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Posts Tagged ‘Ireland’

Ireland revisited


Last year, while preparing my journey through Ireland and Scotland, my mother told me that Ireland had been on her wishlist for so long, but now she was getting older, she’d probably never see her dream come true. That got me thinking.

So I started saving money every month to make her dream come true. After 6 months of living frugally I had enough money. So, 2 days after her 73rd birthday we left for a 2 week journey through Ireland.

Celebrating my mother's 73rd birthday in Antwerp.

Celebrating my mother’s 73rd birthday in Antwerp.

Because of the short period and my mother’s age, I gave up my principle of not taking airplanes. We flew from Brussels to Dublin, where we stayed 1 night.

Old Library, Trinity College, Dublin

Old Library, Trinity College, Dublin

Our first pub visit in Dublin, VAT House in Temple Bar.

Our first pub visit in Dublin, VAT bar in Temple Bar.

The next day we took the train to Galway. We stayed for several days, enjoyed the good life in this beautiful town and visited the Burren and the Cliffs of Moher.

Dunguaire Castle, Kinvara

Dunguaire Castle, Kinvara

Corcomroe Abbey, near Ballyvaughan

Corcomroe Abbey, near Ballyvaughan

Poulnabrone Dolmen, near Kilnaboy

Poulnabrone Dolmen, near Kilnaboy

Cliffs of Moher

Cliffs of Moher

We took the bus to Doolin so we could visit the Aran Islands.

Fitzpatrick's pub in Doolin.

Fitzpatrick’s pub in Doolin.

Inisheer, Aran Islands

Inisheer, Aran Islands

Inishmore, Aran Islands

Inishmore, Aran Islands

Inishmore

Inishmore

Inishmaan

Inishmaan

From Doolin we traveled to Galway and then on to Clifden, Connemara for a few days. In the secondhand book shop (that also doubles as a music shop) I bought a really nice novel on Ireland, by Frank Delaney. I also bought a nice harp cd (learning to play the harp myself) and some wooden spoons (the percussion instrument, that is).

Enjoying Galway Hooker beer in the Station House in Clifden.

Enjoying Galway Hooker beer in the Station House in Clifden.

Kylemore Abbey, Letterfrack

Kylemore Abbey, Letterfrack

Connemara mountains as seen from Kylemore Abbey

Connemara mountains as seen from Kylemore Abbey

Once again we took the bus to Galway to travel on to Sligo and then to NarinDonegal.
Last year I met a really nice couple in Cahersiveen. They live in Belfast, so I stayed with them on my way to Scotland in 2014. The lady’s roots lie in Donegal, so this year they invited me and my mom to stay at their holiday home for a couple of days. The Donegal coast is really beautiful. And I just loved the little town of Ardara!

View on Narin Beach from Portnoo

View on Narin Beach from Portnoo

Finally some sun! :)

Finally some sun! 🙂

Nancy's bar, wonderful pub in Ardara

Nancy’s bar, wonderful pub in Ardara

Annoras pub in Narin

Annoras pub in Narin

The two weeks we spent in Ireland were really cold. We had 10°C, lots of rain, mist, heavy wind. And it was the middle of may. I kept getting texts from friends telling how nice the weather in Belgium was and that they were enjoying ice cream in the sun… But now and then we were lucky and saw a bit of sunshine. The bad weather was a good excuse to indulge on locally woven tweed, woolen clothing and hot whiskeys. :p

Our last 2 nights were spent in Dublin where we, amongst others,  visited the wonderful National Museum. In the museum I bought this wonderful book on paganism in ancient Ireland by Jo Kerrigan.

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Trinity College, Dublin

Molly Malone in Dublin's fair city

Molly Malone in Dublin’s fair city

Arriving back in Belgium, with a woolen jumper on, tweed scarve and tweed hat, I was shocked that summer had arrived here. Such a contrast to the winter weather we had in Ireland. It made me realize once more what a moderate climate we have in Belgium and how we seldom appreciate it and just take it for granted.

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People ask me all the time: what was the most beautiful place you visited on your journey? I visited a lot of beautiful places in my months in Ireland and Scotland. But some of them are real highlights that I still cherish. So, in no particular order, here are my 3 highlights for Ireland.

Skellig Michael
What a mystical place! Ancient beehive huts where monks used to live. Cragged rock islands in the Atlantic Ocean. Now, together with Little Skellig, a bird sanctuary. I was there during the breeding season of the puffins. And saw thousands of gannets that live there. Amazing wildlife and scenery.

 Wanna read more? Click here!

Beehive huts and Little Skellig on the background

Beehive huts and Little Skellig on the background

Puffins

Puffins

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Little Skellig, gannet sanctuary

Little Skellig, gannet sanctuary

Photobomb by puffin

Photobomb by puffin

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Connemara

Dramatic mountains, beautiful lakes and breathtaking desolate valleys where you only encounter sheep. Beautiful little coastal towns and villages. And the most beautiful rainbows you will ever see!

Wanna read more? Click here!
And here!

Beautiful view on the Connemara mountains in Roundstone

Beautiful view on the Connemara mountains in Roundstone

 

Letterfrack bay

Letterfrack bay

 

 

 

 

 

 

Roundstone harbour

Roundstone harbour

Clifden bay

Clifden bay

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Glendalough

Lush mountain valley with 2 lakes and the beautiful abbey ruins of St. Kevin. Quiet abandoned mining village. Little birds that join you on your trail through the mountains. And the mystical little sanctuary where St. Kevin used to have his cell. Peace and quiet. A reflective and meditative vibe. Visit it during rain or after the tourists have gone. And enjoy the solitude.

Wanna read more? Click here!
And here!

The St. Kevin abbey

The St. Kevin abbey

St. Kevin's cell

St. Kevin’s cell

Upper Lake Glendalough

Upper Lake Glendalough

waterfalls in Glendalough National Park

waterfalls in Glendalough National Park

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