16 Images

Touring Ireland by car

A plaid-capped chap nestles on a bench in Galway, Ireland, a stop on a Times reporter’s tour of the Emerald Isle by car. Navigating the island’s highways and byways can be daunting — one drives on the left side of the road, and then there’s the abandon of Irish drivers — but it can also be a fine way to experience the land’s spectacular coastlines, wild glens and small towns full of character, and characters. (Anne Cusack / Los Angeles Times)
Cars and pedestrians share a narrow street in the Walled City in Northern Ireland’s Londonderry, also known as Derry. Northern Ireland, part of the United Kingdom, takes up about one-sixth of the area of Ireland. (Anne Cusack / Los Angeles Times)
Young folks hang out in Derry’s Walled City near a sign that underscores Northern Ireland’s bond with Great Britain. (Anne Cusack / Los Angeles Times)
Liz Kirchgatter and her cousin Pat Wyatt, both from Arizona, linger over breakfast at Ballaghmore House in County Laois, in the midlands of the Irish Republic. And what a breakfast it is: A visitor reported that the meal began with pastries, cheeses and fruit, and then the proprietor showed a menu with that day’s eight hot offerings. (Anne Cusack / Los Angeles Times)
Jean Brown prepares a traditional — and impressive — Irish breakfast at Browns Country House, a bed-and-breakfast north of Belfast near the North Channel seacoast in Northern Ireland. (Anne Cusack / Los Angeles Times)
Plump sausages aren’t the only items crowding a breakfast plate at Ballaghmore House. It may be fortunate, then, that proprietor Carole England has added a health and well-being center at her inn near the village of Borris-in-Ossory. (Anne Cusack / Los Angeles Times)
Warm scones and tea greet travelers arriving long after dark at Avoca House, a B&B in Galway on Ireland’s west coast. Annually, more than 2,000 bed-and-breakfast inns on the island put out the welcome mat. (Anne Cusack / Los Angeles Times)
The living room at the Ballaghmore House is a comforting sight to a weary tourist. Ireland’s B&Bs typically offer not only a night’s lodging and huge breakfasts but companionship, advice, driving tips and a glimpse of Irish hospitality at its best. (Anne Cusack / Los Angeles Times)
Animals graze on bucolic grounds behind Browns Country House. Not far away is the Old Bushmills manufacturing plant, which opened its doors in 1608. It’s the only working Irish whiskey distillery open for tours. (Anne Cusack / Los Angeles Times)
Mary and Herbert Christmas smile at visitors passing a church in County Louth, north of Dublin in the Irish Republic. (Anne Cusack / Los Angeles Times)
Non-native animal trophies line a wall at Adare Manor Hotel and Golf Resort in County Limerick. The 18th century manor, once a private home, has 63 bedrooms, a spa and a Robert Trent Jones Sr. golf course. (Anne Cusack / Los Angeles Times)
Breakfast is served in a room from another era at Adare Manor. A Times reporter’s party had arranged its Ireland tour to include a one-night stay at a castle, an optional upgrade available with most package tours. (Anne Cusack / Los Angeles Times)
Images of birds decorate a door in the village of Drumcliffe, the resting place of poet William Butler Yeats in County Sligo. (Anne Cusack / Los Angeles Times)
The interior of a church in Drumcliffe where one of the forebears of William Butler Yeats was a rector. Poet and dramatist Yeats (1865-1939), a Nobel Prize winner, was a prominent figure in the Irish literary revival. (Anne Cusack / Los Angeles Times)
Shadows fall across the yard at Browns Country House in a Northern Ireland area whose highlights include the Giants Causeway, an awe-inspiring place with ominous gray cliffs, crashing surf and bizarre columns of basalt — the result of volcanic action. (Anne Cusack / Los Angeles Times)
A view from on high of verdure and ruins at one of the most fabled Irish attractions: Blarney Castle, where a certain stone has been brushed by the lips of many. (Anne Cusack / Los Angeles Times)