this bird can sing.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Ireland, Part Five

November 26, 2012

We awoke to a beautiful Monday morning in Limerick. It was sunny and clear when we looked out the window.

View from our hotel.
We made our way downstairs for breakfast. Although the full Irish breakfast was again available, I went with fried eggs, toast, and tea. Oh, and possibly a pastry or two.

After breakfast, we decided to walk down to the Medieval area and see King John's Castle. When we stepped outside, we discovered that the beautiful day was a bit misleading. It was extremely windy, which made it much colder than it looked.

Nevertheless, we made it to King John's Castle. I was particularly excited about this, as I'm an avid reader of historical fiction. This is my favorite time period, so I know a lot about King John. The castle was built on his orders around 1210 before he became King of England. Unfortunately, the castle is currently closed for renovations, but we were able to walk around and see the exterior.

There were also some nice views along the River Shannon. By this point, my contacts were so dry that I couldn't really see out of my right eye.
View from the river.
Can you feel the wind?

The Medieval Quarter was interesting, as there were different informative plaques displayed to describe buildings and structures.

The Exchange Wall, built in 1673. The wall is all that remains of the original building.
Another one of my favorite things about Ireland were the colorful doors everywhere. In fact, montages of the doors of Dublin could be found on postcards, books, etc. I did pick up a postcard.

After our walk, we went back down to Arthurs Quay before leaving Limerick. We visited a store called Irish Handcrafts. We met some very nice people. One of them even has a house in Kenmare (my grandma's hometown, where we were headed the next day). She emailed me some information about the Kenmare Chronicle, which I am now following on Facebook. 

They explained what the various patterns mean in knitwear. We ended up buying some Irish woolen scarves and hubby got a hat that he was wanting. 

Next, we made our way toward Killarney. I really enjoyed the drive on this pretty, sunny day. It was exciting to cross into County Kerry, and this part of the country is so beautiful.

It was hard to get photos due to driving into the sun. But it was beautiful.
Due to some road construction in places, it took a little longer to get Killarney than expected. We arrived and checked into our hotel, which was right in the city centre. 

Our hotel, all decorated for Christmas.

We decided to walk around Killarney. It's an adorable town, although it was pretty quiet in the tourism off-season. We did some shopping for a couple of hours.

When it got dark and started to get chillier, we stopped into Charlie Foley's pub for Irish coffees. We warmed up right by the fire. Sitting in an Irish pub by the fireplace with Irish coffee or a pint of Guinness is about the coziest, most wonderful experience imaginable. We enjoyed doing this as much as possible during our trip.

Our friends who were coincidentally vacationing in Ireland at the same time were also in Killarney this night. So we met up with them for drinks and dinner. Many restaurants were closed due to the time of year, so we walked around a bit looking for places that were open.

We stopped into the Porterhouse for drinks and found out that the bartender used to live in St. Louis. Either due to the St. Louis connection or because we were the only ones in the bar, he poured us some gigantic glasses of wine. 

He recommended that we eat dinner at Lord Kenmare's. We walked down there, and while the restaurant was closed, the bar was serving food, which we enjoyed with live music. 

After dinner, we walked down to the Killarney Grand.

Courtesy of my phone's camera.
Luckily, the Killarney Grand was probably a minute walk or so from our hotel. So it was easy getting back and going to bed.

Next up is Part Six, in which we go to Kenmare and the Ring of Kerry.

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