The town of Ennis--the home base for the tour, grew around the friary in the heart of County Claire. The 13th century friary has many sculptures and there's a walk along a sculpture trail. From Ennis we went west to the lofty, 650-foot-high Cliffs of Moher--the highest in Europe and a nesting site for thousands of seabirds. Below the billowing ocean presents a spectacular picture. A walk along the coast introduces us to a limestone landscape called the Burren with white, deeply crevassed limestone that's hospitable to semi-tropical and arctic vegetation growing in close proximity .
No visit to Ireland is complete without a stop at Blarney with its famous castle. One hundred and twenty seven steps up a tower is the Blarney Stone. Legend tells us that anyone who manages to lean backward and kiss the stone will receive the gift of Blarney--a smooth, endearing way with words. Almost impossible to resist is a shopping trip to the Blarney Woolen Mills--I've used my sweater whenever the cold hits our city.
Cobb is on our agenda--the port where many an Irish immigrant looking to make a new home in the new world embarked in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. It was also the last port of call for the Titanic and the Lusitania.
Travel along the coast of the Iveragh Peninsula is a visual adventure combining oceans, coasts, mountains and the ever changing weather and light with a long pause in Kells to see Ireland's Border Collies working at a sheep farm.
SHEEP TO THE LEFT
SHEEP TO THE RIGHT
WHEREVER WE LOOK
THERE'S A SHEEP IN SIGHT
One of our last stops is Tralee and the Kerry County Museum--a living history museum that explores life from 7,000-years ago, the Mesolithic hunters and fishermen, and later settler including Celts and early Christians. We end our journey in Dublin. We walk along the same streets as Joyce and Yeats, see the Book of Kells and take in a show at the Abbey Theatre. Of course, no trip is complete without a walk along the River Liffey.
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