Ireland- Much More Beer and Blarney

ireland-adare-2008.jpg  Our 3rd group trip to Ireland brings our happy travelers to the Southwestern region of this fascinating country. From Shannon airport we make our way directly to the Cliffs of Moher for an incredible view from the top 700′ below to the Atlantic Ocean. As if to make a statement, mother nature threw in 30mph winds a little drizzle and plenty of salt spray from below to appreciate the wild nature of the coast. Great new visitor’s center has opened since our last visit- well done!  Next up, a stop at Lahinch and a pint at O’Looneys pub overlooking the Atlantic as we watch some crazed surfers ( or was it the Guinness) brave the elements in wet suits.  Tony, our driver/guide for our stay, then took us on our motorcoach by ferry across the River Shannon and on to Killarney- home base for the next 3 nights. And what a great place to be, right downtown at the Killarney Plaza with their supurb breakfast and wonderful staff!  Next day, on to the Dingle peninsula for some of the most incredible views ( glad I wasn’t driving). The unique Beehive Dwellings from the 12th century dotted the area and made for an interesting stop along the way. Arrive at the quaint seaside village of Dingle just in time for lunch- so many delicious places to eat -how to choose just one!  Gotta have that photo with Fungi the resident dolphin.  Another fun evening in Killarney, someone’s still looking for that Leprechaun, and off the next morning to the Rebel County-County Clare and the home of the Blarney Stone. The rain stopped just as we pulled into the parking lot and held off for the rest of the day, who found the 4-leaf clover! After the kiss to obtain the “Gift of Eloquence”, like several in our group needed more, there was plenty of time to shop the Blarney Woolen Mills.  Next day we traveled to Adare with a stop at the Foynes Flying Boat Museum. What a fascinating story of aviation history from 1939-1945 with the arrival of Pan Am’s Yankee Clipper  air service and commercial air travel across the Atlantic. And if you’re not into aviation history, how about the fact that the local chef, Joe Sheridan, invented Irish Coffee here, to serve the tired, damp and cold patrons passing through the terminal- works for me.  Bill Chawkes pub in Adare has prepared our group a great lunch of homemade soup and sandwiches. What a great little community complete with thatched roofs, original churches and friendly people.  Adare Manor is our stay for the final night of this trip and what an impressive castle this is. We have time in the afternoon to explore the 840 acre grounds and the Robert Trent Jones Sr. golf course, but most of us eventually find ourselves in the cozy confines of the castle pub. That evening some of us treat ourselves to a wonderful 6-course meal at the castle and then retreat to the piano bar in the basement ( or was it the dungeon).  Morning comes too early ( it usually does) and we make our way back to Shannon and our waiting Aer Lingus flight home.  Sad to leave Ireland and our great group of travelers, but hey, we can always do it again! John and Joan bill-chawkes-2008.jpgireland-2008-fungi.jpgireland-2008-leprechaun.jpg ireland-2008-lahinch-prices.jpgireland-2008-sarah-blarney.jpgireland-2009-beehive-krum.jpg