Friday, July 11, 2014

Dromoland Castle: Part I

We were blessed with the opportunity to take a 12-day family vacation to Ireland touring the entire country. One thing Danelle really wanted to do while we were there (and that I thought was pretty cool, too) was stay in a castle, so we went a little early and tacked on a couple of nights at Dromoland Castle near Shannon.

Dromoland Castle
The castle's web site claims that it dates back to the fifth century and was originally the ancestral home of one of the few families of Gaelic royalty, direct descendants of Brian Boru, the High King of Ireland.

Dromoland Castle
Wikipedia begs to differ, saying instead that the first building constructed here seems to have been a tower house built in the 15th or early 16th century.  A thousand years would seem to be a fairly significant discrepancy.  But whatever the case, the place is pretty cool.

Dromoland Castle
I loved how a couple of tall wildflowers were defying the well-groomed shrubbery near the main entrance with splashes of color.

Dromoland Castle
Famous guests who have stayed at Dromoland Castle include Bill Clinton, Juan Carlos I of Spain, Nelson Mandela, Muhammad Ali, Richard Branson, Jack Nicholson, Johnny Cash, Michael Flatley, Bono and John Travolta.  That's a fairly eclectic group.

Dromoland Golf Club
Not sure what kind of trees these are.  But I did admire their tall, gnarled trunks.

Speaking of tall, this giant graces the golf course.  This is a shot that could really have benefited from having a person to give it a sense of scale, because I'm not sure it's obvious just how big this tree actually is.  But it's huge.

Dromoland Lough
The lake on the property is beautiful, complete with rowboats, reeds, lily pads ...

Swans on Dromoland Lough
... and a family of swans.

Mallards at Dromoland Lough
These three fellows knew exactly how to spend a warm summer afternoon.

Dromoland Castle
A small bridge and the spider webs which festooned it still held remnants from a morning shower.

Swan at Dromoland Lough
It's not easy to catch a swan looking undignified.  But nobody looks dignified when they're plucking their own feathers.

Swan at Dromoland Lough
Caught, but quickly recovering composure.  Except for that one stray feather.

Swans at Dromoland Lough
The cygnets were doing their own thing.  But doing it very much in unison.

Sunset at Dromoland Lough
The 53rd parallel passes through Ireland.  For an idea of how far north that is, the 53rd parallel also passes through the Aleutian Islands.  Which explains why the sun doesn't set until after 10 p.m.  But when it did set over Dromoland Lough, it was pretty nice -- even with a fairly heavy cloud cover.

Sunset at Dromoland Lough
I wouldn't normally crop a sunset shot with the horizon so far to the top.  But I loved the reflection of the clouds near the shore, and the water droplets on the reeds.

Part II | Part III

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