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Day 47 Donegal – Bunratty, Ireland

Monday 29 August 2016

all seasons in one day 19 °C

Our stay in Donegal was uneventful and we were off as soon as we could with the sun shining brightly. We were told that the drive to Galway was a big one – 3 to 4 hours. They would have a fit to know that we actually went as far as Bunratty. It was fortunate that I checked my notes from Jayne and checked where Bunratty was as she had told me about the medieval dinner. Once we were on route it was time to call the Bunratty Castle Hotel, not a castle as such but next door to a castle. We checked availability for the dinner and all was good so the decision was made to make Bunratty our destination.
We headed east to Enniskillen, hoping that it would be a scenic drive but there was little to see. We did find the Enniskillen Castle but did not go into the museum, just scouted around the exterior and took a photo of what was left of the old castle. My intention was to go into Sligo but we detoured to the south and headed straight for Galway where it was raining. We parked in the central parking area and wandered over to the main shopping centre to have a cup of tea. They were out of scones so we had rhubarb pie and apple pie – very healthy. While eating, the sun broke through so I urged Ross to get going as I thought we should try to go by the Cliffs of Moher on our way to Bunratty. We had booked the dinner show for 8.45pm so we had time. Never waste an opportunity!!
The drive west to the cliffs was interesting. We wondered what all these rocks were on the hills. Once I checked on the map, it showed this area as The Burren. Further investigation on Google said the it was a ‘karst landscape of bedrock incorporating a vast cracked pavement of glacial-era limestone, with cliffs and caves, fossils, rock formations and archaeological sites.’ There are many roads leading to the area at various points. It was still raining so we thought that there would be little hope of seeing the cliffs. However, as we drew closer, the rain stopped and the heavy cloud was lifting. It was around 6pm by the time we arrived at the visitors centre and we paid €8 to park the car – that is the senior rate! I have never seen a pedestrian crossing going across the main highway but that is what happens there if you use the visitor’s centre. We climbed the steps to the various vantage points and were astonished at the beauty. It was not totally clear but we could see the cliffs clearly close to us. We were pretty happy – better than nothing at all.
Back in the car, it was pedal to the metal to get to Bunratty. We actually had a chance to drive on a freeway and Ross enjoyed hitting 120 km/hr. We checked in, showered and walked to the castle in time for the dinner and show. As promised, the actors were dressed in medieval garb. A harp and a fiddle played while we sipped our honey mead. We were told the true meaning of ‘honeymoon’. Dinner had to be eaten with a dagger (knife) and our fingers. First course was soup, (yes, sipped from the bowl) followed by spare ribs and then chicken and vegetables. We had a plentiful supply of red and white wine and the meal concluded with a tasty dessert. The last half hour was for entertainment. The group sang lots of great ballads and Irish songs. The acoustics of the castle were amazing as were the voices of the singers. We had a lovely night but it was a late for us after such a big day.

Posted by gpric6 13:46 Archived in Ireland

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