In May 2005 we flew to Ireland for a week. Rather than flying into Dublin on the east coast, we flew into Shannon on the west coast. We had been to Dublin in 1998, so we weren’t planning on getting back there on this trip. Our plan was to see the western and southern coast.

We started out heading north from Shannon to the Galway area. Yes, that's right we headed north to see the western and southern coast. Along the way we saw the Cliffs of Moher and The Burren. The Cliffs of Moher along the coast is very scenic, rising dramatically over 700 feet up from the Atlantic Ocean. The Burren is a stark departure from the usual lush green landscape of Ireland. Here the area is rocky and seems almost like a lunar landscape.

As we headed south along the western coast, we passed through the Shannon area again. We took this opportunity to stop and see Bunratty Castle and Folk Park. This was interesting in that it not only had the castle built in 1460, but they had built up an open air museum surrounding it with many buildings to re-create a 19th century village. These types of attractions are always interesting to see.

We headed further south and west to tour around The Dingle Peninsula. While this is not a very long drive, it is very scenic and is very slow going. Another scenic drive in the southwest coast area is the Ring of Kerry. Being about 4 times longer than the Dingle Peninsula, there is also that much more to see. Using Killarney as a base, there are a number of things even just around that area such as Killarney National Park, Ladies View, Torc Waterfall, Muckross House, and Ross Castle.

Finally heading east along the southern coast we eventually made it to Cork, which was more of a point of reference to find Blarney Castle home of the famous Blarney Stone. We couldn't resist, so yes, we kissed the Blarney Stone. We continued east along the southern coast to Waterford. In Waterford we took a tour of the Waterford Crystal Factory, which just happened to end in their showroom. Like the Blarney Stone, you are just drawn in and consequently just have to buy something before leaving. They certainly do make it easy.

We then drove up to Kilkenny City which is considered 'Ireland's Medieval Capital'. The most outstanding and dramatic feature of the city is Kilkenny Castle perched on the banks of the River Nore. There were also many other points of interest so we took the city bus tour and spent the day. Another city with a dramatic site is Cashel, which has the Rock of Cashel. The rock itself is a circular mound that rises 200 feet above the surrounding area. On top are the remains of St. Patrick's Cathedral and Cormac's Chapel.

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The Burren, Ireland - This whole rocky area is a sharp contrast to the usual green landscape.


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Cliffs of Moher, Ireland - Dramatic cliffs with O'Brien's Tower topping them off.


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Bunratty, Ireland - One of the streets in the Bunratty Castle and Folk Park.


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Slea Head, Ireland - At the tip of the Dingle Peninsula.


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Killarney National Park, Ireland - Beautiful scenery in the park, this is Lough Leane.


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Ladies View, Ireland - 'Leprechaun Crossing', it's a good thing they told us to watch for them.


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Ring of Kerry, Ireland - Another scenic drive.


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Blarney, Ireland - Us in front of Blarney Castle.


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Blarney, Ireland - At the top, the infamous stone.


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Waterford, Ireland - The Waterford Crystal factory, you break it you bought it.


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Kilkenny, Ireland - Kilkenny Castle looks like something out of a movie.


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Hook Head, Ireland - Hook Lighthouse, the oldest in Ireland.


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Cashel, Ireland - The Rock of Cashel sits above the town.