Black, slender, one-of-a--kind fishing boat: that's the Galway Hooker. I fell head over heels and with my camera I chased her down. Morning rays were casting their splendid spill over Galway Bay as I took this shot, though I'm not sure whether this rig was just going out to sea or returning from a venture. If I recall right, this is a smaller one and there are larger versions as well. I arrived in Galway the evening of the 17th and left the afternoon of the 19th, of October. Being on the far west side of Ireland and right on the FAR side of the Atlantic, Galway's weather is not very dependable. I was quick to learn this. Friday when I arrived it was windy and rainy, and I'd already been sitting wet on the bus for three hours anyway. Saturday when traveling out of the city it was quite fair, then Sunday being back in town brought more drizzle. When this photo was taken it was a sunny Saturday morning.
The rest of Saturday involved a bus tour of the Burren. You can definitely tell the difference in the terrain there from my side of the Island; very rocky soil that gives it a slightly 'barren' look. We visited a castle and heard all about the Irish Cheiftains(like the big daddy on Brave) of the land and the onslaughts of the English, at that very castle. Our guide taught us about long bows and what it was like to try and shoot through the ancient slits-of-window in the castle walls, to hit down a man inside. Point being it took great skill to do so. Then we heard about the strong wife of a Cheiftain who would still not surrender even after the English dumped the dead body of her husband into the castle walls. She just exclaimed,"I've no use for a dead man in here!" But this same woman later married an upper hero in the opposing English army after all, and said it was just for the security of her people. Interesting! It's the coolest thing to be on the sight of history; to look at their surroundings, try and play out the figures of history against this land. I do know something: all these castle builders sure chose their spots well!
We went further up the Burren peninsula and heard about the special species of plants there. Apparently scientists and people who are into this stuff go to this area to study the species and such. Along the roadside were colorful cows grazing skimpy grass in rocky fields. I nearly whispered to the girls sitting next to me,"You know this land has a different, neat kind of beauty." She agreed. We stopped at a historical grave site place that is supposed to even older than Stonehenge in England. Not sure what all that means from archaeological and dating standpoints, but I would like to read up some on it.
The coach driver next stopped at a place that had had a big connection with Irish folklore and religion. The Fairy Ring. This is a place apparently used by very early people of the land, because all the trees and earth are developed into a big deep circle, or shelter-like place. But some of the Irish have since believed that it's inhabited by fairies, which to them are more like strong, spiritual beings than the fairies we depict of in America. I must admit, I was a little freaked out. The coach driver, though a very sweet man in intentions, was telling us we all needed to close our eyes and 'leave our problems with the fairies.'
A couple other stops along the way were of course, the cutest pubs. My favorite was one in a quaint fishing village, where there's no public transportation. The Pub was at least 150 years old, so the coach driver said. It looked it too, because it had super-thick white stucco walls, the kind of building you'd imagine in an Irish novel for sure. I didn't get pictures of the inside but they wouldn't do it justice anyway. Inside their was a fireplace that was lit and so comforting. There were old, worn wood tables and chair, things on the walls such as an ocean turtle's shell, and windows that had the most lovely view of the water. The pub owner was so kind too. I wanted to get ginger ale for my twisted stomach, but only had so much change and couldn't use my card there. So he just asked how much change I had and took it, handing me the glass bottle. I'm sure I had quite a bit less change than it should have costed; that's why I felt so blessed. Oh man, I'd go back there if I could, it's so perfect and you know pub food is the best!
The big destination of Saturday, was reaching the Cliffs of Moher, where parts of the Harry Potter movies(I think parts of other movies as well), were filmed. Needless to say, it's an extremely, wildly, beautiful and famous place. Huge too, I hadn't realized there are a number of cliffs, not just a couple. They are grass-topped and cow-covered, super tall steep rocks that fiercely defy the wild sea waves from moving the 'emerald jewel' that is Ireland. People have died there because of getting too close to the edge and falling off, and in truth it would be easy to fall off. The paths that run near the cliff edges aren't all that safe either, but you still see people bring their kids there and trot along. Bu I enjoyed it and found it very stimulating! Thankfully the weather was quite good too and that made it all the better for viewing.
Back in Galway, the next morning, after a drizzly city tour(which involved visiting the school also where Harry Potter was filmed), I enjoyed the local Farmer's Market. Since it was a Sunday morning there weren't too many people there, but what WAS there was totally worth it. The Doughnut Man. And he looked just like one, decked in a cap and long pin-striped apron, humming tunes. I stood in line and watched him work away, fast and without a flaw. I ordered one with cinnamon and sugar on top, then bit into the hot melt. People, you haven't tasted a proper doughnut until you've tasted one of those! Next I got a falaffel, sort of a hand-made pita stuffed with salads and meats. Also perfect take-back-on-the-bus lunch.The sweetest memory I have about standing in the falaffel line was the little boy and his puppy. You could tell the two just adored each other, and they chased each other all around the cobblestone while the little boy's parents ordered. When they practically bumped into me, I asked the boy what the puppy's name was. All the sudden he became shy and backed up to the safety of his daddy. But his dad tried to get him to tell me and he still wouldn't, so his dad walked up closer to my ear and said,"Shampoo. We told him he could name the puppy whatever he wanted, and after thinking about it for twenty minutes, he said he wanted to name it Shampoo." !!!! Now that's the most darling story I've heard in a long time. I'll never forget the curly-haired toddler and his doggie Shampoo.
These are only some of my memories of Galway.