Ireland: Enchanting Emerald

We spent a shortened week exploring Ireland: learning about the Book of Kells, following the footsteps of James Joyce and St Patrick, as well as visiting other important historical sites. However, our most memorable moments were spent relaxing for an idyllic few days at a bed & breakfast on a working farm. The refreshing coolness and sparkling greenery of the countryside were welcomed contrast to the blistering heat we left behind in Italy. We came to appreciate its name of Emerald Isle and enjoyed our fill of daily lamb stew.

07/24/15: Upon landing in Dublin, we immediately started our tour by heading out to the Jame Joyce Museum, housed in the tower where Joyce stayed while writing his masterpiece Ulysses. Then we visited Sweny Chemist Shop, former pharmacy mentioned in Ulysses. The shop has become a collector’s bookshop but still sells the famed lemon soap that the character Leopold Bloom bought. We finished the day at Trinity College Old Library, visiting the lovely Book of Kells exhibit of illuminated medieval manuscript of Gospels.

07/25-26/15: Staying on Lawcus Farm was definitely the highlight of our trip. It was a charming piece of property, completely built by the owners. The kids enjoyed playing with animals, feeding the goats and pigs, watching the German shepherd puppy terrorize the chickens, and swimming in the stream with other visiting kids. We used that location in Kilkenny as a base to visitor neighboring sites. Climb up Blarney Castle to see the famous stone. Stopped at historic Rock of Cashel, coronation site of Irish kings and St. Patrick is known to have visited. Experienced re-enactment of dreadful conditions on replica ship that took emigrants to America during potato famine

Ring of Kerry
07/27-28/15: Quaint town of Killarney used as base for Ring of Kerry tour. Toured Powercourt Estates then lunched at charming Irish pub lunch afterward. Observed demonstration by Waterford crystal master cutter Sean Daly in Dingle. Drove along wild Atlantic Coast, passed ancient ruins and braved strong winds at the Cliffs of Moher.