Ireland (Éire)

My time in Ireland was way too short. I think I had maybe six full days to travel around. I had to pick and choose very wisely what I was going to see and do.

Galway

Like I have said in my previous posts regarding this trip, I really lucked out with the weather. Ireland was weird, though. It rained probably everyday I was there, but never lasted long.

Pro tip: always carry an umbrella. You’ll need it.

I arrived in Galway after taking the train from Dublin. It’s a lively town, full of traditional Irish pubs which played live music every night.

Galway Quay Street

Quay (pronounced key) Street is where the shopping happens! It was very busy while I was there full of performers, street artists, and shoppers. The buildings are all different colors and sell a wide variety of goodies. I purchased some pieces of waterford crystal here.

galway quay street2

If you follow the street, you’ll end up at Claddagh Park. It’s a bit quieter and more peaceful, so if you need to get away from the crowds, head on over.

claddaugh park

Everything in Ireland is in two languages: Gaelic first, English second. There were a lot of news programs that were also completely in Gaelic.

galway street signs

It was also here in Galway that I booked a day trip to the Cliffs of Moher. There was a travel office right next to my hotel, so I stopped in and bought a ticket. I admit I didn’t read the itinerary, so you can imagine my surprise when I got on the bus and learned of all the stops we’d be making. The first stop we were able to choose what to do: visit some caverns or visit a working farm. I chose farm.

The Burren, Co. Clare

connolly farm2

This farm was in Co. Clare in an area called the Burren.

connolly farm

We were taken on a hike up a hillside, and you can see the farm in the background. The view up here was amazing. Our tour guide, who worked on the farm and held a degree in anthropology and Irish heritage, told us all about the history of the area. This is one of the things I love about traveling. There is so much history out there that the United States cannot compete with. I’m talking ruins of thousand year old Christian settlements.

connolly farm3

Here is a dry wall which is just limestone stacked together. Nothing is used to bind them together.  They were/are used to divide plots of land. Limestone is plentiful here, so most of the farms you see are cattle as the land isn’t ideal from crops.

hawthorn tree

This was also interesting. The Hawthorn trees, or fairy trees. Get ready to be educated!

The History of Fairy Faith

When the Milesians, that mythical race described by an 11th century scholar in Lebor Gabála Érenn (The Book of Invasions), came to Ireland they banished the natives to the underground and they became the Sidhe, the fairy folk who live underground and sometimes reside in certain trees or bushes, usually of the hawthorn variety. You don’t want to disturb the fairy folk or you might bring some kind of misfortunate on yourself.

People will leave personal items tied up to these trees in hopes of gaining good luck, or forgetting past stresses. It is also said to be very bad luck to cut down one of these trees, so you will randomly see just one tree in the middle of nowhere.

connolly farm granny's kitchen

After the tour, you can head into Granny’s Kitchen for some fresh baked goodies!

Cliffs of Moher

Again, so lucky to be blessed with AMAZING weather. This whole day were trying to out drive the rain that was always right behind us.

moher5

The Cliffs of Moher are beautiful. There are walking trails you can follow. Don’t be the idiot that hops over the fence to peer over the edge. It really isn’t safe.

moher3

moher4

moher2

This is one of my most favorite pictures I captured. There are cattle all along the cliffs.

moher1

Thankfully, we were able to beat the rain.

irish countryside

Dublin

Oh, Dublin. It poured while I was here. I had one full day here to explore. I woke up to sunshine and warm weather, but that didn’t last long at all.

dublin1

I don’t remember what I had originally planned to do, but when the sky opened up I found myself, by chance, outside of Trinity College which happened to be a stop on my list.

trinity college1

trinity college2

It’s all sunshine in these pictures, but like I said, the rain comes and goes quickly. This was a very short tour which ended at the library, the main reason why I wanted to visit.

Long room2

Do you love books? If you do, prepare yourself for some serious porn ahead….

long room3

long room1

I stayed in here for longer than I’d like to admit. I can still smell the old dusty, leather bound books. This is know as the Long Room. There are roughly 200,000 books housed here, along with the Book of Kells. Flash photography is not allowed, so sadly most of my photos didn’t come out so well.

The Temple District is where you will find the tourist trap bars. I was told not to go into the Temple Bar by our tour guide. He said it is full of Irish guys looking to pick up tourists. I did have lunch in this area, though.

temple bar

There was so much I never got around to doing while here in Ireland. I guess that means I’ll just have to return. I definitely want to visit the Guinness and Jameson factories, also visit Blarney Castle. I would like to head up to Northern Ireland as well. There is so much history to see here that you need more than just six days to experience it all.

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