An eight-day adventure, from Dublin to Kerry
BY WHITNEY PRATHER DUVALL
Sweet Owen Contributor
From Blarney Castle to the Cliffs of Moher, around the Ring of Kerry, and many other locations, participants in the Owen County Chamber of Commerce’s “Unforgettable Ireland” trip experienced the best of what the Emerald Isle has to offer.
Starting Oct. 2, 25 travelers began their eight-day tour by arriving in Dublin. Dublin, the capital of the Republic of Ireland, buzzes with city life while also providing an immersive historical experience with Georgian squares, Trinity College campus, historical monuments, shopping, and commerce along O’Connell Street.
After Dublin, the group traveled to County Kerry, visiting Blarney Castle and its nearby historic Woollen Mills for shopping. Blarney Castle, known for its Stone of Eloquence, was constructed in 1446 and attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors annually. Visitors also have the opportunity to kiss the Blarney Stone, a block of carboniferous limestone believed to bestow the “gift of gab” upon those who smooch it.
If you’re seeking high-quality wool products, Blarney Woollen Mills is the place to go. Alternatively, you can enjoy an expansive lunch counter offering a variety of delicious hot and cold lunch items, desserts, and coffee. It’s a versatile stop for everyone along the tour.
Despite heavy fog, the day spent touring the Ring of Kerry was a highlight of the week, with breathtaking views of the countryside, mountains, peat bogs, lakes, and the Atlantic Ocean. The group stopped in Waterville for lunch, a town famous for its brightly-colored houses along the rocky shoreline.
There is no shortage of sheep in Ireland, and a visit to a local farm included a sheep shearing demonstration and insights into the working dogs used for herding sheep that graze in the mountains part of the year.
Killarney offered a quaint downtown with cobblestone streets, jaunting car rides, and plenty of stereotypical Irish pubs and shops, enchanting the group.
The majestic Cliffs of Moher justified a lengthy bus trip across the limestone landscapes of the Burren. From there, the group traveled to Limerick, one of Ireland’s oldest cities, and enjoyed a medieval dinner and entertainment in a 15th-century castle.
On the way to Galway, travelers could appreciate the beauty of the Connemara region, known for its lakes, rivers, mountains, and gorgeous green marble. Amidst all this beauty sits Kylemore Abbey, built in 1868, offering a postcard-worthy experience.
As the week of touring cities, towns, countryside, and landmarks came to an end, it was back to Dublin to prepare for the journey home. A panoramic tour of Dublin, highlighting history, architecture, and the Guinness family’s impact on the city’s socioeconomic aspects, as well as a visit to EPIC: The Irish Emigration Museum, located on the Dublin Docklands, concluded the visit.
To say that the “Unforgettable Ireland” tour was the experience of a lifetime is an understatement. With travelers ranging from 13 to 16 years old and beyond, it was an eclectic and enjoyable travel experience.