I want to share some of my trip with you here, including pictures, and figure it will take a few installments to do so. If you’re bored and looking for books, bear with me; we’ll be back to books tomorrow. For more Ireland stories, stay tuned over the next week or so.
Day one: Flew into Cork on Friday afternoon because of difficulties getting into Dublin as intended. Luckily, though, our date with Barrett (in Dublin) wasn’t until Saturday noonish; so we flew to Cork on a whim and thought we’d make the best of it! We got a charming little B&B, Killarney House, right near the University College of Cork and visited the recommended (by my neighbor on the airplane, a native of Cork) pub called Mutton Lane Inn.
the UCC's very pretty campus
There we had our first pints of Beamish (started on Guinness at the airport in London) and began a relaxing and fairly uneventful evening. We had dinner at Market Lane (only fair, despite being the “top pick” in my guidebook, which gets it own review) and more pints and settled in with the intention of taking a train into Dublin the next morning to meet Barrett.
Mutton Lane Inn
Day two: Drastically overslept our intended train. Luckily they run all day, and also luckily, it turned out that Barrett (when we finally got a hold of him) had also overslept; but we missed the Saturday morning “English Market” we had intended to visit to get straight on a train. Left Cork feeling like we could happily have spent more time there.
Taking notes on the train for you!
Train into Dublin and found Barrett waiting at the station – whew! Major point scored there. Picked up the rental car (they gave away the one B wanted because we were so late, sigh) and left the city immediately, planning to see it at the end of the week before flying home. Drove into the town of Athlone for the night to drink at Sean’s Bar, purportedly the oldest in Ireland, with a fire in the fireplace – lovely, if cramped, which is a theme of Europe in general in my experience. (When you’re pleased, you call it “cozy.”) Lebanese dinner and more pints and an early bedtime for me, at another very nice B&B called the Bastion; the boys went out late and I shall say no more about that.
Day three: Sunday, yes? It’s already getting hazy. Left Athlone for Clonmacnoise, a monastic site marking the roots of Irish Catholicism. Had a nice walk around in truly perfect weather and intermittent sunshine at this very special place.
Husband (in blue) and Barrett outside Clonmacnoise (those are the ruins of a later church in the background)
inside the monastery grounds themselves
Then on to Connemara airport to board an eight-seat
airplane. That flight was really something! We could have taken a ferry, of course, but this was an experience – great views, a wonderful way to approach the unique little world of Inis Mhor, the largest of the Aran Islands.
from the air
This may have been our favorite part of the whole trip. According to Barrett – who has been to Ireland, and Inis Mhor, before, but I have no idea how far to trust him – hi Barrett! – these islands had no soil on them when they were first settled, but only rock. Early islanders created
soil by mixing seaweed with crushed seashells, eventually supplemented (I imagine) by plant and animal wastes. This soil, which now supports vegetation across the very green islands, is in danger of blowing away in the wind if not for the stone walls that form a tight network. Settlers had to move rocks to clear space for their fields; conveniently, these rocks now form the walls that keep the soil there.
We checked into our B&B for the night – another dream, called Kilmurvey House, with the lovely Treasa hosting – and headed out for an evening hike to Dun Aengus. This Iron-Age fortress is perched dramatically on a cliff very near our B&B, but at the other end of the island from the little town of Kilronan. The cliffs are dramatic, and I am not so good with heights!
Barrett looking down; me keeping a safe distance
Then into town to Ti Joe Wattys for dinner and pints, courtesy of our B&B host’s shuttle service.
Stay tuned for the rest of the Ireland trip, to come.
Edit: See day 4
, days 5-7
, and days 7-8
Filed under: a walk about town, musings | Tagged: personal, travel | 6 Comments »