This morning, after a good night’s sleep and a hearty breakfast of porridge, we headed to the Burren, a desolate part of County Clare known for lots of rocks, wildflowers and burial tombs. We stopped off at the Burren Centre in Kilfenora and paid €5 a person (roughly $7.25) to tour the small museum and view a 12 minute video about the area.
After the Burren Centre we paid a brief visit to Kilfenora Cathedral where we saw some impressive stone crosses in the graveyard there. We then began our drive through the Burren, wondering when it would begin to look desolate.
We stopped at Leamanagh Castle along the way and took a few photographs there after parking precariously close to the road. According to several websites you’re not supposed to go into this building because it is on private property. Oops!
After trespassing in visiting Leamanagh Castle we drove a few miles along our route and stopped at the Poulnabrone Portal tomb site, which had a sign close by advertising Clare’s Rock Hostel.Yay, another photo opportunity with our very own Clare!
We spent a good deal of time exploring the [now desolate looking] vicinity of this portal tomb. The wildflowers were amazing in that they seemed to be growing with little or no soil. There were many different kinds of flowers as well.
Dean and the kids went off to explore another part of the area after we had a lunch of bread, cheese, chocolate bars and Club brand soda. We snapped many photographs here as well.
After exploring the site of the portal tomb, we moved on further into the Burren, marveling at the stark beauty. We stopped for a family photo once, then carried onto Ballyvaughn, a town on Galway Bay.
We drove home along the Coastal Road through Doolin — the capital of “Trad”. I’d read that people come to Ireland just to come to this town. We were underwhelmed with what we saw of the town, but the music was probably worth coming back to.
We thought we might stop at the Cliffs of Moher, if the weather was clear, but when we got there a heavy fog had rolled in from the sea. We estimated the visibility was less than 100 feet at times. Needless to say we decided to visit the Cliffs of Moher on another day.
Back at home we made a meal of beef stew braised in Guinness. Dean and I popped out to the pub. We tried O’Looney’s but it was closed. It also looked a bit scary and wondered at Gregory’s recommendation of it. We drove onto Walshes Bar in Creegh. It was a tiny, cozy place that suited us just fine. We noticed a sign in the window advertising Trad on Thursday and we planned on returning for the music. We had a conversation with a local farmer whose dog approached us for attention.
After dinner Clare, Andrew and Dean went to the beach and I walked there to join them. The walk was not as long as I’d expected, but I still think Gregory should have warned me it was not a short walk, but a long one, when he emailed me about the cottage.
I forgot to mention that, not only do we have spiders living with us, we also have tiny newts in residence. While using the bathroom this morning I saw an orange colored critter on the bathroom floor. I picked it up and put it outside, but not before taking its photo. I thought St. Patrick took care of this kind of creature in Ireland. The newt was so tiny (about an inch long), I’m wondering if the spiders eat them too. After researching newts in Ireland, it seems as if the newt I found is not a native. I wonder how he got there then.
Oh, one more thing…we are getting a kick out of the name of one of the petrol stations in this country. We made silly jokes about only goths going there, etc. It doesn’t take much to amuse us, does it?
…and if you are wondering — the price of petrol when we were there was about €1.39 a liter (or about $2 a liter). If there are 3.79 liters in a gallon, then that would make the petrol about $7.50 a gallon in Ireland. And we complain about the price of gas here!