Where did I go: Drive from Dublin to Doolin, Ireland
When did I go: April 2017
After our day in Dublin, we travelled to the West Coast of Ireland to see the Cliffs of Moher. The most direct route from Dublin the Doolin is along the M6, but we took a longer route, stopping in Uskerty, Cashel and Tipperary. To find out exactly why we decided to stop off in these places, read on…
In Search of Uskerty
If you are wandering where Uskerty is (and why we decided to stop there), the answer lies in the British radio sitcom “Cabin Pressure”. Written by John Finnemore, it’s a very funny comedy about a hapless air charter firm, with one plane, two pilots and a mother and son cabin crew team. The show is voiced by Benedict Cumberbatch, Stephanie Cole, John Finnemore and Roger Allam. Each episode is centered around a different destination, and one is set in Uskerty in Ireland. Its a very funny episode, featuring (among other things), a stuffed sheep, a bee and a flock of geese. My husband and I are big fans of the show, so we decided that, since we were going past Uskerty (by this I mean taking a rather big detour) on our way to Doolin we should stop by and have a look around.
So, we set our trusty SatNav to Uskerty and off we went. About 20 km outside of Kilkenny, we turned off the main road (the N78) to a smaller road. 4 km to go. There were no road signs pointing to Uskerty, by our SatNav told us that we were getting close. We then turned to a very small, single track, dirt road. Half a kilometer to go. Then, the road came to an abrupt end and we found ourselves at a farm. The SatNav proudly announced “you have arrived at your destination”.
We were convinced that we (or rather the SatNav) had got it wrong, so started to turn the car around. As we were turning, a farmer came to us and (in a very heavy Irish accent) asked if he could help. We replied that we were looking for Uskerty. “This is it” he said. “Where’s the village?” we asked. “There is no village”, he said “Just a couple of farm houses”. Then he wanted to know why we were there. Were we lost? Did we have any family or friends in the area? So it came to it that we were stuck in a farm in the middle of nowhere, trying to explain to a very confused farmer, that we were looking for Uskerty just because we heard about it on the radio! After offering a red-faced apology for bothering him, we said good-bye to the farmer and made a hasty exit, leaving him still looking rather perplexed.
We didn’t get a photo with a sign saying “Welcome to Uskerty”, but did get a (rather embarrassing) story out of it 🙂
Rock of Cashel
About an hour down the road from Uskerty, we stopped to visit the Rock of Cashel, one of the most visited tourist attractions of Ireland. Located on a hillside on the town of Cashel, it’s a fortress that started life as Royal Castle, and then became a monastery.
The Rock of Cashel was initially the seat of the kings of Munster for several hundred years. In 1101, the then King of Munster, Muirchertach Ua Briain, donated his fortress on the Rock to the Church. It remained a Monastery until the mid 1700’s.
The Rock is a short walk from the Town of Cashel. There is also a nearby dedicated car park available (costing ~4 Euros per vehicle). We parked our car here and made our way in. Admission usually costs 8 Euros per adults, but as part of the Rock was closed for restoration works, entry on this occasion was free.
The rocks elevated locations gives great views all around. It was partly this high elevation that led it to being abandoned in the later years. Being up high the building was exposed to the elements, making it a harsh place to live especially in the winter.
The whole complex consists of a chapel, a large cathedral, several towers, hall of the Vicars Choral and the 15th century castle. There is also a graveyard surrounding the main building.
Free guided tours lasting 45 minutes are available, although we didn’t get a chance to take this.
Rock of Cashel also (just about) makes it to Lonely Planet’s Ultimate Travelist at number 497 out of 500.
It’s a long way to Tipperary, it’s a long way to go… I’ve always wanted to go to Tipperary, and on this road trip, we did. Tipperary is a town in County Tipperary, Ireland and was first established in the early 13th century.
Most people (including myself) first hear about Tipperary from the song “It’s a Long Way to Tipperary”. The song was written during World War I by Jack Judge and Harry Williams and became a popular marching song for the British military.
The town has a bustling high street and a visitor centre. In the centre, there is also a sculpture commemorating the famous song.
Doolin is a pretty little sea side village, located on the West coast of Ireland, 5 miles North of Cliffs of Moher. It is very popular with visitors to the Cliffs of Moher. It also marks the start of the costal walk from Doolin to the Cliffs of Moher (part of the Burren Way).
We made it to Doolin just as the Dusk was falling and since we didn’t have any lunch decided to go for an early dinner. Doolin is home to several traditional Irish Pubs, and we headed to Gus O’Connor’s. The food (fish and chips and steak) was excellent (huge portions!). My husband claims it was the best steak he’s ever had. The service was fast and efficient, infact I’ve never been to a place where the food was so good and served up so quickly.
After dinner, we went for a walk to the edge of the Doolin pier. You can see part of the Cliffs of Moher from here – although it was getting to be pretty dark, so we couldn’t see a lot. This is also the point cruises depart to the Cliffs of Moher and the nearby Aran Islands.
We came back to Gus O’Connors for another drink and dessert, and in time to listen to their live music at 9.30 p.m I love traditional Irish music – its’ soothing, comforting and cheery , all at the same time. Everyone had gathered around the small three piece band, and it was a very friendly and jovial atmosphere. This is where we spent the rest of the evening, heads bobbing and clapping with the rest of the crowd.