Wednesday, August 08, 2007

I Heart Ireland

Well I posted several days ago claiming to tell stories about my trip to Ireland. After sending out pictures my momentum seems to have struggled, however I will now make an effort so share some of my travel stories. I feel like I’ve told most of you these stories so bare with me if you already know this stuff. There were many highlights and plenty of craic (pronounced crack…and means fun) as they say in Ireland. Because we drove there I had plenty of time and opportunity to take in all the Emerald Island as it’s called. The scenery was beautiful and filled with lots of rolling green hills and mountains broken up by many many stones. It was amazing to see how many castle ruins we passed along the way, there were far too many to count.

The road from Rosslare to Galway brought lots of stops. My favorite was probably the cliffs of Mohr. I’ve seen ocean cliffs before, but these were unlike any I have ever seen, steep, with lots of inlets and very green. Catherine’s family lives in Galway, a city directly West of Dublin on the opposite coast. We spent most of our time in Galway in search of the craic and were able to find it in many forms:

One night we met a street performer called Todd who proclaimed several times that he was from Detroit. He managed to put himself in a straight jacket and wrap himself in chains, then climb to the top of a ladder and get out of his little predicament.

We went and listened to traditional Irish music (diddly-aye) in a pub and I got to watch as an Irish man decided he fancied Catherine…very entertaining.

We went on a little walk along the coast and I got to take part in a Galway tradition of kicking the wall at the end.

I was also able to impart my love of basketball and air hockey on Catherine at the local game center where I earned the high score on the basketball shoot-out game…not too shabby.

Next we headed to Dublin for a couple days and stayed in the home of two of Catherine’s friends Maggie and Roisin (pronounced Rosheen). They have been slowly redecorating the place and it is really cute. In Dublin we tried to visit the Natural History Museum but found that it was closed for remodeling so we went to the National Gallery instead. We ran into Sonia and Stephen on the street and had a fun meal at The Hard Rock CafĂ© (Sonia’s favorite), which was fun. Most of our time was spent walking around the city which I really enjoyed. Our last day there we decided since I’m doing book conservation I should see the Book of Kells at Kings College. We managed to get in for free because we arrived just before they were closing so the man working the till where you pay told us to go on and go in without paying. The books were beautifully illuminated with gold and other natural pigments. I would have to say the more impressive sight was The Long Room where hundreds of volumes are stored.

On our way out of the city we stopped in the equivalent of New York’s Central Park (but in Dublin). A herd of deer lives in the park and we (by we I mean Catherine) were able to find them and get very close to them. I had never heard a deer make a sound before and am here to tell you that their voices are not pretty. The young ones sounded a little like cats crying and the older mothers made a sound that I cannot even begin to describe.

After that we headed back to Galway and the following day I flew back to England for a night and then back home. It was an excellent trip and if you ever have the opportunity to visit Ireland I would strongly recommend it.


Annalise said...

Sounds like so much fun! Ireland truly is a magical place. We should all go sometime!

Clay and Katy said...

Great stories! Clay and I are going to have to hire you as our tour guide when we travel Europe (in a long while!)!!!