Monday, November 25, 2013

The Irish Chronicles: Part 5

The Ending

After the high of marathon day, we set out from Dublin the following morning for the West Coast. I'm sure it was a beautiful ride through the countryside. I choose to sleep instead.

I awoke at our first stop, the National Stud Farm, in Kildare. Irish horse racing is a huge deal and the stud farm makes it so that more people have a fair shot at getting winning stallions to breed their mares. So that's kind of neat.

The farm itself was beautiful. I couldn't stop taking photos.


This little gal was showing off like no other.

This is Malteaser. He tried to eat my scarf. Literally. I needed help to get it back.

Saint Francis watching over the animals.

Stables

Japanese Garden
After the stud farm, we continued on our way to Galway. Our second stop was at Clonmacnoise, the site of an old monastic settlement started by Saint Kieran along the River Shannon. The views were absolutely breathtaking and it was wonderful to hear our tourguide debunk myths about certain parts of the ruins. He was pretty hilarious.

This high cross is fake. The real guy is kept inside.

The beautiful River Shannon.


Temple Doolin


When we finally made it to Galway, I had enough energy to ... do absolutely nothing before we had our welcome dinner. On the busride over, my family (myself included when I wasn't sleeping) really got to know these two goofballs from Pittsburg: Bob and Joe. They are hilarious and we had a great time sitting with them at dinner. My sister won a bet with them on what the second James Bond movie was. As if anyone could beat my siblings at James Bond trivia. Pah!

Our second day in Galway brought us a mini tour of the city, which was absolutely lovely. I knew that if I had studied there instead of Dublin, I would have enjoyed myself wayyyy  to much - it's truly a college town. It's also insanely beautiful, because, duh, it's in Ireland.

Our excursion for the day was to be to Kylemore Abbey, a beautiful house some rich guy had built for his wife, but then she died at a young age and he was so devastated he sold it and it was a girls' boarding school for a long time. It, like everything else, was amazing.



Detail of one of the many amazing fireplaces.

Church on site.
Conemarra marble inside the church.
That night, we had dinner at a delicious seafood place right on Galway Bay. I had the best salmon I'd ever had in my 30 years on this planet. Afterwards, we treated ourselves to gellato and I got a little too excited when they had gluten free cones. (seriously, though, I'd never seen that in an ice cream shop!). Then we spent about half an hour or so in a local pub listening to some awesome Irish music. Would have loved to have stayed longer, but I was exhausted.

The next morning, we headed south to the Cliffs of Moher. The only way to describe these is one simple word: awesome. I couldn't believe how windy it was! I took a video, which I'll have to remember to upload to my YouTube channel, for those of you who are asking "just how windy was it??"

My brother & Momma at the Cliffs of Moher

Trying to capture the frothiness of the waves

The classic Cliffs of Moher shot
After the cliffs, we had another beautiful drive down through the Burren to Ennis, which was our final stop on the trip. Our farewell dinner was a special one: a Medieval dinner at Bunratty Castle, which we had visited on the first part of our trip!

This guy was amazing!
A cup of mead

Singing
 After dinner was over, it was time for one last drink at the hotel pub with everyone on the tour. I had a great time, and would have loved to have stayed all night with everyone, but the 2 weeks of traveling had taken a toll on me and I was simply ready to sleep and come home.

It was a wonderful trip, though. I couldn't have asked for a better bundle of stories to tell surrounding my first ... errr ... my one and only marathon :)

2 comments:

  1. "From Russia With Love?" Of course, the best ones were "Goldfinger," "Casino Royale" (Daniel Craig version), and "Skyfall" (with the Aston Martin resurrected from its garage!).
    By the way, did you take all these pics yourself? If so, you do beautiful work!

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