2019 Ireland & the British Isles
2019 Ireland & the British Isles T-Shirt
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A Diary & Photos for our 2019 Cruise - Ireland & the British Isles!
A few days in Ireland and then a 12 day cruise!

Below is some information on where the 2019 Spirit of the West Cruise is going. We hope you enjoy the diary as we head to Ireland and the British Isles. See the map below (or scroll down). We will sail on Princess Cruise's "Crown Princess" - below is a photo showing what she looks like.

See the map below (or scroll down).
Go to the Itinerary below (or scroll down).

Kathy and Mark
on holiday (2018)! Kathy and Mark on holiday
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Princess Cruise's Crown Princess   We will sail on Princess Cruise's Crown Princess

Princess Cruise's "Crown Princess"

Diary for August 23rd to September 14th, 2019

All photos will enlarge if you click on them.

August 23rd to August 25th

first night - a nice room at the Best Western Plus Kamloops

first glass of wine - Montreal

memories from last year ... Quebec
mac & cheese & cheese pizza

Dublin, Ireland - the walk to the train station from the Temple Bar Hotel

August 25th

for Glen ... think these little hooks would fit in your forge?

Connolly Train Station ... nice and easy

Karen and Jim were waiting for us in Carrick-on-Shannon

1st happy hour together! Note Jim's coffee table

August 25th & 26th

not hard to find a pub - and all had entertainment

are we having fun yet? (looking through the window from the sidewalk)

another for you Glen - a Guinness (or two)

Breakfast up the road at the Landmark Hotel in Carrick

August 26th

Le Boat ... and the start of a great new experience

heading down to our boat (Jim was a great porter but we forgot to tip him)

on board the 34 foot Clipper 11, ours for 3 days and 3 nights

really nice - looking from our bow cabin towards J & K aft cabin

August 26th

looking from the aft cabin past the cockpit to our bow cabin

heading south down the Shannon River in le boat

under a bridge in a canal portion (amazingly easy boat to run)

originally built in 1754 and their new signage was great

August 26th

lots of boats coming and going - a little snug in the canal

one page in the map book they gave us that was absolutely super

now a lock - a little scarey as we approach wondering ...

Jim holds up a rope for the attendant to snag with his pipe pole

August 26th

awaiting instruction from the keeper to shut off the boat engine

Karen with the stern rope waiting for the water level change

the locks and the water ways go back in time a long way (this one 1848)

our first stop - dinner at Cox's and overnight alongside in Dromod

August 26th & 27th

walking back to the boat we stopped for a photo - cool old house

We didn't get orange juice for breaky so we figured lemoncello would do

2nd day out and Jim's turn to drive - Kathy and Karen navigating

it was rainy on the outside but we were snug as a bug inside

August 27th

Jim & Karen have a boat so Jim was right at home at the helm

waiting for the lock to open and Mark walked ahead to take photos

waiting at the dock for the green light which means enter the lock

Jim guides the clipper into the lock as Kathy readies the bow rope

August 27th

Kathy passes up the bow rope to the lock keeper

Karen passes up the stern rope to the lock keeper

with the two Ks we're in good hands, Jim as captain & Mark taking photos

1st in and secured and then 3 other boats joined us in the lock

August 27th

as the water enters the lock ...

you can see the height difference ...

if you look at where Kathy is standing

1st out, the other 3 boats following us

August 27th

Kathy swabbing the deck

a rainy day soup break at the
Oarsman in Carrick - yummy!!

another shot of the awesome maps we had for navigation

maybe typical but different for us - we actually had good luck with weather!

August 27th

heading under another of the many bridges along the way

old buildings along the way - some in use and some ruins

heading in to Leitrim where we plan to overnight

wow this one looks like its for skinny boats - oh well no problem

August 27th

and getting there early (4pm) while there's still a spot at the dock

and perfect timing for happy hour :-)

Karen found some friendly swans - she loves swans ...

at the Barge Steakhouse - really good - the burger was on the large side

August 28th

a couple of photos of our Le Boat "Clipper"

while alongside at Leitrim which we really enjoyed

Karen, Jim and Kathy checking out the ruins of an old castle ...

... tons more history - this one back to 1603 - amazing

August 28th

nice walk up to the Leitrim Hotel for breakfast

and we're off again for another day of beautiful scenic countryside

Mark drove the 1st day, Jim yesterday, and Mark again today

a cool breeze in the morning on the flying bridge but nice weather

August 28th

the red & green marker guides are numbered, and on the map, and have arrows to show the side to pass

lots of agriculture - cattle (beef and dairy), sheep, and tons of hay

more markers - green on one side, red on the other, with arrows

heck there's even a golf course along the river

August 28th

approaching the town of Cootehall but we were just passing by

the map book was great - marker numbers & lots of warnings of shallow areas etc

passing through Cootehall and heading for Lough Key for lunch

another bridge and mooring dock as we approach the Clarenden Lock

August 28th

get ready to duck ... well at least it looks like it

this one's for you Karen

we're still amazed at the amount of agriculture, especially cattle

a little waterfall on the left right at Clarenden Lock

August 28th

Jim handing the bow rope up to the lock keeper

this one's for you Jill ...

Jim waits for the boat to rise

a pretty cool looking castle on an island at the entrance to Lough Key

August 28th

and a guard house at the bay entrance

Karen enjoying life - and showing confidence in the captain :-)

Captain Mark with the castle in the background as we leave

pulling away from Lough Key and heading back to Clarenden Lock

August 28th

a little windy - or Karen's pretending to be a unicorn :-)

Karen chatting with the neighbour in the lock

leaving Clarenden Lock and
this will be our last lock

back at our favourite Oarsman Restaurant in Carrick-on-Shannon

August 28th & 29th

happy birthday to you,
happy birthday to you

happy birthday dear Kathy,
happy birthday to you

our last night in Le Boat, breaky in town, then we walked to the train station

all aboard ... and we'll head back to Dublin

August 29th & 30th

Our roomy room in the Temple Bar Hotel (a day earlier than the group)

in the morning we met everyone at the airport and did a Dublin tour before their check in

one of the oldest lighthouse sites in Ireland

we passed this old church as we walked to the Guinness Storehouse

August 30th

Kathy & I did the 30 minute walk to check out how they make Guinness

lots of educational signs with history as well as how its made

the crowds were huge ... guess there's a lot of Guinness fans around the world

it was all interesting but we found step 11 to be the best

August 30th

it was 25 Euro to take the horse and buggy back to Temple Bar

and we decided to walk back but Kathy got her horse fix anyway

the horses are steel shod and they move right out at a good clip

tomorrow Kathy will get her puppy fix as well as see a lot more horses

August 31st

today we started out at Cosgrave's beef farm in New Castle

some really cool old barns as well as some really new ones

this is the main house where Jimmy Cosgrave and his family live

and right in the middle is this castle built around 1400 by the Normans

August 31st

while the group went with Jimmy K & I stayed with Jim (dad)

Jim invited us up inside the old castle ... pretty cool stuff!!

the view from the 3rd floor shows how it would be a great lookout

Kathy looks out the 3rd story window with a big grin on her face

August 31st

after we left Cosgrave's we stopped for lunch at Silken Thomas in Kildare

and then a private group tour at the Irish National Stud Farm

this is the famous Invincible Spirit - stud fee a measley 120,000 Euro

a truly gorgeous place with huge paddocks, all double fenced

August 31st

horses all over and easy to get a good picture of any of them

almost weaned but they kept a few foals with the moms for the public

Hardy Eustace, a well known steeple chase winner

and Kathy got to snuggle with him - another horse fix

August 31st

the Old Storehouse Bar & Restaurant a favorite place to eat in Dublin

great food and good entertainment every night

click for a short video of the tap dancing waiter right beside our table

met these guys after dinner - one from Victoria one from Quesnel, all BC

September 3rd

woke up in Belfast - early bus for a group tour - Dunluce Castle photo opp!

lots of different, unusual, rock formations and great scenery

we decided to walk, instead of shuttle, down to the Giant's Causeway

great views but if you look closely there's tons of people down there too

September 3rd

Kathy checking out the rock formations

Mark checking out the
rock formations

amazing how these rocks took their shape

so uniform and consistent ... and so so many of them!

September 3rd





September 3rd

super amazing and we're really glad Karen talked us into going today!

the bus stopped for a photo break at this 300 year old rope bridge

the farm land is in small (usually 50 acre) pieces and very green

another photo break at the Carrickfergus Castle built in 1177

September 3rd & 4th

this is part of the wall between the Republic of Ireland and North Ireland

our view of Scotland in the AM as we arrived in Greenock

the same view of Scotland in the PM when we were back on the ship

a taxi then a walk to our first stop the Glasgow Cathedral

September 4th

a beautiful old church - 1st in Glasgow

an amazing building - the organ pipes

Jamie & Claire were here filming "Outlander"

straight from the church to the distillery on the hop on hop off bus

September 4th

a really good tour of the Clydeside Distillery

very interesting and informative

but we still don't like Scotch Whiskey

right on the River Clyde - note the tall ship in the background

September 4th

then walked to the transportation museum - parts for this old girl?

and the tall ship built in 1896

Captain Kathy at the helm

this is the 2nd story and one of two of the engines

September 4th & 6th

you can get an idea of how big the ship is with Kathy standing in it

you can see how the crew lived (note the rat in the silver jug)

the museum called us a hire car and told us to wait at the zebra crossing

the Invergordon train station & a lift to Inverness

September 6th

murals on all the walls and well done

and here it comes now to pick us up

then a cab to Culloden Moor Battlefields

an educational presentation by staff as we entered

September 6th

the battle was fought around cottages like this one

this is the "Red" line ... the front line of the British

Kathy couldn't find "Jamie" but she did find this

then our cab took us to Cawdor Castle

September 6th

no not on the phone, she's listening to the audio tour

Kathy on the draw bridge as we enter the castle

it's still lived in by the widow of ancestors ...

... of the original family that built it around 1400

September 6th

Kathy looking up one of the spiral staircases

some of the rooms had some amazing tapestries covering bare stone walls

and an original stove - it's huge!

massive ... and the grounds were too, and beautifully kept

September 6th

Mark sitting on a huge stone curved bench in the gardens

Kathy found another puppy ... and one that doesn't eat :-)

a wooden bench in another one of the gardens (seems we just sat around)

then our cab driver suggested, and took us to, Fort George

September 6th

inside Fort George ... a big place - similar to the Citadel in Quebec

it goes on and on ... with a spectacular view!

Norbord seems to be doing good over here - a big expansion planned, too

Kathy caught this rainbow but still couldn't find the pot of gold

September 7th

Railroad bridge in South Queensferry / Dalmeny

hey maybe that's our train coming to get us!

oh but we'll be late - we have to climb this 124 stairs & then walk

ah we made it ... and the train leaves every 15 minutes

September 7th

Edinburgh Castle - another massive and super old castle

the original part was built in the 1500s

and another great view - this time of Edinburgh and the countryside

it was great despite the huge lineups and crowds

September 7th

this part from the 1600s

really cool old stuff

more from the 1500s

the Great Hall - this room was completed in 1512

September 7th

a huge collection of medieval weapons

looking down a cannon barrel - another great view

lunch at Deacon Brodie's Tavern where Stephanie (J & K's daughter) used to work - great food & Guinness

in town and walking back to the train - love the streets!

September 7th & 8th

the train station in Edinburgh - heading back to the ship

11:00 am group photo - Jim organizing everyone

followed by a 12:00 private group galley tour

a wind farm ... in the middle of the North Sea - huge!

September 8th & 9th

just like home - an amazing sunset

and the next morning we woke up in Le Havre

she looks like she's in jail but it's Sabrina (from Quebec) meeting us

a cab ride to Honfleur, a beautiful little town - this is Eglise Staint Leonard

September 9th

a massive old church with a massive organ (photos don't do justice)

the only town in France that wasn't bombed in WW11

Kathy got her kitty fix - and he loved the petting

surprisingly this bell tower was made of wood not rock & concrete

September 9th

Eglise Sainte Catherine across the road - nice to have someone that can take our photo for a change! Thanks Sab

Those that follow our diary might remember Sabrina from last year in Quebec where she lives

Glen - I owe you a pulley but this one was a little too big so we left it hanging on the wall in the bell tower

We were super glad Sabrina was with us because they don't speak Engish in France & she did all the talking for us

September 9th

across the road in Eglise Sainte Catherine another organ - such amazing craftsmanship

a peak into a courtyard - thanks Sab, for another photo of us

a lot of the buildings here were like the half timbered style we saw in Alsace (2015)

2 horses on this carriage . and they probably needed 2 as the whole town was very hilly

September 9th

Kathy already had her horse fix (the carriage horses) so it was Sabrina's turn for a photo

Kathy & Sabrina check out a typical narrow cobblestone street shadowed by tall buildings

looking across the marina to a row of restaurants - one of which we headed to for lunch

a nice covered area to sit and eat a great lunch with wine while enjoying the view of the marina & old buildings

September 9th

Maitre Artisan Glacier Fabricant ... master maker of ice cream!!

a long and very steep climb took us to the top of Mont-Joli, great view of Honfleur

the original church (1023AD) slid down Mont-Joli - this one was started 1600, finished in 1615

these old bells are on timers, have electric motors, & bell hammers and chime on the quarter hour

September 10th

all the bikes on the train platform is a clue that a lot of peope take the train

in London now and about to cross the Westminster Bridge

Kathy with a map of the park that we were abount to wander around in

in St James's Park the timing was perfect as the Horse Guard was just leaving and we ...

September 10th

... followed them down the road to Buckingham Palace

looking through the trees and down the canal in St James's Park

one of the many sets of gates in front of Buckingham Palace

and then a stop for British Fish 'n Chips with a beer and a wine

September 10th & 11th

and this is just the side view of Westminster Abby

a look at Castle Cornet as we walked towards a neighbouring lighthouse

a pretty cool old castle that went on and on - huge!

built in the 1500s but added on to over the years

September 11th

we arrived at Castle Cornet in perfect time for the noon cannon firing

then Jim and I swapped hats with the soldiers for a photo

they're doing a great job here - even the gardens are being built as original

one of the oldest parts used to have a turret and gun supports on top

September 12th

arriving at Cobh, Ireland the morning of the 12th - our last day

Kathy was going to do an interview for Hugh but he didn't look very cowboy

Manda ... look what Kathy found!! a wool store with Irish wool

Voytek this ones for you ... pretty cool old train engine

September 12th

Karen & Jim and their bubble guns sending off farewell bubbles on the last night




For more photos see the Spirit of the West web site diary page at: www.Hugh-McLennan.com.

Our Itinerary!         Top of Page





Day 1

August 23th

Kamloops, BC

Overnight at the Best Western Plus Kamloops

Day 2

August 24th

Depart Canada

Fly to Vancouver, Montreal, then Dublin Ireland

Day 3

August 25th

Dublin Ireland

Arrive 8:30 AM take the train to Carrick-on-Shannon. Meet Karen and Jim and overnight in the Carrick Plaza Suites. Drink wine and explore Carrick-on-Shannon

Day 4

August 26th


Board our private cabin cruiser, the "Clipper", with K and J, on the Shannon River

Day 5

August 27th

Shannon River

Somewhere on the Shannon River on our way to Dublin

Day 6

August 28th


Travel the 146 km Royal Canal and navigate 46 sets of locks!

Day 7

August 29th


Disembark the Clipper and spend the night in the Temple Bar Hotel

Day 8

August 30th

Dublin Ireland

Spend a day at leisure ... meet other Spirit of the West passengers

Day 9

August 31st

Dublin Ireland

Tentaive ... 8:00 am bus pick up, tour to Cosgraves beef farm in New Castle, lunch at Silken Thomas, then National Stud Farm. 3:30 return to Temple Bar Hotel.

Day 10

Sept 1st

Dublin Ireland

12:00 pickup and transfer from Temple Bar to Crown Princess. Overnight in Dublin

Day 11

Sept 2nd

Dublin Ireland

Spend the day in Dublin and set sail at 3:30 PM

Day 12

Sept 3rd

Belfast, N Ireland

Arrive 5:30 AM. 8:30 AM Belfast & Giants Causeway Tour (with lunch). Depart 10:30 PM

Day 13

Sept 4th

Glasgow, Scotland

Arrive 8:00 AM set sail at 7:00 PM

Day 14

Sept 5th

at sea


Day 15

Sept 6th

Invergordon, Scotland

7:00 AM arrival depart 6:00 PM

Day 16

Sept 7th

Edinburgh, Scotland

7:00 AM arrival. Water shuttle required (Scotish for tender port). Depart 7:00 PM

Day 17

Sept 8th

at sea


Day 18

Sept 9th

Paris / Normandy, France

7:00 AM arrival and depart 8:00 PM

Day 19

Sept 10th

London, England

5:00 AM arrival and depart 5:30 PM

Day 20

Sept 11th

Guernsey, England

Arrive 7:00 AM. Water shuttle required (English for tender port). Depart 4:00 PM

Day 21

Sept 12th

Cork, Ireland

9:00 AM arrival and depart 7:00 PM

Day 22

Sept 13th

Dublin, Ireland

9:00 AM pickup and transfer to Airport Radisson Hotel.

Day 24

Sept 14th

Dublin, Ireland

AM Return to Canada

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Here is a map - showing the Ireland & the British Isles cruise stops. click to enlarge.

2019 Group T-Shirt
2019 Group T-Shirt
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2019 Ireland & the British Isles
2019 Cruise - Ireland & the British Isles!
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2018 Group selfie by Jim (L to R)
Jim, Karen, Mark, Billie, Kathy & Hugh 2018 Group selfie by Jim in a Light house on PEI
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