~Irish Holiday~


(Click on thumbnails to view larger photo.)

Sleeping in the car actually wasn't terribly uncomfortable, other than being a bit chilly and getting woken up periodically by wind buffeting the car when a storm blew in. At about 8am, we headed out again. By that time it wasn't really chilly anymore, although the skies were overcast and drizzly until the afternoon. We passed some peat cuttings, which can be found throughout the bogs. The cut bricks are dried and used as a fuel source in rural areas during the winter.

A short distance down the road was Kylemore Abbey, but they weren't open yet, so we took a few photos and continued on our way.

Most things along the road didn't open until 9:30 or 10:00, so we kept driving until we got near Clifden, where we found a tea house that was serving breakfast. We had tea and scones there, and while eating, we saw a sign for a pony show in Cashel. Since we were heading that direction, we decided to stop by. Cashel is a short detour south from Recess, which was on the road we were traveling. We found the show and stopped for a few hours, watched a handful of classes, and took some pictures of the Connemara ponies who were being judged.

We had a bit of a mishap as we were leaving the pony show. The show was on top of a hill and the road had gotten slippery from the rain, so they were using a tractor to pull the cars and trailers up the slope. Well, we didn't know that so we met the tractor as we were trying to leave and ended up having to pull off to let him and the vehicle he was towing go past. Long story short, we ended up stuck in the boggy grass ourselves and the same tractor had to come tow us out.

Once we were safely back on the main road, we drove back up to Recess and from there down through Galway and onto the N18 into The Burren. (The Connemara is to bogs as The Burren is to rocks.) By this time the weather had cleared up and the sun was shining amidst fluffy white clouds in a blue sky. We drove to Kilcogan, then down through Ballinderreen and stopped at Dunguire Castle, which is actually not a true castle, but a 'fortified tower house'. There are a lot of these around the area. We got there about 5pm and toured the 'castle'.

After visiting Dunguire, we continued driving into the Burren, through Kinvarra and Ballyvaughan toward Lisdoonvarna, then onto roads that weren't on our 'major roads only' map, which led us south toward Kilfenora, then east to R480. Driving north on R480 brought us to the remains of a stone fort, Cathair Chonail, but it wasn't very photogenic and we didn't pay for the priveledge of walking through the remains. Further north was a more interesting (and photogenic) stop - the Poulnabrone Portal Dolmen, an ancient tomb.

Back down R480 and we were ready for something to eat, so we headed east toward Carran, which unfortunately for us turned out to have only one restaurant which closed at 6. (We got there at 7.) Back on the road once again, heading south toward the hopefully larger towns of Kilnaboy and Corofin. We found a pub in Corofin where we enjoyed lasagna and smoked salmon. There had been several B&B's along the road through Kilnaboy, so we decided to backtrack slightly and see if any of them had vacancies. The first we stopped at had a room available for €34/person. We were quite happy to see a shower and real beds, and we were also able to recharge our camera battery supply, which after 2 days on the go was nearly depleted.

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