Day 7: Limerick & County Clare

Day 7 - 75km
Day 7 - 75km
King John's Castle
King John's Castle
Working Tools of a Mason
Working Tools of a Mason
Bryan trying his hand at laying seige
Bryan trying his hand at laying seige
Shannon River
Shannon River
Learning to Undermine
Learning to Undermine
If I can just lift this sword, the castle will be mine
If I can just lift this sword, the castle will be mine
King John's Castle Courtyard
King John's Castle Courtyard
Yes I am
Yes I am
Lets build a castle
Lets build a castle
King John's Castle
King John's Castle
The Castle Mint
The Castle Mint
Shannon River
Shannon River
King John's Castle
King John's Castle
King John's Castle
King John's Castle
A view of Limerick
A view of Limerick
A view of Limerick
A view of Limerick
King John's Castle
King John's Castle
Ready for battle...wait, I can't see
Ready for battle...wait, I can't see
En Garde!
En Garde!
King John's Castle
King John's Castle
King John's Castle
King John's Castle
King John's Castle
King John's Castle
King John's Castle
King John's Castle
My lady
My lady
Master Masons Workshop
Master Masons Workshop
Master Masons Workshop
Master Masons Workshop
Debbie ready for battle
Debbie ready for battle
Entrance to the Masonic Centre
Entrance to the Masonic Centre
Cornerstone of the Masonic Centre
Cornerstone of the Masonic Centre

After many long days of driving, we decided to spend our last day a little closer to home, so to speak. We had our customary breakfast the the Old Ground Hotel (and I think our French Waiter we had for the past several days was starting to get used to our American quirks), and made a short drive to Limerick to see King John's Castle. This castle date's back to the 13th century, and the newly renovated visitors center features 800 years of local history. The visitors center and the artifacts within are an amazing collection. The rest of the castle is incredibly preserved and very accessible. We spent a good portion of the morning and early afternoon exploring the castle and museum, until around 1:00pm when I had setup an appointment to meet with a local Freemason. My friend Bryan and I, being freemasons for the past few years, thought it would be nice to see some of the lodges in Ireland. In this case, the Provincial Grand Lodge of North Munster happened to be right across the street from the castle, and the Grand Master, G. Hugh Milne, offered to come in on Sunday and give us a tour of the Masonic Centre and Museum. He gave us a great tour of the lodge rooms they meet in, and the museum they have created, showcasing hundreds of years of masonic history in Ireland. We thanked him for his generosity and hospitality and decided it was time to head back to Ennis for the day. Along the way out to Limerick that morning, I made note of a ruined abbey visible from N85 right outside of Ennis. Since it was not raining at the current time, we decided to explore the area to find a way to get to it on our way back. We managed to find the roads leading to it, and explored what we found out was the Clare Augustinian Abbey, dating back to 1189 in the older parts, but most of the structures were added around 1461. There is not much left of the structure, although the tower is still in good condition. And sadly, some of the locals seem to use it for a drinking spot at times, leaving some areas littered. But for the most part, it is worth the walk around. We headed back into Ennis and found a sandwich shop near the hotel (to try something different), loaded up on a few more sweets to take back to the US from a local Euro store (equivalent to our dollar store), and made n early evening of it since we would need to be back to Shannon airport at 6:30am the next day.