Handsome and I learned about the Travelers, matchmaking, and folk songs on the day’s tour in Ireland.

The Travelers were once tin and aluminum craftsmen who repaired tubs and pots. They lived as nomads, not settling. They have their own radio station. They travel with carts and horses, collecting scrap metal. They rarely marry outsiders and instead have arranged marriages. They tend to be illiterate. Exceptions are made for them to camp on farms and other areas. Like Europe’s gypsy population, they have a reputation for laziness and stealing.

Our tour guide, Ann, told us about the history of matchmakers in Lisdoonvarna. People gather from all over the country to hire a matchmaker. The matchmaker only charges the men. Those participating in matches enjoy ten dances a day. This is done in September.

We saw Desmond Castle, built in the 15th century.

Desmond Castle

Desmond Castle

 

Desmond Castle

Next, we walked around the picturesque village of Adare. It had a lovely monastery, and cathedral, and thatched roof buildings.

Adare

Thatched roof buildings in Adare.

Charming cottages in Adare.

Cottages in Adare.

Adare also had modern buildings separated from the older section by a park.

The modern section of Adare.

The city of Limerick has built up around King John’s Castle, builtĀ in the 13th century.

Our tour guide, Ann, challenged us to write a Limerick in honor of passing through town. So here’s mine.

Ireland

We sought culture, history, and lore

Of castles and famine and war,

But we didn’t have it in us

To refuse the Guinness,

Now Ireland we truly adore.

We toured Bunratty Castle and Folk Park.

Bunratty Castle.

These massive elk horns were found preserved in the bog.

Handsome at Bunratty Castle.

A window at Bunratty Castle.

The path to the fairy garden at Bunratty.

Folk dancing and song at Bunratty.

We fell like stones into bed that night with ballads ringing in our heads.