September 18, 2012

the west of Ireland

We're in the home stretch, folks. Only a few days of Ireland's rather dark and rainy today in Virginia and coincidentally, it's time to share a rainy day in the west of Ireland!
On this morning, we left the cabins by the lake to head west.  Our destination for the evening was Clifden, and we decided to stop at Kylemore Abbey on the way.  Kylemore is that magical castle I'd seen photos of in books and always wanted to visit, and on this grey and rainy day, I got my wish.  The drive through Connemara to get there was so beautiful, rugged and mountainous with that fog hanging around the hilltops that I love so much.  It was raining when we got to Kylemore, so taking photos of it from *the spot* where EVERYONE takes photos of it was a rushed experience.  The girls school there is now closed, so we were actually able to explore inside.  There is so much more than just the abbey there though...a beautiful Gothic church built in honor of the (original) owner's late wife, a sprawling Victorian walled garden, and trails to walk all around the place.  The rain kept us from spending too terribly much time outside but it was gorgeous all the same.  The gardens were especially wonderful, but about halfway through the rain started to fall pretty steadily so we stepped into the tea room for pots of tea and snacks.  Fortunately for us, the rain dropped off again and we could wander around the rest of the garden and nearby forests.  After many hours at this place, we finally got back in the car and drove to our B&B for the night in Clifden.  After checking in, we went down to the beach road and walked to the rocky beach at the end.  I was picking up rocks and admiring everything on the ground when I saw a patch of colorful little shells that I started to pick up.  Soon, we were all searching for this "CANDY!" as I called it, not noticing that the tide was coming in and secluding us on the spit of land we'd walked out on.  Evin's mom noticed that people had walked toward us but stopped far away, and realized we were separated from them by a channel of water.  We then had to wade back across to the road...oops!!  We had dinner in Clifden and went back to the B&B, which turned out to be the worst and weirdest of the trip (its owner was wacky), but an experience nonetheless!

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