All of us might wish at times that we lived in a more tranquil world, but we don't. And if our times are difficult and perplexing, so are they challenging and filled with opportunity.

Robert Kennedy

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Leg #4 - Western Ireland

Western Ireland was maybe one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen. I know I only saw a small taste of it, but what I saw was unforgettable.
So if you recall the camera story from the previous blog, that hostel turned out to be just as wonderful as I had hoped. The staff was so super friendly and the facility was a refurbished hotel. It was beautiful. I met up with Drew and we went out and had lunch and I had possibly the best Cajun Chicken sandwich of my life. During our lunch, the downpour began. We shouldn't have sat outside. There was an awning but it didn't help much. We had to dash back to the hostel in the pouring rain. Both of us had coats and umbrellas which we had both conveniently left in our rooms. As we dashed to our respective rooms, I realized afterwards that I didn't really have a way to get in touch with him. Oh well. I found a secluded TV lounge and relaxed for a few hours. When I got back to my room, it was filled with people and they were great. There was a guy from Australia, Fu, a kid from the Netherlands, Dan, 2 girls from Arkansas and an Asian girl. Fu offered to cook dinner for everyone, I don't know why I refused, I really don't. Instead I went downstairs and ran into Drew, luckily, and we wandered around the town. Galway was super cool and much more compressed than Dublin. We found an Irish pub (shocker) and decided to have a real Irish meal. It was great.

Drew's Shepard's Pie

My Irish Guinness Stew

Downtown Galway

Eyre Square with the crests of the original families of Galway.

Big fans of JFK here. Memorial to him in the park.
My second day in Galway was designated as a rest day and the weather gods listened because it stormed all day. I woke up early and dropped my laundry off at the front desk, a service the hostel provided for 5 Euros. I gave them all my clothes so I had a makeshift outfit on of jeans and a zipped up hoodie. Such a hippie. But it was worth it for clean clothes. I lounged around the hostel all day and it was glorious. A well-needed break. (Cue the sympathy for Jenn being tired from traveling through Ireland...)
My 'roommates' invited me out for a drink but I declined as I didn't feel right going out in basically pajamas. 
The next day I took a bus tour to the coast to see the glorious wonder that is the Cliffs of Moher. We made a bunch of stops along the way and it was like everything I dreamed Ireland to be.
The tour guide was hilarious. My stepdad, Leroy, truly missed his calling. The whole time on the bus listening to this guy chatter about history and tell stories and crack jokes I kept thinking "Jeez, this is Leroy's dream job." We left at 10am and didn't return until 7:00pm. It was exhausting but glorious. Wound up on the tour with the 2 girls from Arkansas so we hung out all day.

The entrance to Cathermore Fort

Poulnabrone Tomb. 5800 years old.

THE CLIFFS OF INSANITY aka the Cliffs of Moher.

I'm pretty damn cute.

Yeah, pretty scary.

We got back that night and I decided to do yet another tour the next day. Fu, our Aussie roommate decided to go with me. He revealed he was a gourmet chef in Australia. THAT would have been good information before he offered to cook dinner. Ugh.
So the next day we went to Connemara National Park, Kylemore Abbey and Southern County Mayo to the village of Cong. Cong is where the Movie "The Quiet Man" was filmed. This was my Dad's favorite movie so it was pretty cool to be there. I thought the day before was beautiful? This was some of the most natural beauty I have ever seen in nature.

Kylemore Abbey across the lake.

Kylemore Abbey

I sat here for quite a while.

Small Gothic Cathedral built next to the Abbey

Wandered down for a walk in the lake.

Killary Harbor, Ireland's only fjord.

Looking down into County Mayo

A typical stonewall on an Irish country road.

Never get tired of seeing that name.

Having a whiskey at the Quiet Man bar.

Ross Friary

We piled back on the bus and headed back. All of our roommates had checked out and Fu just wanted to eat some potatoes so I headed to get some fish and chips at a local pub. It was SO good. There was a band starting to play and the pub was filling up so I, naturally, left so I could go home, shower, pack and get to bed. (#old)
I loved Western Ireland so much. I am now in Killarney in the south for the final leg of the Ireland trip. Been raining since I got here so we'll see what this has to offer...

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