Saturday, 13 August 2016


Dun Laoghairy ( pronounced Dun Leery! As I was politely informed by port control) is a very cosmopolitan town with great facilities and entertainment opportunities close at hand. There are three big yacht clubs and the huge City Marina where we berthed. It was very cold and the south westerly wind didn't let up day or night. Being plugged in to the power made it much more pleasant as we could run the little heater. It was a very long walk from Taipan to the marina office but facilities were good and clean. 
 The Maritime Museum, housed in an old church, provided several hours of entertainment as did the Royal Marine Hotel with its collection of interesting historical photos of the area. There's a big supermarket an easy walk from the Marina and plenty of dining opportunities.
Dublin Castle
Dublin City and history galore. Dublin Castle was one of the first stops. Dublin Castle was founded as a major defensive work in 1204, some time after the Norman Invasion of Ireland in 1169, a castle was built with "strong walls and good ditches for the defense of the city." Some of the early structure has been excavated by archeologists and now forms part of the Castle tour. Some goulish tales and unsolved mysteries were uncovered. Very little of the original Castle exists. Only a tower and the old foundations. Some of the facility is still used for State functions.
Wikipedia on Dublin Castle. 

Temple Bar district. Cobbled streets plenty of color and history with pubs on every corner and several in between.

Temple Bar is the old center and has quaint narrow cobbled streets filled with tourists We walked through several times and of course had the obligatory Guinness here and there. One evening Patrick took us to the  Gate Theater to see W. Somerset Maugham's "Constant Wife". Super entertaining in a lovely little theater. We spent three days seeing the sites of Dublin then hired a car and drove to Galway and Limerick return with lots of diversions along the way.
Colonel Hall-Walker and Patrick
First stop was the Irish National Stud in Tully, Co. Kildare. The Stud was founded in 1900 by the wealthy eccentric Col. William-Hall Walker, a man with a passion for astrology, gardening and horses. He did the astrological chart of each foal as it was born and decided it's future on the prediction. Somehow he managed to be very successful. In 1915, Colonel Hall-Walker departed to England, presenting his entire Tully property to "The Nation." His Stud Farm became the British National Stud. In 1945 (Tully properties having returned to the Irish Government in 1943) the Irish National Stud Company was formed. 
Maternity wing.

Many famous race horses were bred here. Vintage Crop a Melbourne Cup Winner among them. We saw Hurricane Fly in one of the fields. It was late when we arrived but we did get a tour and the facilities are superb.
The stud is 958 acres of land and there are 288 boxes on the farm for mares, foals and stallions. Not many horses about as the stud season is over, foals are weaned and brood mares are out. The grounds and gardens are beautiful. There is a horse museum and we spent quite a while chatting with the Farrier and the harness maker both have been working on the property for over 35 years.

Cloncarlin House
We stayed at a great B&B called Cloncarlin House a 250 year old house situated on a 280 acre beef farm nearby.
Roscrea. The remaining tower and entrance.
Next stop after a huge farm breakfast was Roscrea Castle Complex where we were given a great tour by a very informative young man with an emphasis on the furniture of the period. The complex was very nearly obliterated in the 70s for a car park but thankfully local objection and much rallying caused the council to cancel the demolition order.
The weather deteriorated as we drove westward. Galway was gridlocked when we arrived and it took quite a while to get out of there. We headed through some pretty if wet countryside towards Limerick and over nighted at a little B&B just outside Gort. 
Streets of Limerick
Another big breakfast and we were fortified for the run to Limerick where we walked the streets and enjoyed some local fare before tackling another huge castle called King Johns Castle. 
Across the River Shannon to King Johns Castle
Building work began in around 1212 and took decades to complete. It was the site of a terrible siege when in 1642, 800 people were trapped within the walls. They suffered truly dreadful conditions. Dead were buried in a pit near the gatehouse a stones throw away from those still desperately clinging to life. Link to Wikipedias King Johns Castle
View up the River Shanon from atop one of King Johns Castle distinctive drum towers.
 Now it was time to head back to Dublin, return the car and hop aboard for the trip across the Irish Sea to Wales. We had a good weather window and departed early morning for the passage of just 55nm arriving in Holyhead before dark. Calm seas and very little wind saw us motoring most of the way. We kept company with a big pod of dolphin for several hours. Always a great delight.
Now its time to check out Wales.