Ireland is a truly beautiful country.  It is divided into Northern Ireland, mostly protestant and part of Great Britain.  The Republic of Ireland is the larger portion, and is both very catholic and independent of Britain.  We spent our time in the Republic.  Maybe next time we'll get into Northern Ireland.  

Dublin, Ireland has a major claim to fame... Guinness Stout. It is without a doubt the best beer in the world.

The best place to have a Guinness?  The Gravity Bar at the top of the Guinness Brewery, of course!


The Guinness Tour takes place in the old Fermentation Building.  Some of the original equipment is still in place.

Walt enjoys a pint of Black Gold.

Janelle visits Jack's flowerbed at Trinity College.


St. Stephen's Green is a beautiful park in Dublin.  It was a private park, only open to a few select families until Arthur Guinness bought it and donated it to the city.

Walt has a thoughtful moment.

McDonaugh's, in Galway, serves the BEST fish and chips in the universe.  


This is Shop Street in Galway.  Aptly named!

In Ennis, went to an Irish Ceili (pronounced Kay-Lee) or gathering.  It was a fantastic evening of traditional food and entertainment.  This was the Irish Stew we were served.  Yummy!

They also served a hearty soda bread.  Really, really good stuff!

The singing and dancing were as good as the food.  Until...

They decided to let me up on stage.

Yep, I actually danced an Irish Reel, without injuring my partner.

Here I make sure that my dance partner was, in fact, uninjured.

The Master of Ceremonies thanks me for not hurting one of his crew.

My partner was named Retha.  She was a hot, spicy Irish number.

The Ring of Kerry is a 100-mile winding road around County Kerry.  It is some of the most beautiful country on the planet.

They say you can see forty shades of green in Ireland.  You can see them all on the Ring of Kerry.

Thatched cottages are common.

Celtic crosses were first used to get the local pagans, who worshipped the sun and moon, to convert to christianity.  The circle on the cross was meant to represent the sun and moon.

Peat, which has been used as fuel for centuries, is still being harvested and used today.

Sheila, overlooking the Atlantic Ocean.

Here we are on an Irish beach near Tramore.

Sheila sets foot in the Atlantic for the first time.

The coast near the beach.

I climb a rock!

Here I am, at the top of a higher bit of rock, called the Cliffs of Moher.

Sheila pauses to view the Gillemots, which nest on the outcropping below.

The cliffs of Moher stand over 660 feet above the sea.  

Saftey rails are a good idea around here.

Yes, the cliffs are really, really high.  But they had to go and add a tower to get that extra height.

There are HUNDREDS of ruined castles, churches and other old buildings in Ireland.  Nobody pays attention to most of them.  However, back in the Victorian era, somebody decided that McDermott's Castle would be a great tourist stop, if they could convince people to climb to the top to kiss a rock, called "The Blarney Stone."  Thus we have what would have been just another mouldering pile of stones, saved by marketing.  This is as close as I got to the rock.  I'm sitting on the second step...

Sheila discovers an alcove.

I discover Gunnera!

The leaves of Gunnera manicata can grow up to nine feet across.

While we were not interested in kissing the stone, we really liked the Druid Garden that occupies much of the grounds around the castle.

Sheila explores a path deeper into the Druid Garden.

Sheila stands near a cairn of stones.

The witch's stone was a sacrificial altar.  Now it holds offerings from the tourists.  

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