Turns out, Ireland has one of the highest rates of celiac disease in Europe. Guess it sucks to be Irish. Not! As someone with a gluten intolerance, I was thrilled to find a plethora of Gluten Free food on the island.
Everywhere our crew visited, from pubs and restaurants to castles, had food I could eat. Not only that, the wait staffs were always knowledgeable about Gluten Free foods.
Wrapping up our visit to Killarney, we stopped by Miss Courtney’s Tearooms to interview the owner, Sandra Dunlea. Little did we know she would treat us to baked goods and delicious Earl Grey tea. Let me just say, her Gluten Free goodies are second to none! By far the best scones and muffins I’ve eaten in years.
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The night before we left for the Cliffs of Moher, we received the following tip: “When you get to the cliffs, turn left instead of right. Don’t mind the wall, just keep going. It’s a much better view.”
Hmm…700 foot vertical drop. Chest high stone wall. And ominous signs to watch our step… Could we ask for anything more?
Approaching the cliffs, the wall is a visual hindrance. But once I stand by it, with the wind buffeting my face, I can see its purpose. Even on an overcast day, from behind the man-made obstruction, the cliffs are staggering in their beauty
I couldn’t let it go. I needed to take one more shot. It was the first day of sunny skies, and Killarney was alive with color. Everyone else was piling into the van as I went the other way.
They threatened to leave me if I took longer than three minutes. There are worse places to be stranded.
One shot down College Street. Crossing the street as I recompose; a second shot and a third. My three minutes were up. As I reluctantly walked towards the van, I spotted this beautiful scene down Plunket Street. The colors, basic shapes of buildings and the winding, narrow street characterizes much of the older parts of the towns and cities we visited.
Would you dangle upside down and backwards from an ancient stone fortress, with the ground visible five stories below, to kiss a rock? Did I mention the only safety device is a nice fellow holding you by your waist? Visiting Blarney Castle, I had to kiss the Blarney Stone. According to legend, my reward would be the gift of eloquence.
After winding my way up a narrow, rounded stairwell, I summited the impenetrable wall and saw the most breathtaking views of the countryside. Great for spotting approaching enemies; or enjoying an afternoon tea, watching the lazy stream below.
Day two was drizzly with grey skies. As we drove south from Dublin to the “Sunny Southeast” city of Waterford, it was no different. We snaked our way through the wet, but lovely town until we came to a river’s edge. The only way to Waterford Castle was by a 24-hour barge to Little Island. Think moat.
After winding our way along the island for a few minutes with no signs of the castle, we were awed when the 100’s year old stone structure came into sight.
Though I shot photos when the sky cleared later in the evening, I liked this shot for the rhododendron in the foreground, the palm trees to the left and the foreboding sky.
The day we arrived in Dublin, we hit the ground running and didn’t stop shooting until about 6. After dinner, the crew decided to strike out on our own and find a local pub.
The hotel staff suggested O’Donoghue’s, down the street from The Shelbourne. What we found inside excited us. A place the size of a small flat, bursting with people and overflowing with “Trad” Irish music. We drank and swayed with the locals until nearly midnight.
We couldn’t have asked for a better start to our week…