Thursday, September 28, 2017

A Horse and Buggy Ride on Inisheer

One of the traditional ways to get around Inisheer, the others ways are bicycle riding or walking.

We chose a horse and buggy and my husband (left) was asked to be co-pilot.

There is our ferry still docked in the small harbor. It eventually went back to Doolin and returned during the two hours we had to enjoy the sights.

A boat in the grass...something a little different!

The three Aran Islands are essentially big chunks of rock, littered with millions upon millions of small rocks. Over centuries, islanders have created grazing land, a few square feet at a time.
(Atlas Obscura)

They cleared from a small area, piled the rocks elegantly into dry stone walls, enclosing a small patch of ground. Sheltered from the wind, the small scraping  of topsoil stayed in place and began to accumulate -- a process helped by the islanders drying soil-enriching seaweed on the walls.
(Atlas Obscura)

MV Plassy, or Plassey, was a steam trawler launched in 1940 and named HMT Juliet in 1941. She was renamed Peterjon  and converted to a cargo vessel in 1947. She was acquired by the Limerick Steamship Company in 1951 and renamed Plassy.

On March 8, 1960, while sailing through Galway Bay carrying a cargo of whiskey, stained glass and yarn, she was caught in a severe storm and ran onto Finnis Rock, Inisheer, Aran Islands.

A group of local islanders, the Inisheer Rocket Crew, rescued the entire crew (11) from the stricken vessel using a breeches buoy — an event captured in pictorial display at the Bational Naritime Museum in Dún Laoghaire.

Several weeks later, a second storm washed the ship off the rock and drove her ashore on the island. 

The wreck still lies on the shoreline and is a tourist attraction. In early January 2014, Storm Christine shifted the wreck's position on the coast for the first time since 1991.

Tourists likely built this small cairn.

Detail of a rock wall.

A stone house house on Inisheer, Aran Islands.

The instability of the walls make them good barriers against livestock that are reared in the area. Animals who have learned from experience that they collapse rather easily keep themselves away from the walls.

An abandoned rock house is covered in vegetation.

This thatched roof house belongs to the driver of our horse and buggy. 
He told us if we got stranded on the island because of 
weather and a wild ocean we could stay overnight here! 
We made it back but it was one wild ride!

The tourists on this island are often Irish from the mainland.

St. Cavan's Church and Graveyard
St. Caomhán (Irish)

A Row of Celtic Crosses

A Sunken Church
St. Cavan's Church Ruins
St. Caomhan's (Irish)
St. Cavin's Church is a ruined church, built in the 10th century, at the location of the saint's grave. The entrance is now below ground level, as the church was nearly buried by drifting sands. It is now excavated and is kept clear of sand by the islanders.

Celtic Crosses With a View

Saturday, September 23, 2017

The Ferry to Inisheer

The Ride of Our Lives
We boarded the ferry that would take us to the smallest and nearest of the three Aran Islands. 
We chose our space outside because this was going to be a very bumpy ride. 
I had some apprehension about this boat ride because I do get seasick but I took some Dramamine and hoped for the best!

That boat looks a lot like ours. 
The water looks so calm in this little harbor...
maybe it won't be so bad?

 Our coach waited for about 4 hours for our return.
I was secretly kind of wishing I could stay with the coach...
But no! 
We want to see this awesome island and really wishing we could see all three of them.
This will be a memorable, no doubt!

Once we left Doolin Harbor it wasn't long before we were hanging on with white knuckle grips to the rails of the boat! 
No photos!
But we eventually came to calm waters near our destination. 
What a relief!

I don't know how he can do this all day.
The Wild Atlantic Way is rarely smooth sailing.

Bye bye for a few hours! 
We had two hours of fun on the island before we faced round two...the return trip!

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

A Day Tour From Galway

Our Friend!
It was our first full day in Galway and we were actually leaving for a full day "day trip" to the Aran Islands.
It was very early but we managed a few extra minutes to give our seagull friend a little bread.
We left in a hurry to walk to the meeting place to catch our tour bus.
It wasn't far.

We were to meet in front of the Kinlay Hostel by 7:00 a.m.

We were not the only tour meeting there. 
It got more and more crowded.
Eventually, we were all sorted out and on our way!
We were traveling from Galway to Doolin to catch our ferry.
It was a beautiful coach ride which took about an hour, maybe a little longer.

Oh my!
This was our ferry that was to shuttle us across the Wild Atlantic Way to the smallest of the three Aran Islands.
Thankfully, Inisheer is also the closest.
It was nearly an hour's ride!
 On this boat!

What a ROCK and ROLL ride it was!
We stood outside in the cold wind and some rain.
We hung on to the railing for our dear lives!
It was the same on the way back...
We never dreamed it was a boat like this! 
We saw a beautiful catamaran just gliding along through the swells.
But not us!

Home Sweet Home - Galway, Ireland

We are "in" for the night. It looks much later than it actually was. It was  looking dark partially because of the rain but also because sunset doesn't even happen until nearly 11:00 pm.
It was actually only about 7:00 pm.
It felt good to be in since the day was full of adventure...taking a train the wrong direction can be exciting. We could have taken the 5 hour slow train and arrived earlier!
But, we made it to Galway from Ennis!
This is the view from our window of the street below.
We were on the third floor.
 We had a nice view of Galway Bay from our deck but it wasn't visible on this evening because of the rainy weather.

I really like red umbrellas but in this case pink did just fine. It was a Friday evening and quieter on the streets than we had expected. 
Everything changed about midnight when we went to bed...
The pubs are "happy" places!

I believe we made a friend...
There's a seagull at our window, looking at us!

This cute seagull stuck around all night, every night!
Thankfully it rains a lot to keep the window ledges clean.

We finally gave it a little bread!
Then a little more and then a little more again, and again, and again.
Yep! We had a new friend!

Geez! It wants more!
It's time for bed, little buddy. 
We will see you in the morning!

Tuesday, September 19, 2017


We have arrived in Galway!
After a short walk from the train station along the side of Eyre Park to Prospect Street, we made our way to our apartment. 
We were hungry!
Out the door we went in search of the perfect place for an early dinner.

We wandered down this street. 

This street looked promising!

Brassiere on the Corner
We earned a fabulous dinner and we picked just the right place!

The east side of Eyre Park
The Tribes of Galway 
The fourteen flags represent the fourteen merchant families who dominated the political, commercial and social life of Galway in western Ireland between the mid-13th and the late-19th centuries. 
The tribes were merchant families who prospered  from trade with Continental Europe. They dominated Galway's municipal government during the medieval and early modern eras.

I am sure our dinner restaurant was much better than this one!
I'm not a fish lover but I could have enjoyed a little of that Irish Whiskey in my coffee!