The Connemera and Kylemore Abbey

Once again, I’m very late posting — it’s a good thing Martha teases me about it; keeps me somewhat on track! The day after the Lisa Hannigan concert I signed up for a tour of the Connemera region! Let me just say that all in all, I’m not a huge fan of tours; they have a way of making you feel like sheep, herding you on and off the bus, too many rules, etc…but in Ireland, if you don’t drive and you want to see these places, you have no choice! So of course, I try to make the best of it, and I must say that the tours I took were great craic! A very charming guy by the name of Todd sat with me; he was from the States:

Connemara 196

 The driver just loved me; I sat up front and we were teasing one another the whole time! He kept telling jokes and I even got him to sing us two songs; surprisingly enough, he had a lovely voice! He sang the traditional Irish song “The Bog Down in the Valley” which is like the song “l’arbre est dans ses feuilles”!!

Bog Down in the Valley

O-ro the rattlin’ bog, the bog down in the valley-o
O-ro the rattlin’ bog, the bog down in the valley-o

And in that bog there was a tree, a rare tree, a rattlin’ tree
With the tree in the bog
And the bog down in the valley-o.

Now on that tree there was a limb, a rare limb, a rattlin’ limb
With the limb on the tree and the tree in the bog
And the bog down in the valley-o.

Now on that limb there was a branch, a rare branch, a rattlin’ branch
With the branch on the limb and the limb on the tree and the tree in the bog
And the bog down in the valley-o.

(Repeat, adding a line each time)
Now on that branch there was a twig, a rare twig, a rattlin’ twig…..

Now on that twig there was a nest, a rare nest, a rattlin’ nest…..

Now in that nest there was an egg , a rare egg, a rattlin’ egg…..

Now in that egg there was a bird, a rare bird, a rattlin’ bird…..

Now on that bird there was a feather, a rare feather, a rattlin’ feather …..

Now on that feather there was a flea, a rare flea, a rattlin’ flea …..

The Connemera was such a gorgeous area…it was the Ireland I had imagined in my mind before I left. The scenery was just stunning and I found it quite painful to be stuck on a bus; ohhh how I wished I could drive at that moment. In fact, dad, hold on to your hat, I’ve decided that when I get back home, I’m going to take driving lessons and finally get my license! I know, I know, you cannot believe it! I can count on one hand the times I truly wished I knew how to drive; well since I’ve been here, it happens a lot.

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The Emerald Isle indeed…It was so calming to stand there and take it all in (I tried to walk away from the others for a while).

Our first real stop was Ross Errily Abbey, founded by the Franciscans in 1349 (or 1351, depending on the source)!

“Standing in serene solitude on the South bank of the Black River, just two miles West from the town of Headford in Co. Galway the Franciscan Friary of Ross is recognised by many historians both past and present as the best preserved monastic ruin of its period in Ireland.”

http://www.headford.org/ross.htm

It’s truly worth reading about its history if you have a moment at some point; those poor monks went through a lot! I really loved visiting the Abbey; it was fascinating!

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Connemara 185a

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There was a tank in which the monks kept live fish caught from the Black River; I’d never seen anything like that before! I’m told it was indeed quite unusual.

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Then we headed to Kylemore Abbey, which originally was called Kylemore castle; it was built between 1863 and 1868 for a rich politician from Manchester. Apparently, he built it for his wife, who died only 7 years later…so sad. In 1920 it became a Benedictine monastery (the oldest in Ireland) that was founded by nuns who had fled Belgium in World War I. Up until now, it has also been a very prestigious boarding school for girls (can you imagine living there??) but the nuns announced that they will close it in 2010 (the guide said it’s because there are not enough nuns enrolling anymore…). It was really beautiful; surrounded by nature, mountains in the background…dreamy.

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Connemara 241b

There was also a very lovely gothic church a bit further down built between 1877 and 1881 as a memorial to the gentleman’s wife; oh how he must have loved her…

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The walk was beautiful…

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And at the very end, I saw the cutest bird ever! I took some really good shots of it; made me very pleased to have purchased my camera before I left!

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And now I must away…my friend Daniel Cadieux is landing in Dublin at 10:10 am and it takes me an hour by bus to get there due to the traffic problems here! I’m soooo excited to see him! I’ve been resisting doing touristy things in Dub until he got here! Weeee!

Oh, for those of you not on Facebook; I purchased tickets for two upcoming trips in September! First, from September 2 – 5 I will be going to Liverpool (I paid 12 euro return for the tickets, how insane is that? A taxi from my friend’s Aidan to my house cost me that)! Then, on September 10, I take off for Bratislava, then I will visit Vienna, Cesky Krumlov ( a world heritage site) and Prague! I return on September 24 🙂 I am really pumped! I will sign up with some placement agencies once Daniel leaves on the 6th of August; maybe they can find me a contract or two until I leave.

I have yet to talk about my tour of the Burren and the Cliffs of Moher and my trip to Belfast and the Giant’s Causeway! Soon, I promise. Really. Miss you guys! 🙂

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4 Responses to The Connemera and Kylemore Abbey

  1. Kat says:

    Love the new pics!!

    Re: the rattlin’ bog song, I heard a version of that on a folk CD I picked up in St. John’s. Doesn’t surprise me that some Irish traditions were carried on there (based on the variety of British accents that still quasi-survive as Newfoundland-ese)!

    • europilote says:

      Thanks Kat! I wish I could post all my pics; it’s so hard to choose, that’s part of the reason why I take so long to post. That’s cool about that song!! I liked it 🙂

  2. Martha says:

    Glad to see my nagging pays off. 😉
    Great stories, great pics.
    Keep ’em coming.

    M.

    • europilote says:

      I sure does missy! I’m glad you enjoy reading it! I should be able to catch up in the days to come as Daniel has left for his tour (I miss him…)!

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