On the Road

After leaving Dingle with a bit of sadness, we headed North. We had a long day of driving ahead of us and a lot of really beautiful land to cross. To our surprise, we drove through Lisdoonvarna, the infamous town that hosts a Matchmaking Festival every September. We both thought about stopping for a fraction of a second…and then peeled out quickly after noting that the median age was 60 and dental hygiene was seemingly forbidden. If you are interested in making it part of your next holiday, Here you go!

We realized a bit late in the day that we were within minutes of missing the ferry that would take us across the Shannon River (knocking off 2 hours from our drive, and avoiding Limerick as well). As we sat in line for the ferry and watched it fill up, we finally crept into first place…assuming we had missed the boat and would be first up for the next ferry, in 2 hours…sigh. Lucky for us, the Irish rock (of course!) and know how to pack a boat. We not only got on, but the car behind us did too, barely! We were all so excited, we cheered.

Our slightly manic drive up the western coast of Ireland continued towards the Cliffs of Moher. Much to Nic’s delight (the Irish sense of humor is catching), Sarah read every bit of information she could find about the area, the cliffs, and the history of the west coast, so we were prepared for greatness. After our stomachs began to growl louder than Katy Perry could sing on the radio about her skin tight jeans, we realized it was 4:30 and we hadn’t eaten since breakfast! If you’ve been on a road trip and just want to get somewhere, so the thought of stopping for food isn’t a viable option, you know exactly how we felt at that moment…RAVENOUS. Sarah busted out a slightly smushed Luna Bar to sate us on the hike to the top of the cliffs, and we headed out. It may have been sheer exhaustion or our rumbling tummies, but we arrived at the cliffs, paid our fee and ventured up the trail in silence. Don’t get us wrong, the cliffs are glorious in their massive height and power, but we were BEAT! And we still had a couple of hours to go on the road. We made it to the top, took beautiful pictures, looked to the other side, looked at each other and, as our bellies protested in victory, we relented and headed back to the car.

One final note. All over Ireland on the sides of the road are signs that read “Safe Home” or “Slan go Foill”, instead of “Drive Safe”. We thought this message was beautifully eloquent and deserved a photo of its own. This was the sign as we walked away from the Cliffs of Moher. Sarah would like to have this printed in her own home.

Onward! We finally arrived in Galway! Sarah was especially excited to make it this far, having heard so many great stories about the people and music of the area. Galway is also the home to the Claddagh Ring, its roots beginning in 1689 with a kidnapping, pirates, a Moorish goldsmith and a love story that knew no boundaries. Of course! This is Ireland after all.

We located O’Maille,  an amazing woolen shop where Nic picked up a beautiful woolen cap for her Pops, and Sarah picked up a hand-woven blanket. We also found a Sheridan’s Cheesemonger! We ventured inside to say we had actually located one, only to hear again how difficult the Dublin shop really is to find, and picked up a couple of carrot orange smoothies to beat down the colds we were catching.

While walking around town, we enjoyed the street market full of the typical hippie fare, and plenty of buskers. As a college town, Galway draws in transplants from all over the world and many of them seem to stay. We had originally only planned to stay in Galway for one night but, after seeing the potential, we decided to head out to the Aran Islands for a night and come back for another night in town.

How could we pass this up?