/ Ireland2018

Hell Fire

Moving on from Corofin we stop just down the road in Ennis, the county town of Clare. Wonderful narrow streets and local shops. We've come for the county museum though because it has the originals of the replica horns we heard in Galway on the weekend

Not replicas this time but the two and a half millennia old real deal. Lots of other stone, bronze and iron age antiquities here as well as the usual eclectic bits and bobs of history.

Ennis would be a good place to explore but, in the busy traffic, we missed the turning to the car park and the longest stay on street we managed to find was limited to 2 hours. Somewhere to return to on a future visit.

We're ahead of schedule because of this and it's too hot for walking so we decide to drive out to the twin towns of Killaloe & Ballina astride the Shannon and Lough Derg; the former being in Clare still whilst Ballina is over in Tipperary. The reason? Killaloe has the purported grave of the famous Irish king Brian Boru. It's about a mile out of town, a short walk off the main road. The problem is there is no parking here and the road is marked with a broken yellow line. I know this demarks the edge of the carriageway, but can we park? Caution is erred upon. We pop into Ballina for a coffee instead and then on to tonight's stopover Askeaton, just S of Limerick.

Too hot now to muck about so we jump on the motorway. We've been avoiding Ireland's sparse motorway system all holiday. As I wind the speed up to 120kph (75mph) the steering column judders violently anytime I get to 90-100kph. Rats! Somewhere along one of the boneshaker roads we've travelled either the tracking has become misaligned or a wheel balancing weight has come adrift (if we are lucky, it could be something worse like a bearing). Anyway it'll go to a tyre place tomorrow for a check over.

Askeaton is our chosen destination because it has an aire, a motorhome service point, in the leisure centre car park and we can overnight for free.

It's a small town. Very small. But it's Limerick's oldest town and back in mediaeval times it boasted Desmond Castle

a Knights' Templar Chapel

an abbey which I failed to photograph, and a wonderful mediaeval bridge

The building behind the bridge is not mediaeval but the 18th century Hellfire club with all of its infamy. Here's a better picture

Remember I said the town is small. Nowhere does food in the evening so dinner is rustled up in the van (actually, it's a pre-cooked chicken from the local SupaValue). After dinner a stroll to the local pub. The emphasis here has to be the word 'local'. Some characters indeed and Paula came and greeted us most effusively. Not a pub for the faint-hearted tourist but a worthwhile tick on the checklist of all things really Irish.

That detour to Ballina brought today's mileage up to 82