Connemara – Kylemore Abbey, Killary Fjord & Galway
So friendship fond, all wealth beyond, and love that lives alway,
Bless each poor home beside your foam, my dear old Galway Bay.
Today’s rather organized road trip started with a 6AM wake up call(!) Oh god… But we made it to the Old Stone Church on time and hopped on the bus with Ita, another very knowledgeable, Irish guide full of sarcastic humour 🙂
Ita used most of our drive to Connemara telling us historical tidbits in a funny and engaging fashion (“the Normans came over and we thought they’d leave again, but they started building churches and we were like ‘Jeezus!’ It’s a bit like having your neightbours over for lunch and at 4 PM they’re still there…”). Even if the drive was a really long one the landscape and company made it worthwhile.
After getting out of Dublin and on a bit we got some great stretches of the Emerald Isle.
The tour included a stop by the Kylemore Abbey (Ita: “complete with an overpriced gift shop!”), though we didn’t go in, (except for the gift shop, haha!). There was no time, we had a cruise on the Killary Fjord to catch, but even from the outside Kylemore is extremely beautiful. I’m afraid the pictures don’t do it justice at all.
Before the arrival of the Benedictine Nuns to Kylemore Abbey, it was known as the Kylemore Castle. Mitchell Henry (MP and general nice guy helping out after the Potato Famine) built it for his beloved wife who, sadly, decided to drop dead only four short years after it was built. Very ungrateful, I thought… Mitchell was heartbroken enough to build one of the loveliest churches in Ireland on the grounds of the estate and when he died, some 35 years later, his ashes where interred next to her. That’s true romance, people. Boys, you now know what it takes to get me to the altar 😉
The ride continued to Killary Fjord, Ireland’s only fjord and the little ferry “Connemara Lady”. There’s room for about two couches at a time so we shared with another bus tour, but luckily (possibly because ours was a smaller couch) we weren’t cramped. The weather was fantastic and I spent most of the 1,5 hr boat trip on deck enjoying the sun, sea breeze and salty seawater smells.
On the boat we could buy stuff like carrot cake, tea, hot crossed buns and the ever present Guinness. My mum got her daily latte and we both splurged on a piece of the carrot cake, made locally of course (“by LOCAL people”).
After Killary we continued on through a “blink and you’ll miss it” quaint, Irish village called Leenane before heading off to Galway, Ireland’s cultural heart. It’s where the Claddagh Ring originated and the last place Colombus visited before setting off on his slightly famous journey in 1492. Unfortunately we only had one hour here so I had to opt out of seeing the inside of the cathedral (which looked absolutely stunning from the outside!), and instead I focused on the Claddagh jewellery and the street life.
We spent quite a bit of time checking out the local street musicians, to my mother’s delight (and our purses’ dismay, oh well, less change to get rid of at the airport on Sunday).
There’s so much more to Galway, but we had such a short time there and this post is way too long already, so… If you’re ever in the west of Ireland, go see it. It’s a must.
Our night ended back in Dublin (a place Vincent from the Connemara Lady visited for one day and absolutely hated, by the way. Yeah, them country lads, eh?) at around 8 PM, where we said goodbye to Ita and shuffled down towards the Temple Bar area again for drinks. We ended up at Busker’s yet again, completely at random this time, and got to talking with the absolutely charming bouncer, Patrick. He spent about 3 minutes locating a picture of his wife on his phone, muttering something that sounded like “must be at least one picture of her here..?” And “bad husband!”.