A Drive around Ireland - 2009

 
Gail, Tracy, Paul and I opted for a visit to Ireland in July 2009.  Gail and I had been there on business in the 1975 time frame, but had never returned until this occasion. Ireland is different, the beautiful scenery is still there, but there is much new added; to people, places and things.  MacDonalds, shopping malls, new homes and service people from all over, particularly Eastern Europe. During our previous visits, hotels, restaurants and stores and businesses were run by Irish women. 
It was Paul and Tracy's first visit to the Emerald Isle.  Opportunities for photo's here are virtually endless, and the biggest problem in putting together a picture story, is sorting them out in some fashion.  I have organized the pictures into rough categories of scenes of the island, points of ancient and historical interest, the towns and places and finally, the four of us in various situations.
Above;  A beautiful scene on the south shore of Galway Bay, farms with stone fences, a village, a square tower built for defense during the times of the Irish Kings and Viking invasions. A real mixture of the old and the new, which predominates in Ireland.
Above left;  A scene on the coast south of Cork City, an ancient site called the Dromberg Stone Circles. The sea shows in the background of the farms and fields of the area. 
Above right;  Coastal scene near Ballinspittal, once again south and west of Cork City.
Above left;  The beautiful port of Kinsale, one of the loveliest areas in the country. Would love to spend more time around here, also home to Charles Fort; a fortress constructed in 1685.
Above right;  The west coast of Ireland, near Black Head at the entrance to Galway Bay. In the background, the Aran Islands, in the foreground some mules feeding.
Above left;  Rugged coastline of the Burren, meaning rocky land, looking south to the black limestones that form the Cliffs of Moher. 
Above right;  As we climbed up from the coast to the higher ground and hills of the Burren, we passed Doonagore Castle. In 1588, 170 survivors of a Spanish Armada ship wrecked on the coast, were all hanged in this castle by the Sherrif of County Clare, Boetius MacClancy.
The Cliffs of Moher, an 8 kilometre stretch of cliffs along the west coast of Ireland, County Clare. These cliffs rise up to 200 metres (600 feet above the water ). This awe inspiring sight draws thousands of tourists each year. Despite the crowds of people, one only hears the sounds of the wind and the sea.
The Connemara region, north of Galway, a wild area of bogs, lakes and mountains and rugged coastlines. These two photo's are typical of the interior of the area. On the left one can see the bog trenches. Peat has been used for heat and cooking for centuries. On the right, a bog lake in a setting of high barren hills.
Tracy stands on a high hill in the middle of Connemara National Park. Behind her are the waters of Ballynakill Harbour. The town of Clifden lays to the left of the photo and the western most piece of mainland Ireland jutting out into the Atlantic Ocean.
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