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Goodbye Ireland, Hello Scotland.

Ireland upon departure…

… and Scotland upon arrival.

It’s wet outside. Yuck. We are off to catch a cab and brave a whole new world of CouchSurfing! This should be interesting!

A Limerick In Limerick. A Castle In Killarney.

Sadly our stay in Ireland is coming to a close. We depart from Cork airport tomorrow. But  before leaving we decided to make one more stop in Killarney for a night as it was listed as #85 in the TripAdvisor Top 100 world destinations (PDF).

In Limerick we had a layover,
with two bags slung over our shoulder
we ducked into a pub,
to grab us some grub,
sad that our stay in this land was near over.

The accents (much like the sandwich bread) were THICK down here! After stuffing our bellies, we picked up our connecting bus and arrived in Killarney. We checked into our hostel and then wandered around the city center. We had some daylight left so we popped into a tourist center to grab a map and then headed out on a 5km hike through a national park…

…to see Ross Castle.

It was situated right on the edge of a beautiful lake and we arrived just as the sun was breaking through the clouds.

It even had a real cannon, which itself happened to be situated along side some ominous black crows at the time.

We weren’t able to fire the cannon at a nearby group of campers, so we got frustrated and hiked back to town. We had some work to catch up on anyway, so we broke out our trusty WiFi hotspot detector and scoured the city like a couple of treasure hunters. We honed in on a strong enough signal from an un-secure network that we could “borrow” some connectivity from and sat down on a busy street corner to commence work. We were quite the spectacle, let me tell you. Just about every passer-by stopped in their tracks and starred in awe. Normally you might expect a vagabond or a street perform to be sitting on this corner with a ragged cup-o-pence in hand. But here we were, two young looking, clean-cut travelers occupying a beggars turf with a pair of shiny new Apple laptops, surfing the net and making international phone calls via Skype to business associates. It really was a priceless moment. Eventually the ground got too cold and we upgraded to a nearby hotel lobby. Quite the digs!

We were about 50 years too young to be in there however based on the clientele we encountered, so we called it a night.

A Tall Tale From Ireland

We had thoroughly experienced the city life of western Ireland, and felt it was time to get away and experience the rural life. So we chartered a fishing boat to go explore Inismore, the largest of the three Aran Islands (Inishmore, Inishmaan, Inisheer) .

And as soon as the tide came in, we were off! While away at sea, we caught a young Irish laddie…

…and evaded a few pirates.

Once we arrived on shore, we were faced with a difficult decision.

We opted for “better” over “quality” and picked up a pair of rusty mountain bikes to begin our ride around the island.

Along the way we made a few friends.

Some with feathers…

…some with fur…

…and one with four stomachs (look it up).

We knew it was about to get dangerous when we approached the ominous warning signs. Children ahead! Eeeek!

And sure enough, on the way up to the fort Dun Aonghasa we encountered the little devils, just sitting there on the side of the path, swindling all the tourists. Singing classic Irish tunes…

and dancing ol’ Irish jigs…

How could anyone resist their charm! Jay was instantly suckered into coughing up his spare Euro’s and by his estimation they had managed to pull the same wool over many other eyes, somewhere to the tune of 200+ Euro!

We can only surmise that they were trained in their crafts by this veteran who was running the same shtick.

After being bilked out of most of our money, we finally reached the top of the climb.

And just like the cliffs we’d seen a few days prior, it was an amazing view.

And despite these cliffs only being only 200 meters tall, it was still plenty scary.

After some exploring of the forts nooks and crannies and re-enacting the ways of the vikings that inhabited the fort 700 years prior…

…we rode back into town, saying farewell to all the new friends we met along the way, as well as a new one, who we shall call Popeye!

Race Week Festivities

Unbeknownst to us, the Galway Races just happened to be going on during the same weekend we happened to be in town. The races are a HUGE event in Ireland and last night on Williams Gate Street nearly all of Ireland poured into the streets and into the pubs lining the street…

to celebrate their winnings…

…or drink away their losses.

We ran into our Canadian friend Michelle

as we checked out some of the local street performers.

Not one to be outdone, Jay, Michelle and Donna Carolyn performed a few acrobatic feats of their own.

The partying in the streets went way into the wee hours of the morning and the number of people that were packed into this small city was astronomical!

Which could explain why it was so darn hard to find a reasonably priced hotel.

Which also explains the following photos…

of us sleeping in our Skoda Octavia rental car…

Which also explains the need to take a nap right now.


Warning: The End Of The World Is Near!

See, I told you this was going to get adventurous.

This morning we woke up bright and early to take a scenic drive down the western coast of Ireland, which also happens to be the most western part of all of Europe.

This part of Ireland is essentially one giant slab of limestone.

What do you do when you have an entire island of limestone? I’ll tell you what… you build rock walls for as far as the eye can see.

And sculptures

And tombs. Specifically the Portal Tomb.

Which was quite appropriate considering we were about to embark on a couple of near-death experiences.

First of all the roads here are about as wide as the bike lanes in California and lined on each side with limestone walls and shrubbery. Somehow you are expected to fit two cars on them careening directly at each other at 100 km/h. I’m still picking the thistles out of my hair as we speak. Shoulda rolled the window up.

The second near-death experience and the ultimate destination of the drive were the Cliffs of Moher, which as you can see from the photos is quite literally the end of the world. The photos are amazing, but if you get the chance, you really ought to check them out for yourself. Looking down a 700 foot rock wall at certain death while the wind blows at your back will take your breath away.

Now this is the part where I must issue a warning to all the family and loved ones reading this blog. What you are about to see may make the little hairs on the back of your neck stand on end. Jay and I did what we normally do, and went against our better judgment and ignored all warnings and caution signs.

All for the sake of a few photos for YOU, our loyal readers! So if you don’t want to see us nearly die… stop reading now.

OK, for those of you that are still reading… on with the show…

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