We survived the Cliffs of Moher and headed south to the Dingle Peninsula. On the way we stopped at Bunratty Castle. I know. A real castle. Near the border of County Clare and County Limerick, it was on the way, literally. The proprietors of our B&B suggested it, telling us the owners had more than one castle and removed the doors and a few other items from those sites and took them to Bunratty for the world to see. Besides the castle there was an adjoining folk park with about 30 buildings and an element of living history. My kids found the playground right away and it’s a wonder we ever got to see anything else, but we did drag them away to see the gardens as well as the watermill. After having seen so many windmills, it was fun to see how we humans worked at harvesting the power of water as well.
After a little shopping we were back in the car and on the road down to the Dingle Peninsula. The place was hopping when we drove through in the late afternoon. We didn’t stop, but headed out to Ballyferriter where we were staying. Little did we know this was the best weather we would have for out entire stay on the peninsula. We returned to Dingle the next day after a brief stop at the Gallarus Oratory, a stone structure probably used for some religious ceremony.
By the time we got back to Dingle, the place was again hopping. With nowhere to park we visited the grocery and took the Slea Head Drive around the peninsula. We stopped at a beach and let the kids explore without their shoes for a while, but their suits were back at the hotel and a longer dip in the sea would have to wait. Anyone a fan of The Last Jedi? Here, you would be able to see where they filmed some of the scenes with Luke and Rey. The peninsula is very proud of its Star Wars connection and they should be because the landscape is amazing. Even in the rain.
The next morning we made it back into Dingle early, before it started hopping, and did some shopping as well as some running around. I mean that in the literal sense because my kids found another park and who cares if it’s raining? Also, not having forgotten that I packed their swimsuits, the kids insisted on going to the beach. And you know what? I let them. We were on vacation. No better time. The rain subsided and we grabbed some towels and headed to a beautiful, wide beach. I let their dad have the pleasure of putting on trunks and playing in the water with them. Is he wearing a sweater with swim trunks you ask? Why yes. Yes, he is. We’re from Wisconsin. We can handle it. Or at least they could.
Once we left the Dingle Peninsula we headed back East toward the last stop on our tour before we hit Dublin again and caught a plane back home. We landed in Kilkenny, a medieval town with another great castle. We chose the Newpark Hotel for our visit because it was especially family friendly. The kids had a great time at their play area, walking along the fairy walk. and seeing all of the animals.
We walked into town. Husband might have been getting a little tired of driving again. We visited the downtown area where they were having an arts and crafts show, which meant they also had food vendors. We bought out lunch on the street and enjoyed the town for a bit. This was the one and only time we ever got rained on while we were out and about, but we were mostly prepared and survived.
Then it was back to Dublin, but not without one last stop. We detoured to the Glendalough Monastic Site. I wish we were able to spend some more time here, but we were near the end of our journey and plumb tuckered out. We did get to go meander a labyrinth and take a nice walk though. With my background in Geology I appreciated the U-shaped valleys.
And that was it. We headed back to Dublin and caught our flight home without sparking any International incidents and with most everything we took with us. I lost my digital camera’s battery charger–the one I used to take all of these pictures–but I should be able to replace it. I’ll share my top five tips for traveling with kids soon, and the first tip won’t be: Hey, don’t.