Thursday, November 6, 2008

Today I feel like I found a place where I’ve never felt more at peace.

The day started off with a short walk around Westport, my home base for the past three days. I snapped some shots of where I stayed and drank and what the typical quaint Irish village looked like.

Then I drove from Westport to Galway Airport, took a taxi into the train station, hopped on a train to Dublin, took a bus to the airport and then hopped on a shuttle to the airport Hotel. It was a great day though. A lot more relaxing than it probably sounds.

Along the drive from Westport to Galway, I wanted to stop in Cong. It’s been made famous for two reasons:
1. The Quiet Man was filmed here.
2. Ashford Castle is located in Cong. It’s the best known castle in all of Ireland and was originally built as a gift for Arthur Guinness.

Steve and I actually stayed at the Ashford Castle on our honeymoon but it was the day after we arrived when we had been without our luggage for two days, felt dirty, grungy and completely out of place at arguably the nicest place we’d likely ever stay in our life. I have a feeling if we went back now, under different circumstances (read: luggage), we’d have a much more enjoyable experience. Make no mistake of it, we’d still stick out, but at least we’d be clean and somewhat presentable.

When we were here though, we barely walked around the castle grounds and we definitely didn’t go into Cong. So I made a point to stop in and explore a little before dropping the rental car off. I pulled out conveniently right outside the Tourist Office and across the street from Cong Abbey.

I walked around Cong Abbey, which was interesting enough, but continued to follow a walking path and was met with the most beautiful area. A little foot bridge took you into Cong Woods where I would have loved to spend time walking around with no actual destination in place. Unfortunately time was a big restriction for me so it’s something I’ll have to add to my to do list when I’m back next.

I was blown away by how peaceful and quiet it was. The birds were singing so beautifully I was looking around for a speaker thinking there was no way it was real (it was!). Check out a couple of super short videos below:

I walked around a bit and found a stone fishing hut that was used back in the day to catch the fish through a hole in the bottom of the hut. I stood inside, closed my eyes and listened to the water and the birds and felt nothing but gratitude for the moment and the past three weeks of my life.

I reflected on this trip and all the wonderful memories I’ve made, all the places I’ve visited and all the progress I made in having a stress free relaxing and restorative vacation. I feel more at ease than I have in a really long time and walked back to the car ready to get back on the train to Dublin and head home a more peaceful and relaxed person who stops leaving the smallest piece of bread for herself.


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