Sunday, 16 June 2013

Caves & Lakes

Saturday June 8, Liz had another fun adventure planned for us, and luckily the weather was in our favor this time.

Our adventure this time consisted of Enniskillen for lunch and the Marble Arch Cave geopark, both in Northern Ireland.

One thing that we keep forgetting when we head north is that our phones don't work much, if at all.  Data is slow and patchy (and expensive; roaming charges, grrrr).

Anyway, once we finally get to Enniskillen to find our lunch spot, it's no where to be found.  We can't look it up on the phone because they don't work, and our GPS is worthless without express lat/long coordinates.  

That's OK, there has to be something yummy just driving around that's indicative of the people and their culture. Our luck is a lot better this time as we are actually able to find a parking spot for the Tank.  As we all get out and start walking around to find a place to lunch.  One of the kids spots a Subway.  Soon they all join in chorus, SUBWAY!  Sigh, we give in, because at least we know we won't be paying big bucks for food the kids won't eat.  As it turns out, we could feed each kid a sandwich and a soda for only 3£!  Not to shabby for a crew of 7.  

After lunch we piled back in the van and headed toward the marble arch cave systems.  
Our scheduled tour doesn't start for an hour, so we start exploring the trails around the park.

 The park includes this little cave, a troll's den of sorts.

 The entrance to the cave itself . . .

 The 'marble' arch itself.  Most of the stone in this area is limestone, which is almost marble.

 The cave itself.  I shouldn't complain, but our tour guides were a couple of jaded 20-somethings who've been in this cave so many times they couldn't care less.  OK, I understand you don't care, but it's MY first time, and I'd like you to not rush us through it like it's our 5,000th time through the cave.

 It's not the most impressive cave system I've ever been in (that distinction is reserved for Carlsbad Caverns, New Mexico), but it was still pretty good.  I was even disappointed when we had to turn around and return to the surface; there was still over 3 kilometers left in the main cave system!

 After a long day of hiking and caving, we made our way home and stopped at this beautiful lakeside hotel/pub.  As you can see, the Irish aren't picky who bellies up to the bar . . . Also glad it wasn't an American chain restaurant.

 In Ireland it's easy to be on the Atkins-style all-protein diet!

 Such a lovely day, as the sun sets we noticed is nearly 10 PM!  Love Irish northern latitudes!

A wonderful end to a wonderful day.

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