Day 2: Shannon to Lisdoonvarna (2nd attempt)

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October 13th 2010
Published: October 13th 2010
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It is really Day 3 as I write this but we got in so late last night that we did not have the energy to work on it. Yesterday was a long day but we met a lot of people. Had our first Irish breakfast at the Country House. Ed had oatmeal with whiskey and cream. I had eggs and bacon. All delicious. We had a great night's sleep after a sleepless night on the plane Sunday night so we felt well rested and ready to go yesterday morning. We bid farewell to our wonderful hosts at the Carrygerry Country House and headed north to Ennis. Ed's getting the driving thing down so it was an easier day of getting around. Ennis is a lovely bustling village with lots of shops and pubs. We walked around and checked out a couple of the shops, went into the St. Peter and St. Paul Cathedral--gorgeous. A gentleman tried to strike up a conversation with me while I was taking a picture outside but I have to admit I couldn't understand much of what he said. He was nice enough to try to give us directions but we have no idea what way he told us to go. So being the real troopers that we are, we headed to Kelly's Pub for our first pint of the day. If Ed were awake he would remember the names of the owners, who were both very friendly, but I don't remember and I hate to wake him up to ask. (He woke up--PJ and Suzanne) There was a nice young man, Kristy, sitting at the bar who appeared to be an unemployed construction worker, based on the things he talked with us about. Just another reminder that Ireland is struggling with their economy and people are very concerned. We left Ennis with the plan to drive a scenic route to the Cliffs of Moher but we quickly met a closed road and ended up in Ennistimon. We took a walk up a steep alley to an old church ruins and cemetery and then, of course, found a local pub--Cooley's. We spent a wonderful pint and a half getting to know the owners, Joan and Pat. Joan attempted to teach Ed some Gaelic words/terms. We'll see if he remembers them by the time we get home. Two British gentlemen, Morgan and Cornelius, and a young South African psychiatric nurse on sabbatical, rounded out the group. We left Ennistimon for the Cliffs of Moher, hiking up the path in gale force winds was a challenge but the view was absolutely amazing. The cliffs with the Atlantic Ocean crashing against them was a sight I can only describe as awesome! Left the cliffs and drove to Lisdoonvarna where we found our B&B--The Ballinsheen. The owner's young son, Ronan, showed us to our room. We threw our stuff in our room and headed down the street to The Irish Arms for a bite to eat. When we returned to the B&B, the owner, Mary, helped us call a cab and 10 minutes later we were on an adventurous ride to Doolin for an evening of pub music. This is where I do have to mention that our cab driver, Jay, was fearless about driving the country lanes from our B&B to Doolin. It was a fairly intimidating drive. Trivia note: He told us 30-40 suicide attempts (bloody successful, I'd say) were made each year at the Cliffs. We walked into McDermott's Pub and were immediately greeted by Morgan and Cornelius, who had saved seats for us. We chose to sit at the bar instead so we would have a better view of the music but Cornelius joined us, showing us the pictures from his digital camera and talking about his summer trip to see the Pope in England. Shared an Irish stew and a pint or two. Chatted with several couples/groups from the U.S. and then the duo arrived for their evening of music. No sooner had they started than a tour bus pulled up outside the pub and U.S. tourists poured into the place, slammed the bar and made so much noise we could hardly hear the music. We ended up walking down the street to McGann's Pub where there was a delightful group playing fun pub music. We met the couple from California, Rick and Sherry, that had been sitting at the bar next to us at McDermott's and had a lovely time. Before we left, a man from Killarney approached us to talk about Iowa. He loves to restore old tractors and was fascinated with John Deere. After a call to Jay and another harrowing drive on the country lanes, we arrived back at our B&B around 12:30 this morning. I have to offer the disclaimer that Ed has not read today's blog, has not edited it, and has not approved it. Ed may want to add more later but right now it's time to get ready for breakfast and Day 3.


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