Susan & Richard's European Adventure 2013 travel blog

Kylemore Abbey

Connemara National Park

Great Western Bikeway

Westport Harbor

Carrowmore Megalithic Cementary

Knocknarea cairn

White Island stone carvings

White Island Carving 8th Century

Dunluce Castle on Irish coast near Bushmill

We continue our trek north up the coast of Ireland which took us to an area known as Connemara. You may have heard of this area from a famous Irish folksong titled the "Hills of Connemara" which talks about Irish moonshine. We hiked in the Connemara National Park which is a mountainous area of bog. The bog is cut up into logs which is used as fuel to heat homes. Our hike in the bog was on wooden planks, stones and gravel pathways as walking directly on the bog can be very dangerous if you sink in the mud. Further up the coast we visited the Carrowmore Megalithic Cemetery which dates back to 3200 BC. The graves are temple-like stone structures (like stonehedge) with huge rock cairns piled up on top and a passage way through the rock cairn to reach the temple. The rock cairns are about 30 to 50 feet high. There are also cairns built on top of the surrounding mountains that can be seen 5 miles away. We hiked to one of the cairns and have posted a picture to show the massive size of the cairns. Our next stop was the Castle Archdale Park located on a lake called "Lower Lough Erne". We took a ferry to White Island to view the 8th and 9th century stone carvings on the island.

We entered Northern Ireland today. Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland (south) are two separate countries. Northern Ireland is on the British Pound and the Republic is on the Euro. A local tried to explain to us the reasons for all the conflicts between the south and the north. The conflict goes back many hundreds of years, is very complicated, and is still going on even though at the moment things have calmed down a little.

We are staying in the town of Bushmills, home of the Bushmills Distillery. Bushmills is the oldest licensed distillery in the world helping people to get drunk for 405 years. We toured the facility and learned about the difference between Irish whiskey and Scottish whiskey (Scotch). Irish whiskey is distilled three times and the barley is hot air dried. Scotch is only distilled twice and the barley is dried from the smoke of burning peat. The tour finished with a sample of a 16 year old whiskey.

We are on the northern coast of Ireland and will now start traveling south down the east coast to Belfast and then on to Dublin.

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