6/6/12

Killarney to Galway

What a splendid day! We left Killarney fairly early and began our long drive to Galway. We drove through the charming village of Adair and then on to the Cliffs of Moher.

This seems as good a time as any to say that our bus driver is amazing. He is the nicest man with a lovely Irish accent. He is a veritable fount of knowledge and has told us more about Ireland than any one person has a right to know. Clearly, he is a history buff and a masterful story teller. He has talked nearly nonstop for three days straight, and he has had my rapt attention with every word. He would make a wonderful grandfather for someone (in fact, I might claim him for my own).

So all of that to say that when we started the day, the sky was gray and a fine mist started to fall. He told us that heavy rain was forecast for the afternoon. Nevertheless, by the time we reached Adair, the sun was shining. By the time we reached the Cliffs of Moher, it was warm enough to take off my jacket. We were almost too warm. That isn't a complaint. I'm simply marveling at how lucky we've been with the weather.

Adair was something of a quick stop, but the big draw there was the village of thatched roofs. We've seen a few thatched roofs in various parts of Ireland, but not as many as here. Also, we saw some beautiful personal gardens including huge poppies . . . the kind from which opium is produced . . .which means they are banned in the United States. (Thank you Big Brother. As if someone could produce opium from a few poppies in their garden without being discovered. Just take this as my paid political announcement for the day.)

In any case, it was wonderful shopping and I picked up more than a few little things. I won't tell you what they are because they are gifts, but, as a hint, someone will be able to grow some of the banned poppies in their garden.

Moving on, we saw ruins everywhere including quite a few castles and more of the tower houses I told you about in an earlier post. Today Michael (the busdriver) explained that the tower houses were built by chieftains somewhere around the 14th Century. They were built for defense, but they were also something of a status symbol. These are so numerous that Michael doesn't feel a need to remark about them except occasionally. I say that just to emphasize to you how many there are dotting the landscape.

When we reached the Cliffs of Moher, the weather couldn't have been more beautiful. When I get home, I hope to be able to publish more pictures of this area. In fact, I have hundreds . . . possibly thousands . . . of pictures. You can feel reassured knowing that I won't show them all to you. For now, I find myself having to keep the number of pictures quite limited because this way of posting is rather cumbersome. There will be more later, I promise.

But to get back to the Cliffs, the view was perhaps 240 degrees and included O'Brien Tower. I climbed to the top of the tower, despite its costing me two Euros to do so. Hardly enough to break the bank. It was well worth it. The view was spectacular, but even more fun was the young Irish man who took my money. I asked him if he was the "ticket taker," to which he replied that he'd been called a lot of things in his life, but never a ticket taker. We had quite a nice conversation about Oregon. He asked me if any United States presidents were from Oregon, and I replied that Hoover was born in my home town of Newberg. When I said that Hoover wasn't a very popular president, he acknowledged that none of them are. That gave me a chuckle. He was just too cute . . . and I'm just to damned old.

So, I guess that's all I have to say about the Cliffs of Moher for now. We drove on to the Burrens (or barrens to you), which was an area that was mainly rock. Nevertheless, the wildflowers and other flora growing there was nothing short of spectacular. Our driver, Michael, informed us that despite being such a barren landscape, the area was home to 75% of everything that grows in Ireland. Amazing! And some of the things growing there have been seen in the Arctic and in the tropics. This was because the entire island of Ireland was at one time much farther south. It was a fascinating area. I'll be seeing more of it when I go on an all-day hike on Sunday. I'm really looking forward to that.

So now we find ourselves in Galway. Tomorrow, we'll be going on an excursion to the Kylemore Abbey and Gardens, the Connamarra Marble Factory (that's marble as in the rock, not the children's game), and a crytal factory, the name of which escapes me at the moment. After that, most of the members of my group will be attending the evening gala to open the quilt show. Definitely not my thing, so I'll be staying behind to blog. You are definitely more my kind of people. Besides, I don't have to get dressed up to blog.

So that's about it for today. I hope you enjoy the pictures. I have so enjoyed reading your many comments. Sadly, I didn't see any kitties today except for the clay George replica that I found in Adair. Maybe I'll see some tomorrow. (I know you'll pine away until I can post the next cat picture.) So, good night, my friends. I'm hitting the sack for now.

18 comments from clever and witty friends:

Gill said...

Thanks Barbara! I can picture exactly the route you're taking!! You'll love Kylemore Abbey!!

Judy1522 said...

Great pictures! It's too bad that the opium poppies are the prettiest of the poppies. I'm not a real fan of the ones we have here.

Jackie/Jake said...

OMG I have the exact same picture of Adare and The Blue Door!!!
Also have the same photo of Ballybunion!

Diane Wild said...

Enjoying your travelogue very much. Wonderful pictures.

Teresa in Music City said...

What a treasure to be seeing all of this! And what a gift that you are sharing it with us! I am seeing it all through you :*) The Irish kitties just haven't heard that you are there yet - as soon as the word gets out, they'll all come out to greet you =^..^= I love poppies in any variety - so gorgeous! But I can never see one without thinking of the Wizard of Oz. Sleep well and rest up for tomorrow. Do you get to see your quilt tomorrow? How exciting!!!

WoolenSails said...

What views and landscape, would love to go there and england, so beautiful.

Debbie

Debbie said...

What a wonderful blogger you are to share the details of your travels. And what no photo of the ticket taker? lol....that's ok, the poppies and blue door make up for it. Rest well, as you sure have a full day tomorrow.

Kate said...

Beautiful shots. Thanks for sharing your trip.

Needled Mom said...

The flowers are so pretty with the contrasting landscape. I am so glad that the Cliffs of Moher were clear for you. They are spectacular and dramatic. You will love Kylemore. The setting is AMAZING.

Loving all of the pictures!

Dana Gaffney said...

I'm looking forward to your thousands of pictures, I've loved everyone of them so far. Seeing all of this through your eyes is pretty nice. Thanks.

Sarah said...

I'm still loving your trip! Mom and Dad went to Ireland a couple sumemrs ago and it's nice to hear how your trips coincide and all the different but same pictures.

Nancy said...

Just lovely. Thanks for the trip down memory lane. I haven't been back to Ireland in 20 years and this just makes me want to go again. Can't wait to see more pictures when you return.

Snoodles said...

Oh, Barbara, this is wonderful...spectacular photos (tho I did want to see that ticket taker you mentioned. LOL) and I totally agree with your unpaid political statement. Giggle. I'd love to grow some of those lovely poppies...maybe one day I'll get to Ireland!! Heehee!
Thanks for caring and sharing this trip with us. It's so fun!

Linda Coleman said...

Barbara, you have been lucky with the weather here but today is a big change to the usual wet, dark weather we usually get for our so called summer. I too love Adare and the thatched cottages, it has won the Tidy Towns competition many times and I can see why. I'm so glad that you are enjoying your trip. Maybe I will run into you (not literally) at the show on Saturday if you are there.

kc said...

Oh, I *totally* get your not wanting to pay money at the tourist traps! You can read about our $4 misadventures here http://blog.thecallanders.name/2012/04/21/i-love-a-good-road-trip-dont-you--or-what-another-sandcastle-festival.aspx

Needless to say, sometimes ya just gotta pay the man and when you do, it was worth it. Sometimes. :)

Lovely pix - and we're so enjoying the stories! Thanks for sharing.

Junebug613 said...

Thank you so much for sharing your trip with us! I was expecting a picture of the "ticket taker".. LOL Your photos are just so lovely. I'm so glad you are having such a wonderful time and that the weather has been so agreeable.

Judee said...

I am enjoying these posts. I am also forwarding them to my cousin who has her Irish citizenship. She is enjoying them also. Glad you have good weather.

quiltzyx said...

I am so glad you've been lucky with the weather, and your bus driver/tour guide. I do hope you'll be showing us the ticket taker too, eventually!
Thanks again, for taking us all along with you!