Adventures in Ireland:  2012


We landed at Shannon Airport early in the morning on 10 May, picked up our rental car and headed to Ennis to see the house that we had rented over the internet.  It turned out to be a mixed bag of good, bad and ugly; perhaps we will write more later.  For now I will just say we spent the first two nights at the comfortable West County Hotel.

van hire for expats

I was up very early the next morning to return the rental car and catch the bus back to town to pick up the van I had hired over the phone.  It was twice as large as I expected. We drove three hours to Bandon in West Cork to retrieve our 35 boxes of junk and treasures that we had shipped from Paros and Prague.  They barely covered the floor of the van.




Poets Corner Pub, Ennis, Co. Clare


Karin rewarded my hard driving with a great pub supper at the Poets Corner.







Trad Music Festival

Riches of Clare noon concertAbout the time we were tired of house cleaning the annual Ennis Fleadh Nua started--nine days of music, dancing and more.  Most of the events are free but a few of the major concerts with well known stars are €12-15 per person.  On the weekends at least nine pubs had live music sessions and during the day street entertainment at a "gig rig".  That's where we saw this young group that were surprisingly good.



ceili session, also coeliNeither Karin nor I are great fans of trad music but we do love seeing the musicians enjoying themselves.  Most sessions are so inclusive, everyone truly welcome to show what they can do, good or bad.  The a cappella solo singers are truly heart warming.  Though we did notice all the male singers were old and all the young singers were female, so maybe it is a dying art.  The old-timers certainly talk how different it was before microphones, TV and the like.

Karin does love the dancing.  At the afternoon sessions she was able to stay on her chair when the dance floor started filling but at night after a half pint she always connives to get out on to the floor. 


Ennis walking tourWe also took advantage of the festival to get a free walking tour that normally has a fee.  We were impressed with the number of major events in Irish history that are connected with Ennis.  I will write more on that in the future.  The tour guide was a local girl who told all the fun stories as well as the official history.


Our first of hopefully many side trips through out Ireland.  Karin has prepared one of her excellent photo journals.  I think it is a great one day guide to Galway.

Galway, Co. Galway, Ireland


Limerick's Milk Market cheesesOur next jaunt was to Limerick which is a little closer to Ennis than Galway is.  We enjoyed the city for different reasons than Galway -- for the shopping.  We were quite impressed with the Milk Market for the variety and quality of locally produced food stuffs.  We sampled many items that we hadn’t seen elsewhere and decided to make a trip back when our fridge and freezer were not already full of prepared foods.  I coveted the meat pies and Karin wanted to buy sausages, olives and such.

Limerick city centre shoppingAs we ventured out into the main streets we were like kids in a candy store with all the shops carrying more variety than in our now little Ennis, including my favorite:  Whopper by Burger King.  We were told the best shopping was at the Crescent Centre but we have not made it there yet.

Leamy School in Limerick from Angela's Ashes by Frank McCourtIn any town we enjoy walking the streets looking at the buildings, historical plaques and general atmosphere.  A few places in Limerick are St. Mary’s Church, St. John’s Cathedral, People’s Park and various places featured in Frank McCourt’s book and movie Angela’s Ashes.  These latter however are few on the ground due to the last development boom which wiped out most of the old slums.  This photo is of the Leamy School.

King John's Castle, Limerick, IrelandWe had a most disappointing visit to King John’s Castle.  This is a grand old battlement that we have driven by many times over the years and always wanted to see inside.  However, we found the displays and exhibitions very poorly done as well as run down.  It seems the government recognizes this as they are proceeding with a €6 million redevelopment that is due to be completed in 2013.

So we recommend Limerick for eating, shopping and getting a view of Irish life in a non-touristy town.

County Clare

I don't think there is anywhere else in Ireland with the variety of dramatic scenery, historical sites and current attractions as Co. Clare.  Our city of Ennis is near the center and the county capital.

To find out more please go to our page for County Clare

There you find Cliffs of Moher, the Burren, Lahinch, Doolin and more.

Bunratty Folk Park has a page of its own.

More Ireland

Over the years we have traveled the length and breath of the entire island.  You can use this Search Box to find our take on places that we have visited--when I get all that uploaded into this site that is.

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Over our 10+ years in Greece we wrote newsletters and blogged about our expat experiences.  When in Prague we expressed ourselves mainly with photo journals.  Now for Ireland this page serves as our chronicle.  Enjoy!





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