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Ireland (2005)

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Saturday August 13th
When in Ireland one of course goes to the Cliffs of Moher; vertical cliffs and the cliff edge is abrupt rising to a height of 203 metres. Especially when walking a bit away from the very touristy main spot it is very enjoyable and beautiful. And then our luck was up, because the moment we wanted to leave the car park near the cliffs the car broke down. It wouldn't start normally anymore. We called the AA, which wasn't able to fix the car, but was kind enough to bring us back to our camping with the necessities from our car and they would also tow our car to another village where it could be fixed. We drank our sorrows away that evening in O'Conners where they played traditional Irish music that evening.

Sunday August 14th
Esther had a major hang-over from our resolution to the car misery of the day before. So we decided, also because of the bus schedule on Sundays, to pick up our rental car the next day and not today. Today we walked to the harbour to take the ferry at 13.00 to the smallest of the Aran Islands: Inisheer. On Inisheer are a lot of those typical Irish stone walls (never seen so many packed together as here), also the typical limestone surroundings for which the Burren is famous, and some old churches and castles. But all in all the main attractions of the islands are that they're quiet and excellent for walking. After we got back from the island at about 19.30 we played some pitch and putt (semi-golf) which was right next to the harbour before going back to the camping and cook ourselves for a change.

Monday August 15th
We took the slow bus from Doolin at 8.45 to Galway, which takes the coastal road and through the northern part of the Burren. In Galway we were picked up after arrival at 11.00 by the car rental company, and we got ourselves an Opel Astra as substitute till our own car would be fixed. With the rental we drove through the central Burren and stopped to see the Corcomroe Abbey, the Poulnabrone Dolmen and the High Crosses in Kilfanora.

Tuesday August 16th
Our car was fixed and we could pick it up in Ennis. We decided to break up camp again and go with the rental to pick up our car and switch all the camping gear, and then return the rental in Limerick. Logistics were necessary so to say. On the way we stopped at Ennistymon to see the cascades. We arrived at the Peugeot garage in Ennis at lunch time so we had to wait a bit before we could take our car. Driving behind each other we went to Bunratty Castle and the Folk Park surrounding the castle. It is a well preserved castle and the park is interesting and educating because you see all sorts of ways of living during the Middle Ages. Here we also switched all our camping stuff into our own car, and then left for Limerick where we returned the rental. We drove on to Tralee where we put up camp and went for beers and food.

Wednesday August 17th
Terrible weather today, but we still went on with the plan to drive around the Dingle Peninsula. In the end quite smart, because the whole peninsula takes at least 4 hours of driving, and that is not too bad in a car. Problem is that in between there are lots of things to see, for which you have to get out of the car: stone forts, beehives (old stone circular houses), churches, oratory, and view points. We also went to the Blasket Island museum, which gives a good overview of how the islanders lived for decennia in these remote desolated islands. All in all a day that had impressive sights, but would have been better in good weather.
(scannen foto esther Oratory?)

Thursday August 18th
We planned another golf afternoon, but before we went to the Gap of Dunloe, which is just outside the Killarney national park. While waling through the gap you have stunning views of three small lakes and the gap between the mountains created by a glacier. After the walk we went to Ross golf club, which is a horse race track that they now also use as a golf course. After golf we paid a short visit to Ross Castle and the surrounding lake, but could only see the outside of the castle while it was already closed. (This night we also ate on the camping: one of the three in total).

Friday August 19th
Today we did the ring of Kerry, a 200 km road circuit around the Iveragh Peninsula. There are many things to see on the way: castles, old stone forts, beautiful bays, druid stone circles. We ate in Kenmare, which is a very nice little city. Stupid thing about it was that we had to drive back on a very dark and narrow road from Kenmare to Killarney; very difficult and tiresome.

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