Quin Town and Abbey / Knappogue Castle and Walled Gardens – Ireland

For part of our trip to Ireland in July we stayed at a lovely little B&B in County Clare.  We took many day trips in all directions from a village called Tulla.  On one of our trips back to our base we passed through the town of Quin and came across the Abbey there.  It was a charming quiet and peaceful scene with locals walking their dogs.  We had to pull over and have a look.

We continued down the road following a sign that said Knappogue Castle and Walled Gardens.  This led us to a lovely restored castle and gardens used for events.  One could certainly imagine weddings, parties, or work events in this lovely venue surrounded by rolling green hills, cattle, and horses.

This is the real and rural and lovely Ireland that you will not find in your guidebooks.  You must drive or walk or explore and you will be rewarded every time in this magnificent country.

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For more Irish musings please click here…

Cliffs of Moher, County Clare

The Cliffs of Moher are iconic and wild.  They are windswept and amazing with a sense of fear and magnificence that reminds us that Mother Nature if greater than us.  Ireland and the sea are deeply connected.  Her history with the sea both brings life and so often has taken it away. If you sit quietly, among the crowds here at the Cliffs, you can listen to the ocean tell Ireland’s story. It helps make me understand why the Irish have such a way with words and music.  So many places like this serve as artistic inspiration.D80_9834.jpg

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My nephew really enjoyed running around up and down the stairs while the rest of us caught our breath.  😉

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A view of O’Brien Castle.  The first time I was here it was a gift shop.  Now they make you pay a small amount to walk to the top for a superb view.  I wouldn’t recommend it though because it is hard to see over the large bricks.  Also, my brother and I were able to go out on that platform you can see below in this photo and dangle our feet at one time.  Now a fence prevents you from doing so probably keeping people far safer than when I first visited.

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Puffins roost here but one needs binoculars to see them.

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The amazing new visitor’s center beautifully tucked in to the mountain.  I was relieved to see that it doesn’t stick out like a sore thumb and is more like a hobbit visitor’s center.

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Has been playing music for visitor’s for some time.

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Impressive wood work worthy of a snap.

Poulnabrone Dolmen – The Burren County Clare, Ireland

The Burren is an unusual and vast landscape on the west coast of Ireland in County Clare.  At first blush it looks like a green and grey desert with nothing to be seen.  But, like most things, when you look closer you see detail and creativity only mother nature could concoct.  The Burren is primarily cracked limestone whose deeps cracks collect water and are filled with nutrient rich soil which wildflowers and grasses flourish in. The Burren National Park has been created to assist in protecting its multiple dolmens, stone circles/ring forts, caves, and megalithic tombs.

Some time between 4200-2900 BC Neolithic people created the masterpiece Poulnabrone Dolmen.  Dolmens dot the landscape in Ireland but this one is special primarily due to its size subverting the vastness that is the Burren. It is about twelve feet long and about six feet tall.  It is made of stone that is the same color as its surroundings so one could pass right by it without noticing it.  The remains of multiple people have been excavated from beneath the tomb which is typical of them throughout the country.

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A closeup of the stone


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Meet my nephew Michael enjoying the rain in the way only a kid can!

If you would like this dolmen check out another post on the dramatically large Brownshill Dolmen by clicking here!