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”

Kylemore Abbey and the Connemara

After 3 days in “the wrong Newport,” it was time for me to move on to Galway, my next destination. I had passed around Galway on my way north to Newport, and found a secondary road through the Connemara region to return with different scenery. Slowly, my confidence in driving on the left side . . . → Read More: Kylemore Abbey and the Connemara

Westport, and a visit to Westport House

I had passed through Westport as a junction to the final highway to Newport, on my way, and saved an afternoon to return and explore. It has a street named “Shop Street,” full of restaurants, pubs, clothing and shoe shops, and shops of many other small merchants. Coming into a place so busy and . . . → Read More: Westport, and a visit to Westport House

The Ruins of Burrishoole Abbey

On the carriageway to Achill Island I had passed another place of interest, and went back the next evening to find the sign directing me to Burrishoole Abbey, on another narrow lane heading toward the sea, and not far from Newport.

The roadside sign pointing out the lane to the abbey

It was about 3 . . . → Read More: The Ruins of Burrishoole Abbey

Kileen Cemetery by the sea

On my way to Achill Island, north of Newport, I passed the Kileen cemetery, the name of one of my good friends (Killeen–but signage at the cemetery was spelled both ways). It was only a kilometer off the “carriageway,” and I decided to follow my curiosity. First, I stopped to consider my first jaunt . . . → Read More: Kileen Cemetery by the sea