Friday, July 26, 2019


We had planned to spend one night in Wales at Holyhead Port.  BUT, the only glitch that happened on our trip was this one.  We got notified from Irish Ferries that our afternoon ferry ship was experiencing technical problems and we were advised to go on the earlier ferry.  Unfortunately, that was at 8:30 a.m. and we would have to get up and leave our hotel in Athlone at 5:30 a.m. because we needed to drive to Dublin and return the rental car, then get an Uber to the ferry port.

It all worked out, but since we were arriving in Holyhead before lunch we just decided to spend a couple of hours there, then catch the train on  in to London.  My main objective was to see this in Wales -


South Stack lighthouse is actually on a little island - you walk down the steps on the cliffs 417 steps, then cross a little bridge to it.  It's over 200 years old and quite an amazing feat when you think about how difficult it was for them to get the materials down the cliffs and build it on that spot.  

I had to do some very strong suggesting to the Hubs to get him to do this.  He really wanted to be on the 2:00 train to London.  I got in the rental car line and he went outside to see if there were any taxis available.  The taxis weren't plentiful but a couple did come.  We were going to store our luggage in the train station but there was note on the door that said "back in 20 min."  We had a jovial taxi driver named Wayne and I asked him if we could store our luggage in his taxi and could he come back and get us in an hour???  He agreed and we totally trusted him to this agreement.  

We enjoyed the hike, yes, I'd call it a hike 834 steps down and back up.  We also paid and went inside and up into the lighthouse itself.  They did have some historical things inside but we really didn't have much time for that.  There were also puffins nesting on the cliffs and beautiful coastline views.  

At the end of this day we were pooped!  We had driven our rental car back to Dublin, taken 2 taxis, 2 shuttle buses, 1 ferry, and a train to get to London!  Whew!

Monday, July 22, 2019


The rest of our Ireland trip - 5 days - was spent road tripping through south Ireland! We made stops in Cork, Kenmare, Skellig Michael, Killarney, Limerick, Doolin, Ballinasloe, and Athlone.  Mostly what made it the best part for us was the natural beauty and unique experiences.

Driving into Cork

We stopped at St. Anne's church to ring the bells in the belltower!

That was a fun climb and experience!  Great views from the top!

Really?  We didn't have time, though...

We ate in an English Market in Cork - ironically we found out later we love Monkfish!

We stopped at the Toy Soldier factory in Macroom and spent 2 hours there!  The manager asked us if we wanted to do a "Make & Take" and we learned how to make a die cast metal figure and then we painted them.  They have the world's largest miniature battle scene on display- the Battle of Waterloo.  

After that we took Google Maps advice and spent 40 minutes on forest roads without seeing another car!  It was pretty crazy and actually a little scary!  

Spent 3 nights in Kenmare - a little town that we loved!  It was a good place to do day trips from...

Our favorite day of the whole trip!  Getting to boat out to Skellig Michael and hike up the ancient steps made by monks in the 6th century was pretty amazing!  There were stone cottages to see after a long climb up.  The island has gained recent fame because it is the site of Luke Skywalker's death in Star Wars.  But it is amazing because of the history of the monks and the puffins!  Hard to get tickets but we followed a blogger's advice and showed up early (got up at 5:30 a.m. to drive 90 min. to the port) and started asking the sea captains if they had an cancellations on their boats that day.  We absolutely loved the nature, the history of it - unlike anything in the United States!

Puffins have to be the cutest birds ever!

Kerry Cliffs

Skellig chocolate shop for free tastings!

Quick dip in the Atlantic Ocean!

So many pretty sights like this on our trip!

Killarney National Park

 In KNP we biked to Torc Waterfall, the Muckross estate and tour, and Muckross Abbey ruin.

We rented the bikes in Killarney but we didn't care for the city itself - too big and touristy.  The Hubs had to pose under the "Danny Mann" sign!  Our B & B had the prettiest flower garden!

We stopped in Limerick for a few hours and got the most awesome hot chocolate and checked out King John's castle.  

The Cliffs of Moher was another awesome sight!  We bought sandwiches in a little town nearby and took them with us so we could sit near the cliffs, relax, and have a little picnic.  We also walked through the underground visitor center and saw the exhibits.  We stayed nearby in Doolin.

Evening in Doolin

Another great morning - as we were leaving Doolin we decided to go to the Cliffs of Moher one more time.  this time we didn't want to pay the 16 Euro to park at the Visitor Center but try to find the "free" place I had read about on blogs.  We did find a farmer's land and he had a gravel parking area and this sign by the deposit box.  We walked along a gravel road for about 15 minutes and then got to the cliffs.

We saw a trail that went down below the cliffs and since it was early morning, no one was around.  We had the place to ourselves.  It was pretty awesome!

 Cemetery near the Atlantic Ocean and a stop in Ballinasloe

Best dessert I had - kind of like a Snickers cake!

Athlone - best Thai in Ireland!  It was very good!

View from the Athlone Sheraton - we got a free stay for our last night in Ireland!