The Tower of Timahoe

On the “dual carriageway” toward Timahoe

The lush green expanses of Ireland’s Midlands

Two curious sources of that wonderfully rich Irish butter

(May 10, 2017) Built around the year 1100, the Timahoe Tower is considered one of the best of the remaining round towers of Ireland, and the carvings on the stone . . . → Read More: The Tower of Timahoe

Through the Irish Midlands, to Castle Durrow

(May 10, 2017) I left Castle Dunamase in search of Timahoe Tower, another destination recommended to me by staff at my hotel in Portlaoise. On my route, I passed throw the small town Durrow, and made a stop there to go up the lane to Darrow Castle, now a high-end wedding destination, with a . . . → Read More: Through the Irish Midlands, to Castle Durrow

Castle Dunamase

Leaving Athlone, I headed to Portlaoise (“Port-leesh”), the farthest east in my circuit through western Ireland, and squarely in the Irish Midlands. My hotel was posh, but located in the middle of the city—and a city of significant size. For the first time, navigating out to neighboring sites was a challenge, especially without a . . . → Read More: Castle Dunamase

My new occupation? Road construction.

I’m paving the road to hell . . . with my good intentions. I left Spello in late June, after frantically working to post all of the blogs from my trip to Ireland—while also plucking flowers, working with my squadra for the Infiorata, and then flying home just a day or two after the . . . → Read More: My new occupation? Road construction.

Clonmacnoise on the River Shannon

No matter whom I asked, all advisors pointed me toward a visit to Clonmacnoise, a ruin on the banks of the River Shannon in the Irish Midlands. Located at the junction of the Shannon and a major trade route on an ancient esker (high deposits of gravel formed in the wake of receding glaciers . . . → Read More: Clonmacnoise on the River Shannon

An old flour mill on the canal

On my way to the ruins of Clonmacnoise, I came to a very small but steep bridge over a canal, and stopped for a photo of the canal. The bridge was stone, one lane, and rose up severely, and then back down on the opposite side of the canal. While I was out of . . . → Read More: An old flour mill on the canal

A rural Irish petting zoo

Leaving Athlone to drive east toward the ruins of Clonmacnoise, I passed a sign for a petting zoo nearby, and took the small road though the hills until I came to the zoo. Turns out it was closed for another hour, and I was told to come back later. When I explained that I . . . → Read More: A rural Irish petting zoo

Athlone, a first taste of the Irish Midlands

Athlone owes its existence to its location once as the principal crossing point on the River Shannon. Here the east of Ireland was linked to the west, and the river was an artery for communication and commerce. Originally named An Sean Ath Mor, “The Great Ford of Antiquity,” it later became “Atha Luain,” the . . . → Read More: Athlone, a first taste of the Irish Midlands

Market Day in Galway

The second day of my stay in Galway was “Market Day,” and I had read about the “don’t miss this” opportunity with the colorful stands of the once-a-week Saturday morning market. I summoned a cab for a ride to the market—and was dropped off a block from Shop Street, the very same place where . . . → Read More: Market Day in Galway

Getting to know Galway on “Shop Street”

I arrived in Galway to my hotel, on the outskirts, and decided that cabs were my best bet getting into the city. My skills as a left-side driver were improving, but I wasn’t ready to test them in a crowded city, and without a GPS to help direct me. My first stop was “Shop Street,” . . . → Read More: Getting to know Galway on “Shop Street”