I went on a second day tour from Galway to visit the Burren and the Cliffs of Moher. This time a very sweet and funny American girl by the name of Heather who was taking a summer course in Galway sat with me; we are now Facebook friends! We briefly stopped at Dunguaire castle, which was built in 1520 by the O’Hynes clan:
It was a rainy day sadly…as so many days are in Galway! It was truly lovely around the castle though and it wasn’t raining much at that point so I enjoyed the view… 🙂
Only days before, as I was looking at some beautiful swans in St. Stephen’s Green, I wondered what baby swans looked like; well, I saw three that day! I was happy to have my zoom lens with me. There were grey and fluffly — so cute!
We then visited the Ballyalban fairy (or ring) fort, which was very magical and a little creepy…As I walked on the unearthed tree roots around the elevated portion of the ring….
Heather yelled out to me from the center of the fort — she wondered if I had seen what she was pointing at in a tree…so I climbed down to the centre and saw the following:
I wasn’t sure what it was at first…but then I saw that it was some kind of wooden sculpture…like an idol of sorts…pagan looking. Of course, it was not from the times of the ringfort but still…it was eerie. I like eerie things!
It looked like it was sleeping in the tree…
We then headed off to The Burren where there are many megalithic tombs and dolmens; just the kind of thing that really interests me!! The Burren is apparently home to 75% of Ireland’s native flora and it is unlike anything I had ever seen before!
“The rolling hills of Burren are composed of limestone pavements with crisscrossing cracks known as “grikes”, leaving isolated rocks called “clints”. The region supports arctic, Mediterranean and alpine plants side-by-side, due to the unusual environment”
Here is what it looks like:
We visited the Poulnabrone Dolmen (which means “hole of sorrows”), a portal tomb dating back to the Neolithic period between 4200 and 2900 BC! It was fantastic 🙂
It was raining there too but it was well worth waiting for people to clear out in order to get these nice shots…and of course, I really do enjoy looking at these things on my own so that I may get a better feel for them…soak it all in.
Then we went to Kilfenora to see famous high crosses:
“A high cross is a free-standing Christian cross made of stone and often richly decorated. They were raised primarily in Ireland, and Britain during the Early Middle Ages and sometimes later. They often, though not always, feature a stone ring around the intersection, forming a Celtic cross.”
The Doorty Cross, which dates back to the 12th century, was by far the most impressive I’ve ever seen; I was truly engrossed by it and was wishing they hadn’t moved it inside the church under a glass roof…I stood there looking at it for a very long time and took loads of pictures to make sure that I had all the details!! It’s worth reading about: http://www.clarelibrary.ie/eolas/coclare/archaeology/kilfenora_stone_crosses/doorty_cross.htm
And finally, the main highlight of the trip were the stunning Cliffs of Moher….sadly, this is when the weather went really, really wrong…it was the day that heavy rainfall caused damage throughout Ireland…the moment we arrived at the Cliffs it started pouring rain (it usually never rains hard here…) and the wind was howling!! Heather and I were really disappointed — we ran up to the side of the cliffs, it was so windy that it was actually difficult to get there and forget about an umbrella….so we ran up, took a few pics and ran back to cover. It was a total shame let me tell you because they truly are breathtaking…I may go back in the low season because I was having one of those “I wish I were alone to really appreciate the splendour of what I’m seeing” (and not about to fly away) moments.
I love the contrast between the delicate flowers and the massive cliffs…
Right, so in the posts to come I have to tell you about Belfast, Daniel’s trip to Dublin (and our two day tours) as well as my trip to Cork last weekend!! I was just awarded a contract by the organization for which I edited the textbook; it’s good timing, I actually miss working!! Who would have thought? 😉
À suivre…miss you!
N.b. I am far too tired to check for spelling mistakes; am sure there are loads, will correct tomorrow!!