“May the Irish hills caress you; may her lakes and rivers bless you; may the luck of the Irish enfold you; may the blessings of Saint Patrick behold you.”
Our adventures started in Dublin where its lovely bridges span the River Liffey linking the city. To find our hotel, the harp-shaped bridge, the national symbol of Ireland, became our landmark.
Dublin offered Guinness Storehouse, Christ Church, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Trinity College with the renowned library showcasing The Book of Kells, and Jameson Distillery, along with charming pubs and Irish shops. Ask some of our travelers how “not to use the hop on-hop off bus….”
Embarking on our magical journey, we waved goodbye to Dublin and hit the road for Waterford, Cork, Killarney, the Ring of Kerry, Limerick, Galway, Sligo Bay, Ballygally, the Ayrshire Coast, Loch Lomond, Glencoe, Loch Ness (a purple “Nessie” kept appearing in our photos), Eyre Square dedicated to President Kennedy, Inverness, The Highlands, Edinburgh and many other delightful and quaint villages along our route.
Thirteen climbed Blarney Castle’s 100 steps to kiss the Stone of Eloquence; some visited Cobh, the last port of call for the Titanic. We enjoyed dinner shows filled with Celtic music and lively dance, historic castles associated with Monty Python, Game of Thrones and the hit show Outlander.
To conclude our tour of one of Ireland’s main racehorse breeding centers, our local guide broke out into Danny Boy. Not an uncommon happening, we came to believe everyone in Ireland can sing. Cork, Ireland’s second largest city, on the River Lee was filled with charm and friendliness. In Killarney “Jarveys” boarded us into jaunting cars (horse-drawn) to drive us through their scenic National Park, no motorcars permitted. Bouncing along in the jaunting cars in drizzling rain to the clip-clop of the horse’s hoofs, surrounded by the lush forest, was a not-to-be-forgotten experience.
Just a few breathtaking sights were Cliffs of Moher, legendary Giant’s Causeway, mountains and lush country in the Highlands. The presence of bountiful sheep, Scottish longhorn cows (called coos), Shetland ponies grazing in the rolling, green countryside and the purple heather-covered mountains where grouse and pheasants nest brought smiles and laughter along our journey.
Golfers were thrilled to see Turnberry Links and St. Andrews Golf Course. Several Road Runners can now say, “I have played St. Andrews.”
During our tour of Glenlivet Distillery all were treated to a “wee dram.” To our surprise one hotel breakfast provided a “wee dram” for your porridge to start the day.
Our trip topped off in Edinburgh with the Military Tattoo at Edinburgh Castle, what a spectacular event! This performance is truly one-of-a-kind and meant to be treasured.
Ireland and Scotland are two beautiful countries with a host of interesting sights. The local people added to our enjoyment with their cheerful, happy and friendly ways.
William Butler Yeats said, “No strangers here, just people you haven’t met yet.”