10/23/2010

I know, I'm wildly behind on my poor neglected blog, but I've been busy!

My trip to Galway was wonderful! I saw the Cliffs of Moher:


Kylemore House, Abbey and Gardens:

Lots of beautiful, authentic thatched roof cottages:

Burren:

Ailwee caves, Connemara, and a few other awesome sites. It was great! Galway city itself was okay, a bit too college-y for me. Bigger than Killarney, but I still like Killarney better. I chose well when I picked the town I wanted to live in. One of the things I wanted to see most when I was planning my trip to Ireland were the Cliffs of Moher, so I'm very excited that I was able to see them. I stayed in my first hostel in Galway too. It was great, I met a couple of really cool people, and went on tours with two of them. The hostels have a great atmosphere. It's very easy to connect with other travelers.

Since then, I've been hanging out in Killarney. It's been wonderful! I've been doing a lot of hiking, and a lot of reading. The weather is finally changing too! It has been so sunny and warm, apparently I happened to come on a year with a very abnormal September and October. Usually I would have had constant rain, but within the past few days we've starting to get great windy rainy weather! Yay!!!! On that note, I made my first turf (peat) fire and it was a great success! (I'm wayyyyyy too proud of this fact, it's true.) It's funny because Jer (one of my housemates) always makes the fire if one of us lovely ladies are at home, but he's up the coast for a week with Norma. In the past Kate and Norma have tried to make fires and they never got warm, or lasted. We figured it needed a man's touch. Not so! I rocked that fire!!!! Lol. Like I said, way too proud of it. Maybe it's genetic? Or maybe I'm just a pyro, who knows. Haha. I should have taken a picture of it but didn't think of it until the fire was just embers.

I heard the best Irish band I've had the pleasure of watching since getting here; in Courtney's two nights ago. Oh my god, they totally had everyone going! Irish music is so catchy and fun. It's infectious. I actually bought one of their CDs. The band's called The Side Over, and the two main guys are Jeremy Spencer (fiddle) and Sean Leahy (guitar). They've been playing together for eight years and it shows, they mesh their instruments in a way that is just phenomenal. They also had a banjo player, who's been playing with them for about a year now. What a seriously good night. :)

Mom's coming to visit me November 5th through the 14th! I'm very excited, I can't wait to show her all of the great places I've found. This will be fantastic! Yay!!! I'm just glad that it is going to work out as we didn't think she'd be able to.

Oh, and because I'm weird and I think food is very important, I had the BEST tiramisu I have ever had last night. Oh my god, it was...wow. Should have taken a picture of that too! Geez, I'm a picture and blog slacker. Shame on me. :)
Reactions: 

10/6/2010--Galway Update

I don't have much to say at the moment as I'm staying in a hostel in Galway, and have been since Monday, but I will give everyone great stories and details when I get home tomorrow. I took lots of pictures, saw the Cliffs of Moher, Kylemore Abbey, and a plethora of other sights. I also met a ton of fun people! Just wanted to give you a quick update!!!
Reactions: 

9/30/2010

Today I chose to explore on foot, so I walked to the town gardens, which are fenced off by a huge, sprawling stone wall. It was a beautiful walk that took me into the national forest and followed this small creek. It was amazing!!!! The trees have started to change color, so there were fallen orange and brown leaves littering the forest floor. They contrast so well with the European forest canopy which is so different from American forests, at least on the West coast. There are a few pines, but they definitely do not dominate the landscape. It's mostly broad leafed deciduous trees with pale green leaves. I'm not sure what kind they are, I've been asking around with little success.

I had no idea where the trail went, but soon found myself on the shore of Lough Leane, one of Killarney's lakes. It was poetic in its beauty! The clouds were hanging low, obscuring the mountains so only the bases could be seen jutting out into the lake. The fog added that noiseless quality to the air and muffled even the sound of the trees blowing in the breeze. Swans drifted on the surface of the lake, ethereal, seeming to float over the water; small ripples in the calm lake passing unheeded by. Small groupings of rocks protruded out of the water, joining their plentiful island kin. The atmosphere of this magical place was so all consuming that when the occasional person passed by, it came as a bit of a shock, as if you forgot momentarily that others existed at all. As I followed the path along the shore of Lough Leane, the top of Ross castle came into view above the tree line. It was so mythical! Like nothing I've ever experienced, it was almost as if I had walked in to the realm of fairy tales and they had become my new reality. You hear people speak of Ireland in all of it's beauty, but there is no way to fully appreciate it until you have stood on these magical banks yourself and seen these scenes unfold before you. It must also be noted that the pace of life here in Ireland is so much more casual and laid back, people take their time, and enjoy the beauty surrounding them; which adds to this feeling of timelessness that you feel. It is humbling and so serene. It literally fills you with such a deep sense of contentment, like time has stopped.
Reactions: