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Towns and other points of interest 

Ireland: Limerick to St Andrews, Scotland - Sept 16 to Sept 22




Sept 16




Drive past

Had a brief lunch at Adare then on toward Limerick.  This is the third largest city in Ireland and has the unpleasant sobriquet of Stab City because of the number of knife fights and deaths from stabbings.  That is changing as criminals switch to guns!  Limerick was begun by the Vikings, and its name means rich, which refers to the fertile land in this area.  It is on the River Shannon, which is the longest river in the British Isles.  The Normans came in 1184, and King John’s Castle was built between 1200 and 1210.  It is a beautiful building and noted for its Round Towers and Curtain Walls (walls between towers). 

Sept 17






Arrived in Dublin at 1:00 and had a bowl of soup in the Kilkenny Café Restaurant on Nassau Street.  Caroline had arranged for a tour guide, Margaret, and she joined us in the bus as Gary drove us around Dublin.  Again it was the Vikings who were responsible for the founding of Dublin, in 841.  The Normans arrived 1169 and the city was walled.  Christchurch Cathedral was started in 1171 when the original wooden church foundations were extended and rebuilt in stone by Strongbow (2nd Earl of Pembroke and leader of Anglo-Norman forces that invaded Ireland in 1169).  St Patrick’s also began as a wooden structure and is situated at the sacred well where St Patrick baptized converts about 450 AD.  The wooden church was replaced with stone beginning around 1191.  Both are now Protestant Cathedrals, thanks to Henry VIII.  In 1204 King John had Dublin Castle built. 

In the 1600-1700 many English were in Dublin and rebuilt the city in the Georgian style, including the Georgian Mile where there is roughly 1 mile of Georgian private homes.  In 1801 Parliament left Dublin and governing was done from London.  The very wealthy moved to England as well and the remaining middle class could not maintain the splendor of the city.  Since joining the EU a lot of money has been poured into Ireland and Dublin is benefiting from this with the restoration of many buildings, parks and the like.  Dublin was the home of Oscar Wilde, George Bernard Shaw and James Joyce.  Also of Molly Malone:  there is a statue of her pushing a wheelbarrow, and she is affectionately known to Dubliners as The Tart with the Cart.  There is also a statue of Ladies with shopping bags – The Hags with the Bags, and another with a lady bathing -  the Floozy in the Jacuzzi!  Sometimes Dubliners can be cruel!!

Wednesday Sept 18



We had a whole day in Dublin.  Went to the Tourist Bureau, Temple Bar, across the Liffy to O’Connell Street, back across, to Stephen Market and Dunnes groceries, where we got salad, rolls, milk and went on to St Stephens Green and had a very enjoyable meal on a park bench, finishing off with cookies left over from last night.  After lunch, strolled through the park, then into the National Museum of Ireland where we spent a couple of hours.  Back to Trinity College and rested in the park until it was time for the bus.  At 4:00 we left and returned to the Holiday Inn.  After a shower, coffee and dressing for the evening, we hopped on the bus at 6:15 for supper and entertainment at the Burlington Cabaret.  I had “Prime Irish Beef” and Lois had “Shannon Salmon”.  At 8:00 the entertainment began with song, dance and a comedian.  It was a real good show.  At 10:45 it was over and we went back to the hotel.  I enjoyed our time in Dublin and many Irish songs came to mind as we walked around.  I don’t mean the squishy stuff that one hears around Canada and USA in mid-March, but the songs of the Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem, the Dubliners, Chieftains, Christy Moore and the like.  I bought a 3 CD set of the Dubliners and have played it a few times since I got home.  There is a lot of construction happening in Dublin as a result of EU money coming into the country.


Sept 19



3:10 till 4:30. Could have spent another hour or more here.  Chester is a Roman city surrounded by a wall built by the Romans from 90 – 120 AD as a bulwark against the fierce Welsh tribes.  Foregate Street is lined with interesting old houses and shops, and leads to Eastgate and the Eastgate clock built for Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee in 1897.  We got onto the Wall here and followed it toward the river where we viewed the excavated Roman amphitheatre and Roman Gardens.  Then reversed, passed the clock again and on to the Chester cathedral where we strolled through the flower gardens and peeked into the cathedral.  We bought some gifts at one shop, and then it was bus time again.  A circuit of the 2 miles of Roman Wall would have been a pleasant walk, but no time for that.


Sept 21



We left the hotel at 9:05 for our day in Edinburgh. A guide joined us and we had a good tour of the city, including a stop at Holyrood Palace, the Queen's residence in this city. After the tour we were dropped on Waterloo Place near the Balmoral Hotel and told the bus would leave again at 4:00 PM. Lois and I walked across the North Bridge which took us to the Royal Mile, the street that has Holyrood Palace at one end, Edinburgh Castle at the other, and hundreds of very interesting shops, churches, alleys, and people. We did not hurry and managed to stop in at many of the shops before arriving at the Castle. The bleachers were being dismantled; they were used for the Tattoo in August, which is held on the castle esplanade each year.There was a bit of a queue for the castle, but we were soon inside - £6.00 each. There was a scotch tasting in one of the shops within the castle walls and we did buy a bottle of whisky cream liqueur, which we finished off last Saturday evening with friends at home (November 16, 2002). It was lovely stuff!! The castle is immense, and we wandered around it for three or more hours. There is so much to see in it, including the Scottish Crown Jewels, which are not very spectacular nor plentiful. Finally, we just got tired, and decided to leave. Slowly made our way back the Royal Mile with again many stops and some purchases, back across North bridge, and left on Princes Street to the Scott Monument. Lots of people on the streets, but it was Saturday, so to be expected. Back at the bus stop there was an old cemetery that we had a look at till bus time, then back to the hotel. It was a lovely time in Edinburgh and one that could be repeated without suffering boredom.


Sept 22

St Andrews Scotland
Upon entering St Andrews, historical golf center, we came to the first golf course. This one costs £90 per round and one is allowed 3 hours and 57 minutes. The new course costs £45 per round and has a 4 hour time limit. Men must have a handicap of 24 and women 36. Women are allowed to play contrary to the rule that named the game: Gentlemen Only, Ladies Forbidden, but are still not allowed into the clubhouse. There is the ruin of an abbey in St Andrews, another sacked by the soldiers of Henry VIII. We drove past it but didn't stop. It was built in the 1100's, and was 555 feet long. James V of Scotland was married here. The most prominent feature now is the tower of St Rule (Regulus). The bones of St Andrew are buried under this tower. There is a University here - the third largest after Oxford and Cambridge. Prince William is a student here. Prince Henry is at Eton and graduates this year.We spent some time around the clubhouse area. It was overcast and windy, with a cold wind blowing in from the North Sea. As it was Sunday, there wasn't much to do, but the British Golf Museum and accompanying golf store was open. The tide was out and we had a look at the Witches Hole. When the tide is high there is lots of water here. In olden times if one was suspected of being a witch, she was thrown into water. If she sank and drowned, that proved she was NOT a witch. If she was able to stay afloat, it meant she was a witch, so was hauled out and executed. Seems like a lose/lose situation!



End of Towns Visited

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