22-day trip to Ireland and London. We flew to London to spend four days there and then we went to Dublin, where we rented a car to go around the country. Ireland is a green windswept island with sharp cliffs that plunge into a rough sea.
Ireland is a very expensive country, so even though some nights we stayed in beautiful bed & breakfast, we brought our tent and most of the nights we stayed in campsites. The strong wind and rain were a problem, but it was an experience sleeping on the top of a cliff, exposed to the elements, facing the Atlantic. In general, we ate what we bought in supermarkets or we had lunch in fast foods.
5.Bru na Boinne
13.Connemara National Park
15.Cliffs of Moher
18.Ring of Kerry
19.Killarney National Park
23.Rock of Cashel
Getting There & Away
We flew to London with Ryanair from Girona airport to Luton airport. From there, we took the bus Greenline 757 and got off at Baker Street.
For going to Dublin we flew from Stansted Airport, which can be reached by train from the city and there is a student discount.
The London underground has frequent trains and reaches almost all points of interest. However, the trains are small, a little bit old and very slow, and they stopped between two stations many times.
We bought London Pass, which we purchased online and picked up at Piccadilly Circus. It is a card that includes transportation (except during peak hours) to three days (although there are cards for another number of days) and tickets to many of the main sights. The days we could not use it, we bought an Oyster card to pay less for the transport tickets.
Where to Stay
We stayed at Trinity House Hotel, on the city outskirts, near the Blackhorse Road underground station. It's quite simple but it was the cheapest hotel we found online.
What to See & Do
- London Tower
Historic fortress on the banks of the River Thames, known for its use as a prison and hard stories about their prisoners. In the middle is the White Tower, inside of it there is a weapon and armor exhibition. In the Jewel House is the Imperial Crown and a luxury jewels collection, but there are often long queues to enter. In the courtyards there are large numbers of ravens, who have caregivers as it is said the day that the day the ravens disappear from the London Tower, this tower and the monarchy will disappear.
The entrance to the Tower of London is included in the London Pass, and you also avoid the long queue.
- Big Ben & Parliament Houses
Probably the main symbol of the British capital, the Parliament buildings and the clock tower are erected imposingly beside the Thames.
- Tower Bridge
The most beautiful London bridge, with its two towers and luxurious stamped across the Thames. The ticket is free with the London Pass and includes the visit to the engine room and the ascent to the upper walkway, a bit disappointing as it is fenced, limiting good views.
- Buckingham Palace
Residence of the Royal Family, this huge castle is not too pretty on the outside. It is used to show the royal collection of art and as a tourist atraction. However, the tickets are very expensive.
- Westminster Abbey
This Gothic Anglican church, located next to the palace of the same name, is the seat of coronations and burials of British monarchs. Inside, the highlights are the tombs of Isaac Newton and Charles Darwin, two of the greatest scientists in history.
- St Paul’s Cathedral
It was built over the ruins of the old cathedral, destroyed by the Great Fire. This cathedral has been the scene of important events in British history. It has the largest bell in Europe. Inside, we recommend climbing to the dome and visiting the choir, the altar and the crypt, where Admiral Nelson is buried.
- British Museum
In this museum, there are works from every culture in the history, but some of them with morally dubious origin. Highlights include the Egyptian collections, the Rosetta Stone and a piece of the Parthenon.
- National Gallery
One of the most important art galleries in the world. There are thousands of pictures, so taking a tour with audio guide for a selection of them is the best option. Highlights include "Sunflowers" (Van Gogh), "Virgin of the Rocks" (Velazquez), "Arnolfini Portrait" (Van Eyck) and other works of Leonardo, Van Dick, Vermeer, Picasso, Monet...
- Wimbledon (All England Club)
Great attraction for tennis fans, for visiting this historic club is advisable to book in advance. The entrance to the normal circuit is included in the London Pass. During the guided tour, we went to the courts 17 and 18 (where was the longest match ever played between Isner and Mahut), the hill where there are a giant screen during the tournament, court 1, and the press room. We then visited the small for free. There is an old section that talks about the history of tennis and the first editions of the tournament. The main sights are the first Wimbledon trophy and some racquets and posters. In the modern part, there are several players signed clothes and the present trophies. There are also some games and interactive applications.
- Hyde Park, Kensington gardens, Albert memorial and Royal Albert Hall
Hyde Park is one of the largest parks in London, divided in two parts by the Serpentine. We walked from Kensington Gardens, where we saw the Albert Memorial monument and Royal Albert Hall. In the parks, you can see squirrels running around.
- Regent’s Park
Regent's Park is our favorite park in London, with a lot of flowers, fountains and squirrels. The zoo is inside the park. The visit was nice, highlighting some places where the animals are free and you pass through small monkeys and birds.
- Saint Jame’s Park
The oldest of the Royal Parks of London is located in Westminster and it has the style of the London parks.
This 61 m high and 311 stepscolumn, is a monumet to the Great Fire of London. You climb up a spiral staircase and you can have good views. Admission is included in the London Pass and you can get a document where says that you climbed there.
- National History Museum
This museum is very large and, as we had to visit it quickly, we went directly to the most interesting things for us. We saw skeletons and dinosaur prints, stuffed animals, a blue whale to scale, fossil, arthropod exposure and an earthquake simulator.
- HMS Belfast
Old warship anchored in the Thames. Actually it is a museum.
- London Bridge
The oldest bridge in the city. Simple, but mythical.
- London Eye
Famous wheel on the Thames with good views of the city but overpriced for a five minute trip.
- Thames River Cruise
You can embark on one of these cruises from various parts of the Thames. The priice is very high but the cruise is included in the London Pass. We took the boat in the subway exit of Westminster. From the top of the boat, we could see the different points of interest where we passed: the London Eye, Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament, London Bridge, Tower of London and Tower Bridge.
If you do not have a car, a good and economical option is an excursion from London, which includes roundtrip transportation and admission with audioguide. Stonehenge is near Amesbury, about 15 miles north of Salisbury, and it takes about two hours to arrive.
This megalithic circle, in the middle of nowhere, is a great testament from the Neolithic and it is very evocative. The visit is made by a marked path and you must keep a distance with the stones.
Where to Stay
- Camping Lough
It is very spacious and nice and you can set up your tent beside the car. From here we visited Clonmacnoise, Longford, Gowna Lake, Aughcliffes dolmen, Bru na Boinne and Trim Castle .
- Camping Glenmore, just outside Ballycastle (Northern Ireland).
The place is beautiful, with great views over the Atlantic, the problem is that it is very exposed and very cold. We recommend to camp as everyone in the lower part, which is more protected from the wind. The first day we camped in the upper part and during the night there was a storm and the tent fell down. From this camping we went to the Giant's Causeway, Carrick-a-Rede and Rathlin Island. On the way to Lough Key, we passed by Glengesh Pass and Slieve League.
- Camping Lough
Key, in the Lough Key forest
If you arrive when the reception is closed, you can camp and pay the next day, it's a normal procedure. The place where you can set uo your tent is great, there are many trees and is perfectly protected from the wind. We did the Lough Key Experience. On the way to Connemara, we passed by Leenane, where there is Ireland 's only fjord.
B&B, 500 meters from the entrance to Connemara National Park
It is a beautiful mountain house. The room had no bathroom, but it was right next door and there was no one in nearby rooms. The owner made us a discount on the price. Although it was still much more expensive than campings, it was impossible to find anything cheaper in the area.
- Corofin Village
Camping & Hostel, Corofin
This is a house in whose garden you can camp. It is very nice, it is sheltered and you can use the kitchen. From this village you can go to Aran Islands, Cliffs of Moher, Burren's lunar landscapes and Doolin Cave.
- Camping Fossa, 5 km from Killarney
t was more expensive than usual and it was difficult to set up the tent because there were many rocks on the ground. From here we explored the Ring of Kerry and Killarney National Park.
Caravan & Camping Park, Glengariff
Small campsite from where you can visit the Beara Peninsula.
B&B, near Unionhall
We slept in a spacious and spotless room in a beautiful little house. It was expensive but it was worth. From there, we went to the boat tour to look for whales and we visited Clonakilty town and Dromberg stone circle, near Glandore.
B&B, Naas (less than an hour from Dublin)
Run by a real Irishman. It included an abundant and delicious "Irish breakfast".
POINTS OF INTEREST
Getting There & Away
We flew from London Stansted airport with Ryanair, with a 9 hours delay (from 13h to 22h), so we had to sleep in the car because the campsites were closed. The only compensation was three miserable pounds with which you can not buy anything at an airport.
Once we arrived at Dublin airport, we went to the Europcar desk to collect the car we had rented online.
Where to Stay
Travelodge Phoenix Park, a hotel on the city outskirts that we booked online. It is next to the highway and you can go by bus to the city center.
What to See & Do
- Trinity College
It was the first university in Ireland, founded in 1592. The visit starts in the courtyard, surrounded by characteristic buildings.
In the first part of the visit there are exhibition rooms with various manuscripts, a code used to write on the stones and an interesting video that shows how capital letters were decorated. In one of the rooms you can see the old Book of Kells, from the early ninth century, and other ancient manuscripts.
Going up the stairs you reach the Long Hall, the most famous of the Trinity College rooms, where the library is located. The library seems a movie picture: with high domed ceilings, surrounded by busts of classical authors and shelves with books from the floor to the top. It houses various exhibitions, the most notably is the oldest Irish harp.
The Trinity is a must visit, probably the best in Dublin, but you feel that everything is made to get money from tourists: abusive entry price, inability to take photos in the library (if you want a picture, you have to buy), request donations for conservation...
- Dublin Castle
This palace is located in the centre of the city. The oldest part is the tower, from the twelfth century. The rest of the castle looks modern. It may be a good visit but it is not be able to compete with other castles that you can see elsewhere in Ireland.
- City Hall
It was built in the second half of the eighteenth century to house the Stock Exchange Building. Inside, there are various exhibitions, the most important is one about the history of the city.
- Christ Church Cathedral
It is the oldest of the two cathedrals in the city. It dates from the tenth century and it was built with wood by the Vikings. In the twelfth century, it was enlarged and rebuilt in stone.
In the south part there is the Strongbow funeral monument and the baroque tomb of the 19th Earl of Kildare.
You can descend to the crypt, a huge space with arches originally from the early Viking church. You can see the mummified remains of a cat and a mouse that were trapped in one of the organ pipes.
- St Patrick’s Cathedral
It is said that it was here where St. Patrick baptized the heathen in a well. There was already a church in the V century, however, the present building dates from the late twelfth or early thirteenth century.
It houses the tomb of Jonathan Swift and his partner and a bust of the writer. There is a huge monument to Boyle, decorated with portraits of his family members. One of them is Robert Boyle, famous physicist and author of the chemical gas law that bears his name.
- Ha’penny Bridge
Pedestrian bridge built in 1816 which owes its name to a halfpenny toll formerly paid to cross.
- Molly Malone Statue
Small statue that pays tribute to the main character of an Irish folk song.
- Oscar Wilde's birthplace and statue in Merrion Square
In front of the quiet and pleasant park of Merrion Square, we can find Oscar Wilde's birthplace. It currently houses a small museum about the writer. There is a statue of the writer with a mocking half smile, decorated with many of Wilde's famous quotes.
- Natural History Museum
This museum is divided into two parts. The ground floor is dedicated to Irish animals and the top floor to mammals of the world. Both floors are full of dissected animals and the visit, despite being interesting, is a little bit monotonous.
- St Stephen’s Green Park
This quiet park offers very pleasant walks under the shade of the trees, across grassy meadows and lakes. Scattered throughout the park are ornamental statues of celebrities like James Joyce.
Clonmacnoise is a monastic group founded in the 6th century. However, most of the buildings that are preserved date back to the 10th or 11th centuries.
There is a visitor centre, which contains a small museum. It briefly explains
the history of the monastery and indicates where the great
original stone crosses (North Cross, South Cross and Scriptures Cross) are found. Outside there is a wide area which is dotted with traditional Celtic crosses, and
small temples, as well as a cathedral and other constructions. A wall was erected the complex, and some well-preserved towers remain. Crossing the cemetery you will reach
the Nun's Church, a small church whose Romanesque arches stand out with
very detailed and small carvings.
At the entrance there is a car parking, but when we arrived it was full and we had to park at the roadside.
The entrance fee for students is inexpensive.
Near this village, there is a bog (marshy land) and the Iron Age wooden trackway, although the way to reach them was not easy to find.
Beautiful large lake near the towns of Longford and Aughcliffes.
One of the most beautiful dolmens in Ireland, despite being very difficult to find.
In Aughcliffes, we found hidden indications pointing to a path, which was supposed to lead to the dolmen.
A little further on there was a closed fence, but some locals told us that we could open it or jump over it, as many people used to do.
We reached a grass field surrounded by a fence but, once there, we did not know where to go.
At the end, we found a small gate on the other side of the field. Going down a path, we finally reached the dolmen.
The dolmen is very well preserved, and its stones maintain a fascinating balance. We could not understand how they have it hidden there instead of trying to exploit it as a tourist attraction.
BRU NA BOINNE
To visit this prehistoric necropolis, you must go
to the visitors centre. It sells the tickets, and organizes the tours to access both enclosures. That is the only way to visit them. Inside the visitors centre
there is a small museum, where you can wait for the bus which will take you to the monuments. Outside the museum, there is a bridge over the river Boinne leading to a small bus station.
This site contains funeral constructions in the shape of stone mounds covered by grass. It was built
5000 years ago by the first farmers living in this area.
Later on, it was conquered by different villages, such as Vikings and Normans. We turned around the
big central mound, which is surrounded by 17 smaller mounds. We could see the mysterious
pictures carved on the rocks on the base.
After that, we entered through a narrow corridor to
a room inside the mound. It contained two of the longest corridors in Europe, measuring 40 m and 34 m,
whose access was not allowed. Finally, we went up to the top of the mound,
having amazing views of the valley. We also spotted the site of Newgrange.
At that point we understood why so many civilizations have settled down here,
because it is a perfect spot for defence and surveillance over all the region
. In the words of our guide, "Every time I look at the river Boinne, I expect to see 60 Viking boats".
This monument is similar to Knowth, but a little bit smaller, and with a kind of
wall made of quartz at the base.
At the entrance, there is a great stone showing a unique ornamentation. It is unknown whether its pictures represent
astronomical or geographical shapes.
We entered inside the mound through a narrow and low corridor,
where you had to crouch and walk sideways. We reach the
burial chamber, which was surrounded by three small rooms.
Nobody was buried or incinerated right there. Bodies were burned outside,
where ceremonies took place, and then the priest brought the ashes inside,
to let them there until the next solstice, when they threw them into the river.
The ceiling of this chamber was built stone by stone in circular shape
and it is preserved exactly as it was built, more than 5000 years ago.
During the Winter Solstice, a magical phenomenon takes place.
The chamber ws built two meters above the level of the entry gate, in such
a way that it remains in the dark all the year except for some minutes in the
day of the solstice, when, during the sunrise, a beam of light penetrates through the door
and crosses the chamber, creating a fascinating mysterious effect.
During the visit, this effect is recreated with artificial light.
The entrance fee for students is cheap, and it is possible to visit the area around the castle or join
a guided tour to climb up the tower.
The most important elements in the castle are the Homage Tower, which still stands up; the walls, and some other towers in different condition.
The parking is completely overpriced and there are few alternatives.
We arrived late in the afternoon, so we did not pay the ticket, and
nothing happened, but we do not know if we were lucky of it was okay to park for free at that time.
We went down a path, and after 800 m we reached these stunning
basaltic formations. There are thousands of
hexagonal columns, which form the so-called
In spite of its volcanic origin, its name is attributed to a
legend which says that it was builtby a giant. It is an amazing experience
to be there, walking over the magic columns.
The parking was free but the entrance fee very expensive. Once inside, there is
a nice 20 minute walk to the rope bridge. The path goes over the side of the mountain
and offers impressive views of the cliffs and Rathlin island.
Once in the bridge, you usually have to queue to cross to the other side.
This rope bridge is suspended over the sea and connects Northern Ireland with
a small island.
Getting There & Away
From Ballycastle, there are ferries that reach the island in less than half an hour.
What to See & Do
Near the harbour there is a tourist office, where
a friendly guy explained as that puffins had
already migrated. However, he showed us where
we could see some seals.
Mill Bay was this popular spot, where many seals can be seen lying on the rocks or swimming.
It is possible to rent a bike, but we preferred to walk until the Eastern Lighthouse,
famous place because from this point Marconi made the first commercial communication by radio
to prove the the viability of this method.
During the excursion, there are very nice views of the landscapes of this green and lovely island.
Mountain pass in an amazing scenery. The road
winds up steep hills, while on the bottom you can see the valley criss-crossed by many creeks.
Once on the top, it is possible to stop in a viewpoint.
These are the highest cliffs in Europe (600 metres height).
To get there, you have take a meandering road with the mountain on one side, and a shocking cliff over the ocean on the other.
Once on the top, the car must be left on the parking to continue on foot, facing the terrible wind, until a viewpoint.
The views are stunning: impressive cliffs hiding remote coves and caves on their base.
In this park in the middle of the forest you can embark on the
Lough Key Experience. The audio-guided tour brings you to an old mansion which
belonged to an aristocratic family and then around it, to discover underground tunnels,
different chambers, and also a tower with excellent views of the park and the lake.
After that, you can walk over a boardwalk on the tree canopies.
In the nearby town of Boyle, you can visit an abbey and the King House.
Close to Connemara, there is the only fjord in Ireland. There is not much to do there,
but it is worthy to stop aside the road to enjoy the views and take some photos.
CONNEMARA NATIONAL PARK
The visitors centre is located half kilometre after the entry of the road.
This national park has many paths to walk and there a lot of trails to do.
In the first afternoon, we walked along the
Ellis Wood Nature Trail, a short but nice trail through the forest, alongside a creek with several small waterfalls.
The second day we went for a longer hike and we selected one of the trails suggested in the Visitors Centre, the climb up to
the Diamond Hill. This trail begins through a path which crosses a bog. A bog is a marshy ground showing specific vegetation
and composed of about 96% water and 4% organic matter, which slows the decomposition process. After this part, the trail gets steeper.
Although the Diamond Hill is not really high, barely
800 metres, the strong winds and dense fog can make the ascension more difficult than it may appear at first sight.
COROFIN AND INCHIQUIN LAKE
Corofin is a small and pleasant town which constitutes an excellent home base to visit many points of interest in the surroundings.
Inchiquin Lake, near Corofin, has nothing special, but its location between green meadows makes it become the perfect Irish image.
This cave has the biggest stalactite in the northern hemisphere. It is located
near the town of Doolin, and the access is well signposted. The only way to visit it is
joining one of the guided tours, which are organized continuously.
The entry is through a tiny gate. After that, you go down the stairs until a 70 metres depth.
You walk along a long corridor and, at the end, you can see the stunning stalactite (7.3 metres height).
Another trail leads to a lower chamber, where you can see the stalactite again, now from the bottom.
The cave has also other attractions, such as creeks and crystal clear lakes, or other chambers full of stalactites,
stalagmites and columns.
CLIFFS OF MOHER
These stone walls fall vertically into the sea, and they constitute one of the most common pictures from Ireland.
There is a parking at the entrance, but the fee is very expensive. It could be avoided
parking on the side of the road, a little bit further from the cliffs.
The beauty and spectacle of these cliffs is unquestionable. However, the large number of
tourists takes away the captivating wild charm that this spot must have had in the past.
During the visit, you can follow the signed paths in both sides. One of them takes you further away, to
have a great panoramic view of the cliffs, while the other brings you almost above them.
We saw some people going beyond the established limits, but it seemed quite dangerous and unnecessary.
BURREN AND POULNABRONE DOLMEN
Starting at Ballyvaughan, there are several roads that cross the typical landscapes from the Burren.
They consist of characteristic vast esplanades of grey stones with huge cracks.
Walking and walking over them until the horizon, enjoying this unusual scenery, is an unforgettable experience.
In the same road, we can find the Poulnabrone dolmen. It is a funeral monument which contains the ashes of thirty-three people.
ARAN ISLANDS (INISHEER)
Getting There & Away
Boats to Aran Islands leave from Doolin harbour regularly.
A good way to explore the island is by bicycle, to get faster to everywhere. Just after getting off the boat, you can find many places to rent a bike. However, there are many ups and downs and stone filled roads hampering the way, and there are also many insects. The alternative is to walk. Perhaps you cannot reach so many places, but you can also enjoy the beautiful landscapes.
What to See & Do
The main village is a reduced group of houses with a pub and some small shops.
From here, it is possible to go down to the beach or up to a demolished castle
with great views of the entire island.
Near the shore there is a huge boat which shipwrecked and was pushed inland by the sea.
The ship is oxidated but its skeleton is perfectly preserved, and you can get closer to look
inside through some holes in the ship's hull.
The island is pure green, and it is divided by low stone walls, which are typical from the Aran Islands.
Another main attraction of Inisheer is the lighthouse. It can be seen from outside but it is not possible
to enter because the way is cut, and it is found in a private property.
RING OF KERRY
KILLARNEY NATIONAL PARK
Typical village from the Ring of Kerry, Killorglin has a remarkable stone bridge with eight archs
and a statue of King Puck, a goat.
Near this village there is a great viewpoint to look at the Dingle Peninsula and the sand strip of Inch.
Here there is an old police station of the Royal Irish Constabulary,
the so-called Barracks Heritage Center. When it was rebuilt, its construction plans were mixed up with those of other quarters in India.
The result was a white building which seemed a little strange.
- Ballycarbery Castle and stone fortresses
After crossing a spiky fence, there is a meadow where the castle is found.
This building, although it was demolished, preserves some rooms and the original structure, with rectangular floor.
There are two fortresses nearby. The smallest one dates back to the ninth or tenth century. Its remains include
the walls of four houses and some underground corridors connected to rooms built inside the walls.
In the other fort, there is a circular room in the centre, and it is possible to climb up the walls, in order
to enjoy the beautiful views.
- Skelling Ring and
Starting in Portmagee, it is possible to enter into the Skelling Ring, and there is
a bridge which leads to Valentia Island. The main towns in this ring are Chapeltown and
Knightstown. The island has plenty of hills and forest, the landscape typical from Ireland, but also
colourful wild flowers. It is also possible to spot the
Fogher Cliff and Geokaun Hill. To visit it, it is required to pay the entrance fee.
The main interest of this seaside town, which is full of cute colourful houses, relies
on the fact that Charles Chaplin usually spent the summers here. Nowadays, there is a very nice statue to commemorate him.
- Castlecove and Staigue Fort
Near the town of Castlecove, the road starts narrowing until the Staigue Fort, an Iron Age fort dating back to the
third and forth centuries. There are some steps to climb up the wide wall.
This town has a 5000-years-old megalithic circle of 15 stones.
RING OF BEARA
- Ladies View
Beautiful viewpoint facing the lakes and the mountains. It is so-called because
it was really appreciated by the ladies of Queen Victoria.
- Galway Bridge
Stone bridge crossing the river next to Ladies View.
- Torc Waterfalls
Waterfalls in different levels, which can be visited following a one-hour round trail which goes through the surrounding forests.
- Muckross Abbey
Although at first sight it might seem not well-preserved, once inside you can see
the delimited rooms, and it is an interesting visit. You can explore the cloister, the
cemetery, and also go to the upper floor.
- Muckross House
This old mansion has a really gloomy look, and has been recently opened to tourists. It is located in the heart of the park, surrounded
by lakes and forests.
- Ross Castle
This castle dates back to the fifteenth century. It has only one tower, surrounded by the walls.
- Bronze Age Copper Mine
A trail starting at Ross Castle leadsto an old copper mine.
The path goes through the forest and, at the end, there are some information signs
about the history and operation of the mine. You can see the lakes where the metal was extracted,
and also the old entrance to the mine, between the rocks. It is quite interesting to think about human activity 4000 years ago.
- Derrenataggart Stone Circle
This circle is located in the middle of a meadow. It has an odd number of
vertical stones dating back to the Iron Age.
- Dursley Island & Cableway
This is the only cableway in Ireland. It can carry 6 people and travels at 30-meters height over the sea level.
Mining town where you can visit an old copper mine and a mining museum.
Just outside the village, there is a lookout gaze at the blue sea, the sharp coast, and some tiny islands.
Picturesque town with plenty of colourful houses.
Just after passing this village, there are some signs indicating another megalithic circle.
The way to them is really funny: you must use the stairs to jump over the fences and, after that,
cross the marshy lands of the bog through a stone path.
The Bronze Age circle is composed by 9 vertical slabs, and it is very well-preserved.
Just before Lauragh town, there is a bifurcation pointing to another megalithic circle.
It can be reached after several kilometers through a horrible road. The circle is smallish, and only a few stones are still standing
, but it has amazing views of the mountains.
We went to Blue Pool Park, where it was possible to spot some seals. The signs in the park were quite deteriorated.
Walking through the forest, it was possible to reach some places with open views to the sea. Although it was supposed to be one
of the biggest seal colonies in Ireland, we saw nothing.
WHALE WATCHING TOUR
In the south of the island, there are several towns where you can take a tour to look for whales and other sea mammals.
Departures are subjected to the weather, and many companies have no office, but only the boat in the pier.
We went with Collin Barnes, whose boat departs from Reen Pier.
We had gotten the information in the tourist office of
Skibberen, and we hired the tour by phone. During the trip, we found
many dolphins and seals, but no whale. It seems that it was an uncommon situation, but we were not lucky.
Birth town of Michael Collins, who founded IRA. There is a statue honoring him.
DROMBERG MEGALITIC CIRCLE
Near Glandore, this megalithic circle is quite well-preserved.
Between its stones, you can still distinguish a place where its inhabitants used to cook.
They submerged hot stones in water in order to heat it, and it maintained the temperature
for 3 hours, time enough to cook the meat.
Located in the city centre, this castle, dating back to
thirteenth century, is quite well-preserved. It is possible to walk
over the walls, to climb up the towers, and to visit several rooms.
Apart from that, there are some exhibitions about the castle history, and
a curious model representing how it was besieged by English forces.
The parking is located in front of a house, where the tickets can be bought.
We knocked on the door, and a woman came out.
A path goes up to the entrance of the cave. There you have to wait for the guide,
so that you can start the visit. Meanwhile, it's possible to read some
signs about the cave and The Earth's formation.
Once inside, some steps go down into the dark and, after crossing a corridor,
you reach a large room which is full of calcium curtains, naturally made by water, and also a lot of
There are some curious motifs whimsically carved by water on the walls.
These include an elephant, an old man, Elvis Presley or the Statue of Liberty.
In another room, there was a huge column, the oldest one in Europe,
as well as other natural formations such as the House or the Jellyfish. In addition,
there are some tunnels dub in the rock by underground rivers.
ROCK OF CASHEL
This fortress is found in the town of Cashel. The visit starts at the Hall
of the Vicars Choral, where there are Bronze Age axes and also the St.
Patrick's Cross, dating back to second century. In the upper floor, there are
old furniture, a carpet, and a detailed ceiling carved in oak wood.
The cathedral dates back to thirteenth century, and its most remarkable elements
are the arches, pillars and capitals (with small stone heads carved in the upper part).
The oldest building in the complex is the circular tower (eleventh-twelfth centuries).
It is 28 meters high, and the entrance door is located at 3.5 meters height.
The Comarc's Chapel is probably the first Romanesque church in Ireland.
It is profusely decorated, with paintings on the walls and the vault, although they are age-worn.
Ernest Shackleton's birth town, although nowadays there is nothing related to him.
The region is beautiful, especially when the sunset light falls over the wheat fields.