On our 6th day in Ireland we FINALLY experienced some real Irish weather! Hahaha. Thankfully both times I have visited Ireland it has been unusually sunny and warm. I even got horribly sunburnt on the Aran Islands! However this day was a classic rainy and dreary day that we spent in ancient ruins and castles around Adare and Limerick.
First we drove to Adare, a picturesque town chock full of bus tours and Guinness t-shirts in the Heritage Center, where we paid for a really great tour of Desmond Castle. There wasn’t a whole lot left of the Castle, but the history shared by our tour guide was absolutely brilliant. Think lots of earls, years of epic battles and of course plenty of torture cells in the basement. Awesome.
Like I said, it was a very wet day and unfortunately the Desmond Castle lost its roof many years ago. So we were subject to various states of downpour which was pretty miserable but quite fitting for the setting of medieval castle at hand. Who needs a roof when you’ve got family armed with umbrellas and raincoats?
You cannot visit Irish towns without visiting the local church. The Trinitarian Priory, located next to the Heritage Center, was a nice reprieve from the rain. And you know about my obsession with ceilings. Well, the ceiling of the priory was astounding!!! I loved the intricate patterns and painted designs full of rich symbolism fluctuating between celtic art and hardcore catholicism. Churches here balance on the precipice of religious freedom and persecution that characterize the history of Ireland. It is fascinating yet sobering to consider. I chose to try and appreciate the beauty of the art in the present while acknowledging the history of suffering. What else can you do?
Despite being chilled to the bone, we decided to drive over to the city of Limerick before heading back to Galway. The rain was insistent by the time we arrived at King John’s Castle in the late afternoon. Thankfully entrance to the castle included a spectacular indoor museum on the history of Limerick and the castle itself. I highly recommend it! After the museum we were able to wander the castle courtyard and various towers overlooking the River Shannon. Each tower included funny little representations of castle life including the garrison, blacksmith workshop and tower prison. The cold and wet weather only added to the accurate representation of what it would have actually been like inhabiting this castle. Dreadful is the only word I can think of to describe such a life.
Wet and cold and yet still beautiful to behold.
Starved, we raided a stash of chips for sale in the gift shop before driving back to Galway for a fabulous dinner at a restaurant near O’Grady’s on the Pier. I can’t remember what it was called but it was just as good as O’Grady’s with a lively atmosphere and plenty of Guinness on tap. Amen.
We celebrated our last night in Salthill before driving back to Dublin the next morning. Taylor and Stephen would be flying home while my parents and I were headed south to spend another week in Ireland. I was going to miss my crazy travel buddies. Don’t leave!
Up next… the incredible Guinness Factory!
Just catching up? Don’t miss anything…
Ireland Day 1: Back in Ireland… Hurling and History in Galway
Ireland Day 2: Connemara: Bogs, Fjords and Kylemore Abbey
Ireland Day 3: Biking the Aran Islands… Again!
Ireland Day 4: The Enchanted Forest and Castle of Cong