Sunday, June 7, 2015

Ireland: Day 2

Are you ready for some serious picture overload?  Today was one of our busier sightseeing days.  Peter's boss was kind enough to volunteer to take us out and see some of the country and coast of western Ireland.  I never dreamed he would take us to all the places he was able to take us today!  So I am very grateful for that!  

We didn't sleep great last night and our clocks were quite a mess.  We tried to tough it out as long as we could last night but found ourselves fast asleep around 9:30.  Unfortunately we also found ourselves wide awake around 3 in the morning!  I think the local pubs must have just shut down around this time and so the surrounding neighborhoods to our hotel were a little bit loud!  Around 5:00, we were able to doze off back to sleep until about 8:30.  

Peter's boss was coming from Dublin and got a bit of a late start, so we had some time to go out and walk the neighboring streets again.  We tried to find some pastries at the bake shops that seem to be on every corner, but were surprised to see that hardly any shops were open and this was around 11 AM. Apparently a city that parties late on Saturday night, tends to sleep in on Sunday morning.  After getting some fresh, flaky croissants, REAL jelly filled donuts, and a lemon poppyseed bread and carrot cake muffin for later, we headed back to our room to get ready to go!  I know I am going to love these bakeries in the coming days!

Around noon, we were off to see the countryside!  It was so amazing to get a private tour with a local!  Definitely a wonderful experience and he really took the time to tell us about the area and some of the history.  We were also blessed with absolutely incredible weather. Like, I can't imagine it being much better than this!  Ireland is known to rain at least some each day, but not today!  We had beautiful, clear skies! 

 Our first stop on our journey today, was The Burren. The Burren consists of hills and hills and landscape made out of limestone.  It's a pretty cool phenomenon.  

Within the burren, there is a tomb called Paulnabrone portal tomb.  Back in the 80's, one of the capstones broke and collapsed. As they were excavating it, they found human remains of over 30 people including children at this site.  They believe the tomb was used between 3800 and 3600 B.C.  Pretty cool!

The Burren seemed to just go on and on for a very long time. It was really cool and the landscape was just really pretty!  Ireland definitely lives up to its green reputation!

 We eventually hit the coast and took a few minutes to check out Ballyvaughan.  Another really pretty site that we never would have made it to.

We continued on our coastal drive for a bit.  Brian explained to us that there are usually dolphins out in the water that you can see jumping and playing. We didn't see any today, but still pretty cool!

And then we made it to one of the places I couldn't wait to see!  The Cliffs of Moher.  Sure, they are Ireland's #1 tourist destination, but they deserve and earn that title and should not be missed!  These photos don't even do their majesty justice!  It was truly so beautiful up there.

It was so clear, we could even see the Aran Islands from up there!  Someplace else I would love to visit someday!

Then we were off to Lahinch!  Apparently there is an amazing golf course here and this is someplace the locals really like to weekend at.  It was a very busy place but we decided to stop at a restaurant Brian recommended for some fish and chips!  We watched some of the surfers.  Honestly, surfing is something I would NEVER expect to see in Ireland but apparently these waters here are very good for it they even host world surfing events here.   He also told us how we are visiting at the very beginning of tourist season and that within the next couple weeks the roads will just be packed.  We saw a ton of tour buses already so I can only imagine how crazy the country gets over the summer.  I think we really lucked out with this amazing weather and hitting the area before it gets crazy busy! 

Then it was back to the hotel to rest up and get ready for Peter's first workday tomorrow.  I guess that is the whole reason why we are here.  We decided to indulge in some of that yummy lemon poppyseed bread and some tea tonight!  What a genuinely perfect day!