Tidbits from the Trip:
A collection

Day 1 & 2:
To Dublin - Arrive 5:30am -
Taxi to hotel
Blooms Hotel

Day 3:
Blooms Hotel

Day 4:
 Lv Dublin -
Drive to Kilkenny Castle
stay night at
Kilkenny Ormonde Hotel

Day 5:
 Lv Kilkenny - Drive to Rock of Cashel 
stay night at

Baileys Hotel

Day 6:
Lv Cashel - Drive to Doolin,
See Cliffs of Moher
stay night at
St. Anthony's B&B

Day 7:
 Aran Island - Ins Mor -
 day trip, boat ride

Doolin2Aran Ferries
St Anthony's B&B

Day 8:
 Lv Doolin - On drive to Donore see Trim Castle

Dalys Inn

Day 9:
Newgrange and Knowth
Lv Donore - Drive to Laytown
stay night at
Tara House (on beach)

Day 10:
Lv Laytown -
Slow drive to Dublin -
See Malahide Castle - 
turn in car
Harding Hotel

Harding Hotel

Day 12 & 13:
 Taxi to airport -
airplane leaves 5:38am
Av Greensboro and drive home

(Most all pictures are are linked to a larger size - click to view), Hotel links open in new tab
Much of the information on this site came from the DK Eyewitness Travel 2016 Book


Tidbits From the Trip: 
A Collection:

The Republic of Ireland is different from Northern Ireland - they have two different countries governing them. We traveled the east to west staying in the middle part of the Republic of Ireland.

We also put together a list of "You Know You Are In Ireland When ..."

  • The sun is out and it's raining.
  • The locals tell you that they hope you didn't come for a tan.
  • YouTube videos tell you to remember that when driving, you need to keep our wife in the bushes (or gutters).
  • All car mirrors fold back. (Corollary, most left side mirrors feel the pain of DuckTape)
  • The corners are wider than the roads. (Corollary, you can see your own tail lights as you go around some of them.)
  • You never have to say, "Lets get up early to start while it is still cool outside."
  • Like deer in Virginia, if you see one bicycle on those narrow roads, there is another in the area.
  • In an elevator, the 0 floor button is the ground floor - the first floor is our second floor.
  • A GPS is essential, as is a map, and printed route from Google maps. (Wife input ... not so much.)

This picture was taken at 10:00 PM!

Space is at a premium

We have Happy Meals,
they have happy lunch meat

The picture on the left is not as impressive as it was when sitting in the car ... the roads get narrow. The dotted yellow line means that there is a hard shoulder you can move toward when passing ... all two inches of it. Most of the rock walls were covered in hedges - they looked deceptively "soft".

P.S. Giving your passenger a map or paper to hold so that they can help steer the car by turning it like the steering
wheel is a helpful option for the driver.
After a long day of work, everyone needs a pint ... including the horses pulling the tourist wagons. The horses got theirs before their drivers
Gotta love this country!

The "L" on the windshield on the blue car designated the driver as a Learner, having passed the first driving test.

The "N" show that the driver has passed all tests
but is still New. It stays on the car for TWO years!
And no, there is no "T" for tourist.

Click on the picture to see Toby and Athena in the backyard - where they stay while the critter sitters and Jennifer come to the house. (Thanks for the photo, Jen!)


Day 1 & 2: Dublin - Arrive 5:30am  - Taxi to hotel
Blooms Hotel

After arriving in Dublin at 5:30 in the morning, we got to the hotel by taxi and dropped our bags in their locker. Then we started investigating the city before it was even awake. With the threat of rain tomorrow, we set off for the places that would be a long walk or outdoors. However, we had to wait over 4 hours before the first place opened.

We went to walk the campus of Trinity College. The Sphere Within a Sphere was delightful. 

There was no one around - peace and quiet. The round building is the record tower 1226 - the oldest part.

Across the courtyard looking to the
Bedford Tower.

Old Dublin around 800 with no castle and thatched style houses. The Vikings controlled the town at this time.

Anglo-Normans are the descendants of the French from Normandy that conquered England in 1066.

A later version around the 1200s where the castle is stone at the top left of the picture.

During these times the Irish were not allowed to sleep inside the Dublin walls - they could work there during the day, but had to leave at night - they weren't trusted to stay. Also, the Gaelic
 Irish were not protected under Norman-Saxon laws. They could be killed with no punishment
 to the English person. Inside the cities and fort the world was like being in England - outside
and in the countryside, it remained Irish.

Strongbow came from England with soldiers
that were organized, had chain-mail, lances,
and other equipment and skills the native Irish
 and Vikings had not seen. He quickly took over the southern part of Ireland. When King Henry II heard that Strongbow was calling himself the
ruler of the area, the King put together an army
of his own, put Strongbow in his place, and headed north to take Dublin. The Irish chieftains and Vikings submitted full to King Henry II in
1169. To keep control, the the King handed
great tracks of land to rich and loyal friends
 who began building the castles all over Ireland. The Norman-Saxons were fully in control and
would remain so until 1922.

Hugh Delacey was given a bunch of land to the north of Dublin as a balance to the power of Strongbow. Delacey was to keep the King informed and the people loyal. To do this, he
built the Trim Castle - one of the first to and
 largest in Ireland.

Remains under the Treasury Building of the Powder Tower With incredibly thick walls.

Stairs leading to and from the docks.

The Chapel Royal attached to the Record Tower was completed in 1814 as a neogothic church.

Inside the Chapel Royal. The first Lord-Lieutenant's presiding seat is on the right. His name is carved into it so that all the others to follow him would have the rest of the audience looking at and remembering his name not the current occupant's.

Cornwallis Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland with name cared into the paneling of the Chapel Royal. Cornwallis surrendered to Washington during the Revolutionary War. Some said that he was sent to Ireland as punishment for losing the war. The Chapel was used in the Tutors, including the trial of Thomas Moore.

The organ in the Chapel.
To the right is the Throne Room where King George IV sat in 1821. He was so large that he made a massive throne ("wide as he was tall"). Later a diminutive  Queen needed to add a stool so her feet wouldn't dangle.
St. Patrick's hall (the patient Saint of Ireland).
The banners were from the Knights of St. Patrick.

The ceiling paintings depict the relationship between Britain and Ireland (late 1780's). One panel shows the Irish surrendering to the Norman-Saxons.

Christ Church Cathedral rebuilt in 1186.

The tomb of Strongbow is located here (1176). He started the invasion of Ireland and was captured in 1170.

As always, we lit a candle for those we love and lost. This year we lit one for Herby French, Amy's sister's father-in-law.


1908 Boy Scout uniform


Religious artifacts

From the crypts

A group from New Mexico was singing beautiful gothic music
The mummified Cat and the Rat were found in an organ pipe in the late 1850's.

"...The duo is affectionately named Tom and Jerry and even got a mention in James Joyce’s novel Finnegan’s Wake".




Day 3: Dublin
Blooms Hotel

Easter rebellion (1916) at the Post Office which gave the Irish Republic its independence from the United Kingdom.
See more info in picture to right.

The monument to Daniel O'Connell (1775-1847)  - the the “Liberator”.

The road works in the background are connecting the trains from one end of the city to the other. They built two sections but never connected them. Now they are trying.


Back at the Trinity college, we were headed to see the Book of Kells.

It is a medieval, illuminated manuscript of the gospels - over a 1000 years old. It is associated with the monistic island of Iona and was probably produced around 806 AD. After attacks on the Iona monastery, it traveled to Dublin and then was moved to the Trinity College in 1661.

Afterwards we went to tour the Long Room
in the Old Library.


It is about 200 feet long and holding 200,000
of the oldest books and was built between 1712 and 1732.

This is the oldest surviving harp in Ireland.

In 1896, Guinness copyrighted their harp symbol which was based on this harp.

When Ireland wanted to adopt the harp as their national symbol, they had to turn the harp around (the flat sounding board to the right).

National Archeology Museum
The floor of the National Museum was beautiful.

Lavish mosaics everywhere.




Bog bodies have been found all over Europe. They date from 400 BC to 400 AD and all were "put to death is a brutal fashion". (From information to right.)

Famous bog bodies and
where they were found.


Clonycavan Man  391-201 BC

See full info to left.

Clonycavan Man was found in 2003 after a bog cutting machine dug him up (which did some obvious damage). With hair and organs well preserved, a reconstruction of what he may have looked like is on the right.


Oldcroghan Man 362-175 BC

See full info to left - they are a bit gruesome,
so reader beware.

Discovered in 2003, he was approximately 25 years old, muscular, and tall.




Gallagh Man 200-400 BC

See full info to the left.

Found in1821, the body was naked covered
only in a deerskin cape. The body has deteriorated over the years. He was probably strangled.


Above: Irish Wetlands and their Archeology

On right: shoes and tools of the past

These clothes were also found in the bogs





"Buzz Bones"

Made from pig's toe bones these were probably children's toys. The cord threaded through the middle, twisted, and when pulled, would make a buzzing sound.



Gold necklaces and arm bands with a twisted design we have never seen on our travels.

All museums have their Egypt section. We had never seen a mummy like this one. It probably dates to the 2nd or 3rd century AD when the Roman influence was firmly in place.



Day 4: Lv Dublin - Drive to Kilkenny Castle
then stay night at
Kilkenny Ormonde Hotel

Bob was getting use to driving on the left, and Amy was getting use to sitting on the left. Our trip would initially take us on big roads (like our interstates) and as we traveled, we would be encountering smaller and smaller roads. A good plan - it worked for us.  :)

Kilkenny Castle

Quaint town located on the river Nore.

Built in the 1190s and occupied until 1935 by the Butler family and their descendants.

Out the castle window to the extensive gardens
 To the right is a Zograscope from the 18th and 19th century. As the card says, it was a popular amusement that makes images look like they have dimension.

The Picture Gallery

With awesome and visable internal supports

Bob liked this one  :)  

He was one of the line of Butlers that
built the castle.

Unusual double fireplace

The description placket in front of the fireplace

Kilkenny St. Canice's Cathedral

Kilkenny St. Canice's Cathedral

Worshiping has been done here for the last
800 years - continuously. I has one of the only two round towers tourists can still climb.

Built in the 1200s in early
English Gothic style.

The Cathedral and grounds were beautiful.

The inside was fantastic!




Beautiful stained glass windows

We were particularly fascinated by #4 Bishop John Kearney, the 6th generation of Obama's grand uncle. (see below)
Picture of wall memorial   
Website info about Obama's Irish relative

And, #6 - the info on the Irish Green Man

We lit another candle in memory of those lost.

Ireland was so refreshing  - we saw none of the eclectic candles on other trips.

The Smithwick Beer Tour was delightful.


Day 5: Lv Kilkenny -  Drive to Rock of Cashel 
then stay night at

Baileys Hotel

The Rock of Cashel

It was the Kings of Munster from the 4th or 5th century.

The site of the Cathedral was from the 1200s.

The round tower

A fine example of the Celtic Cross - with the ring of life incorporated into the Christian cross. (This predates the traditional cross.)

Beautiful stone work

Even Kini and Kimi were finding cover from the rain and cold.  



Day 6: Lv Cashel - Drive to Doolin, See Cliffs of Moher
then stay night at

St. Anthony's B&B

On our drive we decided to fill the gas tank and were lucky enough to do that at a gas station that housed a Subway sandwich shop. We intended to picnic at the cliffs enjoying the views. And then Ireland's weather did what it does best ... changed in a heartbeat. The tell tale signs were the dark clouds, the pouring rain, and the hordes of people running to their cars. Our picnic was happily dry and in the car in the parking lot. Within half and hour, the skies cleared and the rain became just a drizzle - and off we went!

The cliffs rise to 702 feet and run down the Atlantic Ocean for 5 mile miles. Birds fly the cliffs, above and below, in an incredible dance.

It was beautiful!

The Cliffs of Moher rise 690 feet out of the sea and extend for 5 miles.

We had 60 miles an hour winds which made
it so much fun to walk around in - and, no, we did not get close to the edges!

The Burren is an extraordinarily stony area of Ireland. After we left the cliffs, we took Little Brutus through the Burren and over scary little back roads to the ancient portal tomb. Little Brutus was named after our big car we drove to Dad's in 2008.

The portal tomb of Pounabrone - another adventure on the smallest roads we had driven.

The archeologist have discovered 600 years of burials, dating between 3800-3200 BC.

Oh yea - did we say the weather changes in a heartbeat? These photos were taken about 15 minutes apart.


The Portal Tomb

St. Anthony's B&B
Such a perfect location!!!
And such a perfect place!

How beautiful! and relaxing!

The cows doing the same



After checking into St. Anthony's in Doolen
(a few buildings up the way),
we head down to the
Gus O'Conner's Pub for a pint (or two).

After enjoying the outside, we went in for dinner. We were told that we just went to the bar and told them our table number and they would start a tab for us. Cool. So we sat down at wonderful table off to the side and back.

We couldn't believe it - our table was number 33 - and today was our 33rd anniversary. Amy's mom sent along a bit of money to celebrate our anniversary (love her - she always does). This year we used it to buy a bottle of red wine in three different cities! This was our first bottle!



Amy bought herself a green knitted hat and scarf - the first time she wrapped up in it was to read her book that evening.






Day 7: Aran Island - Inis Mor - Day trip, boat ride

Doolin2Aran Ferries
St. Anthony's B&B
We were very lucky. The boats to the islands did not run the day before our scheduled trip. Anyone who had spent the night on the islands, got an unscheduled two night stay since the ferries could not get there to pick them up.

It was rock and roll for the first bit, but settled down as we left the port.

We got off the ferry and immediately met
a man driving a trap and pony rental.

Notice Amy's knitted cap!

So he asked us if we like to walk ... Well, Yea.
Little did we know....

Pretty streets that got smaller and smaller,
down to country tracks.
Then, "Lets go see this, just follow me on foot."

Really? Yea, Bob knew that we would be
walking over a boulder fields (like the Burren), then rocky, watery flats, to get to the Worm Hole.

He forgot to tell me, Kini, or Kimi that we were hiking to see the Worm Hole or Serpent's Lair.

RedBull participants dive from 27 meters (3 times Olympic height), into a sea fed and enclosed area of water. 

RedBull    Atlantic Way

The way back was just as beautiful and just as treacherous.
Our pony and trap ride took us through the countryside to end up at Dun Aonghasa - the ancient ringed fort.

We saw multiple walls and plots that belong to the past and present land owners.

 Dun Aonghasa

"A 14 acre site the fort consists of three terraced walls surrounding an inner enclosure containing a platform on the edge of a three hundred foot high cliff. The views from it are breathtakingly spectacular. Excavations carried out in the 1990s indicated that people had been living at the hill top from c.1500 BC with the first walls and dwelling houses being erected c.1100 BC. A remarkable network of defensive stones known as a Chevaux de Frise (c.700bc) surrounds the whole structure." Quoted from 

Our ferry and ride home


Day 8: Lv Doolin - On drive to Donore, see Trim Castle
Dalys Inn

Part of Braveheart was filmed at Trim Castle.

Hugh Delacey built Trim Castle in the 12th century. The first part of the castle was wood and stone with a stone wall around it. Once the area was secured, they started to build the Keep - the building in the center. Over hundreds of years the surrounding wall was built and modified. Trim castle was whitewashed with a lime based paint. It made the rooms brightened and the lime kept down disease.

The stairs spiraled upwards and to the right. This means that attackers coming up the stairs would not be able to use their sword in their right hand. And, all swordsmen were right handed - none were left handed. Also, there was a trip step every few steps. It was a different height or width to trip up attackers


For the first time, rainwater from the roof of the Kepp was collected and stored.



We checked into our hotel ... at the bar, no less. While sitting outside, two locals showed up with their horses and wagons that took tourists around town.

Fantastic fellows - like them even better when the first pint of beer they got was fed to the horses!



Day 9: See
Brú na Bóinne, Newgrange and Knowth
Lv Donore - Drive to Laytown
then stay night at
Tara House  (on the beach)

This area is in the Boyne Valley - the place of the Boyne family/dinasty in the


Knowth (pronounced no-th) -

Built around 3,000BC, it is 1,000 years older than Stonehenge in England,
and 500 years older than the Great Pyramids of Giza in Egypt.

A written virtual tour can be read here - section 1, section 2, section 3

The largest passage tomb (on the right) is 40 feet high and 220 feet in diameter , had two passageways, and has 18 satellite tombs.

There are 127 kerbstones, carved with Neolithic art, that surround the mound on the outside.
Most are geometric designs.

One of the more famous ones is the kerbstone 15 - the sundial or lunar calendar stone.

A satellite tomb

Newgrange - slightly "newer" than Knowth at 3,200 to 2,500 BC

"The Megalithic Passage Tomb at Newgrange was built about 3200 BC. The kidney shaped mound covers an area of over one acre and is surrounded by 97 kerbstones, some of which are richly decorated with megalithic art. The 19 meter long inner passage leads to a cruciform chamber with a corbelled roof. It is estimated that the construction of the Passage Tomb at Newgrange would have taken a work force of 300 at least 20 years.

The passage and chamber of Newgrange are illuminated by the winter solstice sunrise. A shaft of sunlight shines through the roof box over the entrance and penetrates the passage to light up the chamber. The dramatic event lasts for 17 minutes at dawn on the Winter Solstice and for a few mornings either side of the Winter Solstice." from



The stone front was recreated in the best scientific estimates of the rocks found around the site.

The best known kerbstone sits at the entrance. It is carved with multiple spiral designs.

The "roof box" over the entrance allows the sun to enter the passage tomb on the Winter Solstice.

While inside they have a light show that recreates what it would look like as the light enters the tomb. There is a lottery you can sign up for to be able to experience it on the actual day.

We were not allowed to take pictures inside, so here is a link to the corbeled ceiling (a method of stacking stones). It was so well done, that it has never had a leak in all its centuries.



Sheep - again!

A few minutes away was Laytown and the Tara House - our hotel on the beach. We had some fun finding it as there was a road rally being held so they blocked off some of those itty-bitty streets we needed.

As the sign says, Laytown is known for their
annual horse race on the beach.

So, Laytown rolls up the streets on a Monday - when we happened to be there - so we had to walk about a mile to Bettystown.

A beer on the way (half way, actually) with the best labels we have ever read!

A new laundry mat machine that held much controversy in the town. This is it and it was located outside of the supermarket under a little plexiglass housing. Stuff your clothes in, money, lock the front and turn on, then run back across the street for a beer. Repeat the process to use the drier.

The tricky part?
Remembering to look at your watch!

Loved this play house. The slide ends into what looks like a little hedge. This is Ireland ... it is covered in greenery, there is a stone wall under it. Ouch!

When we got back to the hotel, the tide was out - waaaay out.
So we picked up a few bottles of beer
and went for a walk.

There was nobody around, so we had to try to
take a few shots on our own using the timer.

You could see for miles and the storms (thankfully) stayed out to sea.

But afterwards, ahhhh ... the rainbows!

Below and to the right is a picture in the morning of a horse and rider tromping down the beach.



Day 10: Lv Laytown - Slow drive to Dublin - See Malahide Castle -  turn in car
Harding Hotel

 Malahide Castle

It was the home to the Talbot family for 800 years. It was built in 1185, the only time the Talbots were not in residence was for the 11 years from
1649-1660 when Oliver Cromwell gave it to Miles Corbet after the wars Cromwell won in Ireland.

The towers on the corners had little rooms that were used from writing rooms to wardrobe rooms - unique!

Men and women had separate bedrooms they could use.

A Courting Couch

The couple would sit in the middle section while the two chaperones (one for the male and one for the female) would sit at the end seats. They could overhear the conversations, but seem as though they were intruding.

The Fire Screen

See info on right

We were told that the movable fire screen of this century were put in front of fireplaces so that they would deflect the direct heat of the fire when women sat in front of them. Servants would adjust the screens so that the heat would not
melt the ladies' heavily waxed makeup.

"M'lady, do not lose face." "Mind your beeswax."

Great story, just not so sure of its accuracy.
See #1, #2, #3 

Indeed, it seems that the heavy white pastes they used were not waxed based but were lead based - killing them slowly
for the fashion of the day.


Info on the battle of the Boyne

There was work being done to preserve the painting.




After our visit, we headed to the airport in Dublin
to return the car. Only took one wrong turn, so stopped at a gas station to
get our bearings again.

We took a taxi into town again and checked
 into our final hotel.



Day 11: Dublin
Harding Hotel

Arthur Guinness was one of the most shrewd business men of his time. He made a stout beer, rich and deep in color. Pouring the beer has become an art form. You fill the glass to about a third and let it rest for a while before pouring the rest. Then the customer also must wait until the golden bubbles settle. It is a beautiful thing to watch. 

Located at the St. James Gate has been there over two hundred years and is the largest brewery in Europe.

"A woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle." - Patricia Irene Dunn

Our Short Fish on a Bicycle Video

We reached the top of the Guinness tower
 and go a pint each. Beautiful views.

As we walked to the St. Patrick Cathedral,
we passed the Viking road and boat tour.
Just loved all the passengers with their
Viking hats on!

 St. Patrick's Cathedral

Dates from 1,220 BC.


These flags remember the Irish regiments of the British Army. They are allowed to fade away in memory of those who fought under them.

Magnificent tiled floors throughout

Stone from St. Patrick's Well

Just outside the Cathedral


The learning center where one could do rubbings of brass icons.

My rubbing of a regal lady.

Info and history on him and his wife

The tiled floor where he and his wife are buried

Cast of Jonathan Swift's skull

In 1835 phrenologists unburied Swift's body to do a phrenologist study (they thought the
bumps and valleys on the skull would
indicate intelligence).

To the right is a death mask cast of his face - often popular for lead figures of the time.

His pulpit





Day 12 & 13: Taxi to airport - airplane leaves at a "civilized hour"
Av Greensboro and drive home

We left the Dublin around 1:00 pm, giving us a great chance to sleep in and repack - a first. Aer Lingus was great and we no problems with any of the flights. The drive home was long (two hours), but it saved us money and provided a good flight plan. The dogs and mom were fine.


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