25.05.2012 - 25.05.2012 78 °F
May 25th, 2012
Our first morning together in Galway. The noise, laughter and music from the night before, are now replaced with the quiet of a street occupied only with shop keepers restocking for the day. During the day, cars are not allowed on Quay Street, but in the morning they come in bringing supplies. Apparently, you must get to breakfast here at Barnacles before 8:30. Otherwise, there are no plates, no cups, no knives and no orange juice for you. No worries. We get to see the cliffs today! We stopped at a little grocery health foods place for some overpriced water and headed to the bus station. I actually recognized one of the drivers from a tour we took last year. We were shortly underway.
Our tour guide is a slightly nerdy looking Irishman, and we like him a lot. He's easy to understand and absolutely packed full of interesting knowledge. Our first stop was a dream come true for me. Last year, we had driven by a 12th century Abbey in ruins, and I had been chomping at the bit to see it up close. Well today, we got to go there! The history is astounding to me. At the time this abbey was built it was a very very secluded and remote place in Ireland. Monks had lived in this abbey, and though it's s former shadow of its former self, I can still picture brown robed friar Tucks walking around. We took some great pictures of the site. We then stopped at a little tea and coffe house out here in the middle of nowhere. The cakes were handmade and the cream from the neighboring farm. This was a truly rich Irish experience. Halfway through our cake, a inhabitant of this farm came out and sang us a hilarious Irish tune accapella. It was great! Then we went outside and an older gentleman had grabbed two of the early twenties guys in our tour and were teaching them hurling. Hurling is the national sport of the Irish. From what I can tell its like field hockey. In a sense. I didn't see enough to learn the rules but what a treat for us and those two guys to play with such an enthusiastic local. They got their picture with him and made a memory they will have always. I was actually happy for them but a litte jealous of such a great memory. Next was into the landscape of the Burren. The Burren is the second largest landmass of exposed limestone Europe if I remember right. This landscape is bizarre and unlike anything else. It's even different than the giants causeway. All these fields of flat limestone with huge splits and cracks gouging it. Our driver gave us a saying about the Burren that goes like this: "The Burren is a country where there is not enough water to drown a man, wood enough to hang one, nor earth enough to bury him...... and yet their cattle are very fat". Again I'm amazed by the unnatural look of the land, but also all the rock fences. These rock fences can date back several thousand years and they are everywhere! Usually about 4 feet high, rock fences are not held together by any mortar, but stacked with skill so they don't fall. The fences were used for livestock and to divide land. Now on to the most anticipated part of the day, the cliffs!
Nicole has been excited all day to see the Cliffs of Moher and I have been excited to see her see them! The day is absolutely perfect. It's 76 out here and sunny as can be. As we approach the cliff Nicole keeps saying Wow! That's all you really can say when you see them. They are so majestic and so long you can't help but just be content to sit and stare. We went to several vantage points and enjoyed them from every angle. Toward the end of our visit, we saw some genius go right out to the edge of the cliff and dangle his legs over. He was in such a dangerous position he made both Nicole and I sick to our stomach. We decided to leave then and not wait to watch him fall. Something like that would kind of ruin our memory of the place. The bus took us to the town of Doolin for lunch. We savored the best sea food chowder. The trip ended its site seeing at the Dungaire Castle. We were allowed to go into the castle grounds, but unable to go inside as they were hosting a dinner in there! I want to go to dinner in a castle!
Back in Galway, we went home to shower and get ready for the evening. We headed out and strolled the streets,of Galway coming to McDounagh's. Here we had some cod and chips. It was pretty good, but not like the fish cafe! After dinner we headed to the Pucan, a recommendation from our hosts. It was the perfect ending to the night. Nicole had a Carlsberg and I had the refreshing delights of a berry Bulmers. We sat, listened to music, and talked about our day. It was so nice, so relaxing, and so fun. I love this place.