Published: June 20th 2011June 18th 2011
Early departure. Luckily the two hour ride to Limerick was quiet, no commentary, so we were able to sleep. We really lucked out on the weather today, it poured when we were on the bus, but was fairly nice whenever we got off. We finally figured out to do the outdoor activity immediately if its.not raining, then head indoors if it showers. We headed west, met up in Limerick with the day tour from Dublin. Milan, our guide today was excellent. We hung out with the Aussies today, Julia Fox and her Mum. Really nice women, the Mum a very recent widow of 80ish. Her daughter is with her for an Ireland tour before the granddaughters wedding in Montreaux during the Jazz Festival. We went by bus, still part of Railtours Ireland DH 06 tour. We first stopped at Bunratty Castle, a fully restored castle with a village of.homes. All.contained lovely antiques, period furniture, and some even live people.in period costumed people like the woman making scone dough in the farmhouse kitchen. She will take it to the tea shop to bake. We had one warm from the oven, delicious! Next stop.was Doolin for lunch. O'Connell's Pub had the best seafood chowder of the trip, and believe me, I tried a lot of them. We poked around in town a bit. I bought a purple Aaran sweater almost in sight of the Aaran. The chocolate shop next door fueled our climb up to view the Cliffs of Moher. Outstanding! It was so windy it nearly blew me off my feet a few times. What a beautiful spot. The cliffs are reminiscent of Big Sur, but a biting wind and no roads to speak of. We walked up the right side, about 150 steps. The interactive site is dug into the hillside, a worthy effort and place to warm up when the weather deteriorates. There are many rental cottages sprung up nearby. County Clare is truly idyllic Ireland. Then on to the Burren, a little like west Kona, barren rocks with a touch of grass and grazing livestock. We were slowed considerably by a bicycle race on the two lane road. Thousands of bikers, hard to get the bus by with the winding curved road. They had a fierce headwind, then a downpour. I was happy to be on the bus. Took a little nap in the sun rays on the left side of the bus, along the water side. It felt good after such an early.morning. Sadly, we didn't really have time to see Galway after the bikers slowed us throughout the day. ARN and I played Kindle Scrabble on the train back to Dublin, arriving about 9:00pm. Dinner in the Hilton dining room, with a live singer in the bar next door belting out romantic tunes from Bob Dylan, Bono & Niel Young. Off to Seattle tomorrow on Delta via Atlanta. Some observations on Irish Rail, every train we rode was newer than I had imagined, clean as a whistle, large toilets with good supplies, and a snack trolley with overpriced salty and sweet snacks as we'll as coffee, tea, and beer. Rolling through the countryside gives you a nice view of how people live day to day. We enjoyed the tours, and it was a nice alternative to driving ON THE WRONG SIDE OF THE ROAD!!