Today was incredible! Steph and I woke up bright and early to hit the road. Using only a vague map we managed to drive from Dublin on the east coast to Limerick city all the way on the west coast of Ireland. Of course this was only a 3 1/2 hour drive, but I was still glad to pull it off without getting lost. Actually, we did get lost right in the beginning, but that lead us to get an awesome breakfast so I didn’t mind too much. The drive there was pretty damn dull. There isn’t much to see in the middle of the country. Just
flat fields and a lot of cows. The radio stations were extremely boring and lacked music, and we had forgotten our ipods so it was just painful. Steph fell asleep after maybe an hour so the drive was almost torture.
About a half hour before we made it to the city Steph woke up and did her first try at driving on the other side of the road. She did pretty good! It felt extremely strange to be sitting on the left side of the car without a steering wheel in front of me. I was glad that she didn’t drive for too long because it just didn’t feel right being a passenger on that side. Shortly after I got behind the wheel, we pulled into a shopping center to try to find a hair dryer and a power converter so I could charge up my laptop. We stopped in their version of Best Buy, and in TK Maxx, the UK’s version of TJ Maxx.
Shortly after we passed through downtown Limerick and drove right past King John’s castle. It was really cool to see one of the places I visited when I came 7 years earlier. It made me extremely excited to be there. A lot of my memories from my last trip to Ireland 7 years ago had started to fade so seeing some of the places again was a great refresher.
Our only solid plans for the day was to meet up with Richie Hayes at Bunratty Castle for a traditional Irish night so we weren’t sure what we were going to do until right when we got to Limerick city. It was a beautiful sunny day so we decided to check out the city the next day and drive north of Limerick through the Burren region and then down along the coast to the Cliffs of Moher before our dinner at the castle. During this drive we came across some of the most beautiful landscapes I’ve ever seen. There were old crumbling castles and abbeys scattered across the country side, miles and miles of open fields spotted with sheep and cows, stone walls everywhere, and beautiful thatched cottages along the coast. We stopped once or twice to take pictures, and managed to come across Ireland’s famous Poulnabrone Dolmen, an ancient portal tomb that dates back to somewhere between 3800 and 3200 BC.
After the Dolmen we drove along the coast, passing through a few small villages and a matchmaking festival before finally coming to the incredible Cliffs of Moher. I was somewhat disappointed with the cliffs because there is construction everywhere and it takes away from some of the natural beauty. But even with the construction it was still amazing!
From there we raced down to Bunratty Castle and met up with Richie minutes before the show began. We had some great food, plenty of mead and wine, and got to see and hear some traditional Irish song and dance. I even got pulled up onto the stage to learn how to do a dance! Once the show was over Richie took us for a private tour of the castle and told us a lot of information about the castles history. He works there so he was able to take us into rooms that you usually can’t visit which was really cool. From there we hopped in Richie’s car and went into Limerick city to meet up with some of his friends and went out to a club for a crazy night. When came back to Richie’s around 12:30 in the morning to find his mother sitting in the kitchen with food prepared for us!! We stayed up for a while, enjoyed some melted cheddar and tea and had a nice chat with his mother and then finally called it a night. I love the Irish! I swear they’re the nicest people on earth.
Steph – "Cross Country Road Trip"