Excerpts from Beth:
County Clare was simply a drive-by between Limerick and Cork.
However, we were intrigued bythe town of Ennis after hearing
about it from some friends who'd taken a recent vacation and
stayed exclusively in Clare.
One of the greatest finds in Ennis was the old Ennis Friary.
Crumbling ruins that had once housed holy men. The self-guided
tour was outlined completely in the tattered, photocopied
brochure we were loaned (note to self: give extra Euro to
ticket booth for new photocopy).
The woman at the ticket booth that day was also a wealth
of information, and set us up with "Heritage Cards"
that we used for the remainder of our trip. The cards allowed
us admission to many castles and historic sites across the
country for one fee. Had we planned a little better or had
a couple of extra days, it would have saved us big bucks.
All-in-all, I think we broke even, though. . . and it was
good not to have to juggle Euros at every stop.
Clare was our first glimpse into the world of Hurling, hands-down
the crowning glory of Irish Men's sports. You'll read about
this spectacular bloodbath of a sport in later entries, but
to set the stage, imagine everyone in town dressed in the
colors of their County (blue and gold for Clare) as well as
banners attached to every car, building and lamppost. The
Irish are almost as wild about their sport as they are about
their Guinness. . . good thing it's a sponsor.