WEST - Day 3 - Connemara09 Aug 2008 |
After breakfast on High Street (in the super-cute pedestrian / tourist area of Galway), we packed a lunch and headed northwest to Connemara. This is the part of the country that has a special place in the hearts of many, many of the relatives, and we now understand why. Before we left civilization too completely, we stopped in Oughterard to do a little souvenir shopping; I bought a wool sweater. We also found an adorable little “Village Park,”, with a small bridge over a small creek, in which to have our picnic. And then we kept driving West.
We soon reached the true back and beyond of Ireland. The signs stop being bilingual out this far: it is all in Irish. The landscape has more rock than grass, and there are miles and miles of stone fences, stone buildings, and quite a lot of livestock (Cownnemara?). The narrow, twisty roads, replete with tractors, old local farmers on ancient bicycles, and sheep, are quite, um, thrilling. It all has a stark, peaceful beauty.
We did have a destination in this land of “there’s nothing out here”: Ros Muc. Specifically, we were looking for a place called Garafin House. We were successful; it is out right on the water on a gorgeous patch of land. This place, and the neighboring pier, once belonged to David’s great (great?) grandfather. He brought goods over the water and sold it out of a store on the property. The current owner (some distant relation on David’s mom’s side) is in the process of a major remake of the place. The caretaker, a man with the same last name as David’s mom (maiden), was there with his two sons, neither of whom spoke much English. He let us have a good look around the gutted house while he cleared brush. It is clear that the house was once magnificent, and it likely will be again. It will be someone’s dream summer getaway.
When we returned to Galway. we parked ourselves in the Spanish Arch hotel for dinner. Although our kids were technically not allowed there after 10pm, we were not asked to surrender our table, so we were able to hear the first set of a great band. It included a flutist, and guitarist, a piper and a drummer. We reluctantly left when the kids pleaded fatigue.