Thursday, June 09, 2016

The Ireland-UK Trip: Day 6 - Portumna and Killaloe/Ballina

It was time to start heading back in the direction of Limerick this morning.  We decided to skip the Westport portion of the planned itinerary and headed out at 9:30 AM out of Cong and took a mix of Regional, National and Main highways towards the town of Portumna on the north end of Lough Derg, the largest lake on the Shannon river apparently.

There was an interestingly laid out castle in Portumna, called Portumna castle, go figure.  The interior was no great shakes as work continues on its restoration but I really liked the way the ground and wall gates were laid out.

 One's first "arched" view of the castle, from the ticket booth 
office located at the first gate.

 A play with depth of fields, with Martha seemingly leaning
on the castle.

Located off to the side, a kitchen garden with
a variety of plants and flowers attracted Martha's attention.

It didn't take us long to tour the castle and available grounds, and soon after we left Portumna to ride down the west coast route around Lough Derg.  We'd hoped it be something similar to Sky Road near Clifden in that we'd be riding along with many views of the lake and its surrounding countryside but that was not to be.

The GPS route did have us divert from the main road onto
a narrow one lane road that climbed a bit to give us this
view of the lake.  There weren't many spots besides
this one to shoot the lake, mind you.

Back on R463, we came upon a designated stop point location per the GPS.  It was a parking lot located near a beach access point for the lake.  We got out to stretch our legs.

Martha decided she wanted close up pictures of a pair of white swans we saw with a flock of cygnets in tow:

As you can see, the male approached Martha thinking
she had some bread for him to eat.

The male in fact go so close it startled Martha
and she had to be rescued by a nearby 
gentleman who was doing the actual feeding
of the birds in the area!

Momma Swan and her cygnets

We left the beach and proceeded the remaining few miles to the towns of Ballina and Killaloe.  They're joined by a very narrow bridge that only allows traffic in one direction at a time, we could see it generating long queues on each side.  Our hotel was on the Ballina side of the bridge with a nice view of the harbor:

Looking from Ballina over to Killaloe

We had dinner on the Ballina side at the Italian restaurant rated #1 by Tripadvisor.  They were right, it was good food and good service!

After dinner it was time for a walk or mini-death march, depends which one of us you ask.

 St Flannan's Cathefral dominates the skyline but it
was closing when we arrived, so no pictures of the inside.

 A view of our hotel from the Killaloe side of the river,
can you see Mary Kate?

Why yes, I am smiling....really.

That's it for tonight, I am feeling more comfortable with riding the rig with the sidecar on the left side and on being on the left side of the road.  Our rental period is ending however in a couple of days, oh well.


RichardM said...

Thank you for posting the wonderful photos. I like the one with Martha leaning on the castle.

redlegsrides said...

You're quite welcome RichardM

Trobairitz said...

Such great photos. I love all the castle pics and of course the swans.

redlegsrides said...

Thanks Trobairitz! I never realized how large a bird they are.

Artie & Leinen's Grand Adventure said...

Oh wow, I have some reading to catch up with. Some day Richard and I are going to Colorado to visit and learn how to do this ourselves. I also love the pic of Martha holding up the castle, and the close-up of the swan. Tell Martha that this year in the spring we had up to 60 swans at the same time stopping at our local bird sanctuary.
They are big. One of the local native girls told me they are quite tasty, however it is now illegal to shoot and eat them.

SonjaM said...

Giant Martha pushing the castle is definitely my favourite.

I am so happy for you that the rental rig seem to work out for you two.

Have there been signs of an Enfield delay factor?
Will Martha do a guest post from monkey perspective?

redlegsrides said...

Bridget, glad you liked the pictures. You and Richard have a standing invite to come visit and stay with us in Colorado by the way.

Tasty eh? I bet it would take up a whole table!

SonjaM, glad you liked that pic, it turned out pretty good. The rental rig was great! I'll be doing a write-up later on about it.

Funny you should mention an Enfield Delay Factor, we experienced it on and off since day 1 but today was the big one. See next post. Martha says she's having to cope with slow internet access and too much beer to post right now.

Kim Dionis said...

I absolutely love the photo of the male swan coming close with head lowered. I’m enjoying all of your photos, actually . But that bird head photo tells me you are courageous (or Martha is. I’m not sure who made the picture). They scare the hell out of me when they start moving at you like that. Especially when they extend their necks and run at you like a living spear!

redlegsrides said...

Thanks Kim Dionis, it was Martha who shot the picture