I'm posting this in parts as I can.
Arrived around 7:30 am at Shannon (about 20 minutes early). Airport was small and easy to negotiate. Picked up our car and began the great "driving on the wrong side of the car" experience.
Stayed on the back roads (the "R" roads) and went through Newcastle on Fergus to Dromoland Castle, which is now a hotel/golf resort. Drove to Knappogue Castle outside Quin, stumbling across a ring fort on the way, and the ruined abbey in Quin. Knappogue Castle was interesting, and it has a nice walled garden (which we noticed as we were returrning to our car and went back to see). We practically had the place to ourselves. While wandering the gardens, we were accousted by a grouse, I assume protecting her nest. We next drove to Dysert O'Dea (boy, it that in an out of the way location!) and the abbey next to it. Stopped in Corofin for some great soup and a half pint, before meandering (accidentally) on to Doolin. Drove by Leamaneh Castle on the way. Doolin was an intesting little town and a little difficult to negotiate (at least after being up for nearly 30 hours and driving on the left for the first time) but we finally arrived at Daly's House. Went down to O'Connor's Pub for some great fish, average chips, and a wonderful pint of Guinness, while listening to an early set of music. Then early to bed to recover from the trip.
Went to the Cliffs of Moher which, while no longer "natural" still worth the stop. The views were great, but it was somewhat crowded. The visitor's center is an interesting building, built into the hillside. We drove along the coast to Galway, with some stops for the scenery. Stopped in Kinvarra for an appetizer and a half-pint. Stopped at Dunguire Castle, then into Galway. Driving in Galway was an experience. I had a map, I know where I wanted to go, but the streets aren't marked. I finally found my B & B from landmarks. We then drove out to Carraroe/Coral Beach to walk on the beach (cold, windy) and collect a few shells. Returned to our B&B near the University and walked down Newcastle Road/St. Mary's Road into the Cottage Bar, which was, of all things, a Tapas bar. We had tapas and a local beer (Galway Hooker Irish Ale - the boat, not the lady of the evening) and, of all things, an American university student waitress from Minnesota.
Drove to Aughnanure Castle (really liked it) and then down to Roundstone, dodging sheep and cows on the road as we went. Roundstone is a lovely little town on the coast and we visited the music shop. Drove on to Clifden, but didn't stop as time was short, and then to Kylemore Abbey, which we really enjoyed. Drove out to Renvale (sp?) Castle on the Northwest coast, a ruined tower house.
Returned to Galway and had dinner at a place called McSwiggers - excellent meal.
More to follow.