Friday, November 13, 2009

A day in Clifden and Ballynahinch

Today Katie and I explored Clifden and the grounds of the castle. This is all new territory for me as far as Ireland goes. I stayed up in Westport last year for a few days, but never ventured down this way, so I'm grateful and excited to be going to new places.

Clifden is a very cute seaside-ish village. It's set between the Atlantic Ocean, 12 Ben Mountains and preserved boglands on the Coast of Connemara.

When we first drove into town, we took the beach road and took amazing pictures in the harbor:

From there we took the sky road which is a 7-mile loop with amazing views of the Atlantic. I'm not a big fan of tiny roads and big drops down to the water. At one point Katie started talking to me and I had to have her stop because I was so nervous. My hands were gripping the steering wheel and I was trying my hardest to not focus on the opposite side of the road. I was just eternally grateful that there were no cars coming in the opposite direction! Only a portion of the sky road is enough to make you want to cry. Luckily, it also happens to be the most beautiful. A few shots from the sky road loop:

After the sky road we did a very tiny hike to see a monument for the person who founded Clifden. The most exciting part of that was that we literally bumped into two horses (or maybe one horse and a Connemara pony) grazing up there. I walked all the way around them and they kept following us. Katie was petting them while I took pictures of the great view of Clifden from above:

And then finally we hit the cute town of Clifden for lunch and a short stroll around town:

After Clifden, we went back to the castle where we did a nice walk around the castle grounds. We saw a mediation circle, explored the back of the castle, took a walk along the river, saw some old castle ruins and even some waterfalls. It was quiet and peaceful and so incredibly green:

The rest of the evening has been filled with relaxation- reading, writing, blogging, emailing, packing for the Aran Islands and ordering in chinese food! Erica and Sawnia checked out Clifden after we returned and brought back take out for dinner.

Tomorrow we are heading out to the Aran Islands for an overnight. I'm so excited as I've wanted to do this on every trip I've taken to Ireland. Our plan is to take a little bus tour of the island and Katie and I are hoping to rent bikes as well and see Inishmore that way as well.

From there we head to Dingle for an overnight and then will spend three nights in Baltimore for a lot of R&R. I have no clue if I'll have internet access again until our night in Cashel. It sort of makes me nervous, but, if I don't have it, I will just read, write and relax. It probably wouldn't be the end of the world if I didn't have it. Regardless, we continue to be having a great time.

I attempted to have my first drink since The Thatch. I made it through a few sips before abandoning the drink. Maybe tomorrow night!


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