When in Ireland…….

We spent one day wandering around the city of Limerick. The parking was easy, we locked the car and went for breakfast.

I loved the streets of the city ~ shops on either side ~ many old walls of buildings painted with street art that was bold and full of color. The imagination of the artists was evident and impressive. This image was most captivating to me. A row of houses with the back wall painted with whimsical doors and windows, as if it were the front of the house. They all faced the River Shannon and someone had painted birds on the windowsills, kittens reaching for fish bowls, an old woman opening the door to welcome weary travelers inside. We stopped for a few minutes and soaked it in, taking pictures of something that we would never see back home.

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We enjoyed a cranberry scone and delicious cup of coffee at an upscale coffee shop, Jack Monday’s. We could watch the traffic, the pedestrian’s walking across the bridge and we got to take pictures here as well. In the late afternoon, on a warm,sunny day, it was great to sit for a break and then continue along The Clancy Strand City Walk along the river.

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Talking about castles, this was the first one I had ever been to. I was excited, as it was old and filled with history. I love history. In school, not so much, but now that I am older, I tend to look for it everywhere I go.

King John’s Castle was interesting. The site itself dates back to 922 when the Vikings lived on the Island, but the castle was built in 1200. It is one of the best preserved Norman castles in Europe. The walls had long, curving staircases that traveled up the side, going nowhere it seemed. We climbed up to the top of the tower and looked down, into the fortifications below. In the courtyard we saw a single rough hewn wood cross, buried in stone. Was it figurative? A remembrance to all the lives lost? Or did it mark an actual grave? People walked around the attraction, we all took turns taking pictures for one another with unfamiliar cameras, happy that we’d have some to take home and talk to friends about.

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The city was so colorful! Blocks of buildings, both homes and businesses. It did not matter, they were all bright and cheerful. We would walk around a corner, assaulted with the next swirl of rainbow, doors and windows set in concrete, warmed by a paintbrush full of personality. I loved it there.

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The most moving part of the day, to me, was our visit to St. Mary’s Cathedral. We came across it by accident, turning a corner and seeing the spire. We had no idea how majestic it was, nor that an entire cemetery was on the grounds, with the Cathedral in the center of it.

The pipe organ played the entire time we were there,wandering from gravestone to gravestone. It was moving, to have the haunting music follow us, as if it was marking those souls, gone on before their time.

Neither one of us knew that we could have gone inside and as we walked away, I think we were promising that we would return to do just that someday.

I can only imagine the stunning architecture that lies just beyond the impressive wood doors. I need to go back and just sit there and soak in the past. It’s time to figure out when.

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