TGIF Travels: Discovering Ireland

Wild Atlantic Way

I visited Limerick  before exploring the Wild Atlantic Way.



Limerick, Ireland, gets a bad rap on safety from a few travel books. An Irishman at JFK Airport even told me it was a rough town! I was somewhat anxious when I arrived at Limerick but the George Limerick Hotel front desk clerk allayed my fears. I was happy I didn’t have to don a money belt and watch out for pick pockets like I did in Paris.


I felt pretty safe as I walked the city. True—it’s not a quaint Irish town but it still has much to offer. In 2014 it won a Culture award.

King John's Castle

King John’s Castle on the Shannon River.

Every restaurant I dined at had great food, low prices, and good service. Great customer service must be an Irish trait. I grabbed some food for my Ireland Lighthouse road trip at Dunnes and was happy the prices were reasonable there too!

Limerick was a great place to start my trip to Ireland.

I learned about the history of the Irish people at the Hunt Museum’s exhibit “A Terrible Beauty” and the invasion of the Vikings and British at King John’s Castle.

These visits help give me valuable insight into the culture and the history behind the formation of the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland.

Downtown Limerick.

Downtown Limerick.


Not sure I would recommend Limerick as the only destination for an international trip but it was a wonderful place to stay for two days.

The city is clean, shopping is great, restaurants plentiful and affordable, the locals are kind and there are lots of sights to see. It’s not that far from the Shannon Airport and a great place to stay during a layover or start a visit of Ireland.


History Comes Alive at King John’s Castle

King John's Castle

King John’s Castle.

In the tale of Robin Hood, I learned about King Richard’s brother King John who usurped the throne and the crown. At King John’s Castle In Limerick, Ireland; I learned about the invasion of the Vikings and the English. I visited interactive displays that brought the castle to life. The castle took decades to build before being completed in 1212. Inside the castle are archeological remains of buildings and structures dating back to the time of the Vikings.

Courtyard of the castle.

Courtyard of the castle.

I discovered that the Gaelic Society in early medieval Ireland had craftspeople and monasteries full of great thinkers and theologians who were esteemed throughout Europe. When the Normans invaded Ireland in 1169, they intermarried and adopted local customs.

During British rule, tension was created when Henry VIII broke away from the Catholic Church because he wanted a divorce. The persecution of Catholics led to widespread violence.
The castle was living timeline that further explained the culture and the history behind the formation of the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland.

“A Terrible Beauty” Exhibit at the Hunt Museum

The History Lesson

“The History Lesson” and other thought provoking paintings on display.

Limerick was a perfect place to begin my lighthouse tour of Ireland. I learned about the history of the Irish people at the Hunt Museum’s exhibit “A Terrible Beauty.” It gave me valuable insight into the culture and the history behind the formation of the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland.

Silver coin Judas received to betray Jesus.

A silver coin thought to be the coin Judas received to betray Jesus.

The Hunt has a collection of 2,000 original works of art. I was fascinated by a coin said to be one of the silver coins Judas was given to betray Christ. There were modest works by Renoir and Picasso I admired.

I enjoyed the special exhibit “Terrible Beauty” by Robert Ballagh. It is a centennial reflection on the Irish uprising. Ballagh revisits paintings like Delacroix’s “Liberty Leading  the People”, Goya’s “Third of May” and other reinterpretations to bring to light the universal struggle for social justice. They provide a powerful backdrop to Ballagh’s other paintings that are a personal narrative about the courageous leaders of the uprising. I was especially intrigued by “The History Lesson.”

View of the Shannon River from the Hunt Museum.

View of the Shannon River from the Hunt Museum.

After touring with a docent, I stopped by the Museum cafe for tea and a light bite. I walked along a walkway outside the Museum to catch a glimpse of the Shannon River and King John’s Castle to complete my visit.



Explore Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way

A view from Altacarry Lighthouse.

An amazing view from Altacarry Lighthouse on Rathlin Island.


Ireland is a land of many treasures. From soaring mountains to friendly and honest people, I am not sure what I like best about Ireland.  The kind people, good food, spectacular sights and affordable prices, make this a must see for the most savvy traveler.  I really can’t say enough good things about my recent visit to Ireland and tour of the Wild Atlantic Way.

I went on John Eagle’s Northern Lighthouse Tour in August. I arrived at Shannon Airport and started my visit in Limerick. I read in travel guides that Limerick was unsafe and was even told by an Irish native that it was a rough town.

Fortunately, I only have only rave reviews of Limerick and good experiences to report. Delicious food and wonderful sights are plentiful in Limerick.

After a pleasant stay in Limerick, John picked us up from the George Limerick Hotel. During the Lighthouse tour, I was able to climb Slieve League Cliffs. The highest cliffs in Ireland. The tour encompassed many sights besides lighthouses.

Fanad Lighthouse.

Fanad Lighthouse.

We visited magical lighthouses, pristine beaches, idyllic islands, magnificent mountains and quaint coastal towns.

Caine Tower Lighthoyse.

Caine Tower Lighthouse.

St. John's Lighthouse.

St. John’s Lighthouse. The only yellow and black lighthouse in Ireland.

Rathlin Island.

A view of the Rathlin Island














Better tickets online when visiting the Book of Kells.

It’s best to purchase tickets online when visiting the Book of Kells.


After the tour, I stayed at Trinity College in Dublin and saw the Book of Kells. The Book of Kells is a medieval manuscript of the four Gospels. It is widely considered Ireland’s finest treasure. My heart was filled with gratitude for seeing this treasure and for visiting such a delightful and beautiful country.