Sunday 15 July 2018
Today we visited:
- Listowel Castle
- Lartigue Monorail and Museum
We drove along the N69 to Listowel, a lovely little town along the River Feale. This present castle was built in the 15th century and stands on an elevation on a steep bank, overlooking the River Feale. A substantial part of the castle survives consisting of two large, square towers of four storeys joined by a wall of the same height and linked together by an arch on one side. We went on a guided tour and to access the upper levels we walked up an external staircase. The free guided tour was excellent because the guide gives the historical background of each room, their use and extra insights to some of the features contained within the castle walls with great knowledge and passion.
Our next stop was to the Lartigue Monorail and Museum on the outskirts of Listowel with its unique form of rail travel running along a rail supported on A-shaped trestles. The carriages sat astride the trestles. After watching a film of the original rail journey, we went on a short demonstration journey on a full-scale diesel-powered replica of the original monorail. During the journey we experienced the unique features of the monorail and its ingenious switching system. The original steam-powered monorail ran for nine miles between Listowel and the seaside resort of Ballybunion from 1888 to 1924. It carried passengers, livestock and sand. This system was not a true monorail because it required two extra rails, one on each side, lower down the A frames to stabilise the vehicle from overbalancing but it is the only monorail of its type in the world. The museum is run by very proud and passionate volunteers.
From here we continued along the N69 to Tarbert on the Shannon Estuary to catch the quite large vehicle and passenger ferry to Killimer. It took 20 minutes to cross the estuary.
We then drove along the N67 to Doonbeg, a village at the mouth of the Doonbeg River, parked outside the church in the main street and headed for the nearest pub to watch the World Cup Final between France and Croatia. The pub was very well patronised, and the game had just started. It was an exciting game of soccer with France winning 4-2. We stayed outside the church for the night.