Sunday, September 21, 2014

Éire vol2 day three

July 17th. The day began in Galway, again in Asford Manor Guesthouse. Looking out from our window, it seemed to drizzle again but when we actually got outside it stayed dry. And it turned out to be the warmest day during our trip. Took a short walk to Galway train/coach station and saw the railway bridge.

Our day continued towards the Burren and eventually Doolin, where we were staying for the next two days.

Dunguaire Castle
So, first stop on our way was Dunguaire Castle following N67. But it was too early to be open, so we simply walked around the castle and took some pictures. Dunguaire Castle is well preseved, at leat from outside.

The Burren National Park
Before reaching the starting point of Burren National Park walking trails, I had planned to find Cappagh Kennedy megalithic tomb but as it turned out, I had inserted incorrect coordinates to Tom. I do not have a smartphone (or anything that could help) so I couldn`t find them online being out there. Instead we reached a gate (at the time we did not know we had the wrong coordinates), opened it since a road went on. Parked our car and tried to search for the tomb. But what was not there was the tomb. By that time a lady came down the hill walking her dog. I asked about the tomb and she said we had passed Cappaghkennedy village but she had not heard of a tomb being there and she lived in the area. So instead we climbed the little hill as we were already there and got breathtaking views of the Burren. 

Smiling man in Burren National Park
And the Burren was our next destination. At home I had so much trouble trying to find the coordinates for the  walking trails. Everyone explained how to get there using road and when to turn where but I needed cooridnates. Miraculously I had managed to find the precise ones. As Tom did not lead us via the big roads, it was such a pleasure to see the country, the houses, narrow roads with zero visibility (don`t get me wrong, even though it was a struggle to drive, I would never have exchanged the route). So, we reached the crossroads marking the start of the trails. I got changed in the car as it was so hot. And we were on our way. Unfortunately we did not walk the entire trail but as much I got to experience was amazing.

Leamaneh Castle
Next stop was Leamaneh castle. We had no problem finding it. The castle was surrounded by a fence so we did not get any close. But.. someone was making his tour. I had the courage to ask if we could possibly get any closer to the castle. He gave me the code to the gate and we were inside :) Oh how happy that made me.
Carron Church

Leaving Leamaneh we headed to Poulnabrone dolmen (well, you cannot be in Ireland and not see the Hole Of Sorrows, can you?). On our way we spotted a stone church and went to get a closer look. Carron Church is one of the examples of stunning historical sites that made our trip special. It was so beautiful, a church made of stones, surrounded by a small cemetery. 

Poulnabrone dolmen
Poulnabrone dolmen, one of the most photographed sights in Ireland? Again one of the things I had seen before but this time got to see without the time limit. And actually managed to get a noise-free photo. The Burren landscape is one of the wonders that captivated me about Ireland. Limestone itself is not that special (it is widely used in Estonia as well) but the landscape it has formed in Ireland is magical. 

Then we visited Aillwee Cave. Left our car in the park and walked up to the visitor centre. As it was so crowded we had to wait quite a long time. As the ticket only got us past the entrance gate. For someone who is not that particularly interested in buying souvenirs there was nothing to do. The cave itself was worth visiting, a bit chilly but what else to expect from a cave?
The Black Head
On our way to Doolin we took the coastal road (R477) from Ballyvaughan. Ohh.. what beauty. Compared to the roads we had taken earlier the day (while driving in Burren) that road was so wide. The ocean, low stone walls, sheep. One of my favourite roads there. Took the time to stop and look around. We passed The Black Head, walked on the coast and enjoyed the wonderful day.
 Before reaching Fenore we visited a pub. I had never been in a pub before. Then came Fenore beach, people were swimming. In that cold water. Swimming. I couldn`t resist, so I took my flip-flops off and stood in the cold water letting the waves reach me. What a feeling.

We also wanted to visit the Doolin cave but it was closed by the time we got to the area so we left that out. We did know the visiting hours but decided not to rush and sacrifice other experiences.
Doolin caravan park
Finally we reached Doolin. We were to stay in Doolin Hostel for the next two nights. When we got to the parking lot behind the Hostel is was packed. I was terrified I would have to reverse out but a man indicated a spot. I did the unthinkable (third day in wrong side traffic, new car), reversed into the lot with first try. I was so proud of myself :D We got out luggage and checked in. Our room was in a building across the street from the main building (Fisher house). Room was meant for four, it had tow bunk beds. So both of us got our own bunk bed. Room was nice but without any luxuries (television that is). We decided to take a walk to the port. We found another caravan park. Then had the opportunity to use the kitchen and headed to bed. 

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