Ireland – It’s Intrigue is Irresistibly Interesting: Doolin and Bunratty

Welcome back, my friends! And if you’re just joining in this Ireland series, we’re currently on a Paddywagon bus tour. You can catch up, beginning here, if you like.

We left the exquisite Cliffs of Moher and drove into the quaint little coastal town of Doolin for lunch. Our driver, Aidan, was born and raised on this irresistibly interesting island of intrigue, so we wholeheartedly trusted his pub choice. We instantly adored the seaside village of Doolin and looked forward to stopping at Bunratty castle after our meal!

Gus O’Connor’s Pub was warm and inviting, a contrast to the stormy weather outside. It had a dim, cozy, old-timey feel. It was bursting with patrons, even before our bus arrived. It is always a good sign when the locals line up to eat somewhere, right?

A man standing in front of a pub
Gus O’Connor’s pub looks intriguing from the front, but inside, it was even more interesting! The original, antiquated space still existed, but there were several nooks that appeared to have been added through the years.

I had been craving fish and chips and this seaside pub seemed like a good place to order it. My husband had the salmon and we enjoyed both of our choices very much! A beautiful latte finished our meal. Oh, my goodness, yum! If you’re ever in Doolin, Ireland, please treat yourself at Gus O’Connor’s Pub.

Two plates of food
Amazing food at Gus O’Connor’s Pub. We noticed the Irish like to mash many of their veggies. My fish and chips came with a pea mash, which was very tasty, reminiscent of split pea soup. Michael’s salmon plate included a carrot mash and a potato mash.
A latte with an Irish biscuit.
A latte with a decorative cocoa finish that reminded me of “hot cross buns”.
A bathroom sign pointing to the left.
This sign was on the wall next to our table, directing patrons to a hallway behind us. It made me laugh out loud!

After lunch we ran through the rain and got back on the Paddywagon bus. On the way to Bunratty castle, Aidan took us by the Burren. Some people went out to explore, but it was dangerously blustery out there, on the slippery rocks, so my husband and I decided to stay on the bus. Here is what Google has to say about the area.

“The Burren is a region of County Clare in the southwest of Ireland. It’s a karst landscape of bedrock incorporating a vast cracked pavement of glacial-era limestone, with cliffs and caves, fossils, rock formations and archaeological sites. On the Atlantic coast, the precipitous Cliffs of Moher are home to thousands of seabirds, including puffins. Nearby Doolin village is a renowned centre for traditional Irish music.”


I must admit something. Maybe I fell prey to Disney’s magic as a small child, but I thought a castle was the home of a king and queen. I assumed they were so numerous on the small and intriguing island of Ireland, because, at one time, it was settled by many Celtic clans, each with its own head, or kingly figure.

So, I was astounded to learn that the castles in Ireland were erected as fortresses of war, not spaces for regal living. They were placed strategically for defense and built for protection. Did you know that? Am I the only one who had castles and palaces intermingled?

Once I learned that, I was even more interested in seeing Bunratty castle. We did not have time to tour inside. If I ever go back, I’d love to do that.

But we did walk all the way around. It was massive! It was raining hard, so we didn’t linger too long. Have you ever been inside? If so, please tell me about it!

A selfie of a couple with Bunratty Castle in the background.
One side of Bunratty Castle. It is amazing to me that, unless the raindrops are on the camera lens, they don’t show up in photos. Peep the Cliffs of Moher beanie on my handsome husband! Also, forgive me – I don’t know if I’ve ever taken a flattering selfie. I need to learn from many of you!
A castle behind a rock wall.
The front of Bunratty Castle, as close as we could get without an entry ticket.
A castle and cloudy sky.
What a visual!
“The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.”
Psalm 18:2

There was a marketplace across the street from the castle. We quickly browsed a few shops, wondering what to bring home to our kids. We would wonder that all week. The only thing we couldn’t resist was the aroma of coffee from the chocolate shop.

Hands holding a coffee cup and two chocolates.
My husband and I couldn’t be more different in our choice of chocolates, but we share coffee perfectly. He likes his extra hot and I like mine warm. He drinks the first half and then hands it over to me! God knew what He was doing when He put us together, didn’t He?

We boarded our Paddywagon bus for the last time and chatted with Aidan for most of the rainy drive back to Cork. Aidan owned a tour bus company, which he sold when he retired. Paddywagon was short drivers, and he loves showing people around his country, so he went back to work.

We enjoyed his company and learned so much from him. Writing about him has prompted me to pray for him. Will you join me?

It was still pouring when the Paddywagon pulled back into Cork city centre around 6pm. Aidan suggested a dinner spot across the street from where he dropped us off, called Son of a Bun. We decided not to try it, but if I ever return, it is on my list. I mention it so it can be on yours too!

We walked several blocks back to our hotel and got drenched all over again. As I heard many times, you don’t visit Ireland for the great weather! We dried off and cleaned up before heading down to the restaurant in the lobby for a beautiful meal. If you’re thinking we ate a lot, you’re not wrong.

What a day! Ireland was irresistibly interesting in its intrigue. We thoroughly enjoyed Doolin and Bunratty Castle. Thank you so much for revisiting them with me in this post!

Curious how this Ireland trip came about?
Click here for the introduction post.


18 replies on “Ireland – It’s Intrigue is Irresistibly Interesting: Doolin and Bunratty”

Mama, your post made me smile so huge! I’m so happy to see another “leg” of the beautiful trip! I understand about palaces and fortresses ~I had similar thoughts. The verse is a perfect accompaniment ~our Rock and Fortress! The food looks amazing and your selfie shows your glowing beauty ~in and out! 💚💚💚

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Oh thank you for your grace on my selfie! And our God, being a fortress and strong tower… on that day, I saw that place as a shelter from rain and wind (storms of all kinds). It was impenetrable without a ticket in, and it has lasted and would last for the ages. It seemed the perfect place for the battle weary to rest while letting someone else stand watch. Oh, what a picture! Thank you for reading, my sweet friend! I’m praying for you!! 💖

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Those are mushy peas! Glad you liked them. I love them but most of my family hate mushy peas. Friends from the US tried them when visiting Ireland and also hated them! One chip shop where our eldest son lives does a ‘mushy pea bomb’ – mushy peas deep fried in batter. It is so good.

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Split pea soup has always been one of my favorites. The mushy peas (😄 I like that) were spiced in the same way. I enjoyed it. My husband, who doesn’t like any kind of peas, was happy to have the carrots and potatoes. 🙂

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I’m really enjoying your posts! Great picture of the castle too. My husband would love the chicken curry and cheesecake, and I like the way you drink your coffee together. 😉 If Brendan added less sugar to his and liked chocolate, then we could do the hot/warm thing. LOL

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I love the fortress pic and quote. So very true! I think I knew about the castles (who can remember?) because of watching a show about house searching in England and Wales. I loved that show. At least we have internet now after our tumultuous move. God is so good! We have an apartment in just the right place. Thank you, Jesus!!!

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God’s hand was all over this!!! We moved in on the 8th! Still moving and unpacking…will probably be for what seems like forever! I’m so grateful, though! It’s amazing not to be homeless anymore!

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Hi Mama! Thank you for posting Psalm 18:2. I memorized this long ago and am keeping track of my memory verses now so I’ll add it. Your food, especially the fish and chips, look soooo good. I love the pic of you and Michael, you took great selfies, with your lovely teeth! And I like his beanie! I said a prayer for Aiden. ❤

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