Saturday, July 8, 2017

a day in limerick

So Peter, the driver, picked us up at "11-tirty" or "half eleven" to take us to meet the guide for our walking tour of Limerick.  The walking guide is named Declan. We meet outside the tourist office (which is closed) and set off down in the direction of the River Shannon.  On the way there we pass a statue of Richard Harris (Limerick native).  We also see political memorials in many spots along the river- some from the independence movement and some far earlier... and learn much history (in my case) or refresh much history (in Phil's case) LOL but we will start with my favorite photo of the day LOL

back to the walk- we crossed the Shannon and headed along the riverbank toward the Castle and learned about the whole of Irish history from the Vikings and Normans through the birth of the Republic after the Easter uprising.... the tour guide was extremely knowledgeable and since it was just Phil and me on the walk we had plenty of opportunity to ask questions or make comments.

the river is tidal and so has great variation in depth throughout the day-

a heron wades in the rocks seeking lunch...(above) and (below) the tide rushing past rocks making waves until the water reaches level...

our first glance of the castle-

the walkway along the river bank-

historical treaty stone from centuries past-

the walk below the stone has the full history of the events leading up to and after the treaty and it's breach... after the breach a number or regiments left and headed to France (known as the Wild Geese) where they settled in the south of France and became a part of the French Revolutionary armies- names from those who settled in the south of France will sound extremely familiar to those who are aficionados of wine- Lynch, Barton, Phelan to name a few--- if you favor Bordeaux you know these "wine geese"

a local neighborhood where some buildings were part of an effort for local artists to display their work-

some guy who stole a whole bunch of money from his mother by not paying her back the loan she made of her life savings - he used to self publish a book of his work (of poems, I think- what a jerk)

loved the sentiment-

a church from 800+ years ago- we will visit inside after the walking tour ends-

not all of Limerick is old-

Lunch! - I had the potted crab and Phil had a shrimp salad-

 then after lunch we visited the museum and the church on our own-

 we waited for our driver to pick us up at this shared bike drop and pick up lot-

later that night we had dinner at JP Clarke's (sister restaurant to the better Gallagher's of last night)

tomorrow morning we meet the rest of the music tour group and start off to the south... stay tuned...

Friday, July 7, 2017

off we go

so the Ireland trip we booked a year ago finally arrived...

off we went on an overnight flight to Shannon airport.  We had splurged and booked business class so we had the new Polaris experience with a pre-departure club and believe it or not - decent food on board...

in the club we had small pot pies and caprese salad and smoked salmon along with many sweet choices- there was also an a la carte menu with table service if you wanted something more substantial than what the buffet offered - everything was refreshed all the time and was excellent (gasp!)

on board we had a good meal with several choices - here is the set up (main- choice of five- not shown)

the flight arrived early and we had quite the wait to get through passport control but still we were at the meeting point (LOL) waiting for the driver at the exact moment the flight had been scheduled to arrive.  Phil had met the driver last year when he was here so knew he was a good guy and he was there about ten minutes later...

we had booked the room for the night before since our arrival was 6:20 and we wanted to go to sleep ASAP... The Bunratty Castle Hotel had our room and we crashed for four hours and got up for lunch.

the day was lovely so we went across the road to Durty Nelly's to have a bite to eat before heading into the Bunratty Castle and Folk Park...

there was actually a nice little carry out place in the Castle park and they had out door tables but we didn't know this until we got there-

so into the folk park we went- it is quite large and we had limited time since we had dawdled in the sunny afternoon at lunch...eating outside on one of the picnic tables...

below - an early Murphy bed perhaps? LOL

a few lads stopped by on the way out to have a pint (or a glass)

the crowning glory of Ireland- green green green and flowers everywhere! (the heart is the music, just in case you were wondering....)

and that was all in the first ten hours of our trip LOL- we headed to dinner at Gallagher's a seafood place for an earlier dinner (time change) and had the first of many many many seafood chowders-

some photos of the ambience of the place and then the food and later the outside of the "cottage" where Gallagher's is located

I had gravlax for a starter and Phil had the seafood chowder.  Then I had seafood chowder for a main and Phil had the mussels... we shared a sticky toffee pudding for dessert-

for some reason the only photos I have of the hotel were of the bar (go figure- LOL)

clearly my intention was to show the full number of choices of things on tap - a scene which would be repeated throughout the trip.... so we are off - tomorrow we have scheduled a walking tour of Limerick and then the following morning we meet up with the group on the music tour, including tour host Johnsmith.... so lots to follow- stay tuned...