I have been neglecting my blog for a month. Not purposely, of course! I think my life has been getting in the way of my writing. Imagine that! My daughter is back in her college dorm, my trip to visit my sister is over and now I am ready to think about all things Irish again!
In my last post my husband Ron and I were having a lovely time in County Cork visiting the Blarney Castle, the port city of Cobh and of course the Jameson Distillery in Midleton. But now it was time for us to join the guided tour in Dublin. After an uneventful but enjoyable drive back to Dublin from Cork, we joined our wonderful tour guide Maureen from Anthony Travel. While I really enjoy discovering places on our own, I find spending some time with tour guides of the native country to be very educational and time well spent.
Maureen was a delightful woman who knew so much about the history and culture of Ireland. She and our bus driver Paddy had a great rapport. Who else should be introducing you to the beauty and culture of Ireland but two folks named Maureen and Paddy? Maureen taught us some words in Gaelic - “kell” means small church, “bock” means hill, “bally” means town, and the all important “mna” for ladies’ restroom. She also taught us “cog mo thoin” which means “kiss my ***”.
On our way to Galway, we saw strongholds that were built in the 15th century for the English landowners to protect themselves and their families from the natives. There is about 1500 of them all over the country of Ireland. We made a “comfort stop” (love their terminology!) in the town of Moate. Maureen explained that we would be there for 30 minutes so that we should feel free to have a cup of coffee. Ron and I stopped visited briefly a church – of course, it was named St. Patrick’s – and took some photos.
After taking photos and needing a comfort stop, Ron had the idea we should stop in a pub – our first Irish pub! So, of course, we walked into Bo Allen’s pub and ordered our first pint of Guinness on Irish soil. The guidebooks were right – the Guinness tastes so much better here in Ireland! We looked around in the pub and guess what? At least 7 other people from our tour had the same idea. We all agreed we could take our time drinking our Guinness because the bus wouldn't leave without all of us!
Our tour continued on its way to Galway … we crossed over the Shannon River, the longest river in Ireland. Houseboating on the Shannon is a popular way to “holiday”. I think it would be awesome to visit all the little towns along the river. Put that on my bucket list! We also learned that the rock walls we saw all over Ireland are actually pieces of rock stuck one on top of the other. There is no glue or cement holding it together.
After a 2 ½ hour trip from Dublin, we arrived in Galway and checked into the Galway Radisson Blu Hotel which is located across from the Lough Atalia. Ron and I walked into town – about a mile or so – and with the help of a very thoughtful Irish young lady found Quay Street. We ate dinner at McDonagh’s Seafood House. Ron ate mussels (his starter plate was huge) and fish and chips (I think that is a prerequisite for visiting Ireland) while I enjoyed my salmon entree. It was another wonderful day in the Emerald Isle!