After arriving in Galway, we slept in this morning. Shirley slept almost until checkout time. That was all fine, of course as this is vacation! (One thing we did not realize until we got here is how far north Ireland is. Galway and Dublin are roughly as far north as Anchorage, which means at this time of the year the days are very long – it is daylight until about 11 pm!)
We started the day visiting a wonderful old castle called Dungaire,
dating back to 1668 (but that later housed the mayor of Galway too). It is very well preserved, having been restored
by a wonderful English patron, who lived there into the 1970s.
Today the highlight was the spectacular Cliffs of Moher, off
the Atlantic coast, south of Galway. It
is very hard to describe these cliffs, but the best way to describe them I
think is to say they resemble the amazing pacific coast south of Monterey, and
the great drive on Highway 1, which is my favorite of all. The Cliffs climb about 600 feet from the sea
vertically as you will see, and people can hike along the top, and walk precariously
to the edge, which would be very frightening to many (though apparently not to
what seemed to me literally hundreds of hyper Spanish teenage girls who were
doing what teenage girls do at that age J).
At one point on this entertaining hike, Tim heard a group of eager kids coming up behind him and decided to let them pass. The problem was that the passage at that point was narrow – a protective wall on one side and a fence keeping in the cattle on the other, with barbed wire. What Tim did not notice (city boy that he is) is that one of the wires was electrified! It was not much fun to get electrified. L
The view is stunning, especially with the mist, which gives it an almost mystical flavor.
Below, there are islands, and one of the wonderful sights
for me was an island full of literally hundreds of Puffins. Amazingly, Shirley’s camera caught them, if
you look closely – see the hints of their yellow feet. Wow.
Perhaps one of the most entertaining parts of the trip, any
trip to Ireland is the driving.
Yesterday we wrote of the adjustment to driving on the “wrong side.” Having conquered that, Day meant we had to
conquer driving on windy Irish roads. We
had been warned about this. But nothing
can prepare you for this. The roads are gorgeous, but gorgeous, let’s say, is
not that easily functional for 21st century cars. J The roads are windy, and very narrow. We are struck by the many beautiful stone
walls the farmers put up from of course the stones on their fields. The problem is, they put these up centuries
ago, and now they are still there, and some times they even have trees and
bushes growing on them! Worse the many tour bus wants room on the road too. Witness what happens with this picture! The bus cannot it in their lane, so our poor
car has to get off the road if you have time, unless you want to be a pancake.
We ended the evening landing in historic Limerick, which Shirley just told me was where Frank McCourt (of Angela’s Ashes) grew up, and apparently there is a tour that can be done of sites related to his books. We ate at a wonderful Indian restaurant, only to learn it was the last night the place would be open, a victim of Ireland’s recession. Doesn’t that seem somewhat poetic, or appropriate? Tomorrow, Kerry…
Posted by Timothy McBride. Posted In : Ireland