Day 9 - Great "Awe" and "Oww"!

Trip Start Jun 10, 2011
Trip End Jun 26, 2011

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Flag of Ireland  , County Clare,
Sunday, June 19, 2011

Upon waking up at our campsite on Renvyle Peninsula we enjoyed our muesli breakfast and Kat did a little exploring of the coast nearby. We planned out our route for the day and decided to go back to the Kylemore Abbey to go inside to tour the abbey and grounds.  The other significant destination planned for the end of the day was the dramatic Cliffs of Moher.

The Kylemore Abbey was originally constructed as a castle like home for the Mitchell family who'd made their fortune in the cotton industry.  Henry Mitchell and his beloved wife had nine children and loved the Connemara region and the idilic setting of their home.  Unfortunately, they did not get to enjoy the castle together for too long as she died of dysentary during a family holiday in Egypt.

The castle changed hands several times and eventually became the home to a convent of Benedictine nuns who's abbey in Belgium was destroyed in WW1.

The grounds, abbey buildings, and chapel that Henry Mitchell then built in memory of his wife are breathtaking and at the same time serene.  Our delightful tour guide Maeve did a wonderful time taking us through the superlative victorian gardens.  Mr. Mitchell deployed a number of innovations in building his gardens which were quite interesting to learn about.

We enjoyed a cup of tea and then headed off to the southeast towards Galway through the mountains and a picturesque lake around every bend.  Once at Galway we turned west and followed the coast south towards the cliffs.  The riding continued to be quite enjoyable with a scenic view at every turn and numerous sweeping turns and S curves to keep the driving fun.  Thankfully, rain was light this day and we enjoyed some sunshine as we approached the coast.  For this were quite fortunate as we would soon have quite magnificent views at the Cliffs of Moher with the sun highlighting their dramatic details.

There was another large group of bikers already at the Cliffs sight and they were traveling around the world with their support crew and vehicles.  One of the bike license plates indicated it was all the way from Australia!

We climbed the hill to the primary viewing area and were struck in awe of the beauty.   J had passed through the area before us and had visited the cliffs and had passed along a message that we were to be sure and go into "the forbidden zone" as it was well worth the time to do so.

We trekked to the other hill and crossed over the wall and walked passed the warning sign as clearly numerous others have before us given all the stickers on the sign.

It was indeed worth the time, and we all sat down near the edge of the cliffs and soaked in the view, the warm sun on our faces and just lingered and contemplated.... how fortunate were we  to be on this adventure together... what new adventures might lie ahead?

We were soon to find out that the next bit of adventure was not so much "wow" and much more "oww". 

Once mounting our bikes, we were pulling out of the parking lot and the automated cross bar came down on Annette while she was trying to leave.  It hit her in the wind shield breaking her right side mirror and as she was still moving forward it then snapped up into her face giving her a bloody split lip inside and out. 

It was scary to witness and we were all shaken for a few minutes.  Being the troopers that we are, we fired up and rode on for our final destination of the night. 

We arrived at our nice, dry campsite and pitched tents.  We took advantage of the kitchen area to cook our dinner and then enjoyed some card playing into the night. 
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