Published: July 24th 2010July 24th 2010
Hello everyone! it has been a couple of days since I have posted, but I thought I would take a minute to update you on my travels. We have had a busy last few days of travel and adventure along the west coast of Ireland.
After a wonderful night's stay in Ennis we headed off to discover the Burren, which is very much like a lunar landscape with monuments that look a bit like stonehenge and even some fairy circles surrounded by trees. We took a brief walk outside, but the rain was coming down quite heavily so we took our photos and got back on the bus.
En route to the Cliffs of Moher we drove through a town called Lisdoonvarna, which is known for its Matchmaking Festival where single people from around Ireland and around the world go and meet up to find a mate. This festival has become world renowned. We did drive past the Matchmaker bar, but the actual festival is in September... every town seems to be famous for something!
The sun came out at just the right time as we arrived to take in the beauty of the landscape of the Cliffs of Moher which look out to the Aran Islands in the distance. There is quite a drop down into the water, but the Cliffs are very impressive for their height and views out to sea.
We arrived in Galway late that night after some heavy traffic getting into the city and settled in at Kinlay House. We went out for dinner as a whole group at a place called Busker Brownes and I ordered the most delicious curry with basmati rice and a pampadam. Following dinner we head over to a local pub to hear an amazing spanish influenced celtic band called Alale. They were outstanding. They play some very interesting instruments and definitely had the crowd dancing. Many of us bought copies of their cd to bring home.
Thursday was probably one of my most favourite days on the tour because the views were just so spectacular. We got on a city bus in Galway and head off to catch a ferry to Inis Mor, one of the Aran Islands. We got the chance to rent bikes and we biked 9km around the island! It was gorgeous! There are cows in the fields, beautiful aqua water in the ocean and at the end of one leg of the ride there is a climb up to Dun Aengus and literally hang over the cliffs into the water! It was stunning! The biking trip was in now ways easy with headwinds in both directions and while we were feeling quite sore after the day of hard core riding, it was so worth it for the amazing views! We got some amazing photos of our adventure there.
Our last night in Galway, we went for Turkish food and then ended up at a Pub called the Quays for some local music. In the morning some of our tour group head off for Northern Ireland but the rest of us had the morning to explore Galway. We went to the Spanish Arch, the Galway museum featuring an exhibit by Matisse and about JFK's visit to Galway as well as an excellent military history exhibit of the involvement of the Irish in wars since the mid 19th century was very interesting. I went for a walk along the canal with my friends Bec and Craig and we also took a quick visit to the new cathedral.
So long Galway- we left Galway in the afternoon and drove back to Dublin on Friday afternoon. We had a final dinner at the Bull and the Castle as a tour group and then head off our separate ways. I did meet up with a few of my tour friends for the free Sandemans' tour of Dublin today which was very good. They weren't as interested in all the history of Dublin Castle, the vikings' occupation of the area, Temple Bar, the Ha'penny Bridge, the 1916 Rising and the downtown core as i was. I even got to have my first beef and guinness stew for lunch today which was a nice treat. I wandered for the rest of the afternoon back into Temple Bar and across the River. I ran into some tour friends too in different places which was nice. They were all such a kind group of people to be with so it was a nice surprise to run into them.
Tomorrow I am off to explore the Dublin Flea market and to do a hop on-hop off bus tour around to get to the gaol and other sights here in Dublin.
I fly home on Tuesday and while this adventure has been great, I am excited to come home and see you all in person.
Much love to all of you... hope the rain cools things off in Toronto.
Hugs and wishes you were here in Dublin with me. Thinking of you!