Thursday, April 29, 2010

Travels around Ireland

We have finally gotten to an area where we have good internet. I am really enjoying my trip to Ireland. It is so fun to be back with Michelle and to spend a bit of time exploring together. Our travels have taken us through countryside, seaside villages & some lively cities. My favorite thus far is definitely the Burren and Connemara. The Burren is quiet and welcoming. These first few pictures are from that area. It is definitely remote and I am sure Michelle & her friends had some moments of feeling quite isolated while at the Burren College of Art in Ballyvaughan. But the area is just beautiful. The picture above was taken while we were walking back from the college to Michelle's house. Most days she would take a portion of The Burren Way to and from class. Now that spring is here the path takes you through beautiful fields, over many stone fences, through the rocky passes of the Burren. You would think an area that is so full of limestone and surrounded by large hills of stone would seem barren, but it doesn't. In fact, the picture above makes me think of a forest full of magic and fairies...

A picture for Jay!

We took a day trip to the Connemara area. This part of Ireland is like nothing I have ever seen before. The land is so unique and the views were incredible. It is not very populated and I imagine life is hard for those who do chose to live there. Many farm peat for a living or raise sheep. The mountains were a remarkable brownish-red color and there were pockets of green, usually centered around some water source. It was typical Irish rainy weather the day were were there and the pockets of sunshine that broke through the clouds made the views even more dramatic.

We also visit Kylemore Abby while were were on our short jaunt. This was built by an Englishman, Mitchell Henry for his Irish bride, Margaret, in the late 1800's. It was meant to be a vacation home, but they loved the area so much they began to spend more time there. Henry was a great innovator and shared his ideas with his neighbors. At this estate, he created the first walled Victorian garden in Ireland. An order of nuns who took over in 1920 (after the estate came up for sale). They repaired the estate and have been working to restore the garden in the last few years.

Visiting Galway was lots of fun. It is a beautiful city with many fun things to see and a shopping area with musicians playing all types of Irish tunes. The people were very friendly and we really enjoyed the long seaside promenade. The lighthouse out in Galway Bay is said to be the last light of home the millions of Irish saw as they left their homeland for America during the Great Hunger.