Relax and see Ireland with Dove Chauffeur Drive
Executive chauffeurdriven vacations in Ireland with Dave Hogan and Dovechauffeurdrive
For your own especially designed Tour of the Republic of Ireland/West and South west

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Looking for a chauffeurdriven vacation tour in Ireland. Seeking own car and driver.

Bill O'Brien, pictured outside what remains of his ferry operational office at Doolin, after our recent horrific storm damage all along our western seaboard. Not only did this storm wreck Bill's offices. It also tore up all roads and sea walls at the harbour in Doolin and dragged huge sea wall rocks back into the approach channel to the pier. This made it extremely difficult and dangerous for the ferries to get in and out of the pier area, especially when the tide is low. It caused a delay in our sailing time, but fortunately not a very long one. One way or another, this trip was well worth waiting for.
I would highly recommend Bill O'Brien's ferry tours, which is a family run business, and has been servicing the islands for many years. Bill's son Liam was our captain today, and both Liam, and his wife Erin, who actually hails from New York, were most helpful.

                 Chuck and Gerry pictured at Dun Guaire Castle in Kinvara on our way to Doolin.

Our journey today was to take us from Galway city, via Kinvara, to the small town harbour of Doolin. Doolin is situated close to the majestic Cliffs of Moher and our plan today was to board Bill O'Brien's ferry to the beautiful, and isolated island, of Inishere, some half an hour from Doolin at the mouth of Galway Bay. Inishere is the smallest of the three Aran Islands and the closest one to the county Clare coast. After a tour of the Island by mini bus, our plan was then to travel on the ferry all along under the mighty cliffs of Moher.
I was looking forward to this very much as, eventhough i have been to the islands many times, i had never taken this particular ride in Bill O'Brien's ferry. My visits to the islands were always from the Galway side,( the northern side of the bay), on thee ferries from Rossaveal, but i would have to say that this journey today beat them all. It was truly a day to remember.

We took the coast road from Ballyvaughan on our way to Doolin and here we have Chuck pictured at Black Head with the lighthouse in the background.

As we passed through Fanore i took this picture of a herd of Llama's in a field close to the road. These of course are foreign to our shores, and i must enquire as to what the purpose of breeding them here is.

On arriving at the pier in Doolin i took this picture of our ferry approaching the harbour on a return journey from the island, which you can just about make out on the horizon. Thank God the actual pier itself was not badly damaged by the storm.

Here we have Chuck pictured with a view of some of the area around the pier in the background. A large machine was at work replacing an area of these huge rocks which had been rooted up and thrown all over the place, Our ferry at this stage was entering the enclosed harbour area in the background, with another ferry approaching also as well.

On board at last. This picture shows some of the huge rocks that were dislodged around the pier area. Many more had been dragged out by the exiting flood of water and were hindering the entry of the ferries on low tide. Fortunately these boatmen know they stuff and were still able to get in and out.
What a wonderful day we would have missed if this trip had to be abandoned.

Underway at last, a pensive Chuck gets his camera ready.

Nearing the island. A shoal of dolphins had been playing around the harbour area before we left but unfortunately had disappeared when we set sail. We lived in the hope that they might reappear on our return leg.

Chuck and Gerry pictured below decks at one stage during the crossing. The day was lovely, but it was chilly. Well, it is March you know.

Closing in on the island. Now you can make out the old O'Brien castle on the top of the island.

Approaching the pier, and Chuck and Gerry disembarking below.

They do look well wrapped up, don't they. Well they did come prepared. That is what you have to do when you come to Ireland. We do get lovely weather, as you can see from many photos on my Blog, but you Americans are used to being roasted alive, something foreign to us, thank God.

 What do you do when you get to the island? Well our problem was solved when Tina approached us and asked us if we would like a tour of the island in her minibus. Tina is a high school teacher and was home on a short break from work. Her Dad immediately collared her, and like the good girl she is, she was on duty to take us around. I suppose her Dad was having a lovely day off. Where did i go wrong?

The island is a maze of stone walls. In this picture you can see that the land is coated in limestone flags and the only way to clear this land was to use all of this stone to build walls.
Here we have a picture of a ship which ran aground on the island back in the 1960's.

Chuck, ;pictured here with the wreck in the backgound. The shoreline here was in disarray with huge rocks littered all over the place, some of which you can see behind Chuck, and in the picture below.

If you do take my advice and make this trip, with or without me, (as Bono says), then a visit to the cemetery is a must. Here we have Gerry, Chuck, and Tina, pictured at the entrance to the cemetery.

It is hard to believe that this church was once actually at ground level, and that over the centuries, due to a constant build up of rock and sand from the ocean, the ground level is now way above the level of the church. This wonderful church dates back to shortly after the time of St Patrick in the 5th century. It was the church of St Caomhain, a brother of the famous St Kevin of Glendalough in county Wicklow. Believe it or not, the Anglicized version of Caomhain is Kevin. Only the British could give two brothers the same name.  Why do the not consult us before they do these things?
The local people of the island dug this wonderful relic from under the ground themselves.

The grave of St Caomhain (Kevin) was also uncovered and enclosed in this sheltered structure. You can actually enter here, and maybe say a little prayer.
St Caomhain's grave inside the tomb.

Tina, Gerry and chuck, pictured together here with the old church and graveyard in the background.

Ostan Inish Oir, the Inishere hotel. I failed to mention that Irish is the main language of the islanders, but do not worry, they do speak English. Here we have a picture of the hotel. I would gladly have stayed overnight if we had the time, but as this trip had not been a part of our original plan and was an add-on, we just could not do so. Chuck and Gerry would have gone along with that, as they have done with just everything i suggested since our tour began. There is nothing i like better than being in the company of happy travelling companions, and Chuck and Gerry epitomize that. Sometimes my job is just that, a job. Sometimes it is like being on vacation with my friends from far off lands and proudly showing them the country i love so much. Thank God the vast majority of my touring companions are just like that, and Ireland never lets them down.

Back on board and heading for the Cliffs.

Success, success, success. Would you believe it. On our way to the Cliffs we re joined by a number of dolphins. Taking their picture with a digital camera is a pot luck  exercise. There were a number of them but even when my camera finally ran out of charge, i still was not sure if i had actually captured a good photo. Not bad for an amateur though.

The journey south to the cliffs was an exciting one, and one i cannot recommend highly enough.
Here we have Chuck focusing on the wonderful works of nature and capturing the moment for himself.

A lovely picture of my happy couple, with the cliffs and the famous pillar of rock known as the Stack, in the background. This towering rock is renowned as a breeding ground for hundreds of thousands of seabirds.

A closer picture of the Stack.

A much closer picture, and now you can see some of the many birds nesting on this huge rock.The white fluffy thing in the middle is neither a bird or a nest, it is actually the back of Chucks head.

Did they enjoy this trip? Did they what.

Pictured together outside Gus O'Connors pub in Doolin where we went to eat after our wonderful journey ended. This is a great place for a snack or a meal, or maybe just a pint.

I could show you another hundred photos, and lovely photos at that, but as Chuck said to me today, nothing could really do justice to actually seeing this with the naked eye. Maybe someday you will see that for yourself.
Or maybe you might want to see it, and more of my favourite sights with me.I do not think that your guide books will eve guide and direct you to the hidden gems of Ireland that are my own special places.
Yopu can reach me through e-mail if you want to make an enquiry.