Cliffs of Moher to Oranmore near Galway

Yesterday when we visited the Cliffs of Moher it was hard to see much because of the fog and rain. This morning we visited again. The weather was much better and we could see a lot more. We walked around a bit and took some pictures. By the time we were leaving it was starting to rain again and visibility was getting worse.

The drive to Oranmore where we are tonight was short. We stopped to have a look at Dunguaire Castle.

We have a lovely view of this old cemetery from our hotel window.

Traveling up the West Coast of Ireland from Cahirciveen to Lahinch near the Cliffs of Moher

This morning we headed up the west coast of Ireland to a B&B near the Cliffs of Moher. It rained all day. When we got to the cliffs it was raining and blowing so hard that it was a challenge to stand up. The visibility was poor so we didn’t see much of the cliffs. Our ticket to the visitor center and cliff view is good for twenty four hours so we will check it out again in the morning.

On the Ring of Kerry, Staying in a B&B near Cahirciveen, and Exploring the Island of Valencia

We spent today exploring a wide variety of places not far from where we are staying in the south west corner of Ireland. We started out exploring by visiting two Stone forts Cahergal and Kilovarnoge. They were built more than a thousand years ago. Nearby we stopped at the ruins of Ballycarbery Castle.

Next we went to Valentia Island. That’s the island we could see from the bar we ate at last night. Before we left this morning I downloaded a guide to the island so we followed that.

First we stopped at the visitor center for the Skellig Islands. The Islands are a UNESCO world heritage site. One of the rocky island, Skellig Michael was the site of a monastery. During the Dark Ages the monks on Skellig Michael helped preserve literacy and sacred texts. Hikers can take a boat to the island and hike 600 vertical feet up to the monastic ruins. Based on the video we saw in the visitor center it looks like a very challenging boat ride and hike. Scenes from Star Wars VII were filmed on the Skellig Islands.

After the visitor center we stopped at an old Protestant cemetery.

Then a bit farther down the road we checked out the lighthouse.

To add something totally different to our day our next stop was to see rock footprints that are the oldest record of a vertebrate walking on land. According to the sign at the sight that was 385 million years ago!

Just down the road we stopped to see the slate quarry where the slate for the English Houses of Parliament and the Paris Opera house came from. It’s a religious shrine now.

Finally the highlight of the day was hiking the Bray Head Loop trail. From the top of the cliff we could see the Skellig Islands in the distance.

We are dinner at a bar in town. We had lamb shank and beef stew. They were both slow cooked in Guinness beer.

Kinsale to the Ring of Kerry – across the South of Ireland

It rained and blew pretty much all day today as we drove from Kinsale to the southwest corner of Ireland. We are staying at a B and B in Cahersiveen on the Ring of Kerry.

Near Kinsale we stopped at the Old Head Signal Tower. It is one of 82 signal towers built along the Irish coast in the early 1800s. The tower was recently restored. It includes a museum about the Lusitania. A German U-boat sank the Lusitania ten miles off the coast from the Old Head at the beginning of World War I.

For dinner we had fish at a bar called The Point at the ferry landing just down the road from where we are staying.

Ireland Adventures – Rock of Cashel to Kinsale. 7 September 2018

If our first few days in Ireland are any indication the Irish people are some of the friendliest in the world. After we got off the airport bus in Dublin a man passing by stopped to offer us help with directions to our hotel. And then this morning when we missed the turn for the Rock of Cashel and had pulled off the road to do a u-turn the lady driving the car behind us pulled over too. She jumped out came over to our car, asked if we were going to “the Rock”, said she had seen us looking lost and proceeded to cheerfully give us directions!

We got to the Rock of Cashel not long after it opened. The parking lot was pretty much empty. By the time we left though there were about ten buses in the lot and no parking places left.

The Rock of Cashel is a group of medieval buildings on top of a limestone outcropping. It was originally the castle of the Munster kings and later belonged to the Catholic Church.

From the Rock we hiked down to the nearby Hore Abbey.

Tonight we are in Kinsale on the South coast. We have a lovely room in the Long Quay House with a view of the harbor.

This afternoon we hiked along the water to Charles Fort. It is s star fort and was built in the 1600s. The Spanish and Irish used it to protect the harbor from the English. The English won.

For dinner we ate at a great restaurant called Fishy Fishy. We started out with gin and tonics made with local Kinsale Blacks Gin. Then we shared mussels. For the main course Duke had brill and I had sea trout.

The Adventure Continues – Kirkenes, Norway to near Cashel, Ireland – 5-6 September, 2018

Yesterday we flew from Kirkenes to Oslo and then on to Dublin. This morning we walked to a bookstore and bought an Ireland Road Atlas and Guidebook. Then we picked up a rental car and headed out of Dublin to explore Ireland.

On our way to the book store we walked through the gardens of the Royal Hospital Killmainham even though it was raining it was a lovely walk. The building that used to be a hospital is now the Irish Museum of Modern Art.

Tonight we are staying at a hotel called The Horse and Jockey not far from the Rock of Cashel. Tomorrow we will visit it.

For dinner tonight we each had a Guinness to celebrate being in Ireland. We shared a bowl of potato cabbage soup and then Duke had a mixed grill and I had a burger.

The end of our Hurtigruten trip up the Norwegian coast.

Today was the end of our Norwegian Coastal trip on the Richard With. It was a wonderful trip. I would recommend a Hurtigruten Norwegian Coastal trip to anyone who likes adventure. The service was excellent as was the food and accommodations. The expedition staff who provided information about the land we were sailing through really added to our enjoyment of the trip. They were not only very knowledgeable but they seemed to have a true passion for the country, it’s culture and history.

We arrived in Kirkenes about 9 this morning. From Kirkenes it is less than ten miles to the Russian border and we are further east than Istanbul. We stored our luggage at our hotel and went for a walk around town.

We had dinner tonight at our hotel, the Thon. We started with scallops and then I had salmon and Duke had char.

Day 6 Aboard the Hurtigruten, Richard With – Today we were at the Highest Latitude in Continental Europe and got off the ship in Finnmark County.

Today was our last full day on board the Richard With. We are now sailing eastbound in the Barents Sea. This morning we got off the ship briefly in Havøysund.

We made a longer stop at Honningsvåg. The Såmi people graze their reindeer on the island in the summer. The reindeer swim the channel to get to and from the island. From the boat we could see reindeer grazing on shore in the distance.

In the town we hiked first to the church and then to a viewpoint overlooking the town. During World War II the Germans burned everything in the town except the church. After the war the town was rebuilt.

After leaving Honningsvåg the wind came up and we were bounced around the most we have been on this trip. We actually couldn’t stop at two of the harbors we were scheduled to stop at because of the wind.

Day 5 Aboard the Hurtigruten, Richard With – we are now more than 69 degrees North Latitude

We got off the boat at two stops today. The first was a very brief stop at Finnsnes. We had a quick look around then reboarded.

We spent more than three hours in Tromsø. Tromsø bills itself as the Gateway to the Arctic. It has a population of about 72,000. We had a really interesting lecture this morning about Norwegian Arctic explorers especially Fridtjof Nansen. Learning about his expeditions made our visit to the Polar Museum in Tromsø much more interesting because the museum had several exhibits about the explorers.

Day 4 Aboard the Hurtigruten, Richard With and We Cross the Arctic Circle

Last night about midnight there was a message over the ships intercom that the Northern Lights were visible off the front of our ship. We quickly got up, got dressed, and went out on deck. There was a beautiful almost full moon in east and to the north there were the northern lights! The bright moon meant they weren’t real bright but it was very cool to see them shifting across the sky.

This morning we were on deck by 7 am so we could be outside when we crossed the arctic circle. There is a silver globe on an island marking the spot. It was a beautiful clear morning.and there was a festive air we all jumped as we crossed the imaginary line.

After breakfast and a brief stop in Ørnes we participated in the Arctic circle crossing ceremony and baptism! The ice and water over our heads and down our backs was invigorating and shocking!It was a beautiful clear morning.

This afternoon we docked in Bodø. Duke and I walked around the harbor to check out the recreated gun emplacement that was originally established here to protect this harbor during the Napolianic Wars in the early 1900s. It was so warm that we didn’t even wear our coats

Tonight we docked briefly in Svolvær in the Lofoten Islands. The cod fishing industry here goes back centuries. We could see the racks where they dry the cod as we pulled into port.