Playing Catch-up

We are having troubles with internet connections, so multiple-day entries seem to be the norm…sorry…
3 June 2012

Well rested, coffee in hand, we had our fearless leader, Marc, wait upon us–he made us our first Irish breakfast! And, we talked about the plans for the next few days. Galway today, Aran Islands for tomorrow, Kylemore Abbey for the next day. LOL…we were going out at 10am today…it’s now 11:19 and we are nowhere near being ready, nor inclined to leave. This place is way too comfortable and inviting to leave…Marc just remarked we will be leaving in 45 minutes. There was a laugh…and a comment, “we’ll leave when we walk out the door?” He laughed. We’ll see what happens. Laid-back seems to be the order of the day and I, for one, am NOT complaining.
The internet connection seems to be very picky. I had a signal earlier this morning, but now, nothing (or if there’s a signal, it’s one bar). I am on one side of the dining table and have no connection, others on the side near the outer wall seem to have a perfectly good connection. So, this will be sent later.
We drove (about an hour?) into Galway and wandered on the river’s edge watching a kayak water polo, then up onto the historic K Street (to buy touristy stuff) and had lunch in a fish n’ chips place.  Yummy!
After visiting downtown, we came back and had a two-hour tea with the Lady & Lord of the manor (castle).  The rest of the day was “free” to kick back and overcome the jet lag (only three of us had been here long enough to have dealt with it already).  I went out and took photos on the property, in the drizzle.  This is an amazing  property!  I am in heaven.  A lake.  Beautiful gardens, stone walls…majestic trees.  I wish we could stay longer…or at least spend more down time.  We are off during the day touring around and by the end of the day, we crash, listen to Marc play his autograph, sipping on some free ‘left-over’ Bulmer’s (cider) and Beamish (dark stout) on tap — from a wedding that had happened the day before we arrived.  Nice little perk.
4 June
This was a very good thing, as we were going to be out in the weather ALL day.  We drove to the ferry about an hour west of Galway to spend the day on Aran Island.  The plan was to walk as far as we could.  Tour bus drivers kept hawking their services and we shrugged them off, confident we’d have no problem.  One stopped (as we were shy of a mile out of the village) and handed Marc his business card so we could call when we gave up — we still had the resolve to ‘do it ourselves’.  We went a bit further and my foot found a pothole…I twisted my ankle and fell down–but no worries…I was fine.  Pants were torn because of my metal brace (which thankfully protected my bad knee from anything worse than a bit of a scrape) and we continued on.  It was so beautiful–millions of photo ops–you will see the photos one of these days (but the internet connection is so poor I can’t get anything uploaded, so photos will have to wait till I get to a solid connection).  As we continued our walk, everyone realized our expectations were a bit too unrealistic so when the driver passed us once more, Marc waved him down and we all crawled onto the tour bus to complete our adventure.  He dropped us off at the foot of the Cliffs where we had our lunch and talked about walking up to the Cliffs.  I decided it would be suicide for me to make the attempt, so I stayed behind as they all headed up.  There were shops to browse in–I made a couple purchases and kicked back to elevate my legs.  Our driver told us, among other things, that the Aran Island shifted from the Cliffs of Mohr to it’s present location, which explains the similarities in the rocky terrain.  Later this week, we will be going to the Cliffs of Mohr — by boat.  At a designated time, the driver showed up once more and we dragged ourselves into the van and he finished the tour of the island and deposited us at the ferry for our return trip.

When our car finally made it back home, exhausted, our guest musicians, Tania Opland & Mike Freeman, had just arrived.  Marc’s car load showed up about a half-hour later with a restock of groceries and pizza for our dinner.  Tania & Mike joined in with Marc, playing and singing to entertain us.  It was a wonderful evening, but since we were all so tired, lights were out about 11pm!

5 June 2012

No internet once again.  

EXHAUSTION…all slept in after our very strenuous day and late night.  We had a late start today…recovering from yesterdays travels.  Drove via N59 to Kylemore Abbey.  Rain, drizzle, mist throughout the day.  ‘Attack of the Midges’ kept us from fully enjoying the Gardens.  We should have been clued in (well, we were, but didn’t realize they’d be that bad!) by people using their programs to wave off the no-see-’ems…We did a very quick tour of the grounds and made a run for the Abbey to escape the midges.  Nice tour describing the history of the beautiful building & it’s various occupants, then we came back to the gift shop & left behind a fair amount of euros.

Then, after some non-discussion (don’t ask), we were on the road, heading toward Clifden to look for electronics … our car stopped in the tiny town of Moyard, to visit Nancy’s airplane seat-mate.  She had been invited for tea if we were in the area, so she gave her a call when we literally drove passed her front door (while driving on N59) and our car-full of four enjoyed a 20+ minute stay with a local.  Her hospitality was delightful and her home was simply furnished and right on the coast.  Her garden led down to the water–because of the midges, we were disinclined to explore the garden for long.  It was neat to see the inside of an Irish home and chat with a local.  She uses peat as fuel for her fireplace (heat for the house)–if any of you are familiar with the taste/smell of whiskey from the Island regions of Scotland, the smell of the smoke is quite reminiscent of that.  Just a wee bit stronger…not unpleasant alt all.

After gracefully excusing ourselves, we had to be back at the Castle by 8pm, we piled back into the car, reset our demon-possessed GPS and headed back to Ross Castle…about an hours drive from where we were.

Almost as soon as we got on the road, we got a call from Marc (they’d split from us after Kylemore Abbey & went ahead to Clifden for the electronics).  Our connection was spotty (dropped call, then breaking up–so, hard to understand what they were trying to say).  They’d apparently just left Clifden & told us they’d not make it back by the 8pm time–so said their GPS (apparently another demon-possessed machine!)  But I wasn’t really understanding their reason for not making it back.  Finally, he just told us to stop in Clifden & wait for them.  Which we did…not really understanding why.  Once they showed up, they explained it’d be 3-hours before we could get back to the Castle…when questioned, they recalculated & realized it would only take an hour (our GPS was actually accurate for once!), so instead of having dinner in Clifden, we headed back to the Castle, having a good laugh on the way.  There were many photo ops we passed up out of fatigue and a driving desire to be back at the Castle…where we had a delightful dinner of spaghetti made by Marc.  Yum!  And then, we had an even more delightful evening of music by Tania and Mike.  We were up listening to them until well after midnight.  I think Marc finally went down to his room close to 1am, and people slowly trickled back to their rooms up until around 2:30-3…I for one, melted into bed around 2:15…

6 June 2012

We woke to cloudy skies, soon followed by rain — once again…the norm.  No complaints — that’s why it is soooo very beautifully green here.  It is now noon and the sun has been playing tag with the clouds.  I think the rain is done for now — but I’m certainly not guaranteeing it!  The plan for today was to head out around 11 am — but I really don’t think anyone is pushing to get moving.  Not even Marc.  Everyone is playing catch up from our last two busy days — and LATE evenings.  My internal alarm clock has me waking with the sun at 5am, rolling over till 7 and pulling myself out of bed to make–and consume–coffee by 7:30…

We have had breakfast, Marc was sprawled out on the couch for a bit and has now disappeared downstairs and everyone else is either writing or working (in one form or another) with their computers — for some reason, some of us are able to access the internet, while others (me) cannot.  I am resigned to the fact that I can’t get much done on line…it’s as quiet as a library in here…an occasional bit of conversation, then quiet again.  I don’t think we’re getting enough coffee…lol.  Everyone is wandering off in various directions (some out to take photos of the grounds), while others remain tethered to their computers.