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Post Info TOPIC: First Voyage to the Old Sod--Part Three

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First Voyage to the Old Sod--Part Three

Day 8---Wed Oct17. We woke to realize nearly all the clothing we had with us needed washing. After packing up, it was a short hop to the Salthill washing shop. I grabbed the offending bags of goodies out of the boot, charged in to the laundry, and was immediately brought up short by a no-nonsense gentleman who informed me, "I do the washing here". I laughed and told him that it was wonderful, in the States we had to do our own washing up and I would be glad to let him have the 10E per load, I'll see you after a while. Then the fun stuff started. If you stay out in Salthill don't worry about getting to downtown Galway. If you park your auto in the big car park on the bay---as one native told me with a big grin, "It's the last free thing in Galway". Then walk north on the street, right across from the laundry there is a bus stop, for 1E35 take the red city bus to Eyre Square, you can walk to Quay St and the rest of the downtown attractions without breaking a sweat or spending a Euro. We stopped at the King's Head for their special--a guinness and half a dozen of Galway's finest oysters for 15E--and I can't imagine when or where I'll find such plump, sweet oysters again. Then a bit of window shopping, see the Spanish Arch, the Columbus stone, and a supper at The Quay. There are several places in the Quay street that start the trad music at 1730 or 1800 instead of 2130 like most towns, so be sure to take advantage of that. They alternate nights to give you a better chance.

Day9--Thu Oct18. Another serious driving day. Across Galway N6 to Oranmore, N18 to Kilcolgan, N67 to Kinvarra. Nice town, we found the Dun Guaire castle, which wasn't open. Another side note, a lot of the castles aren't open in the off season, it doesn't matter in the least. You can still see the grounds, and there isn't much on the inside of most castles I have on good authority. On to Corcomroe Abbey--absolutely wonderful, on a par with Dysert O'Dea, IMHO. Again it could have been the sun streaming through the ancient stonework that set my O'Cogarain blood to boil--you'll have to see it for yourself to judge. On through Ballyvaughan, a bit smaller than my imagination led me to believe, to the Ailwee cave. Another cave, we've all seen them, but not without it's singular points for cave lovers. Down the R480, past the Caherconnell ring fort, we saw Leahmaneh Castle right at the R476 (private property and I heard the owner is not thrilled with trespassers, we contented ourselves with a photo) 5km to Kilfenora, wonderful high crosses. Then a strange drive to Doolin, where there really is no town, but Fitz's Pub had lunch and pints to fortify us for the Cliffs of Moher.
O'Brien's Tower was really neat, and the whole sight gave us the opportunity to walk off some of the good Irish cooking we'd consumed. On south to Liscannor and La Hinch (the sun was shining off Liscannor Bay) the N67 to Ennistymon, the N85 11km to Inagh. There isn't much to Inagh, but they have the Biddy Early Brewpub there; and, as you might guess, we stopped to help the trade along. The barmaid was busy handing out postcards to help with the advertising and there were two local advertisements (Themselves) sitting on the stools to my left, I'll be darned if they weren't two of the actors in the postcard! Yes, I readily resisted the urge to get their autographs, the barmaid was already telling the ringleader, "Sure, Devon, I'll never hear ye". Back to Ennis, which was a serious mess due to the road construction, it will clear up in time. South to Clarecastle and Lakeside Country Lodge, our port of call for our last two nights in Ireland. The lodge is situated on Killone Lake, directly across from Killone Abbey, again drop dead gorgeous. We ate in Ennis, and had Powers whiskey and trad music at Brogan's for the nightcap.

Day 10---Fri Oct 19. Special day, the East Clare Lake Country tour. East on the R352, Spancelhill,Moymore,Tulla, Bodyke, Tuamgraney, Scarriff, Mountshannon. We stopped at the docks in Mountshannon hoping to get a quick lift out to Inis Cealtra, but once again we are out of season, once again it doesn't matter just being here is magic. Then south along Lough Derg, to Ogonelloe,Annacarriga, and finally Balle O'Cogarain (Ballycuggeran) where it all began a thousand years ago, the mountain and the forest to the west, and the Lough to the east. We then stopped in Killaloe-Ballina for a bit. After leaving Killaloe, the tour became a very pleasant blur for me. Brother was at the wheel, and we wandered along various tiny roads for the midday, no hurry and no compulsion to finish this last day. We ended up at Knappogue Castle, again closed and again it didn't matter in the least. The photos of the castle were taken, we began to walk toward the garden when Steve the Welshman introduced himself. He took us on a personal tour of the grounds, explained the various flora to us, made a bouquet for my wife, and then excused himself and left. Typically Ireland, totally wonderful. We went on to Quin Abbey,  more great photos, then back to Clarecastle for pints, dinner, and sleep.

Day11--Sat Oct20. Back to Rosemount, Minnesota. Shannon to Boston to MSP.
13.5 travel hours, but well worth it. I don't know when, but we'll be going back. WC O'Malley



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What a wonderful time in off-season Ireland when strangers have the time to give personal tours and make boquets for your wife. No wonder Ireland has been named the friendliest country in the world. It is the unexpected pleasures that make any trip.



"Ireland Expert"  Michele Erdvig

Click links for Michele's Book or Custom Ireland Itinerary

Visit Michele's Irish Shop for unique Irish gifts and beautiful photos of Ireland.

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