Naomi Slaughter Photography » Naomi Slaughter Photography is a fine arts portrait photographer based in Indianapolis.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Leah and I parked downtown Limerick so she could get some morning coffee. We had originally planned to drive a coastal route, but weren’t feeling more car time, so we decided to tour a local castle. However, that plan changed too at the coffee shop when we saw lots of kids and parents in parade gear. Strangely, the streets didn’t really get full until about fifteen minutes before the noon parade began. It lasted a little over an hour, and was mostly a small town feel with local boys and girls clubs, police and fire departments, military, etc. There were a couple of bands with bagpipes or drums in kilts, and more authentic redheads than I’ve ever seen anywhere else! Ireland really is home to redheads. Mostly, we were impressed by the lack of craziness we expected for celebrating St. Patrick’s day in Ireland. It was very family oriented and friendly.

Afterward, we headed toward Portlaoise, which is where we are staying tonight. We went and toured a ruined castle/fortress called the Rock of Dunamase, built in the late twelfth century. It was open access to the public and we had the place to ourselves. I have really enjoyed touring all of these amazing places without the flocks of tourists. There is something so magical about touring history quietly, being able to imagine how it may have been hundreds of years ago. It comes at the price of crazy, pot-hole filled, one-way roads with rock walls or hedges where there is normally a shoulder and the worst blind spots on hills and turns. But hey! We’ve only had one bad scare, so very much worth it. My camera lens got a few water spots in the photos; today was the first time in our trip that we’ve really encountered rain (not including the driving/transit day from Scotland to N. Ireland).

I continue to be interested in the way things work here. The electrical outlets all have switches to turn them on or off, so they aren’t live until you switch it on. The showers usually have these little pull strings that you switch on the water heater. It makes me wonder if the heaters are tankless. I don’t think you can buy sinks or showers this small in the US. At home, I normally flip my head upside down when I do my hair in the shower. I can’t here because there isn’t enough room. It is literally about 4-6 square feet. None of the small sizes have bothered me, probably since I am smaller. We’ve only had one top sheet the entire trip. I think most people just wash the duvet covers.

Leah and I went to downtown Galway this morning, which was about 15 minutes away from our Air BnB. We stopped at a little coffee shop, then walked around the colorful streets. Galway is filled with lots of little shops. Most of them are a couple hundred years old, but we found a children’s toy shop dating back as far as 1580 AD. We learned that the Claddagh ring originated here, so there were lots of shops selling Claddagh jewelry. We had lunch at a little restaurant and I had bangers and mash (sausages and potatoes).

After Galway, we drove to see the Poulnabrone Dolmen. It was a much longer drive than anticipated due to the very hilly, one-lane gravel farm paths that our GPS insisted was an establish road. It was lined with tall hedges as to provide ample blind spots, so I drove very slow and we only had one scare as someone flew out from a blind spot and casually careened around us as I slammed on the brakes and tried to pull over as much as possible. The Dolmen was neat. Like the Clava Cairns, it is open access and is located in a field of stones. There are lots of stone walls and houses in this area because the fields are full of this grey stone. This dolmen was around six thousand years old. We had it to ourselves, probably because not many people will drive almost 20 miles on that crazy route.

Next, we drove to see the famous Cliffs of Moher. They were very scenic, but it was a huge tourist trap. We saw a few people cross the safety barrier and stand very close to the edge. All it takes is a gust of crosswind… Our previous Air BnB host warned us not to cross the barrier as two tourists has accidentally been caught in a wind gust last year and fallen off. 🙁

We ended our trip today in Limerick, where we walked to a sushi place nearby for dinner and the man at the table next to us chatted for a long while with us about Ireland and Indiana. He was shocked to hear how big St. Patrick’s day is celebrated in the US and how Chicago dyes the entire river green. Here, we’ve seen a few little shamrock and Irish flag decorations and that’s it! He told us they have very small parades and that one year, a man walked down the middle of the road to fetch his milk and fifty people watched him, thinking he was the parade!