Ireland - Day 3, April 17

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8:48 am
Just finished breakfast of eggs & sausage with tea, toast, cereal, and orange juice.
Today was the day to wander the countryside and I needed to keep my energy level up :-)

10:45 am
O'Dea (closed)
It looked as though they were working on the inside.  I'll post a picture as soon as I can get it scanned in.

11:08 am
Corofin shrine pic
This will also require scanning.  There are shrines all over west Ireland.  It seemed like every time we turned around, there would be a shrine to Mary.  They were always pretty and were obviously in active use as there would be fresh flowers and such.  We'd never heard of this before going to Ireland and it was unexpected.

11:14 am
Kilnaboy (stopped why?)
Because there was something pretty you pinhead!  Given the time, it was probably this church...


Susan freezes while I take her picture

12:07 pm
Shopping in Kilfenora, the Burren is closed. Church & crosses cold, windy & mizzly (soft?).
We'd read about the Doorty cross (lower picture) and stopped to see the church and cross.  It seems that many of the old churches are used as graveyards now (including the former "inside") and there was a wide variety of Celtic cross headstones ranging from the old to the new.

 
It shows up better in a full-size image, but the newer cross in the background looked good next to the old

12:44 pm
Just outside Kilfenora to Lisdoonvarna (via road to Innistimon). Stopped for a pic.
Stopped in Kilshanny to find out we'd gone the wrong (very scenic) west route to Lisdoonvarna.
xmas tree farm
Some of the nicest places we saw, we would have missed if we hadn't gone the "wrong" way.  Maybe someday we can spend three or four months just trying to get lost in Ireland.
The xmas tree farm comment is due to the large number of what looked like mini-forests of Douglas Firs we saw as we were driving through Ireland.  They're almost as plentiful as the shrines.


One of many shots taken just for artistic reasons

1:14 pm
In Lisdoonvarna
Church pic
Sorry, I have no idea what the name of the church is.  It was beautiful on the inside and was still in active use.  Up near the altar they had a pretty area that had been set up for Easter.  There were the requisite religious references in visual form and a nice sounding fountain.

1:53 pm
Lunch @ The Irish Arms
Harp, Guinness, chicken strips, broccoli quiche
If I remember correctly, Susan said that the quiche she had would easily put the ones at home to shame.

2:34 pm
Done & resting. Wrote a postcard to Daddy; Susan wrote to her parents.

2:51 pm
Posting cards. There's a sign here about "no mat, no mail" policy for delivery to farms. But the farmers can go to pick up their mail (and infect the town?).
The inconsistency with which F&M policy was applied did not inspire confidence.  Most of the mats we walked across were dry and people were being kept out of areas where there were no cattle.  The sign I wrote about was for the farmers and said that if they didn't have disinfectant mats at the entrances to the farm, their mail wouldn't be delivered and they would have to go into town to pick up their mail.

3:40 pm
Internet cafe'ing. People nearby are worried about kids back home. (We ended up dancing with this couple later at the Royal Spa.)

4:05 pm
To Ballyvaughn

4:40 pm
Shots of Galway Bay.


4:48 pm
Burren College of art
We stopped outside the entrance to the college but could only see a glimpse through the trees.  What we could see looked pretty but wouldn't have show up well in a picture.  We didn't drive any closer because of dire F&M warning signs.

4:54 pm
dry mats

5:31 pm
shoppin' @ Celtic Sound Ballyvaughan
Bought a whistle, candles, jewelry ....
I bought several whistles on this trip.  I've got a good collection at home now.


I took  these two shots because the people who run Celtic Sound were really nice and had a great shop.  I hope they do well.
It reminds me a lot of the Celtic Store back home.


I don't know which way to go, do you?

The signs in and near towns were a bit ridiculous in places.  In many towns, the signs for B&Bs easily outnumbered the road signs and were often the same color.  More than once (or twice) we were faked out when we needed a road sign and got close enough only to find out we were trying hard to read a B&B sign.

6:02 pm
Colman Abbey?
birds hunting worms behind a tractor, pretty flowers, good view of Burren & Galway Bay, rainbow
We're not entirely sure of the name of the abbey because the only "sign" was something someone had painted on the corner of the building.
In a field across from the abbey there was a tractor turning the dirt.  There were dozens of seagulls following and flying around behind it apparently going after the worms and insects that were being plowed to the surface.  It was interesting to watch.
There are a few more shots that will be coming once we fire up the scanner.


Now where did that pot of gold go?


6:26 pm
Corcomroe Abbey

 

7:38 pm
Just saw a dolmen near Poulnabrone
going south on R480
And I don't think either one of us got a picture.

8:12 pm
In lisdoon, (went wrong way toward Ennistimon)
in Royal Spa bar having Harp & Smithwicks while playing cards.

9:00 pm
in the dance hall, waiting for things to start.
met Maggie Hutton & Bill Lynch
Jerry & Debbie 
Connemara reel set danced/taught
Corofin set - 10:16 pm whoohoo! danced
(heart attack? Patrick, last set) danced
Clare lancers on video, sat it out
Waltz (whee) danced
Caledonian set danced
Connemara danced
Wish we could come back on Tuesday. Maggie recognized that we were step & Ceili dancers and invited us to a Ceili on Tuesday. She mentioned the 4 hand & High Cauled Cap and it was painful to think that we wouldn't be able to return next week and dance with her again.
Maggie reminds us both of Mary Anne. It would be a blast to get them all together in the same dance hall. 
We met Bill Lynch, who is an excellent dancer and as friendly as Mary Anne and Maggie. Susan and I danced several sets with him and he very kindly told us what was coming up and often called during the dance.
Maggie Hutton was fun to learn from and dance with.  She reminds us both of Mary Anne McGrath Swaim who we got to know on the Irish cruise we took last year.  Physically there are few similarities, but if you were to judge by the way they teach and the enthusiasm they have for dancing, they might as well be sisters.
Bill Lynch runs the web site Set Dancing News and is the reason we knew about the dancing at the Royal Spa.  We used the information on his site to help plan our trip to Ireland (since the big reason we wanted to go was for dancing).

During the second set, a man who was dancing in our set collapsed during the last figure. The hall was a bit hot and it appears that he had a heart attack.  Jerry (of Jerry & Debbie) and a girl who appeared to be a regular gave him CPR and revived him.  He was able to walk away and was taken to a hospital.  We heard later in the evening that he was doing well, and we hope he's ok now.

 
Bill Lynch, Susan, Michael

 

12:19 am
leaving. Stars, pretty stars (clouds coming in)
Seeing the stars in Ireland was interesting and unnerving.  Nothing was where it belonged, but we could see many more stars than at home.  Oddly enough, I could never see as many stars as I had expected, even in pitch dark areas.

1:30 am
at Cill Eoin

 

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