Thursday, October 23, 2008

Hello from Doolin

I just spent a lovely evening between two pubs here in Doolin- which has typically been my favorite place in all of Ireland. I still love it, don’t get me wrong, but it definitely wasn’t the same as my last two visits. We started off the evening at McGann’s which is where I met Gene- the owner of The Thatch in Carrick-on-Shannon. Had a kickass dinner and listened to some live so-so music. My mom and Heidi also joined us at the pub. It was fun for them to just walk into the back of the pub and meet up with the group. Once things started getting not so great at McGann’s, Jigga and I went to check out the pub literally across the street- McDermott’s, which is where we ended the night and officially welcomed Lynn to the 30 club.

We started our day taking pictures at The Thatch in daylight. We're all still reeling from the night before- and none of us are seriously hungover which is great. It was just such an amazing night that we're all feeling really fortunate for the unique and truly Irish experience we had. So it was fitting, and only the right thing to do, to take pictures and pay our respects to what will surely be the best night we all share together in Ireland on this trip!

Today’s adventures took us from Carrick-on-Shannon to Doolin by way of some very cute Irish villages- Claregalway, Kavan, Lisdoovarna, Knock. We also stopped in and toured some caves. I don’t remember caves being a tourist attraction the last time I was here, but we were all interested in getting out of the car, walking around and doing a bit of exploring to help break up the trip. After stopping for lunch in Knock, we continued southwest and made it to the Aliwee Caves. Again, we hit this attraction close to closing time, so we had a tour all to ourselves. I’m not really much of a caves person, but this was interesting enough and a unique, painless and short experience.

The story of the caves itself is probably what I liked most about the whole thing. They were discovered in 1940 by a farmer, Jack McGann, who went after his dog when he took off to chase a rabbit. The dog went down some hole, the farmer followed him down the same hole and it was then and there he discovered these massive caves. Legend has it, the farmer didn’t tell anyone for nearly 40 years. Once he did, it took about two years before the property was made safe enough to be officially opened to the public. The tour itself didn’t take that long. Also because of the amount of rain Ireland has been getting lately, part of the caves was inaccessible because the rain started filling up- quickly! At the very beginning we saw bones from bears- they are completely extinct in Ireland (due to hunting). I’ve never really thought of Ireland and bears going together and now I know why. We continued to walk through a couple more spots where we saw some interesting cave formations and also these weird icicle looking things. If I’d been paying better attention, I could tell you what they were. Once we reached the end, we turned around, got in the car and finished the short trip to Doolin.

Driving into Doolin was when I realized just how much Ireland has been growing and changing. There were all these new structures- like track housing- and some bigger fancy buildings. What I have loved about Doolin (and the west coast in general) is how completely untouched it is. Cute little charming villages with colorful buildings and a warmth to the area you just don’t get when you’re in some of the bigger parts of the country- or any country really. So it was really disappointing to see how it’s changed and become a little more modern. When talking with someone at the pub tonight, he said that Doolin actually got off relatively easy in terms of development.

My birthday is technically over and so far I’m loving my 30s! Tomorrow the trip continues to Dingle- I’m really looking forward to exploring more areas that I’ve never been to!


What's Already Been Said


  © Free Blogger Templates Photoblog III by 2008

Back to TOP