by traditional Irish stone walls were perfect.

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Along the road we also encountered spectacular views. One of them (below) was of a place called The Burren. It is within a national park, and has an almost alien landscape on top of the mountains there – a huge contrast to the green everywhere else. We didn’t have time to explore further, but seeing The Burren in the distance was great!

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One of the most iconic places to visit in Ireland is the Cliffs of Moher. The site itself is visited by a million people per year and is well built to cater for the numbers. They have a great car park, visitors centre and walks around the cliffs – all for six euro per person (including parking). One of the best value locations we visited on our trip.

At about 215 metres high and going for 8 kms, the Cliffs are so impressive – 320 million years in the making! Many films have been made here including a couple of our favourites: The Princess Bride and Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince.

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Throughout the UK we had problems finding Air BnB’s so we staying at a lot of hotels. This means we’ve been accumulating loads of washing! We managed to find a laundromat in a place called Ennis – en route to our hotel. We have to plug Fergus Dry Cleaning, they were really lovely people and after we explained we were travelling, had 8 days worth of washing and an hour to get it sorted, they agreed to prioritise us! We were really surprised with the price as well. While they washed our clothes, we went and had a traditional Irish lunch (including real Guinness) at the local pub, Brogans Bar and Restaurant.

Back on the road, we continued toward Limerick, on the way we saw some horses with a new foal that Bec just had to feed an apple to.

Unfortunately time had gotten away from us, we drove around Bunratty Castle, however couldn’t look around too much as it was closed.

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Once at the hotel, we hung all our wet washing up in the room and slept under our drying clothes that night.

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