Monday, October 1, 2012

To hell or Connaught, Sept 27

I’m sorry, but I like a soft bed. OK. I could do semi soft, but the Irish like most Europeans have a thing for hard beds. You awaken with a back ache. A sleep number bed would be a 50 (if they have these numbers then this would be it).

Back in the middle ages when the English under Cromwell and Edward ruled Ireland and established the plantation system, it was often said when a man was exiled “To hell or Connaught.” This area is a beautiful desolation. It is rocks, grass and sheep. I can only imagine what it must have been like in those days to be banished here would have truly been hell on earth.

We decided to drive the coast of the Connemara Ring back to Galway and this is truly a photographer’s dream. With the exceptionally cloudy and rainy skies, coastal landscapes, ruins from early Ireland and mountains, this is truly a beautiful area of Ireland.

Evidently, there is an Atlantic storm coming in making for brisk air. To give some of you an idea how much we photographed, I finished an 8GB card before we had finished the Ring and, because it is so beautiful, I thought we would simply give you this day’s blog in pictures.

We ended the excursion back in Galway City Center and checked into the Eyre Square Hotel (79 Euro a night including traditional breakfast) and we trekked the Eyre Square, had a dinner of oysters and Lamb cutlets). Brian, the gelato is pretty good here. Perhaps not quite as good as Bubby’s in Encinitas, but pretty good stuff, Maynard.

Incidentally, the shower in the Eyre Square hotel is a bit like the Chinese water torture. I am serious when I tell you the water drips. A shower is a euphemism. It means you stand under the water and allow it to drip like a verrrrry slow mountain stream and hope you have enough to rinse the soap from your body. This could be the reason for the Irish complexion….all day in a shower with a bit of left over soap.

The Eyre Square in downtown Galway boasts these narrow streets with bustling crowds, restaurants, pubs and street musicians. (Did I mention pubs?) This is something the Americans could learn. (Not the pubs). Each town should have a little area like this where all the fun stuff and people watching can be accomplished. Even dreary as the weather is, the activity here is just plain fun.

Today is Arthur’s Day. This is the day the Irish celebrate the inventor of Guiness Ale, Arthur Guniess. The barmaid found it odd that we don’t celelbrate it in the States. She thought it was an international holiday!

We went out around 11 p.m. and the streets were absolutely shoulder to shoulder with party goers and most of the girls were wearing either shorts or (very) mini dresses. My God, it’s freezing here and they are wearing summer clothes. The reveling was a mixture of yelling, overly exuberant drinkers. This is the first time we have seen any police presence. Here they are called Garda and they were out in force. As if the Irish need an excuse to drink, I suppose this is it.

With that being said, we wanted to leave you with photographs we took traveling the Connemara Ring. Again, the desolation is beautiful if one can travel to and from it. We hope you will feel a bit of the Irish in the photographs.

Enjoy the photographs folks.

Tomorrow we are going to travel to the Aran Islands and savor the ancient history of Ireland.

1 comment: