Sunday April 3rd - Galway through Connemara to Doolin

The next day was Sunday (Mother’s Day in Ireland – Patti Sue gets two this year!) and we walked to St Patrick’s Catholic Church for Mass.  The Irish talk fast.  They do the same prayers for Mass as we do, but they don’t waste ANY time on pacing the communal response to say them in unison.  It seems a race, where most of the congregation starts the response before the Priest is done with his part and he digs into the next line before the majority is done with the congregational part.  We were out in 35 minutes.

A quick walk back to the car (we never drove to anywhere within Galway, always walked and left the car at the B&B).

Our plan for Sunday was “Connemara”, region generally west and north of Galway.  We first went along the coast west out of Galway and along the beach.  People were swimming.  It was really cold.  Probably similiar to the Polar Bear club concept on Lake Minnetonka.  We played on the pier a bit.  It was very windy as you can see by the pictures. 
Video: Black Rock at Salthill

We saw these roads, really just ruts in between stone walls.  They were posted with speed limit signs of 80 kph.  It was not a joke!  The road we were on were N-class, so 100 Km/Hr.  So these "ruts" were then, by logic, R-class and marked at 80 kph.  We weren't sure we would actually find a place to turn around and not get hung in the ruts.  There was a horse who really liked Joe.  We also saw a pheasant crossing a section, but the photo couldn't quite capture him.

We crossed north and went between the Maumturk Mountains.  We saw lots of sheep on the hills.  We hit the north coast at Leenane and then headed west where we stopped to bounce on some bogs.  We could also see where the turf had been cut.  Larry had showed us that they cut the bogs, dry the pieces and use them in fires to heat the houses.  Bill was bothered by the peat for fuel:  How long does it take for the turf to regenerate?  As opposed to how long it takes to regenerate natural gas for fuel? 

Kylemore Abbey has a castle & gardens which is currently a Benedictine convent and until 2010 was also a school.  It had been a family estate - the Mitchel Henry family.   They were ahead of their time with electrical generation from lakes in the higher elevations, gardens and very nice furnishings.  There was some checkered history until the nuns took it over, and even some cool history things of the Nuns from their 300-400 years in exile in the Netherlands.  Lots of history.  There was a separate little cathedral-style church on the property.

We drove on to Clifden and passed the Clifden Castle – just a vine-covered shell.  Then we drove on the Sky Road out of Clifden.  It seems that Rick Steves and the locals don’t agree on what is “Sky Road” as the signs out of Clifden were west and a short, high drive (which we took and enjoyed).  The Rick Steves book described a 24-mile drive along the coast to the south of Clifden - which we did not do.

Driving into Galway we saw a DOUBLE rainbow.  

Double Rainbow
Switch backs into Doolin

Through Galway, we turned south and stopped to poke around Dungaire Castle.  They put on a “feast” for tourists in busier season.  It is difficult to know where people would park.  Joe scaled the walls to check it out (see his bottom half going over the wall?) - but we did get him back.

Having stretched our legs a bit, we headed up some switchbacks and tight roads and got to Doolin after dark.  We got us settled and were sent to Gus O’Connor’s Pub We enjoyed our first Irish stew, some pints and listened to music.  The walk between the B&B and Gus O’Connor’s was pitch-black, on a wet gravel road.  Pretty fun.  Joe had to carry Patti Sue part way.  Not that she had too much to drink.  She had on poor shoes for walking!

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