Rocks, rocks everywhere!

Trip Start Sep 10, 2009
Trip End Oct 10, 2009

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Flag of Ireland  , Western Ireland,
Wednesday, September 16, 2009

This morning we had a wonderful breakfast of Susan Daly’s French toast and chatted with the others in our breakfast room. We met people from Connecticut, Arizona, and California and had fun sharing our travel stories. Then it was time to get into our car and drive into the Burren.

The Burren is a very rocky area--some places have an almost moon-like quality. There is beauty to be found in it, though. Our first stop was the Burren Perfumery where we watched a short film about the area. We tried several different scents--they make perfumes from the flowers of each season, and I found a lovely perfume to buy.

Our next stop, after driving a perilously narrow road (one car width), was the Caherconnell Stone Fort. Most of the outer walls have survived, but nothing inside except a few foundation stones. A new excavation outside the fort walls last year unearthed the disarticulated remains of a 15 year-old girl dating back to the 15th century. We purchased a print of the Pulnabrone Dolmen in the gift shop, then went on to see the dolmen up close and personally.

The Pulnabrone Dolmen is an ancient portal tomb dating back to 2500 B.C. Pulnabrone means “the hole of the sorrows” and the dolmen is the portal to an underground burial chamber. We were amazed at the size of the stones used to create the dolmen. While not high, the stones were extremely large and their weight must have been immense.

We continued on and came to a scenic overlook where we parked the car. When I crossed the road to take a picture of Cappawalla Mountain, I saw little dolmens and cairns that had been built by tourists in a field of rocks. I called John over, and we decided to add our own dolmen to the group. Ours was simple, but we were very proud of it. It definitely will not stand the test of time, but we know it was there.

We drove into the town of Ballyvaughn and had lunch at a coffee shop on the main street--more soup and brown bread. We stretched our legs a bit and then got in the car for the final leg to Galway with a quick stop for a picture at Dunghaire Castle.

Susan Daly had called a friend who owns a b&b outside Galway, and we found our way there, but decided not to stay. The bathroom was shared, and the house was still being put together as the family had just moved in three weeks previously. I think they were taking us as a favor to Susan, but it was farther away than we wanted to be, so we thanked Jimmy for not minding if we moved on.

We went to Spiddal which was our original destination, and went to my first choice--a thatched cottage where bread is baked in a pot on the fire--but found it was closed. Our second choice had no one home, so we ended up next door at Cala ‘nUisce. We were shown to our room which was basic, but clean. The bathroom was incredibly small, so we decided to spend just one night rather than the two we had planned.

We drove out to the ferry port in Rossaveal and bought our tickets to Inis Mor island for the next day, then went into Spiddal for dinner. We ate at Boluisce, a seafood restaurant, and again took advantage of the early bird dinner. (Here, the early bird hours start at 6:00.) We had fried haddock, and it was a huge portion of fish on a platter full of fries, or chips.

I wanted to check out a b&b closer to Galway for the next night, so we drove into the Salthill area and found Rose Villa. We talked to Kevin, the owner, who agreed to hold a room for us. He kept calling us by name--a nice touch.

When we got back to the b&b, we met two other couples; one from Chicago, the other from California. We talked with them for a while before they left for dinner, and then went into the parlor to read before going to bed.
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