Twelve Days in Ireland and Northern Ireland
Updated: Mar 8, 2020
We had twelve more wonderful days in Ireland and Northern Ireland after 2 1/2 days in Dublin, just enough time for an overview of this beautiful island! We chose to take a tour with Vagabond Tours, an active trip that kept us busy and gave us the opportunity to take in the scenery without trying to drive. I've broken down the trip by days and, thanks to Vagabond, by areas covered in that day.
And so....on to Ireland!
Day 1—Dublin to County Antrim
And we were off! We met our Denise, our Vagabond Tour guide, and our nine fellow travelers at the Grand Canal Hotel in Dublin to start our active vacation around Ireland. In addition to being very active, we were to learn so much Irish history and facts, beginning with some terminology. If it’s a “day for the high stool,” there is a torrential rain outside so you’re staying at the bar. “Craic” means fun and “It’ll be grand” means everything will be okay. And, no matter how bad things seem, it could always be worse so the Irish always say, “You’re lucky.”
Denise also gave us the first in a list of items that demonstrated the Irish influence on Texas. There are two times in Ireland: “ish” and “sharp.” If you need to be somewhere exactly on time, it is 12 sharp; however, if the time is flexible, it’s 12-ish. (How many times have we heard this at home in Texas?!?)
We experienced our first active break a short 1 ½ hour drive outside of Dublin at Slieve Guillion Mountain. Denise did give us a break and drove up the first 985 feet, so we only had to hike up the remaining 656. We learned quickly that Denise was in great shape as she set a very fast pace. She was good to encourage breaks and always give everyone the opportunity to stop. We made it to the top of the mountain to see the inside of the oldest passage tomb in Ireland, dating between 4000 and 2500 B.C. At winter solstice, the tomb of an ancient Irish tribal king is aligned with the setting sun. The shifting rocks of the burial cairn made the last part of the climb difficult, but still doable and the views from the top were magnificent. (After visiting the tomb at the top of the mountain, Randy decided he liked seeing Egyptian tombs better—they are built at the bottom of mountains instead of the top!)
Our next stop was the Titanic Museum in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Unfortunately, we didn't have enough time to do both the museum and the Black Taxi Tour, so the only parts of the museum we saw were the restrooms, gift shop, and café for lunch. We had the first of many bowls of vegetable soup, which is generally a mixture of pureed carrots and other veggies, very good on a cold day. Big E's Belfast Tours (formerly known as the black taxi tour but the name changed since they now use minivans) was a good choice, because we saw the walls and gates that divided the Protestants and Catholics. In fact, the gates continue to be closed and locked each night since occasional violence still breaks out. The drivers each gave their perspective representative of each belief, but the underlying theme was the need for the violence to end and everyone to get along.
We left Belfast and headed along the scenic Causeway Coastal route for Carnlough and our stop for the night, the Londonderry Arms Hotel. The hotel is a historic site built in 1847 and once owned by Winston Churchill. We walked to the picturesque harbor and saw the memorial to Paddy, the carrier pigeon who received the Dickin Medal for the fastest recorded time for delivering a message during the Normandy landings. Most of the restaurants were closed for dinner, especially since we were there in September, so we ate at the cozy dining room in the hotel.
Day 2—County Antrim to Derry
Our “breckky” was good, a full Irish breakfast of sausage or bacon, eggs, sautéed mushroom, baked tomato and baked beans. We were excited that most places in Ireland don’t open early—a place after our own hearts—so we usually left our hotels around 9:00. Our first stop for the day was Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge. We opted not to do bridge because of the line but, instead, enjoyed the walk to get great views of Scotland and Carrick Island. If you go, remember to get tickets before you take the trail out to the bridge; otherwise, you will have to backtrack to purchase them.
After our stop, we experienced another beautiful drive, this one being the Giant’s Causeway Coastal Drive with hills to our left and the sea to our right. The emerald green fields were divided with either rock or bush walls. We diverged from the coast to climb through scenic mountain passageways then through bogs rich with peat and purple heather.
We were excited to take the 3.7 mile hike to the Giant’s Causeway in spite of the mist and rain. (Always carry a raincoat in Ireland. Rain can and does start at any time of the day or night.) The walk was breathtaking quiet and peaceful. A low wall of blackberry vines kept walkers from wandering too close to the edge of the cliffs. We saw only 15 people throughout our walk, just some sheep and cattle. Oh, we did see two unicyclists and their dog. After all, what says safety first better than unicyclists on a cliffside trail?!?
After the peaceful solitude of the hike, Giant’s Causeway seemed even more crowded. The limestone formations have a geological basis, volcanic rock formations that resulted in the hexagonal tubes that visitors flock to see, but the Irish legend of Finn McCool is much more fun, and no one is alive from that time to say which is really true. (If you want both stories, click here.)
We stopped for a quick photo op at Dunluce castle which is slowly falling into the sea. The castle was originally built by the McDonalds. Legend has it that the kitchen part was so near the cliff edge that it and all the staff in it fell into the sea during a banquet. Supposedly, Lady McDonald went to the guests and announced calmly, “Dinner is off tonight.”
Our drive along the beautiful coast continued with some surprising scenes such as people swimming and surfing in 10° water before we arrived in Derry (Officially named Londonderry but the Irish choose not to use “London” to distance themselves from the English.) and the Ship Quay (pronounced “key”) Hotel, our hotel for the evening. Rain, again, did not stop us as we hurriedly explored the town. What we thought was a church beckoned us to visit before it closed. When we arrived, we discovered that the red sandstone building was the Guildhall, not a church. A security guard greeted us and invited us in to look around. (If I have not mentioned it, the people in Ireland are the friendliest we have ever met anywhere.) There was a city council meeting taking place, so the building was open late, and we were free to view the magnificent stained-glass windows, the huge pipe organ, and the simple magnificent architecture. The streets were fairly empty when we left due to the hour and the rain, so we went back to our hotel and ate in the dining room there. (Generally, we try not to eat in our hotel restaurants; however, we discovered that in Ireland, especially in some of the smaller areas in which we stayed, hotel restaurants were the only option and they were very good.
Day 3—Derry to County Donegal
We awoke early to beautiful views of the sun rising on the Guild Hall and the River Foyle. We had a great tour with Martin McCrossan City Tours along the top of the wide city walls which were built between 1613–1619 by the Irish Society to keep the English and Scottish out. Our guide gave an informative presentation about “The Troubles,” the period of rioting and civil unrest that officially began in August 1969. From the wall we were able to see where Bloody Sunday took place and the murals that reflect the loss of lives and the dreams of peace from both sides of “The Troubles.” One comment that our guide paraphrased Ghandi was especially impactful, “You can tell the state of a people by the way the majority treats its minority.”
We visited the interior of the First Derry Historic Presbyterian Church. Both the exterior and interior of the church are fascinating, but the most important aspect may be the significance of its latest renovation when both Catholic and Presbyterian ministers came together to demonstrate the renewed commitment for peace within the community.
Derry has many more sites that, unfortunately, we didn’t get to see because there just wasn’t enough time. We would love to go back and explore its WWII sites (It was a major port during the war.)
Our first stop after Derry was Grianán of Aileach Ring Fort which, from its hilltop location, gives beautiful views of the peninsula on which it lies. The fort dates back to 1700 BC to Tuatha de Danann who predated the Celts. The ring fort is the old seat of the kings of Ulster. We followed this stop with a quick lunch of seafood chowder and salad at the Florence Food Co. in Letterkenny, Co. Donegal., close to our next stop of Glenveagh National Park.
We arrived near the park, the second largest national park in Ireland and prepared to hike to the entrance of the park. We were walking hurriedly, following Denise, when we rounded a corner and stopped in amazement at the magnificent views including Lough Veagh (the lake). The land, castle, and gardens were given to the state by the last owner. We hiked to the top of the mountain for more beautiful views before returning to the gardens and castle. (We didn’t have time to tour the castle, but the gardens are beautiful.) The park is a hiker’s paradise with many well-marked trails of varying lengths and difficulties.
Our drive from the park to Ardara was interesting as we traveled bumpy backroads through bogs. The roads shift frequently with the constantly shifting bogs, so the pavement is far from smooth. We arrived in Ardara, Donegal for a visit at Eddy Doherty’s to view his traditional handmade woolen tweed products. He learned the process when he was 16 and has been weaving for 40 years! Thankfully, the drive afterwards was short to our hotel, the Nesbitt Arms. We went to Nancy’s Seafood Bar for dinner and a pint in a cozy, fire-warmed setting before going to the Corner House Pub to listen to some traditional Irish music, and some very modern non-Irish music.
Day 4—County Donegal to County Sligo
We continued our drive along the Wild Atlantic Way, over 2,500 km of roadways along the west coast of Ireland. The roads already existed, so it was simply a matter of marketing to increase tourism.
This day was our first to experience Irish rains during tour hours. The Irish have a system to categorize rains. (Thank you, Denise, for writing this information down!)
Levels of Irish Rain
Level 1 Grand Soft Day (Misty Stuff)
Level 2 Spitting Rain
Level 3 Wetting Rain or Sideways Rain
Level 4 Pelting Rain (Medium)
Level 5 Lashing Rain (It’s bouncing off roads. Strong rain.)
Level 6 Bucketing Rain (Lashing, but only for a short time. “It buckets down.”)
Level 7 Sun Showers (Give you rainbows)
Level 8 Torrential Rain (Be scared! Flash Floods!)
Level 9 A Day for the High Stool (Spend the day at the bar.)
We had planned to take a boat trip to the base of the 2000 feet tall cliffs of Sliabh Liag (Slieve League in English), but the rain changed our plans. Instead, we drove and hiked amidst rain and gusting winds to one of the highest sea cliffs in Europe. The rain ensured misty pictures, but we got peeks into the beauty of the area. After hiking in the cold and wet, we welcomed a stop in Donegal Town Castle Inn for lunch of Guinness and oysters on the half shell (a famous combination since 1837 because of a Guinness advertising campaign). The Inn was built as the stables for O’Donnell who also built Red Hugh O’Donnell’s Castle next door.
Denise was great at interweaving history, culture, and activity into an interesting tapestry for us. She regaled us with stories between stops to make time pass more quickly. Our next stop was at Queen Maebh’s tomb at Knocknarea, Sligo. (The legendary Queen Maeve of Connacht). We also stopped by the faery circle on our way to the Glencar waterfall in the province of Connacht in Yeats’ country. Yeats based his poem, “The Stolen Child” on this fairytale place. The rainbow by the waterfalls was only the first of many rainbows we saw in Ireland. (If there is a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, there must be a lot of gold!)
We spent the night at the Diamond Coast Resort in Inishcrone, Sligo (aka Enniscrone. Have I mentioned that many towns had multiple spellings which makes travel confusing?!?) The small seaside resort is known for its beautiful beaches and the now-defunct camping club which featured an old jet, bus, taxi, and other modes of transportation. The idea was to rent one as your cabin for the night, but the owner declared bankruptcy before it opened. We walked the mile into town to eat at Áit Eile Restaurant, which had an eclectic menu including pizza.
Day 5—County Sligo to Connemara
The sun was shining as we left Enniscrone heading toward Turlough Village in County Mayo to visit the Museum of Country Life and the Turlough House. The museum has wonderful displays of everyday life throughout Irish history. The exhibit showing turf (what we call peat) was especially interesting to us. Even now, peat is the main fuel source in this area of Ireland and the unique odor can be smelled outside, and inside, during cool evenings. Everywhere we hiked bogs covered with grouse and heather abounded reminding me of Wuthering Heights.
Our next stop was Westport which is a Tidy Town. The Irish government established an annual competition for towns based on their beautification. The entire town gets to decide how the prize money is spent. Over the years winning the competition has become a point of pride with the town’s welcome signs displaying the year(s) they have won. Westport, a multiple winner of this prestigious award, is a picturesque town with many good restaurants. We had a lunch at An Fille, named after an Irish poet) of great seafood chowder, an unusual Caesar salad, and, of course, wonderful bread.
The area near Westport and Croagh Patrick and Clew Bay is the land of Grace O’Malley, a pirate queen who successfully fought against Elizabeth I for many years. Near the foot of Croagh Patrick is the National Famine Memorial, a bronze statue of a coffin ship so called because of the number of Irish emigrants who died trying to escape the Potato Famine by sailing for America. We made a quick stop in Doolough Valley to view the sobering stone cross that serves as a reminder of the horrible impact of struggles for power and money. We learned that food was plentiful during the Potato Famine, but the poor could not afford it. Instead, they lost their homes, they starved, they stole, they went to jail, they fled to America, and many simply died. If a member of family was able to emigrate to America, that person would send money back to the family. To this day, houses have large concrete eagle statues on their gates that point towards the US to show that this house had family who sent back money to help.
Our drive took us to Ashleigh Falls and by Kylemore Abbey before we stopped for an afternoon hike of Diamond Hill in Connemara National Park. The hike had two stopping points before the final steep hike to the top. (Again, Denise was good at letting everyone know the options since the last third of the hike was steep.) The land around the mountain was full of cattle, magpies, and sheep. (The magpies were walking up to the cattle as they slept with both parties seemingly undisturbed by the other’s proximity.)
Our destination for the evening was Abbeyglenn Castle Hotel in Clifden, County Galway. The owner shared the history of the hotel and we enjoyed walking around the beautiful grounds before venturing into town to have dinner at Restaurant Darcy Twelve. The cozy place served a luscious cold seafood platter of oysters, crab, salmon, and more mussels. A short enjoyable walk back to the castle and a quiet night rounded out another good day in Ireland.
Day 6—Connemara to County Clare
The first item for the day was a quick photo stop at Connemara Son Statue, a late 20th century antiquity and marketing ploy reflecting the good Irish sense of humor. The plaque reads, “This is Connemara (Conn son of the sea), Built in 1999 by Joyce’s Craft Shop for no apparent reason.” Aughnanure Castle in Oughterard, County Galway was our next stop. The tour of this 1490’s Castle built by the O’Flaherty gave us a good basis for all other castle tours that we had on this journey as she explained how castles were built and the meanings of the various parts. (Pirate Queen Grace O’Malley gained control of this castle with one of her marriages.)
We stopped in Galway for lunch and a quick tour of the town. (Galway is another town that I would like to go back to and have time to explore.) Legend has it that the walled city of Galway was moved from a different place when the Chieftain’s much-beloved daughter drowned at the harbor, the current site of Galway. The Chieftain would go every day to the site of her death and sit for hours at a time. Finally, the town realized that they would have to go to him to get work done so the city moved to the harbor.
Galway has a bustling West End that is a center of shopping and restaurants, especially along Quay and Shopping Streets. We wove our way through the lively Galway Saturday Market that was brimming over with fresh vegetables and fish to find Lynch’s Wall from which Mayor James Lynch hung his own son. Mayor Lynch could not issue justice to all if he did not do the same for his son, who was guilty of murder. This ethical act gives us the word “lynch.”
We ventured into King’s Head Pub for lunch of a salad, burger, and a pint of their King’s Head Beer before window shopping. We made a stop in the Aran Sweater Store, not to shop even though they have beautiful wool products, but to see the foundation of a13th century castle; wall that is displayed via a plexiglass-covered opening in the floor by the register.
Our drive took us further along the Wild Atlantic Way to the Burren, County Clare region which is a rocky area of karst limestone. (Cromwell banished many Irish to this area because there was very little use of this land for any purpose.) We hiked up to the Poulnabrone dolmen (tomb), a Celtic burial area that is older than the Egyptian pyramids.
And then…the stop that I had been both looking forward to and dreading, the Cliffs of Moher. After reading about people who fell to their deaths at this scenic overlook, I was worried. I shouldn’t have been. If visitors keep to the marked paths in the park area, there is no way they could have fallen off the cliffs, unless they climbed over or stood on a tall wall! The Cliffs of Moher were beautiful, especially as we watched the sun trying to break out from behind the dark clouds, providing us with brief peeps of sunlight on the ocean.
We stayed at the Spanish Point House, a cozy guest house that overlooks the Wild Atlantic Way coast. The house has a varied past having been built as a manor house, then serving as a convent before being renovated into this charming inn.
Day 7—County Clare to Dingle
We started our day at the Spanish Point House by watching swimmers in the ocean. They had no wet suits and the water temperature was between 59° and 64°! Denise was great to break up our drive. We took a 20-30 minute hike along the cliffs near Kilkee. (The prefix “kil” means church.) The beautiful white fulmar birds sailing on the winds kept us company as we hiked through the spitting rain to our reward, a coffee shop!
We took the ferry across the River Shannon to the “Dingle Way,” aka the Dingle Peninsula. We drove through Kerry, the home of Kerry Gold Butter, followed by lunch in Listowel at the Horseshoe Bar where we had a bracing lunch of Irish Stew and warm Caesar Salad. We topped off this stop with a visit to the Listowel Castle with its beautiful façade…and nothing else!
We made a stop at the South Pole Inn in Annascual. We were all a bit confused by the existence of a “South Pole Inn” in Ireland but we learned that this pub contains interesting history and memorabilia about Tom Crean, an Irish hero who made three trips to the Antarctic during its initial exploration before returning to his hometown. (It also contains good food and beer!) No one knew Crean’s story until Michael Smith wrote The Unsung Hero.
Next stop…Dingle! With 54 pubs in Dingle, 1 for every 26-40 people, Dingle is a great place to wile away some time by having a pint, listening to good music, or kayaking on Dingle Bay while trying to get a glimpse of Dingle’s most famous resident, Funghi the Dolphin. We arrived at the Dingle Bay Hotel just in time for dinner with so many great walkable options that it was difficult to choose. We finally decided on the Fish Box which had great fish and chips and excellent risotto. You order at the counter but, after that, you have table service. After dinner a stroll with stops at pubs for a pint and good music was a must.
We were fortunate that beautiful weather continued to follow us as we took the Slea Head Drive, a 30-mile loop around Europe’s westernmost point that begins and ends in Dingle. One of our stops along this beautifully rugged drive was at Coumeenoole Beach where we strolled down to the scenic beach and watched waves break over the rocks. Every moment the views changed as the mist lifted and then rolled in. We also stopped at Slea Head itself that is marked with a huge crucifix and provides outstanding views, Gallarus Oratory, a beehive chapel built for meditation in the 5th – 6th centuries, and Dunquin Pier. The inhabitants of the Blasket Islands could not be buried there so their bodies were brought to the mainland and unloaded at this pier. The beautiful views of this portion of the Wild Atlantic Way are breathtaking and provide many wonderful places to stop, explore, and take pictures.
We had our afternoon free with many choices of things to do. We chose to walk along Dingle Bay while keeping a sharp lookout for Funghi. He showed himself multiple times, but we were too slow to capture more than a picture of his fin returning to the water. The walk itself was invigorating, peaceful, and beautiful. Another dinner and night sampling Dingle’s restaurants and pubs made the day great. (If you need clothes washed and are tired of sink washing, Dingle Cleaners has one-day service and will return your clean clothes to your hotel for a reasonable cost.)
Day 9—Dingle to Portmagee
Our visit to Killarney National Park was fabulous. Some of our group chose to take a bicycle tour and said it was wonderful. We chose to explore on foot and were very pleased with our choice. The park is wonderful, but Muckross Abbey was amazing. The abbey, built in the 15th century, is also the site of a modern cemetery. Exploring the abbey was fascinating. We were able to climb stairs and discover hidden rooms, all within the quiet solitude of the park and the abbey itself. The beautiful site also inspired a sense of reverence at its beauty. We wandered small pathways around the lake to get to Muckross House and then up multiple paths to Torc Waterfall. We didn’t have enough time to reach the waterfall, but the views of deer and scenery along the way made the trip worthwhile. The park could easily have been a full day’s experience. Inch Beach and Conor Pass (Beware if you are driving this trip yourself!) were other exciting ventures of the day as we entered the Ring of Kerry for more breathtaking views.
We ended our day at The Moorings Guesthouse in Portmagee, County Kerry, a stop that is home to the boats that take visitors to Skellig Michael if the weather allows. The cast of two of the Star Wars movies stayed and ate in this location while doing their filming. We were excited that Portmagee is in a designated Dark Sky Reserve, but the skies were too cloudy to see anything.
Day 10--Portmagee and Skellig Michael to Kenmare
The next morning the sun shone brightly, both in Portmagee and on the Skelligs. Visitors have to wait until 8:00 a.m. to know if their scheduled trip to the islands will occur because the weather outside the bay can be quite different from what you see from the shore. But even with that uncertainty, you need to reserve the trip early since only 180 people are allowed on the island per day. We were warned about the difficulty of the trip and the lack of restroom facilities for the entire time. Thankfully, the boat had a restroom, of sorts, and we had beautiful sailing weather for this adventure.
As our boat sailed the seven miles between Portmagee and the Skelligs, dolphins leapt beside us, keeping us company on our beautiful tour. As we approached Little Skellig, we were greeted by gannets, large seabirds that have found sanctuary on Little Skellig. These white birds can have a wingspan of six feet and are beautiful to watch as they soar on the wind and over the sea. There are 70,000 gannets on the island, although I’m not certain how they counted them. Visitors can’t land on Little Skellig, but our boat sailed around the island so we could watch the birds and get a closer view of the guano-covered outcropping.
Our landing on Skellig Michael, a sandstone and slate island, may have been one of the smoothest in history. The miniscule waves produced by the calm sea made disembarking from the boat onto the steep rock-hewn stairs very easy. The initial climb to the platform where we met the ranger was easy and warm. In fact, the ranger suggested we leave our coats at the bottom because the climb would make us warm—and he was right! There are somewhere between 600 and 775 steps leading to the top. (I forgot to count, and I have read differing reports.) The rock steps are steep, without handrails, and often overlooking sheer drops, but the top is worth it. The views from the beehive monastery at the top are magnificent. Completely surrounded by water with sheer rock faces on each side, I was reminded of the severe persecution that must have existed for the 6th century monks to decide to live in a place like this. The number of tourists has increased since Star Wars: The Force Awakens was filmed here, but the living conditions of the monks, the solitude, and the beauty are stronger pulls for me.
We did not have to rush to the top since we had 2.5 hours for our visit, so we had time to rest and enjoy the scenery both on the way up and the way down. I wouldn’t advise this trip to anyone who gets seasick, has a great fear of heights, is careless or klutzy, or is not in good physical shape, but, for everyone else, Skellig Michael is wonderful.
Our tour left Portmagee for Kenmare as soon as we landed on shore. After another beautiful drive we arrived at the Coachmans Townhouse in the center of town for the evening. We wandered the two main streets of town before settling in for dinner and fabulous entertainment by Michael O'Brien in the hotel’s pub.
Day 11—Kenmare to West Cork
We truly got away from all crowds this day as we travelled out onto the Beara Peninsula. We drove up to Healy Pass and gazed in wonder at the crazily curvy road below us that was our way down from the mountain. We hiked up a mountain past copper mine ruins to see a historic stone circle that sits at the peak. Beautiful scenic surprises were around every corner. Our stop in the colorful town of Castletownbere for lunch was a nice break from the twisty roads. We took a fun drive up another mountain, whose name is a closely held secret, but the views of the waters and lands below were fantastic. It is amazing that Ireland can contain so many beautiful places.
We spent our final night on the tour at the Gougane Barra Hotel in County Cork, a family-owned hotel on a peaceful lake. One of the first things that I noticed was the quiet. The solitude of the hotel gives the feeling that you are in your own private world. The postcard perfect St. Finbarr chapel and cemetery are located near the hotel which was perfect for peaceful exploration. The hotel has won numerous awards for their food so both dinner and breakfast were wonderful treats in the dining room with large picture windows through which we could see the lake.
Day 12—West Cork to Dublin
We headed to Blarney Castle for a quick look on our last day. (Maybe we could convince them for a longer tour if we had kissed the Blarney Stone earlier?!?!?) Legend has it that the chief of the McCarthy clan helped Robert Bruce who gave him this stone in appreciation. Years later, McCarthy saved a witch who revealed the magic of the stone; it gives the kisser the gift of eloquence or negotiation. To protect the stone, the chief put it in the most dangerous spot in the castle, four stories up and hanging out the window. The stone even enabled him to talk Queen Elizabeth I’s army out of attacking. When the Queen was told that her troops didn’t attack because they had been talked out of it, she allegedly said, “This is Blarney.” The line to kiss the Blarney Stone was about an hour long through increasingly narrow and steep circular stairways. (Those who are claustrophobic or have a fear of heights, beware!!!!) To kiss the Blarney Stone, you lie on your back, hold on to two bars over your head, then scoot backward, and lean back. A quick kiss and the man pulls you up, thankfully! We wished we had had more time so we could visit the beautiful gardens surrounding the castle, but after a quick stop for lunch at the café, it was time to get back on the van to head to the Rock of Cashel.
The ancient ruins of the Rock of Cashel sit beautifully above the city of Cashel, County Tipperary. It was built for the high kings of Munster in the 11th-12th centuries and stands proudly over the city. The foundation of the huge broken Celtic cross marks the cemetery which surrounds the cathedral. The complex is composed of the round tower, the chapel, the 13th century cathedral, the 15th century Castle and the Hall of the Vicars Choral. The walk to the top is steep, but short, and by this time we were in great shape!
And then, all too soon, we were back in Dublin at the Grand Canal Hotel to say good-bye to our group of travelers and guide before a restful night and then a day of new adventures!