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?
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.
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.”Google
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!
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.
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.