Two nice days
- On the Friday morning I walked into the kitchen to make breakfast. I
could hear a wavering hum from the sitting room. It was Shane's
birthday and he was singing his heart out. Gary and Alex didn't
arrive in Galway until lunchtime. We met them by the Docks in the
city centre where a big grey military ship acted as a rendezvous
point. Gary had also brought his little dog Mac D along for the
trip. It was Alex's first time to the west of Ireland and Gary
exclaimed that he hadn't been in Galway for years.
After a much enjoyed lunch we strolled up and down Galway's
shopping streets. Early signs of dusk were noticeable as the sun
began to decline so we decided to catch the fading light by coast.
We drove out to the beautiful beach of silver stand but the tide was
in and the only grains of sand to be seen were on the footpath. We
took to the cliff which rises up from the beach and runs for a short
distance along the coast. Erosion was eating into the base of this
cliff of stones and soil so we had to be careful not to venture too
close to the edge. Mac D saw no danger and walked over to the very
edge and glanced downwards. Needless to say that Gary called him
back as quickly as possible.
From the cliff we had a lovely view of Galway Bay and the hills of
Co. Clare in the distance. We gazed out across the cloudy sky as the
sun turned it unusual shades of violet and peach just before it
dived into the ocean. Later that evening we a enjoyed a peaceful
meditation which was followed by a big meal and dessert on Shane's
The next morning, after a large, protein filled breakfast, we
departed for the Burren in Co. Clare. From the forecast we sure that
showers were inevitable but the day remained bright and cheerful as
we dove. At one stage we descended down a big hill and at the bottom
the road ran parallel with a small lake. To our amazement, two swans
had just taken off with wings fully spread and were flying directly
in line with us. For a hundred meters the swans flew closely side-by-
side with us until I quickly had to manoeuvre around a sharp bend.
It was such a beautiful sight.
We travelled along the coastline which brought us to the unique
landscape of the Burren. Shane explained to us how thousands of
years ago the Celts had cut down all the forests which had covered
the land in order to create pastures, however this led to the thin
layer of soil washing away. The result is a barren landscape of bare
limestone, known as carsk landscape. We walked through a valley of
green fields, sectioned by stone walls that ran up to the stone grey
hills on either side. These walls are the consequence of a life of
back breaking labour endured, in the past, by farmers trying to
claim a patch of land as their own.
We climbed up the hill to our left, stopping briefly for fruit and
biscuits, and then trekked on further up the exposed ridges of
weather limestone. From the top we had, once again, a beautiful view
of Galway Bay, only this time from the other side. Right across the
bay could just about make out the beach that we had been to the day
before. Walking on further we came to a sudden drop of mass rock. I
enjoyed scaling down it but Gary found a safer roof in order to
carry down Mac D. From there we walked across a desolate plain of
rock until we reached another valley. At the bottom of the valley
was what looked like a huge crater left behind by a meteorite. Shane
and I pondered whether it actually was the result of a meteorite.
After a little more walking we stopped for a quick break by a stone
wall. In the distance was the cliff of rock which to our amusement
reflected an incredible echo. We shouted out our names and after a
second delay it seemed someone would shout back at us. Ahead of us
the landscape looked like a giants playground with huge football
like rocks lying here and there on smooth plates of stone. Long
fractures dissected the rock in places were water had found the path
of least resistance. It's hard to believe that the subtlety of
water could create such wonderful features in resilient rock but
everything physical is bound by time and time can move mountains.
We walked for a while before reaching the road to lead us back our
starting point. Gary carried Mac D some off the way because he was
well tired from his adventure away from home. We were greeted by
cattle grazing on high ground as we trekked over a hill which took
us right back to the cars. Throughout the whole day not one drop of
rain had fallen which we were grateful for. We left behind a
landscape of wonderful character and enjoyed a hearty meal in the
town of Loughrea before we set off for home.