Thursday, 17 September 2015

Ireland week one (well it was when I started .. but this took a while to post)

There is a light breeze blowing outside and the sun is shining beautifully ... Not the Ireland weather we expected.  We're at my sister and brother in-law's house way outside of the town/city of Galway.  We had seen pictures of their fabulous garden and now, seeing it for ourselves, we can say without reservation it is truly resplendent with  lovely waving trees, flowering bushes and a pond full of water lilies.  With the sun shining it's so lovely.  Unfortunately when we first arrived we experienced more traditional Irish weather with wind and driving/pouring rain.

The first week in Ireland has been full of discovery and lots of fun.  Plus, I love the Irish people!  The people here are so friendly and happy.  Just going into a shop is like meeting a long lost friend .. they have a sense of humour embedded into just about everything they do as well as a self deprecating irony when you hold a conversation.  I guess all that is a result of the struggle of just living in a cold hard place.

The week in pictures (way too much to talk about now!) ....

On the morning of our first day in Dublin we walked to Trinity College to do a walking tour around the historic grounds and  see the Book of Kells.  On the way we could hear the sound of pipe bands echoing around the streets.  We found a big pipe band playing in the college ground complete with Irish Wolfhounds.

The streets all through Dublin have hanging flower displays and there are lots of people walking around everywhere .. and, of course, there's a pub or cathedral on every corner. 

We went through the Guinness Brewery ... Which is almost like a Disney Experience! .. It's complete with floor after floor of "experiences" .. leading up to the tasting experience.  Look at this website to get an idea of how they've turned the drinking of Guinness into an art form   Guinness Storehouse

Of course we had to follow up beer with whiskey and a tasting at the Jameson's Distillery.  George was appalled that they kept insulting Scottish Whiskey so we didn't enjoy their product as much as the Guinness.

After 3 days walking around Dublin we rented a car and headed for Waterford to visit with George's brother John.  We took the coast road through little hamlets and along winding narrow roads stopping every now and then for coffee in a little village or an ice cream.  Great drive and interesting scenery.  Before we arrived in Waterford - which is only a 2/3 hour drive max from Dublin if you take the direct motorway route - late in the afternoon, we travelled through an area who's claim to fame is it the ancestral place of the USA Kennedys.  Many Irish immigrants departed from these surrounding shores to America to escape the famine and John Kennedy's family was one of them.

To commemorate the departure of Kennedy's family as well as all the faceless emigrants who left  Ireland for hope and a better life long ago (very timely in the world today) they brought a flame from the JFK memorial in the US to this little spot in Ireland and erected a monument around it called The Emigrant Flame.

We spent a couple of days with John in Waterford catching up, laughing and telling stories.  One day George and I drove up to the town of Kilkenny where we did another walking tour of that fascinating historic town.  

The largest cathedral in Kilkenny was spectacular - as usual.  There are sooooo many Catholic churches here .. big ones, small ones, very very old ones ... they are everywhere!  So much age old opulence amid the Irish people's history of hardship and struggle.
We had to keep moving to reach Galway by Friday, Sept 11.  Leaving Waterford we kept to the coast headed for the wild west coast.  At the seaside town of Cobh (pronounced Cove) we saw the local museum created in memory of those who lost their lives on the ships that departed Cobh for America or Australia .. emigrant ships and convict ships.  The last land departure point for the Titanic was Cobh and the bodies and few survivors of the Lusitania were brought here. 

We stopped along the way to visit the Drombeg stone circle and hut site circa 1000-800 BC.  Fascinating .. I HAD to hug a stone!  Feel the vibes! 

Our next night we spent in Bantry on the west coast - nice little town and a welcoming B & B.  Then on up through the mountain passes on the Iveragh Peninsula to a very small town north of Tralee called Ballybunion for our final night before reaching Angela's house.  Our first days in Ireland were blessed with clear skies and no rain - very lucky.  But the Friday morning we woke up in Ballybunion the rain started and it came down in sheets!  And it rained and rained and rained on us all the way to Galway.

No comments:

Post a Comment