Republic of Ireland: Southern Regions

 

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The complex character of Ireland is captured by the city of Limerick, Ireland's third strongest economy after Dublin and Cork which was a bustling port with its heyday in Georgian times. Shannonsiders suffered during the Williamite War and periods of deep poverty as portrayed in Frank McCourt's Pulitzer Prize winning novel Angela's Ashes.

Limerick is home to St. Mary's Cathedral, Newtown Pery, the Hunt Museum and one of Europe's most complete Norman castles, King John's Castle.

We were delighted to find the Locke Bar in Limerick where there were daily performances of traditional Irish music and dance.

The MacGillycuddy Reeks, the highest mountain range in Ireland, is known for its ridge-walking routes.

Typical sights as we drove through the countryside included vast views of rural properties and sheep pastures divided by hedgerows and dry-pack stone fences.

A favorite part of our journey was our trip out to the Dingle Peninsula, one of the three arms in the southwest of Ireland that stretch into the Atlantic Ocean.

The town of Dingle is a fishing harbour and tourist destination, home of the Oceanworld Aquarium and dolphin-watching excursions.

Skellig Michael is a UNESCO World Heritage site. It is an island off the coast reknowned for its 6th Century Gaelic Monastery and for being a setting for Star Wars movies.

Inch Beach is a four mile stretch of sandy beach on the Dingle Peninsula known for being the setting of several movies including Ryan's Daughter.

The Ring of Kerry is a scenic drive around the Inveragh Peninnsula. It takes in rugged coastal landscapes and scenic coastal villages such as Kenmare Bay.

Killarney National Park is home to the Torc Waterfall, the 15th Century Ross Castle, beautiful reflective lakes, native oak and yew forests and resident wild red deer.

Killarney, "the town in the park," serves as the hub for Killarney National Park and the Ring of Kerry. Innisfallen Monastery, Muckross House and Gardens and jaunty cart rides are some of its attractions.

In Killarney we were fortunate to enter St. Mary's Cathedral while the organist was rehearsing on its magnificent pipe organ.

The town of Blarney is famous for Blarney Castle where people climb a tower to kiss a stone to receive the gift of eloquence.

Blarney Castle is a lovely place with vast parklands and themed gardens.

 

Charles De Gaulle retreated to Sneem, County Kerry when he resigned from the French presidency. Locals call this the "Gaulle Stone."

     

The marriage of Strongbow and Aoife in Waterford in 1170 established the Norman foothold in Ireland.

Ireland is home of hurling, a unique field sport that has been played for 800 years.

 

Avoca has been home to a woolen mill since 1723. A fascinating tour shows how blankets, shawls and scarves are made using traditional handweaving methods.

Adare is known for being the home of lovely thatch-roofed cottages. The Kerry Bog Village Museum in Quaybuan, County Kerry reproduces Irish thatch cottages and the lives of their inhabitants.

The city of Waterford has been home to the Waterford Crystal factory since 1783. A fascinating tour shows the steps in the creation of the fine glassware.

A series of tile murals in Waterford town center highlight traditional crafts such as glassblowing, basket making, pottery throwing and turf carrying. 

Waterford was founded by Vikings in 914 A.D. Part of its ancient core remains, and archeological finds are on display.

 

In Wexford an eternal flame in honour of Irish emigrants sits in front of a "coffin ship," one of many that carried Irish refugees to North America, the most famous being the Kennedy family.

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This site was last updated 08/11/19