Saturday, 15 August 2015

Dublin & Central Ireland

After leaving Northern Ireland we headed across country to Dublin, Ireland's capital city.

Frieze on Sunlight Chambers, Parliament Street 

I was interested to visit Fishamble Street as (1) it's the oldest street in Dublin, dating back to Viking times, and (2) it's the place where Handel's 'Messiah' (one of my favourite pieces of music) was first performed in 1742.

statue of James Joyce, O'Connell Street 

statue of CS Parnell (Home Rule advocate),
northern end of O'Connell Street 

Dublin Castle

World-famous Trinity College was founded in 1592 by Elizabeth I, and its alumni include Jonathan Swift, Oscar Wilde, and Samuel Beckett.

Sphere within a sphere sculpture by Arnaldo Pomodoro at Trinity College

After two nights in Dublin we headed over to the west coast and Connemara. This was the lovely view from our B&B in Spiddal.

I was mad on horses when I was growing up, and at the time Connemara was familiar to me only as the name of a breed of ponies. 

windswept Connemara ponies

'Conamara' actually means 'Inlets of the Sea' in Irish.

an isolated cottage in Connemara

locals have an abundant supply of peat to heat their homes with

We then headed to the city of Galway.

Galway Cathedral, with Salmon Weir Bridge to the left, 
crossing the Corrib River (Europe's shortest river).

Spanish Arch, Galway, a remnant of the town's medieval walls

Lynch's Castle, Galway, an example of a town castle

Ireland is littered with old castles!

Dunguaire Castle, south of Galway, built around 1520

Muckinish West Tower House, Galway county

In the northern-western part of County Clare is the rocky and windswept limestone Burren region.

at the Burren

Lighthouse, Inisheer, Aran islands (seen from the Burren)

Further south along the coast are the 200m-high Cliffs of Moher, one of Ireland's most popular sights.

Cliffs of Moher

Cliffs of Moher

ruined castle keep at the Cliffs of Moher

The region is home to an abundance of wildflowers.






We spent a night in Ennis and then visited the town of Limerick, which for me until then had just been the name of a type of rhyme! You can visit King John's castle there, built by the eponymous English king between 1200 and 1212 on the banks of the River Shannon.

King John's castle, Limerick (12th century)

We also visited the very interesting Hunt Museum, which has fine collections of Bronze Age, Iron Age and medieval treasures.

Roman bronze dodecahedron whose use remains a mystery.
The circles are symmetric on each side.
Hunt Museum, Limerick

Greek water jar, 4th century BC, Hunt Museum, Limerick

Horus, 7th to 4th century BCE, Hunt Museum, Limerick

On leaving Limerick we headed to Ireland's south-west: the Dingle Peninsula.

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