Saturday, August 07, 2010

Limerick, Galway, Ennis, and Doolin

King John's Castle in Limerick City

History plays amidst spectacular surroundings and small towns enchant. Fáilte (Welcome) to Western Ireland.

The River Shannon runs along the side of this 13th century fortification, King John's Castle. There's a tremendous view from the top of the cylindrical towers following the river to the green hills beyond. During the Great Seige of 1642, Cromwell's army dug mines beneath the castle walls to undermine this once mighty fortress. Invincible? Hardly.

Two Writers - Galway

In this imaginary scenario, two famous writers, Oscar Wilde and Eduard Wilde (from Estonia) are deep in conversation. It's anybody's guess what their talk is about. They had never met in real life. May I dare say they're exploring their "roots" since they bear the same last name?

Healing Hands by Shane Gilmore
Pro Cathedral of St. Peters and Paul, Ennis

There are various interpretations of these limestone hands modeled from the hands of Willie Walsh, the Bishop of Killaloe. All of these attributions - peace, cooperation, faith, and the welcoming of immigrants hit the mark. But the best interpretation may be this quote from Isaiah 49:15 that is engraved on a plaque by the sculpture: "I will not forget you. I have carved your name on the palm of my hand." How beautiful!

O'Connell Street, Ennis

My home base in County Clare was Ennis, a small, colorful town about 30 minutes from Shannon Airport and on both train and bus routes. This turned out to be a good choice as Ennis is well situated between the cities of Galway and Limerick and a short drive to the Cliffs of Moher. At the end of the day, I went home to peace and quiet except on the day of the World Cup finals when the occupants of the hotel room next door to mine were pounding the walls and shouting angrily. I guess their team lost. tsk tsk.

Doolin

The coastal town of Doolin is famously known as the home of traditional Irish music. Its pubs are alive with music sessions nightly in the summer and in February, a music festival is held to honor Doolin's own, the Russell brothers, for their many contributions to elevate traditional Irish music to the world stage. Doolin is centrally located between the Burren and the Cliffs of Moher and the perfect kicking off point for walking explorations in the area.

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Images by Charie

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