Thursday, June 15, 2017

Connemara - Kylemoore - The Bog

Another full day of sight seeing in Ireland. Today we headed to the region of Connemara. They get 80 inches of rain a year and I think 70 of those inches fell today.

Today's trip we ran into some cows along the way that I found amusing. Fist was the set of course who were loose in the street. The coach driver had to slam on his breaks to avoid hitting them as they trotted across the street. Well, ok, not really SLAM on his breaks, but he had to slow down to let them pass.

The second cow we came across was during a stop to take photos of famine huts (back in 1847 the potato famine hit Ireland. Millions of people were displaced and moved to the west side of the island by the Queen of England.  They were given a small amount of $$ to build their homes. All of them were stone homes that had basically one room. Now days they are just shells of themselves.)

Anyhow, while I was walking down the street to see one of these I looked right and here stood this gal. She had two calves with her, but they were too shy to show themselves any more than a flash.  The look on this cows face made me laugh. It's as if she's thinking, "WTH?"

We learned all about peat today.  We've been talking about it for several days and learning about how it's harvested, dried and stored for the winter. Peat is a fossil fuel and the Connemara region is COVERED by it. In fact, it's the only county in Ireland that they still harvest it.

They cut it using some fancy tool with an Irish name that I can't remember (a schol maybe). Then they put it in these little teepee looking set ups for them to dry. 6 to 8 weeks later they stack it. Then they transport it to their homes to burn.

These photos were taken out of a moving bus, so they're a bit blurry. But you get the general point.

Our first stop today was Kylemoore Abbey. It started as a home for some wealthy folk. The work to build it began in 1647. The woman who was designing the inside of it only got to live in it for a couple of years, dying very young. Then it was handed over to the Benedictine Nuns who then turned it into a boarding school. Now it's a tourist attraction. It was magnificent though. The architecture is beautiful.

We did get to go inside, and while the inside was beautiful, it wasn't much to photograph and then write home about.

Following this, we hopped on a catamaran and had lunch and saw Ireland's only fjord. The weather held off for us and we got a beautiful view of the country side from this fjord and the clear waters.

The Lady Galway

View off the back of the boat looking down the fjord.

As part of our lunch we got Baileys and coffee.  Janet there got a Irish coffee (whiskey and coffee) AND a baileys and coffee. She's such a lush. 

Tomorrow is our last day in Ireland and Galway. We're doing a walking tour in the morning of this medieval town and then we have the afternoon free. I'm both sad and happy this vacation is winding down. It's been a whirlwind. Most days I can't tell if I'm coming and going. And as nice as it is to go, it's nice to come home. Your bed. Your shower. Your outlets that work right. Your light switches that make sense.